Thursday, June 21, 2012

Intern's Corner: The Battle of Monmouth

Account of Major Robert Beale, Virginia
By Mark Relation, DLAR Intern

General Lee initially disagreed with Washington, believing that the very fact that the British were evacuating Philadelphia was a great victory, and did want to risk a battle and possibly ruin what success they already had.  Lee did not believe that American troops could stand up to British regulars, and was scared that a battle could turn the British evacuation into a British victory and so turned down the command of the attacking force.  Command was given to Lafayette, but when the force was established, it was large enough that Lee thought it more fitting the army’s second in command and successfully petitioned to have the command transferred to him.  This did not mean that Lee agreed with the plan any more than previously, and was somewhat lethargic in his planning and execution of the campaign.  Below, Major Robert Beale of the Virginia Continental Troops details his experience of the actions in the campaign and his opinion of Lee’s command decisions. 

Blanco, Richard L., and Paul J. Sanborn. The American Revolution, 1775-1783: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Pub., 1993. Print. p. 1080-1088.

Charles Lee Esq’r. Major General in the Continental Army in America.         
By Johann Michael Probst, 1891

“I joined the army again early in April.We did nothing but watch the evacuation of Philadelphia for they kept themselves in close quarters. As soon as known they had left Philadelphia there was a considerable party dispatched under command of General Lee to overtake them if possible, and retard their retreat until the whole army could be brought up.We overhauled them at Monmouth and if our commander had maintained his position one half hour longer, the war would have that day been ended, but he retreated and gave the enemy such an advantageous position as to renew the action with every prospect of success.We lay on our arms all night, indeed expecting a night action but it was not attempted and by day-break the British had gotten out of our reach.This was the twenty-eighth of June, 1778.We went from Monmouth to White Plains, State of New York. There we continued during the campaign doing nothing.”
Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society, Volume 6, No. 1, December 1956.“Revolutionary Experiences of Major Robert Beale.” 505-506.

No comments:

Post a Comment