The 1777 View of the Battlefield
at Red Bank on the Delaware River, New Jersey
The Revolutionary War continues…
Here is a brief synopsis of what happen at the Battle of Red Bank:
*Situated at Red Bank, Fort Mercer is garrisoned by some 400 soldiers, and was commanded by Colonel Christopher Greene. American forces held Forts Mifflin and Mercer which denied the Royal Navy the use of the Delaware River.
*Recognizing the need to eliminate the river forts, British General Sir William Howe directed Colonel Carl von Donop to take a force of 1,200 Hessians across the Delaware to capture Fort Mercer. Von Donop was anxious to avenge the failure of his men in the Battles of Trenton in January 1777.
*As his men neared Fort Mercer, von Donop boasted “Either the fort will soon be called Fort Donop or I shall have fallen.”
*Forming for battle in dense woods near the fort, von Donop twice called on Greene to surrender. Refusing von Donop’s surrender demands, Greene and his men braced for the Hessian attack.
*As the smoke cleared, the Hessian ranks were rapidly thinning and von Donop lay mortally wounded. The Hessians fell back and ultimately retreated inland to Woodbury.
*In the fighting at the Battle of Red Bank, Greene lost 14 killed and 21 wounded, while the Hessians sustained 151 killed, 261 wounded, and 60 captured.
*The victory at Red Bank boosted American morale and continued to deny Vice Admiral Lord Richard Howe’s fleet the use of the river. This proved short-lived as the British mounted a major bombardment of Fort Mifflin on November 10. Holding out for six days, the garrison was compelled to abandon the post on November 16.
The South Jersey Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution initiated a drive to recognize the 14 brave patriots who died defending Fort Mercer. All of the soldiers killed were from the Rhode Island 1st and 2nd Regiment.
With the cooperation of Gloucester County and the South Jersey Chapter SAR, a monument was erected at the Foot of the Monument to Colonel Hugh Greene, the Commander of Fort Mercer and the 1st Rhode Island Regiment.
The wording on the Casualty Monument: “As the Battle of Fort Mercer was concluding on October 22, 1777, the sun was setting and the wind was blowing so hard from the north. it held out the tide water of the Delaware River. Hessian Lt. Colonel Wurmb ordered the Jager Corp to the edge of the woods to cover the retreat. These were marksmen with rifled guns who would shoot any american that showed himself.
“Two American sergeants, George Babcock and John Gould saw that the battle had been a great victory. They prematurely mounted the rampart to celebrate and were mortally wounded by the enemy’s last discharge. They were two of only 14 killed and 21 wounded Americans reported to George Washington on the 23rd of October. The Hessian casualties were 151 killed and 266 wounded. As time passed the death totals would increase and the wounded totals would decrease.”
Red Bank Battlefield
New Jersey Historical Commission
Dedicated by Sons of the American Revolution South Jersey Chapter
Battle of Red Bank Painting by Ed Hedgepeth, 2013
The painting depicts Hessian soldiers attacking Fort Mercer in the October 22 battle of Red Bank
American Deaths, 1st Rhode Island Regiment
Sgt. George Babcock, Prv. William Kirk, Pvt. William Sharper, Pvt. William Taylor, Sgt. John Gould, Pvt. John Brown
American Deaths, 2nd Rhode Island Regiment
Sgt. Nath. Stoddard, Pvt. Stephen Luther, Prv. Asa Potter, Pvt. Jonathan Bidgood, Sgt, Eleazer Wescott, Capt. Silvamus Shaw, Sgt. William Evertom.
2014: Remains of Fort Mercer, site of the Battle of Red Bank
October, 2013 reenactment of the battle of Red Bank. If you look closely you will see two of your SJCSAR chapter members participating in this battle. Can you find them?