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Chapter Fourteen. The Politics of Battle: Washington, the Army, and the Monmouth Campaign

Mark Edward Lender

Subject History » Military History

Place Americas » Northern America

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799

Key-Topics American War of Independence

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444331035.2012.00016.x


Daybreak on Monday, June 29, offered the patriot army an exhilarating prospect. The Battle of Monmouth, fought the day before on Sunday, 28 June, was over. The British were gone, leaving the field outside the village of Freehold to the exhausted but exultant rebels. “It is Glorious for America,” Colonel Israel Shreve exulted; “the Enemy was Drove off the Ground” ( Shreve, 1778 ). Anthony Wayne was especially satisfied. Recalling that some Philadelphia belles had flirted with redcoat officers, he could not resist asking a friend to “tell the Phila. Ladies” that their former beaus had “humbled themselves on the Plains of Monmouth” ( Wayne, 1778 ). After years of frustration, the Continentals could boast of besting the King's army in the open field. Yet the British saw Monmouth differently. General Henry Clinton winked at American claims. Marching from Philadelphia, he had brought his army through the heart of enemy territory without the loss of a wagon, and he considered that he had done well enough. So did some of his officers. “The retreat of Xenophon and his Ten Thousand Greeks,” wrote Hessian Captain Johann Ewald, “could not have had more hardships on their marches than we endured,” and yet the army reached safety (Ewald (1979) 138–139). Officially at least, the British were pleased with their performance. There is some logic to splitting the difference between British and American ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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