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“'Had all the Cavalry been in the front … not one man could have escaped …': Hopperstown, New Jersey, 16 April 1780," Part 2 of “'The Enemy was in Hackansack last night Burning & Destroing …': British Incursions into Bergen County, Spring 1780"

“'Had all the Cavalry been in the front … not one man could have escaped …': Hopperstown, New Jersey, 16 April 1780," Part 2 of “'The Enemy was in Hackansack last night Burning & Destroing …': British Incursions into Bergen County, Spring 1780"

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Published by John U. Rees
Paramus, New Jersey, and the associated community of Hopperstown, had been intermittently occupied by Continental or militia forces since December 1776, but not until 1780 did any serious military conflict occur there. The first clash took place on 23 March 1780, when two detachments of Crown troops attempted to capture and destroy the Continental Army post at Paramus, one column crossing the Hudson, coming ashore at Closter Landing, and advancing from there, with a second column moving from the southeast, via Hackensack village, which they plundered. The joint attack did not succeed in carrying the American post, and British and German troops involved were harried during their retreat by Whig regulars and militia. (See Part 1 of this series.)
On 16 April British and German forces struck again, this time with a straightforward, lightning assault under Maj. Johann Christian Du Buy, commander of the Regiment von Bose. A number of units took part in the raid: Diemar’s Hussars (light cavalry), Queen’s Rangers Hussars, and elements of the 17th British light–dragoons, Lt. William Stewart’s Staten Island Volunteers (Loyalist light dragoons), German Jaegers (light infantry), von Bose and von Mirbach Regiments, and the Loyal American Regiment.
Paramus, New Jersey, and the associated community of Hopperstown, had been intermittently occupied by Continental or militia forces since December 1776, but not until 1780 did any serious military conflict occur there. The first clash took place on 23 March 1780, when two detachments of Crown troops attempted to capture and destroy the Continental Army post at Paramus, one column crossing the Hudson, coming ashore at Closter Landing, and advancing from there, with a second column moving from the southeast, via Hackensack village, which they plundered. The joint attack did not succeed in carrying the American post, and British and German troops involved were harried during their retreat by Whig regulars and militia. (See Part 1 of this series.)
On 16 April British and German forces struck again, this time with a straightforward, lightning assault under Maj. Johann Christian Du Buy, commander of the Regiment von Bose. A number of units took part in the raid: Diemar’s Hussars (light cavalry), Queen’s Rangers Hussars, and elements of the 17th British light–dragoons, Lt. William Stewart’s Staten Island Volunteers (Loyalist light dragoons), German Jaegers (light infantry), von Bose and von Mirbach Regiments, and the Loyal American Regiment.

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Published by: John U. Rees on Aug 31, 2013
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 1
“The Enemy was in Hackansack last night Burning & Destroing …” 
 British Incursions into Bergen County, Spring 1780
John U. Rees Part II.
“Had all the Cavalry been in the front … not one man could have escaped …”
  Hopperstown, New Jersey, 16 April 1780
  ___________________ Lt. Col. Josiah Harmar spent the winter of 1779
 – 
80 near Morristown, New Jersey, with his regiment, the 6th Pennsylvania. He noted in his journal the weather each day, recording for mid
 – 
April 1780:
April 15th: [Saturday] Cold, raw Weather April 16th: Rainy and disagreeable April 17th:
Clear’d up cool – 
 
The Maryland Troops march’d this morning for the Southward  – 
 Yesterday Major Byles & his Party were surprised at Paramus
1
 _______________________ Paramus, New Jersey, and the associated community of Hopperstown, had been intermittently occupied by Continental or militia forces since December 1776, but not until 1780 did any serious military conflict occur there. The first clash took place on 23 March 1780, when two detachments of Crown troops attempted to capture and destroy the Continental Army post at Paramus, one column crossing the Hudson, coming ashore at Closter Landing, and advancing from there, with a second column moving from the southeast, via Hackensack village, which they plundered. The joint attack did not succeed in carrying the American post, and British and German troops involved were harried during their retreat by Whig regulars and militia. (See Part 1 of this series.) After the March attempt, American troops centered at Hopperstown remained a thorn in the side of British and Loyalist forces. Consistent with established practice, the commanders and detachments manning Hopperstown and its satellites were regularly rotated. The post commander,
“Majr. Anderson” (
likely Archibald Anderson of the 3d Maryland Regiment), was relieved by Maj. Thomas Lambert Byles of the 3d Pennsylvania, on 4 April 1780.
2
 General orders five days later mention the Bergen County post among other important detached parties:
 
Head Quarters, Morristown, Sunday, April 9, 1780 ... The commanding officers of brigades and regiments are immediately to call in all soldiers belonging to their respective corps who are upon Extra Service, Guards, Fatigue Parties, Artificers &c., agreeable to general orders of the 5th. instant and who have not  been detached by a subsequent general order, except such as are immediately connected with the line, the Commander in Chief's guards, the detachment at Paramus, Artificers employed in the Quarter Master General's department and Colonel Baldwin's corps; Men employed at, public factories by order of the honorable Board of War or the Commander
in Chief, and Waiters on General and Staff officers …
3
 
As will be seen, Major Byles’ force at Hopperstown contain
ed officers and enlisted men from at least eight regiments (3d, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 10th Pennsylvania, plus
Spencer’s
,
Sherburne’s
, and
Jackson’s), though the majority of them were likely
Pennsylvanians.
 
