“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 Paramus1

_______________________
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 contained 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.
1

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 Robinson’s Provincial [Loyal
American] Regiment below Fort Knyphausen, and landed at 9 o’clock at Fort Lee on the
6
coast of New Jersey.

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 about 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 commander’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

2

Infanterie 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 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.” Later in 1780 this unit was renamed 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

3

before they could retire to the mountains. Consequently I advanced to Paramus Bridge
with the utmost speed; the Rebel picket posted on the bridge took to flight, but was
overtaken and partly captured, partly hewn down. Hereupon the cavalry attacked
Hopperstown and the infantry followed as rapidly as it could; the Rebels had no time to
form ranks although they could see us marching across the plain between Paramus and
Hopperstown but had to retire as best as they could. Some of them threw themselves into
a stone house, the quarters of Major [Thomas L.] Byles, who was the officer in command
of them, and defended it obstinately. Captain [Friedrich] von Diemar attacked the same,
assisted by the Dragoons and Hussars who were the first to come up, with great courage
and success. Many of the fugitives were captured or killed.9

Diemar’s and the Queen’s Rangers Hussars, along with the 17th Light Dragoons, were
in the van of the attack. The first two were Provincial units, with special origins, and
merit some particular discussion.
Formerly of the Hanoverian Army, Frederick de Diemar purchased a captain’s
commission in the British 60th Regiment (Royal Americans) in June 1778. He served
with that unit until early 1779, when he was recommended by Charles William
Ferdinand, Prince of Brunswick, to command a newly authorized cavalry troop. This
organization was formed from Brunswick soldiers captured during Lt. Gen. John
Burgoyne’s campaign in northern New York, and who, having escaped and reached
Manhattan without their officers, were considered fit for further service. Titled Diemar’s
Hussars, they were also known as the Black Hussars, and later, when incorporated into
the Queen’s Rangers in 1781, the “German Troop” (hussars were light cavalry, inspired
particularly by the exploits of Hungarian hussars during the Seven Years War and
earlier). Troop strength when first formed was fifty–six men, and by late 1779 comprised
almost one hundred soldiers, not only Brunswickers, but men from other German states,
as well as Americans, English, French, and at least one Swede. On active service
Diemar’s cavalry was usually attached to Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton’s British Legion or
the Queen’s Rangers, and largely operated on the lines north of Manhattan and on Staten
Island. The troop saw action at Bedford and New Rochelle, New York in 1779, and
Connecticut Farms and Springfield, New Jersey in 1780. By the time of the Hopperstown
raid, Diemar’s troop strength had been reduced after fifty–one Brunswick and Hessian
troopers were transferred to German regiments sailing with Gen. Sir Henry Clinton’s
expedition to the Carolinas in December 1779.10
By 1780 the Queen’s (American) Rangers was considered an elite organization.
Composed of both infantry and cavalry, the unit was first formed in August 1776 from
Loyalists recruited in New York and Connecticut, and with men from the Queen’s Loyal
Virginia Regiment. The Queen’s Rangers participated in the 1777 Philadelphia campaign,
where John Graves Simcoe, then captain of the 40th Regiment grenadier company,
assumed command in October, just after the Battle of Germantown. By 1780 the
regiment had gained a respectable reputation and the Ranger Hussars a distinctive
appearance. The latter resulted from an event at Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, outside of
Philadelphia, where the Queen’s Rangers advanced with other troops on the night of 7/8
December 1777 to attack elements of General George Washington’s army. Lieutenant
Colonel Simcoe recalled in his memoirs that while pursuing the enemy, “a mounted man
of the Queen’s Rangers … was killed by a Yager, through mistake: he wore a helmet that
had been taken from a rebel patrole a few days before …”11

