The Ogden Family, Elizabethtown Branch by William Ogden Wheeler (1907) reprints the following letter in it's entry for my ancestor Aaron Ogden, who was Brigade Major under William Maxwell during Knyphausen's Raid. It was addressed to his father, Robert Ogden Esq., who had left their home in Royalist occupied Elizabethtown and was then in Trenton.
"Jersey camp at Springfield, June 15th, 1780.
Honored Sir, Wishing to relieve that anxiety in you, which must fill every breast in the present posture of affairs, I set down to give you as much satisfaction as is in my power.
On the night if the 6th Inst. the enemy landed at Elizth Town; it is supposed, with about 5,000 troops, including three hundred Dragoons & a large train of artillery - their advance reached Connecticut farms soon after Day break, where they were opposed by some small parties of the Jersey Brigade & a few militia - they did not pass the defile till after they had received reinforcements from Town - much scirmishing (sic) happened during the day, in which almost the whole of Brigade were at different times engaged assisted with a considerable body of militia, who on this occasion merit much praise & have, I think, acquired to themselves lasting honor.
Our loss in the Brigade is not very considerable, one Ensign killed, 3 [officers] wounded, 7 privates killed & 20 wounded, - from the dead found after their loss in killed, wounded & taken prisoners can not be less than two hundred - I speak within bounds in my opinion - the difference between our loss and theirs may perhaps appear incredible, but let it be considered that they were harassed by small parties on every side in such a manner that it was out of their power to make retaliation. That they were thoroughly sick of their situation appears evident from the silence & precipitancy of their retreat, which they performed under cover of night & a heavy shower of rain - it was not known in our camp untill (sic) the next morning. - Genl Hand, with two Battalions of Continental troops, fell on their rear a little below where Ebenezer Pine lives - he charged them with vigour, but superior force soon obliged him to retire - his loss was trifling.
Since that time nothing very material has happened - the advance of the enemy are as far up as the Town bridge the wooden bridge by Potters - their main body between the forks of the road & the ferries. - Our light parties do them very little injury in their present position. -
To develope (sic) the objective of the enemy in this excursion seems almost impossible - perhaps they may have been brought to believe that our small army would receive but little assistance from the militia - They may possibly suppose that our magazines of provisions are so small as not to be able to subsist a large body of men together but for a short time - I hope that such exertions will be made, as may disappoint our enemies in their expectations, and that hereafter our Continental regiments may be put into such a situation as may enable Genl Washington to make sufficient opposition without the aid of the militia, whose absence from their farms must be attended with bad consequence to agriculture on which our support depends. -
Had every State in the Union compleated (sic) their Battalions, which might have easily been done - this distress would not probably have come upon us. - On the weakness of our army our enemies build their hopes - they say that those few can not long hold together, - and that they must be more than men, who will fight, without pay, clothes or food. - A few vigorous exertions on our side might destroy these expectations, & make them wish to be at peace with us - what can more speedily bring our foes to terms, than our being prepared for war? - Oh! that every one would exert his power & influence to give vigour to our operations this campaign - & peace may again be established. I wish that matters of trifling importance might be dismissed & that a spirit of unanimity might prevail.
Dr. Wolsely [Ogden's brother-in-law] arrived in Sussex on Sunday last, his wife and Hannah [Ogden's younger sister] came with him, they are all in health. The Doctor proposes to stay about a week from this time, perhaps longer. Colo. Ogden [Ogden's elder brother Mathias, commander of the 1st New Jersey Continentals] has been ill, but is now fast recovering.
I am Sir, with much respect, your affectionate Son, Aar. Ogden."
Aaron Ogden, who in later years delighted in demonstrating his command of the classics, surely missed an opportunity in this letter to quote young King Harry at Agincourt -
He clearly was writing not only to inform his father of the state of affairs with the war in their very backyard, but also with an eye toward it being shared with people of influence in the government, for the utter failure to build up the ranks of Washington's depleted Continental batallions was a point of deep resentment among those who served. The fact that the militia performed well on this occasion was a relief, but Ogden is absolutely correct that the British, hessian and Loyalist advance during Knyphausen's Raid toward Springfield was checked and even thrown back for a time at Connecticut Farms by the 800 man Jersey Brigade and local men who fought on their very doorsteps. Ogden, as Brigade Major, was dispatched by his commander William Maxwell to stiffen the resolve of the militia, so he was able to see their quslity firsthand while his relatives and close friends fought neearby with their regiments. More on Connecticut Farms and its aftermath in a subsequent post.