The Royalists under Knyphausen had little more than a dozen miles to cover between their landing at Elizabethtown, New Jersey and Hobart's Gap which lead toward Washington's encampment and vulnerable supplies at Morristown. The invading army that June night in 1780 included a strong force of cavalry that was utterly squandered on the campaign.
The high mobility of the 17th Lancers, von Diemar's Black Hussars, the mounted Queens Rangers and the mounted German Jaegers could have been used to penetrate the countryside ahead of the marching columns and determine the enemy strength, and if they were not able - as was Buford at Gettysburg - to secure the high ground, at least they could screen the advance from attack by militia. Washington, in fact, was so greatly alarmed by the presence of so many enemy horsemen that he ordered the recall of "Lighthorse Harry" Lee and his troopers, on their way South, to help counter a cavalry threat that ultimately never materialized.
The Hessian commander was unable to get his horsemen across from Staten Island in time to be of any use on June 7th, when the head of the advancing column was blunted for hours at Connecticut Farms just a few miles northwest of Elizabethtown. Nor were they used effectively during the battle two weeks later at Springfield just a bit further up the road. Aside from a few ambuscades during the period when the British hunkered down between engagements at their beach-head below Elizabethtown, the mounted arm of Kyphausen's force contributed little to the outcome of the campaign.
Knyphausen also had a substantial advantage in artillery. After Maxwell's depleted brigade of New Jersey Continentals and assorted militia stood in the path of the Royalist advance at Connecticut Farms without artillery of their own - and held them off for more than three hours of ferocious fighting - they withdrew toward Springfield and the protection of an "old iron four-pound field piece" manned by New Jersey militia. Only two or three of the estimated 15-20 cannon Knyphausen brought over from Staten island were brought to bear at Connecticut Farms, and these were the "battalion guns" that traveled with the lead brigades rather than a concentrated force.
Artillery played a much greater role at Springfield on June 23rd, but even here it took six of Knyphausen's guns to silence a single six pounder that held up the British advance. The Continentals never managed to get a battery of guns in place and the militia actually lost some of theirs when the Royalists emerged from their defenses at Elizabethtown for their second drive inland.
Thus the bulk of the fighting fell to just a few battalions out of the entire Royalist force, and to a thin blue line of Continental regiments and swarming groups of militia. Given the total number of troops available to Knyphausen (on paper, at least), it is remarkable that the casualties were not much greater on the patriot side. But merely having the resources under his command did not assure that they could be effectively deployed, and Knyphausen in his only independent command did not prove to be an aggressive commander. We'll see how these factors played out when we examine the fight at Connecticut Farms in detail in the next post in this series.