4

A party of Hussars from the Loyalist Queen’s Rangers Regiment advancing through hostile
territory, reminiscent of the environs of Hopperstown, New Jersey in April 1780. Captain
Diemar’s hussar troop was similarly clothed and accoutered, wearing a “Hussar cap,” but
their uniform colors were black coats with blue trousers. Gary Corrado, The Black Hussars:
A Brief and Concise History of Frederick Diemar’s Hussars (Westminster, Md.: Heritage
Books, 2005), 7-8, 19-21. (Painting by Don Troiani, www.historicalimagebank.com )

5

Simcoe continued:
The disaster that happened to the mounted Ranger determined Colonel Simcoe to provide
high caps, which might at once distinguish them both from the rebel army and their own;
the mounted men were termed Huzzars, were armed with a sword, and such pistols as
could be bought, or taken from the enemy … Several good horses had been taken from
the rebels, so that the Huzzars were now well mounted, on hardy serviceable horses,
which bore a very unusual share of fatigue. Lieutenant [Alexander] Wickham, an officer
of quickness, and courage, was appointed to command them, and a serjeant of the 16th
regiment light dragoons attended their parade, to give them regularity in its duties.12

In the winter of 1778/79 the Hussars were reorganized, “The Commander in Chief [Lt.
Gen. Sir Henry Clinton] intending to augment the Huzzars of the Queen’s Rangers, to a
troop of fifty, or more, Lt. Col. [John Graves] Simcoe applied … that Lieut. [Alexander]
Wickham should be captain; Lieut. [Allan] M’Nab lieutenant; Quarter–master [George]
Spencer, of the 16th dragoons, cornet; and Serjeant Spurry, of the same regiment,
quartermaster.” The Hussars were left behind at Richmond, Staten Island, New York,
when Lieutenant Colonel Simcoe and the Queen’s Ranger infantry embarked for
Charleston, South Carolina on April 7th, 1780.13
Queen’s Rangers’ Captain Wickham’s account of the 16 April Hopperstown attack
was endorsed by Simcoe, who noted “[Maj.] Gen. [Wilhelm von] Knyphausen, by
frequent and well–concerted expeditions, had kept the rebels fully employed in … the
Jersies. On one of these attempts, the Huzzars of the Rangers were eminently
distinguished, as was detailed to Lt. Col. Simcoe by Capt. Wickham …”14 Here is the
captain’s report, including some clarifications from the statement of Queen’s Rangers’
Cornet George Spencer:
on the 15th of April, the cavalry on Staten Island, consisting of Cornet [Thomas] Tucker
and twenty of the 17th regiment, light dragoons, Capt. Wickham with his troop of forty–
five men, and Capt. Deimar with his huzzars, forty men crossed at Cole’s ferry, and
marched to English neighbourhood …15

With Captain Diemar in command, Cornet Spencer noted the cavalry force reached
English Neighborhood at 1:00 A.M., “without being discovered,”16 where according to
Captain Wickham they,
joined Major Du Buy, with three hundred of the regiment De Bose [and Mirbach] and
fifty of Col. [Beverley] Robinson’s corps [Loyal American Regiment]. [Spencer noted
that “The Order of march was– An advance Guard of the Q(ueen’s). Rangers, six men
commd. by Serjt. McLaughlin, the Dragoons of the 17th, the Hessian Infantry & then the
remainder of the Cavalry–“] At New–Bridge Serjeant M’Laughlin [Wickham’s
Company], with six of the Rangers in advance, fell in with and either killed or took the
whole of a small rebel out–post [“Consisting of a Captain and thirty men“].17 The
detachment then continued their march, leaving fifty infantry for the security of the
bridge.18

6

A Musketeer of the Hessian Regiment Von Bose
(Painting by Don Troiani, www.historicalimagebank.com )
.

.

