Friday, December 30, 2011

Letters from the Front: Mr. Hood's Account of 2nd Trenton

"The Enemy advanced abt. half way over the Bridge when they were repulsed it is supposed with considerable loss as a heavy fire was kept up both in front & flank with The Artillery & Musquetry for abt. 12 Minutes..."

Among the most out-standing documents in the Letters from the Front collection is Mr. Hood's Account of the Second Battle of Trenton, which took place on January 2, 1777. Hood served with the 3rd Battalion, Pennsylvania Associators, under the command of General John Cadawallader, whose crossing on December 27th led to Washington's re-occupation of Trenton on December 30th. His account begins on near midnight of December 31, 1776, when his unit was recalled from its position in Crosswicks, NJ, to join the main Continental Army at Trenton. From there, Hood chronicles the second battle of Trenton, the night march to Princeton, and the engagement outside the town on the morning of January 3rd. Hood concludes with the American advance to Morristown after the victory at Princeton. For the full account, continue below.

We wish all of our readers a Happy New Year and look forward to new posts in 2012!


Sol Feinstone Collection #1907
Transcribed by W.P. Tatum III, May 2011

“Relation of the Engagement at Trenton and Princetown on Thursday and Friday the 2nd & 3d of Janry 1777 by Mr. Hood 3d Battn [Pennsylvania Associators]

Information given by Mr. Hood of the 3d Batallion

about 12 OClock on Thursday Wednesday Morning Orders came to them to March from Crosswicks to Trenton___ They arrived at Trenton on Wednesday morning abt. 9 OClock__ in one hour After the Alarm Guns fired and all their Batallion got under Arms immediately___ They were orderd to March over the Bridge & form on the Far a Line with the whole Brigade Commandd. by Genl Cadwalader.___ in about 1 hr. after they perceived the Enemy advancing and firing their Artillery on which they were orderd to take possession of a wood [illegible strikethrough] up the Creek to prevent the Enemy from outflanking. At this Time They [sic] Enemy & our people two of our Brigades were engaged beyond Trenton on the Princetown Road. our People retreated into Trenton___ the Enemy They on this returnd back to the Bridge & formd in a line___ with 3000 Men & 2 field ps. in the Main Street___ and 2 field ps. secreted behind Mr. Walors house opposite the Mill.___ & some Rifle men in the Hill. & artillery all along the Creek.___ after they were so stationd the Enemy advanced towards the Bridge, while they were advancing a Cannonade on both Sides commenced, & the Enemy threw a number of Shells, which did no execution and One Cannon Ball, pass’d through the 3d Batallion & killed 2 Men.___ The Enemy advanced abt. half way over the Bridge when they were repulsed it is supposed with considerable loss as a heavy fire was kept up both in front & flank with The Artillery & Musquetry for abt. 12 Minutes. Their firing ceased in the dark of the Evening___ They were then orderd to form a Square round the Woods and to make up their fires & to lay on thier [sic] Arms,___ abt. 12 OClock at Night they were orderd under Arms.___ They were Then ordered to lay down their Arms & return to thier fires___a little after One Orderd [Page 1] to Arms again They united the several Brigades together & The Artillery was Advanced before them & the army followed, this was all done with greatest Silence.___ they continued their March around the head of the Mill Creek dam & pass’d a Bridge and so continued their rout to the Prince Town Road & then Cross’d it & pass’d into a bye Road & proceeded about 1 Mile to the northward of Princetown__ and continued this Rout till day light when they saw Princetown__ and come through the Woods & field on the Back of the town and precieved the Enemy abt. 700 on the rise of a Hill abt. ¾ of a Mile from the town,___ a firing began by the Virginia Brigade, & then it was supported by Genl. Cadwaladers brigade which was at first put in a little confusion, but rallied under the Hill immediately___ in the Mean time a New England Brigade advanced and the RiffleMen flanked the Enemy, and they broke & ran immediately & we took abt. 200, upon wch our people pursued them advanced to the Town, they fired one Shot into the College, when a man waved his Hat, Another shot was fired & a flag was sent out & they Surrendered to the number of 86. And afterwards about the a number more was brought in to the ammot. of 200___ in this action abt. 100 of the Enemy was killed & abt. 14 of ours Genl. Mercer advanced at the Head of his Brigade between a Barn & a house near where the Engagement began.___his horse was shot under him & fell, when the Genl. was recovering from the fall, the Enemy thrust a Bayonet in his head, it is said he died of his wounds, and Captain Shippen shot through the head___ this party of the Enemy were intirely scatterd & numbers of them were taken in small parties.___ at princetown 5 Field ps. taken One of wch Spiked up Several Baggage Wagons, and some ammunitions & Stores.___ They then halted at Princetown abt. 1 hour provisions were supplied to the Army. ___when They heard a platoon fireing on the Prince town Road, they were order under arms. & to form.___ Genl. Miflin came to them & told them the Enemy was a coming to prepare for a Brush.___ They then March’d to Kingston, & went up Mill Stone Creek abt. 3 Mile, they head of the Army halted there for the Rear.__ that the informant went to a farmers to get some refreshment fell a sleep and waked in the Morning, the Army was gone he heard they were at Sommerset Court house on Saturday Morning and that he intended to join proceed to join Genl. Heath, that [Page 2].”

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1 comment:

  1. As readers will note, the account ends suddenly: this is the entirety of the document as it currently exists, missing its subsequent pages. As a result, we do not know what the original purpose of this piece was. It could have been anything from an affidavit for a pension application to an interrogation interview by British Officers, if Mr. Hood had happened to be captured. Until the rest of the document comes to light, we will not know his fate.