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Story of the Battle of Short Hills

The following is inscribed in the Battle of the Short Hills Monument located at the entrance of the Ash Brook Golf Course. 

Battle monument
"On the 26th of June in 1777 Washington's continental forces of under 6,000 men fought a running battle on the plains below the Watchung Mountains with the combined British and Hessian troops numbering 12,000. Early on that Thursday morning the British, under the command of Gen. William Howe, after feigning a departure from New Jersey, suddenly at midnight began to march upon the rebel army that had left their mountain camp to come by the low country in Samp Town (South Plainfield), Quibble Town (Piscataway, North Plainfield), and outposts in The Short Hills and Ash Swamp (Scotch Plains) in order to watch the British.

"In Howe's words 'The right under command of Lord Cornwallis, with Major General Grant, Brigadiers Matthew and Leslie and Colonel Donop took the route by Woodbridge towards Scotch Plains. The left where I was with Major Generals Stirn, Vaughan and Grey, Brigadiers Cleveland and Agnew, marched by Metuchen Meetinghouse to join the right column in the road from thence to Scotch Plains.' A little before sunrise scouts of Colonel Daniel Morgan's riflemen encountered Cornwallis in Woodbridge and shots alerted Washington of the enemy's surprise approach. Discerning the British intent to secure the mountain passes, Washington began with haste to remove the main forces to Quibble Town and ordered the divisions of Green Lincoln, Stephen and Sullivan back to the heights. The delaying tactics of the riflemen gave the American troops and local militia time to assemble.

The first massed resistance by American troops was on the crossroads at Oak Tree where Cornwallis' column was fired upon by a body of about 600 men under Brigadier General Thomas Conway at about 8 a.m. His troops were joined by three companies of Pennsylvania-German volunteers of Major Nicholas Ottnedorff, newly placed under the command of the French Colonel Charles Armand-Tuffin with the three brass field pieces marking the first use of French command and arms in the war. After considerable fighting Conway's troops, forced by the British through 'Martin's Woods' (New Dover Rd. Edison) withdrew to join Stirling's main body at the Short Hills near Ash Swamp.

Lord Stirling, divided by Cornwallis drew his troops into battle formation on rising ground near Ash Swamp determined to make a stand. His forces of 1,798 men included Gen. 'William Scotch' Maxwell's Brigade consisting of four New Jersey regiments and Conway's and Armand's troops. In addition, they were joined by Morgan's and Dark's riflemen as well as an undetermined number of militia. The 3rd Hessian Grenadier battalion of von Minnigerode attacked the rebels left flank and were joined by Howe's column.

Outnumbered by Howe's full forces with at least 15 cannons, the Americans stood their ground but the superiority of arms and numbers forced them to withdraw. Howe's aide Mueuchhausen in writing of the battle states: 'General Lord Stirling who was in command had his horse shot and General Maxwell was almost captured by the Hessian Grenadiers missing him only by a hair's breath... three new French brass three-pounders were taken'. 

To learn more about this battle: wikipedia, Revolutionary War New Jersey