7

Of this juncture Spencer recorded,
An Hour after Daylight they reached Hoppers Town where two Hundred and fifty men
were quartered Under Col. Bailey [Maj. Thomas Lambert Byles] – His Patrols had been
out and returned– at the entrance of the Town there is a Bridge / there a picquet of a
subaltern [officer] and twenty men were posted– from thence to Head Quarters it is a
Mile and a half– the length of the Town … Within a Mile of the Picquet Colo. DeBuy
Informed all the Officers of Cavalry that such a picquet was posted there, with the exact
situation of the Rebel troops–19

Map of attack on Hopperstown, New Jersey, 16 April 1780.
Road across top of map: “Hopperstown from Weehawken”
Top right: Two buildings across ravine marked “Head Q[uarte]rs” and “a Small House”
Top left: Left–hand road fork marked “a Road up which some of the cavalry went
through mistake”
Middle portion of map, with rows of houses on each side of road, marked: “Houses in
which the Troops were quartered – One Mile and a half from the Bridge to Head quarters”
Bottom of map shows the river with position of the bridge and picket post.
Map enclosed in letter, George Spencer to John G. Simcoe, undated, Simcoe Papers 1774–
1824, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan (Courtesy of Clements
Library).

8

Captain Wickham’s narrative continues:
At a convenient distance from Hopper Town, Major Du Buy gave his last orders for his
surprise of [Major Byles], with three hundred rebels, posted at that place: the major was
particularly attentive to a minute description of their situation. Cornet Spencer with
twelve ranger huzzars, and Cornet Tucker with the like number of the 17th regiment to
support him, made a general advance guard; then followed Capt. Diemar with his troop:
the infantry and the remainder of the cavalry closed the rear. Hopper Town is a straggling
village, more than a mile long; nearest, a court–house which contained an officer’s piquet
of twenty men, and which, if properly disposed, covered a bridge over which the troops
must pass. The advance was ordered to force the bridge, and to push forward at full
speed, through the town, to head quarters: this they effected after receiving an ineffectual
fire from the picquet and from some of the windows: the rest of the cavalry dispersed, to
pick up the fugitives and to take possession of the rebel’s quarters, now abandoned.
Cornet Spencer, on his arrival at his post with six men only, the rest not being able to
keep up, found about five and twenty men drawn up on the road, opposite him, and
divided only by a hollow way and small brook, with Hopper’s house on their right, and a
strong fence and swamp on their left. The officer commanding them [Major Byles] …
talked to his men and asked his officers, ‘Shall we fire now or take possession of the
house;” the latter was agreed on. The house was of stone, with three windows below and
two above: at the moment of their going in, Cornet Spencer with his party augmented to
ten of his own, and by two of the 17th regiment, passed the ravine, and taking possession
of the angles of the house, ordered some of his men to dismount and to attempt to force
one of the windows. Some [officers’] servants from a small out–house, commenced a
fire: Corporal Burt 20 [of Wickham’s Company] with three men was sent to them, who
broke the door open and took nine prisoners. [Spencer says ” Six or eight of the men were
ordered to dismount and fire in the windows of the 1st House at random– two were placed
at the door, the rest of the men with Corporal Burt broke the second House open– the
people in it then surrendered– “] Cornet Spencer made several offers to parley with those
who defended head quarters, but to no purpose [the Cornet explained, “I attempted to
speak to the people in the 1st House to offer them quarters if they would surrender but
they had so many officers and were so well posted at the windows and knowing the
House to be stone would not Answer otherwise than with shot “]; they kept up a continual
fire: finding it impossible to break the door open, which was attempted, and a man
wounded through it,, or to force any of the windows, he ordered fire to be brought from
the out–house, with which he set one angle of the roof, which was of wood [shingles], in
flames: he again offered them quarter if they would surrender; they still refused, though
the flames were greatly increased. By this time some of the speediest of the cavalry had
come to his assistance: the firing ceased. Captains Deimar and Wickham, &c., who had
collected a great number of prisoners, and left some few men to guard them, until the
infantry should come up, now joined the advance. [Major Byles] as he opened the door to
surrender, was unfortunately shot by one of Captain Deimar’s huzzars, and died three
days after. Of the advance guard two men and three horses were killed, and two men and
two horses wounded: one man and one horse of the 17th regiment were also killed. In this
house … [the major], two captains, three subalterns, and twenty–one soldiers were taken.
In the whole, twelve officers, with one hundred and eighty–two men were made
prisoners. The party returned by the same route they had advanced, with little opposition
and no loss. The plan of this expedition was well laid, and as well executed: Major Du
Buy seemed to be master of the country through which he had to pass, and was well
seconded by Capt. Deimar. Major Du Buy was pleased to honour the huzzars of the

