The Battle of Monmouth
Written by Peter Fitzgerald
American Wars - War of independence
On June 28th 1778 a battle occurred in the American Revolutionary War that caused one of the greater casualties and losses for both sides, but also didn’t end in victory in the short term for either side. The battle in question is the Battle of Monmouth.
At the outset of battle 11,000 Americans soldiers under the command of Major General George Washington faced a British army number around 15,000 under the command of Sir Henry Clinton. So taking into account this was a large battle, what led up to the battle and what was the outcome.
Prior to the Battle of Monmouth
The British had decided to withdraw from Philadelphia and move its troops over to its larger garrison in New York City, this move was a decision made because the French had got involved and decided to side with the Americans.
As the British made their march the Americans were doing everything in their power to make the march hard on the British, this was everything from damaging bridges to contaminating water supplies.
The issue with this move was that the English were not the only ones to suffer as it was peak summer, both sides ended up losing a lot of men through heat and exhaustion.
The Americans reviewed the British march and deemed that there was potential for attack given how far the line of marching soldiers stretched back. The American Major General Washington called a council with all his Generals to discuss what they should do, the outcome was to attack.
The American plan was to send a smaller force of around four thousand troops whose battle plan was to stop the British march long enough for the rest of the American force to arrive and attack.
The Battle of Monmouth
Washington offered the command of the smaller attacking American force to a General called Lee, Lee didn’t believe in the attack and thus declined the offer. When the army size was increased by 1,000 and the command was offered to Lee he soon changed his mind and took control.
Lee was in command but did not clearly dictate what was expected from his battle formations, this meant the first attack that occurred on the 28th Jane was shambolic and the British soon overpowered the Americans. When this happened the Americans retreated, the British then annihilated those who could not retreat quick enough.
Washington was bringing his men up towards the British as expected but he was furious to find Lee and his men fleeing from the British who were following. Washington rallied Lee’s troops and they held off the British while Washington’s own men formed a line.
The British started by attacking the American left flank and after heavy fighting the Americans left flank turned defence into attack and attacked the British right flank pushing them back. The British then switched to fighting the American right flank. This attack was brutal and strong but sharp shooting from the Americans supported by artillery fire made the British fall back.
The British ceased fighting and fell back, darkness then fell stopping the Americans from attacking the British. The following day the British marched off ending the battle.
The Americans lost 362-500 killed, wounded or captured while the British had 65-304 Killed
170-770 Wounded and 60 captured. The battle finished a draw but longer term ended up an American victory.