|Orange Town 20th October 1778 |
The injunctions, laid on me by your Lordship, I have endeavoured to fulfill in the most satisfactory and expeditious manner the nature of my situation woud admit. The inclosed Testimony will shew that Congress was not misinformed respecting the Savage Cruelty attending the surprize of Colonel Baylors Regiment; in taking which, I do assure you, regard has been had, only to essential facts, without taking notice of the many exagerating circumstances of inhumanity, such as Opprobious Language without distinction; beating, even those they thought were mortally wounded, not excepting any of the Officers, and stripping every man, in a very cool night, of almost all their Cloths: All this is confirmed by the concurring Testimony of all the Officers and men, & their nakedness proves, in part, their assertion.
Your Lordship desires me to be circumstantial in every thing that respects the surprise of this Regiment: The following account, of the Cause of it, is given by Colonel Baylor, and the Officers who were present. Colonel Baylor, in order to be at a Post where he coud better Observe the Enemy, and get the earliest intelligence of their movements, moved his Regiment from Paramus to Harring-Town, to which place are two Roads leading, one on each side the Hackinsack River. Half a Mile distant from the Village is a Bridge over the River, where a Serjeant & 10 men were posted, with Orders to Patrole a Mile below the Bridge, & at some Distance from the Roads. The Patroles were to be relieved every hour. The Enemy had been informed of this, tho the Regiment took that station but the preceeding Day, & sent a large party to get in the Rear of this guard: This they effected by going through Fields & bye-ways a great way about, & took or killed the whole guard without giving any alarm to the Regiment.
The Officer who commanded the Detachment of the Enemy on this Service was Major General Grey, who had with him the 2nd Lt. Infantry, 2nd Grenadiers, the 33rd and one other Regiment of Foot, and some Horse. That he ordered no quarter to be given appears as well as by the inclosed Testimony, from the Report of many Inhabitants who have heard the British Officers speak of it, publickly, & also that the Charges were drawn from their Firelocks & the Flints taken out that the men might be constrained to use their Bayonets only: This has occasioned the General to be nicknamed, among such of the British Officers as can feel the compunctions of humanity, the no Flint General. The principal Agents of General Grey, in this Bloody business, appear to be a Major Staubenzie, Captain Sir James Baird, & a Captain Ball, all of the 2nd Lt. Infantry. The inclosed Letter from the aide de Camp of Genl. Grey to Sir James Baird, found at the Quarters of Sir James, will Shew that the Companies commanded by the above named Captains, were at the Places where the greatest Cruelties were exercised; as the Officers, whose watches are enquired after, commanded the Troops which suffered most.
It appears that very few, or none, of the British Officers, entered the quarters of our Troops on this occasion, that no Stop might be put to the Rage and Barbarity of their Bloodhounds. It appears, indeed, that one of their Lt. Infantry Captains, had the feelings of Remorse, & ventured to disobey his Orders. He gave Quarter to the whole 4th Troop, & not a man of them was hurt, except two that happened to be on guard: For the Honour of Humanity it is to be wished this Gentlemans name had been known.
Notwithstanding the Cruelty of the Orders it does not appear that they effected their Purpose so fully as they intended, or might have been expected: the number of Privates present was 104, out of which Eleven were killed outright, 17 were left behind wounded, 4 of whom are since dead, 33 are Prisoners in N. York, 8 of them wounded, the rest made their escape. There are besides Prisoners in New York, a Captain (Swan) two Subalterns (Randolph and Dade) a Volunteer, (Kilty) and the Surgeons Mate; and, besides Major Clough who died of his wounds, there were wounded of the Officers, Colonel Baylor, Lieutenant Morrow and N. Evans the Surgeon.
These are all the particulars I have been able to collect, concerning this unhappy affair, which can be, any way, Satisfactory.
I have the Pleasure to inform your Lordship that Colonel Baylor is in a very fair way of being soon, well, & this Day moved to the New Bridge for his more comfortable accomodation.
I have the Honor to be
Your Lordships most Obedient
& most humble Servant
P.S. The acct. given by Colonel Baylor & his Officers of the Cause of his surprize is confirmed by the Enemys acct. in Gaines N. York paper of the 12 instant.
United States National Archives, Papers of the Continental Congress, M 247, Reel 66, i53, Pages 105-108.