9

Rangers with his particular thanks and approbation. The house was well defended, and
the death of the gallant [Major Byles] was very much regretted by his opponents.21

Given his active role, George Spencer’s closing words are compelling.
Never was a House better defended– [Major Byles] was wounded in the Breast of which
he died three days after– two men were killed and one wounded in the House by the shots
from my men outside and notwithstanding the precaution I had taken of taking them close
to the wall they killed two men and two Horses of the Q. Rangers and one of the 17th
with his Horse– Wounded two men & one Horse of Mine– the [major] … two Captains,
three subalterns and twenty one men were taken in this House– Nine in the next and One
Hundred and fifty eight more and seven other officers in the Town.
Had all the Cavalry been in the front it would have been better– And I believe not one
man could have escaped– but the road was narrow and the Hessians Could not move out
of their way so fast as was necessary.
The Hessians embarked for York Island at fort Lee.
We got safe to Staten Island.
The bravery of my Corporal Burt I must not forget.
The Commander in Chief returned thanks to the Corps.
DeBuy to the Rangers in particular.22

Capt. Diemar’s account to Prince William of Hessen–Cassel (Reigning Count of
Hesse–Hanau) makes no mention of the Queen’s Rangers’ part in the assault. This seems
reasonable given the predominant numbers of German troops involved and that his
sovereign would only have been concerned with their performance. It may also indicate a
certain feeling of superiority over American provincial troops.
Outpost at Mile Square on New York Island, 18 July 1780
I can honestly praise your Highness’ troops’ bravery and devotion to duty. On 16
April in the affair at Hopperstown in New Jersey where I with 112 men cavalry attacked
250 Rebels of the 3rd Pennsylvania Inf Regt who were posted in houses and in the fields.
I made them yield with the loss of 39 dead and wounded and took a major, 2 captains, 4
subalterns and 52 [men] prisoner.
The Hessian Major Dupuy commanded the infantry, which covered the withdrawal of
the cavalry through a large woods, but not favorably, because of a fatiqueing march of 27
English miles to get here, as they “en debandade”[French, “in disorder”] withdrew to a
rocky mountain near Hopperstown.23

The 20 April Royal American Gazette article expounded somewhat the infantry action,
as well as Capt. Diemar’s role, and added more details of the cavalry assault:
Major Du Buys left one Captain and fifty foot at the Bridge, to secure the return of his
Majesty’s troops on that road, the remainder marched on towards Paramus, but the day
appearing, and the rebels having one hundred and fifty continentals at the town, and a
steep hill at a mile distance in their rear, the surprize could not be effected, on account of
the fatiguing march which the foot underwent, it was therefore judged necessary that the
cavalry should lead the van, when they pushed on, and finding a rebel picket of about
thirty foot, commanded by an officer, on the right hand side of Paramus, in a field,
surrounded with a fence, who fired several shot without effect, and then took to their
heels, when Captain Deimar intercepted them: Fourteen were killed on the spot, and the
officer retired with the remainder to a house, where he and several more were killed and