 2 On 16 April British and German forces struck again, this time with a straightforward, lightning assault under Maj. Johann Christian Du Buy, commander of the Regiment von Bose. A number of units took part in the raid:
Diemar’s Hussars
 (light cavalry),
Queen’s
Rangers Hussars, and elements of the 17th British light
 – 
dragoons, Lt.
William Stewart’s
Staten Island Volunteers (Loyalist light dragoons), German Jaegers (light infantry), von Bose and von Mirbach Regiments, and the Loyal American Regiment.
4
 Major Du
Buy’s
German infantry formed the backbone of the Crown contingent, providing support for the cavalry on the attack, and cover on the return march. The von Mirbach veterans  previously saw action in 1776 at Long Island and White Plains, then at Brandywine, Germantown, and Fort Mercer in 1777. The Regiment von Bose had been part of the  New York garrison since 1776, with some field experience gained the following year in the Hudson Highlands.
5
 The day after his assault on Hopperstown, De Buy gave Lt. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen, Crown forces commander in New York, details of the operation:
According to your Excellency’s gracious command I embarked on the evening of the
15th
. instant after 8 o’clock with 230
 [actually 250] men of the von Mirbach and von Bose Regiments, 12 Jägers and 50 men of Colonel Robinso
n’s Provincial [Loyal
Ameri
can] Regiment below Fort Knyphausen, and landed at 9 o’clock at Fort Lee on the
coast of New Jersey.
 6
 
The practicalities of organizing infantry for a short
 – 
term but rigorous expedition were mentioned in orders for the Regiment von Mirbach.
[April] the 15th. A captain, two subalterns, nine non
 – 
commissioned officers, and 100  privates, all chosen men, of the Regiment von Mirbach, are to assemble in the street at
Commissary Steward’s quarters this evening at sundown, or abou
t six
 – 
thirty, and await
Major DuBuy’s orders. The men are to take nothing with them but cooked rations for
one day, and rum. They are to wear their old uniforms, but not carry blankets. Therefore only healthy and robust men are to be chosen so that they
will not fall into the enemy’s
hands due to fatigue.
7
The expedition c
ommander’s account
resumes:
 
I reached English Neighborhood with the detachment after 10 o’clock, where I halted in
order to wait for the detachment of cavalry, consisting of 120 men, which had been transported from Staten Island to Bergen Neck. The same joined me at midnight, and we
at once continued our march to Newbridge, which we reached at about 3 o’clock on the
morning of the 16th, and met there, contrary to all expectations, a picket of Continental troops consisting of one officer and twenty
 – 
four men, who had been sent from Paramus the evening before in order to waylay a number of Rebel deserters, and bring them back. The sentry on the bridge fired but the picket had no time to defend the bridge but had to save themselves by running away in the dark. The officer and three men were taken  prisoners. I left Captain [David] Reichhold of the Mirbach Regiment there with 50 men in order to ensure our return to Newbridge.
8
 
 3
Infant
erie Regiment von Mirbach. “[April] the 15th. … the Regiment von Mirbach, are to assemble in the street at Commissary Steward’s quarters this evening at sundown, or about
six
 –thirty, and await Major DuBuy’s orders. The men are to take nothing with them b
ut cooked rations for one day, and rum. They are to wear their old uniforms, but not carry blankets. Therefore only healthy and robust men are to be chosen so that they will not fall
into the enemy’s hands due to fatigue.” Later in 1780 this unit was rena
med Regiment Jung von Lossberg. (Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg, Germany, E 195/2, page 352.)
. .
This was much the same ground covered in the 23 March attack on Paramus, with the  particular exceptions that the earlier operation consisted of two strong infantry columns without cavalry, and each column had to cross the Hudson River at different points,  before beginning their march to the objective. Du Buy continued the account of his April assault:
At daybreak the detachment arrived at Paramus, when I learned to my great annoyance that a body of Rebels, which had been stationed at that place, was no longer there but was quartered at Hopperstown, 1½ miles further. Although there was no question of taking them by surprise under these circumstances, I did not like to give up the plan all together, as I hoped the cavalry would come upon the enemy suddenly, and be able to attack them

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