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British Attack at Middleton

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

On Monday last, the 26th of April, about break of day, a detachment of British, consisting of seven hundred men, were discovered by a scouting party of Colonel Ford’s, coming up the North River, about half a mile below Red Bank, who immediately gave the alarm. The enemy directly landed four hundred men at Painter’s Point, and about forty of them marched up to Shrewsbury; the remainder went about half a mile to the westward and came out about William Warden’s place, with a view to cut off the retreat of near three hundred of our people posted on that station. Colonel Ford’s party (uncertain of the enemy’s force) retreated, and got about four hundred yards ahead of them; the enemy pursued them to the Falls, firing all the way, but could not overtake them. They then set fire to High Sheriff Van Brenck’s house, and a small house, the property of and adjoining to Colonel Hendrickson’s dwelling-house, which were burnt to the ground. They also fired the houses of Captain Richard M’Knight and John Little, Esq.; but they were extinguished by the activity of the inhabitants before they had suffered much damage. The enemy then returned to Shrewsbury, plundering all the way to Colonel Breeze’s, whom they robbed of all his money and most of his plate; and at Justice Holmes’, where they plundered and destroyed every thing they could lay their hands upon, and then retreated to their boats, a few militia firing on them. They then went to Middleton, and joined three hundred who had crossed over there, when the four hundred marched to Shrewsbury, and stayed till evening, burning a house and barn and plundering some of the inhabitants. Colonel Holmes had by this time assembled one hundred and forty of the militia, who drove them to their boats near the gut dividing the Highlands from Sandy Hook. One of the enemy was killed and another taken prisoner. The enemy carried off with them Justice Covenhoven and son, likewise several others. They got off by sunset, and returned to New York, taking away some cattle and horses.1

1 Pennsylvania Packet, May 1.

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