10

the rest taken in arms. Some deserters came to join the party, and the commanding
officer of the cavalry getting intelligence that the rebels had taken possession of a stone–
house, he ordered them to dismount, surround, and storm it, which they did sword in
hand. The house where they entered was fired at, but advancing slowly on the floor, and
crying out that no quarters would be given, unless they surrendered instantly, which they
did; and Major Boyl, of the 3rd Pennsylvania regiment, three subalterns, and about 6
privates were taken at the house. The rebel major being wounded through the breast, and
unable to be transported, Captain Diemar left him upon parole. The loss of his Majesty’s
troops were some men wounded before the house, Capt. Diemar’s horse was shot through
the body; after they had surrendered a shot was fired from the top of the house, which
dangerously wounded one of the Queen’s Rangers; the house was then set on fire, and
had it not been for the humanity of Captain Diemar all the prisoners would have been put
to death ...
The cavalry … being rejoined by Major DuBuy at Paramus, the rebels having collected
some hundred militia on the hill near the town, it was not thought expedient to attack
them: Having compleatly succeeded in the enterprize, and two officers and about forty
rebels killed, the whole detachment returned in as regular an order as any military
manoeuvre can admit. The rebels pursued the King’s troops towards the English
Neighbourhood, but lost many men by the spirited behaviour of the Hessians and the
detachment of Colonel Robinson’s corps. Too much praise cannot be given to the
officers and men of the detachment of cavalry, who behaved with great gallantry. They
returned the 16th by eight o’clock in the evening, to their quarters at Staten–Island,
without a single man or horse being taken by the enemy, after a continued march of more
than eighty miles without having their horses fed.24

Major Du Buy provided more details of the Crown forces’ withdrawal.
After causing the aforesaid house to be set on fire, and as there did not seem to be any
likelihood of doing more harm to the scattered enemy, I gave the order to march back.
Hardly had we crossed Sadler [Saddle] Creek near Paramus when Rebels, mostly militia,
appeared and began to harass the rear guard. Their number increased every moment and
they annoyed both flanks and rear guard so much, that we could only continue our march
under a constant fire, which lasted until we came near Fort Lee, where I took my stand
with half the detachment, while I caused the other half to be ferried across together with
the wounded and prisoners, there not being sufficient flat–bottomed boats to take us all at
once. When the boats returned, I embarked as speedily as possible with the rest, but we
were pursued so closely that we were shot at even in the boats and were obliged to leave
a wounded man behind. [Note: a Crown Forces “List of Killed, Wounded and Missing”
adds that “Two wounded men, one of them belonging to the v. Bose Regiment, were
taken prisoners owing to their wounds.“] Major Byles, who had commanded the Rebels
at Hopperstown, as well as those in the house, was captured together with 6 officers and
54 privates, but he was left behind on parole owing to severe wounds. As far as I can
judge, about 40 Rebels remained on the field during the attack on Hopperstown and the
march back. Your Excellency will see particulars on the loss on our side from the lists
that have arrived; this is greater than I had imagined, but still it is no wonder when I
consider that we were under constant fire from 6 o’clock in the morning till 5 in the
evening. The wounds are mostly slight and it is especially gratifying to me to know that I
did not leave any wounded or exhausted men behind except the one, but that we brought
all the others with us. I cannot refrain from mentioning that all the officers and privates
of the detachment, cavalry as well as infantry, behaved in a most exemplary manner and
exhibited true bravery and fortitude during this arduous expedition. And should not give

11

Lieutenant [Carl Levin] Marquard his due if I forgot to mention to your Excellency that
he was of much assistance to me and contributed much to the success of the expedition
by his zeal.25

The Crown troops involved at Hopperstown received kudos from their commanding
general, and Major Du Buys was later awarded the Hessian order Pour la Vertu Militaire
by Landgrave Friedrich II, at least in part for his role in the affair
Head Quarters New York 18th April 1780.
His Excellency Lt. General Knyphausen desires his thanks may be given in publick orders,
to Major Dupuy of the Hessian Regt. de Bose, for his good conduct in attacking and forcing a
body of Rebels cantooned in Hopperstown in Jersey, upon the morning of the 16th. Inst: and to
the Officers and Soldiers under his command for their behaviour upon that occasion.
His Excellency is very much obliged to Captain Diemar and the body of Cavalry under his
command, for the determin’d attack upon the different houses possessed by the Rebels at that
place, and the General is indebted to Lieutenant Cranston of the Navy and to the Officers and
Seamen under his Orders for their services with the flat boats. [Navy Lt. Cranston, possibly
Charles Cranstoun, was also commended for his role in supporting the 23 March operation
against Paramus.]26

