At the core, even the set piece battles of the American Revolution were often a matter of limited engagements. Only a portion of Gates' and Burgoyne's men, for instance, clashed at Freeman's Farm and Bemis Heights during the climax of the Saratoga campaign. Neither side could afford to lose their armies in pitched battles.
Just as significantly, the organization of these armies, especially on the Royalist side, worked against unit cohesion. Brigades were created and reshuffled as needed, and battalions routinely broken up for detached service. A force of the size that Knyphausen brought over against New Jersey from New York in June of 1780 was really a small army, yet in neither of the principal engagements of the brief campaign was he able to concentrate his forces, the initial grouping and command structure went by the boards early on, and the brunt of the fighting was borne by just a few units.
Knyphausen used all but three of the infantry regiments he had available in New York on his invasion of New Jersey. There are some inconsistencies among the various sources as to the precise strength and composition of his army. Contemporary reports estimated between 5000 and 6000 men. The most complete order of battle I have been able to discover in any of the histories of the campaign is presented in Winter at Morristown, 1779-1780: The Darkest Hour by Samuel Steele Smith (1979), which is both out of print and incredibly hard to locate. It is possible to get snippet views of the text through Google Books, however, and from what I could tease out and compare with other sources I believe I have a complete picture.
Knyphausen initially organized his force into 5 "divisions" of 2 - 4 infantry regiments each. 2 divisions included cavalry, and all but the 3rd included artillery. Each was commanded, at least on paper, by a Brigadier or Major General, but forces were detached and moved about almost from the start.
The 1st Division was lead by Brigadier General Thomas Stirling, the subject of an earlier post. This was the vanguard and made the first crossing in the evening of June 6th from Staten Island to Elizabethtown Point. Stirling established the beachhead with the light companies of the 37th and 38th regiments of foot, veterans of hard service (the 38th had been at Bunker Hill). The rest of these two regiments soon crossed over, along with the Hessian Leib ("du Corps") and Landgraf musketeer regiments. Stirling's division also had 2 six pounders.
The problem with having Stirling lead the van was that he only had these two light companies for skirmishers and no screen of cavalry. Soon after leading the advance up the darkened road to Elizabethtown he was felled by a picket guard lead by Ensign Moses Ogden of Spenser's (4th) New Jersey Regiment. During the delay that followed the Hessian and Anspach (dismounted) Jaegers were moved to the head of the column. They had been assigned to the Third Division under Major General William Tryon, the former Royal governor of New York and an old hand at leading raids into Connecticut. The Jaegers were not at full strength, with 280 of their number on detached service in the South and another on mounted service elsewhere in the column. The remaining 300 riflemen would be the tip of the spear in the actions to come and in the end suffered more than 1/3 casualties.
Tryon also seems to have had 40 loyalist pioneers under his command (possibly from the "Black Pioneers" comprised of escaped slaves). The core of his command was the elite Service Brigade of the British Foot Guards, made up of officers and men selected by draft from each of the 3 Guard Regiments in England. The Guards on American service were organized into two battalions of 5 companies each, including Grenadier and Light Companies. Only the 1st Grenadier Company was comprised of men who came from pre-existing flank companies of the Guards. Their commander had been Brigadier General Edward Mathew of the 2nd "Coldstream" Guards, but on this expedition for reasons I have not been able to determine he was apparently assigned the command of the 2nd Division which did not include the guards. Perhaps he was still suffering from the illness that compelled him to give up his command of Fort Knyphausen that April. One biography says he participated in the expedition as a volunteer which would indicate that he was a supernumerary.
In any event he was a senior officer and was given command of one of the largest Divisions with nearly 1,700 men. It included the 22nd and 57th regiments of foot, and also the 1st and 4th battalions of the New Jersey Loyalist volunteers under Brigadier General Cortland Skinner. According to Steele he had "some cavalry" and 2 six pounders, and he also had the single company of the 17th regiment of foot - 79 men - that had been formed from those of the battalion who had not been captured at Stony Point the previous winter by Anthony Wayne.
The 4th and 5th Divisions were lead by Hessian Generals Carl von Hackenberg and Friedrich von Lossberg. Von Hackenberg had the British 43rd regiment of foot, the Hessian Regiment Böse and the 1st Anspach Regiment (some sources say also the 2nd Bayreuth regiment but this unit appears to have remained in New York at the outset of the campaign). He also had 2 three-pounders. Von Lossberg had the Hessian Donop regiment, and I believe also the Garrison regiment von Bünau. The bulk of the cannons, from both the Royal an Hessian Artillery, was with the 5 Division, possibly including 2 six-pounders, 6 three-pounders, and 2 howitzers. It also had the bulk of the cavalry - elements of the 17th light dragoons, and the mounted Queen's Rangers, which included Captain Friederick de Diemar's "Black Hussars". This last unit was comprised of Germans - largely Brunswickers - who had escaped after the surrender of Burgoyne's army. Diemar has a Hanoveran and held a commission in the 60th Royal Americans.
If by now you are thoroughly confused as to who goes with whom, imagine the state of affairs on the ground, with multiple crossings made from Staten Island to the marshy Jersey Shore at night toward an enemy whose disposition was unclear and who got the ball rolling by shooting the Brigadier General leading the advance. There were delays while a swamp was bridged. There were delays while units were shifted position from command to command. In the end only two divisions marched through Elizabethtown on the road to Connecticut Farms on the morning of the 7th, with considerable gaps between them. We'll pick up the narrative of the fight that took place that day in a future post. Postscript: 9/7/2009 - Having now procured the out of print Winter at Morristown, referenced above, I can give the full British Order of Battle for Connecticut Farms according to Appendix V, pgs. 62, 63: First Division, Brig. Gen Thomas Stirling (w), Col. Friedrich Von Wurmb 37th Regt., 38th Regt., Leib Regt. [du Corps], Landgraft Rgt. Second Division, Maj. Gen. Edward Matthew 17th Regt (one company), 22nd Regt., 57th Regt., Buneau Regt., 1st Batt. NJ Volunteers, 4th Batt. New jersey Volunteers, 2 six-pounders, "some cavalry" Third Division, Maj. Gen. William Tryon Dismounted Hessian and Anspach Jaegers, 1st and 2nd batt. Guards, pioneers Fourth Division, Maj. gen. Carl Von Hackenberg 43rd. Regt., 1st Anspach-Bayreuth Regt., Bose Regt., 2 three-pounders Fifth Division, Maj. Gen. Friedrich von Lossberg Donop Regt., 17th Dragoons, Mounted Queen's Rangers, Von Diemar's Hussars, Royal Artillery, German Artillery, baggage. Total in Knyphausen's force on June 7th, 1780 6,887