Capt. Jonathan Hallett, 2d New York Regiment and commander at Paramus following
the raid, notified Gen. George Washington later on the day of the attack:
Paramus April 16th 1780
Sir It is with Regret I am under the Necessity of informing your Excellency of an
Attack made by the Enemy this morning on the Detachment at this place … Our loss is
Majr Byles badly wounded and prisoner on Parole Captains [Jacob] Weaver [10th
Pennsylvania] & [Isaac] Seely [5th Pennsylvania] [1st] Lieuts Briston [Samuel Bryson,
7th Pennsylvania] & [James] Glentworth [6th Regiment] of the Pensylvania Line Ensigns
[Nathaniel] Thatcher [Jackson’s Additional Regiment] & [Henry] Sherman [Sherburne’s
Additional Regiment] Genl Starks Brigade made prisoners 50 Non Commissd Officers &
Privates missing 3 Privates wounded & one Killed we have lost likewise twenty five Men
by Desertion out of the Commd. Nine of which left us last evening the Majr had Detachd
two subalterns with thirty Men in pursuit of them.
Before we had Collected our Force the enemy retird / we immediately fell upon their
rear [and] pursued them 12 Miles keeping up the whole time a very brisk fire on their
flanks and rear Guard ... The Militia behav’d very well on the Occasion the Officers and
Men that was so fortunate as to escape being made prisoners Acted with the greatest
Spirit – The Enemy have burned two Houses & a Mill the property of the Hoppers at this
place with all our Provisions. Our Ammunition is Chiefly expended ...27

12

As with the 23 March Paramus attack, the newspapers spread word of Hopperstown.
The most complete Continental account appeared in the New Jersey Journal, “Chatham,
May 17,” providing some new details of the action:
On the 16th ult. A detachment of two hundred continental troops … stationed at
Paramus, was suddenly attacked by a party of the enemy …The attack commenced a little
after sun–rise. Major Byles, besides his usual patroles, had that morning sent out two
parties, each with a commissioned officer; but such is the situation of that part of the
country, intersected with roads, and inhabited chiefly by disaffected people, that all
precautions failed. His parties and patroles were eluded, and the sentinels near his
quarters were the first that gave notice of the enemies approach. He had just paraded and
dismissed his men. The advance of the horse was so rapid, that no time was left to
reassemble them. The Major had no resource but the defence of the house he was in …
He immediately made the best disposition the hurry of the moment would permit, and
animated his men by his exhortation and example. A brisk fire ensued on both sides. The
house was soon surrounded on every part, and no effort of the little party seemed capable
of hindering the enemy from forcing their way. Some of the men, intimidated by so
threatening a scene, began to cry for quarters; others, obeying the commands of their
officers, continued to fire from the windows. The enemy without upbraided them with the
perfidy of asking quarters and persisting in resistance; desiring them to come out and they
would quarter them. Major Byles … in a determined tone, denied his having called for
quarters; but his resolution could not avail, a surrender took place … in the act, the Major
received a mortal wound in the left breast, with which, in two days after, he expired a
victim to his gallantry and refined sense of duty. … Lieutenants Glenworth and Sherman
had thrown themselves in the Major’s quarters, and assisted in the defence. They
displayed great activity and bravery. The latter was wounded. Such part of the
detachment as could be collected together, aided by a few spirited militia, hung close
upon the rear of the enemy during their retreat, and harassed them with a continual fire,
retaking four wagons with plunder and nineteen horses.
Lieutenant Bryson [7th Pennsylvania] being a few days before detached by Major
Byles with a small party to the New Bridge, defended that post for some time with great
gallantry and coolness, he sustaining in person, with his espontoon, the attack of four
horsemen, and received several wounds; but being overpowered with numbers,
surrendered to one of their officers. It is said he received marks of politeness from them,
on account of the great bravery and deliberate courage displayed by him during the
skirmish.
The enemy … plundered and burnt the house and mill of Mr. John [J.] Hopper, and
that of his brother’s [John A.]. In the former the family of Mr. Abraham Brasher lived,
who, with the rest, were left almost destitute of a second change of clothes. The
commanding officer being requested by Mrs. Brasher on her knees to spare the house, he
damn’d her, and bid her begone, declaring they all deserved to be bayoneted. They made
their boast, that as Major Byles did not present the hilt of his sword in front, when
surrendering, they shot him. Thus died this brave and gallant officer a victim to their
savage cruelty ...28

13

“Lieutenant Bryson … with a small party to the New Bridge, defended that post for some
time with great gallantry and coolness, he sustaining in person, with his espontoon, the
attack of four horsemen …” Continental Army regimental officer, circa 1780, wearing his
sword at his waist and carrying an espontoon. The latter weapon replaced the light muskets
(fusils) carried by many American officers earlier in the war. (Painting by Don Troiani,
www.historicalimagebank.com )
.

.

14

As mentioned above, New York legislator Abraham Brasher, his wife, mother–in–law, two
teenage daughters, young son, and three–year–old twins were living in the “Head Quarters”
house at the time of the attack, and barely escaped with their lives.29

The 19 April Royal Gazette gave additional information, including the presence of Lt.
William Stewart’s troop of Loyalist cavalry and a breakdown of Crown casualties.
New–York, April 19.
The following is published from good Authority.
Upon Saturday last the 15th inst. a cavalry detachment of about 120 men, composed of
the 17th dragoons, Queen’s Ranger Hussars, Diemar’s Hussars, and Lieut. [William]
Stuart’s [light dragoon] volunteers, drawn from Staten Island, with a body of 312
infantry, composed of 12 Jagers, 150 men of the regiment Bose, 100 men of the regiment
Mirbach, and 50 men of the Loyal American Regiment, drawn from York Island; the
whole under the command of Major Du Buy of the regiment of Bose, were landed in the
Jersies, the cavalry near the extremity of Bergen Neck, the infantry near Fort Lee …
Return of the killed, wounded and missing of the troops at the affair at Hopper’s–town
the 16th inst. 17th light–dragoons,
1 horse killed, 3 rank and file wounded, 1 horse wounded.
Queen’s Ranger Hussars, 3 rank and file killed, 3 horses killed, one rank and file
wounded, two horses wounded.
Diemar’s hussars, 2 rank and file wounded, one horse wounded.
Staten Island volunteers, 2 rank and file wounded.
Jagers, 1 wounded.
Mirbach, 1 killed, 11 rank and file wounded.
Bose, 2 killed, 1 serjeant wounded, 5 rank and file wounded.
Loyal Americans, 1 killed, 5 wounded.
Total 7 rank and file killed, 4 horses killed, two serjeants wounded 29 rank and file
wounded, four horses wounded.
Two wounded men left behind are included in the above return, many of the wounded
are doing their duty.30

During the Hopperstown operation Lt. Col. Abraham Van Buskirk, 4th Battalion, New
Jersey Volunteers, seems to have served as a volunteer with the main column (some
pensioners erroneously recalled Buskirk as commanding the entire operation).. According
to historian Todd W. Braisted, the colonel was probably “involved in attacking the picket
at New Bridge en route to Hopperstown.”31 The 18 April Royal American Gazette made
mention of his presence in New Jersey that day:
Last Saturday evening a party of Hessians, thirty dragoons, and a detachment from
Colonel Robinson’s regiment, in all about 300, under the command of Major Dubuois
[Du Buy], set off on an expedition. About nine o’clock they landed at Fort–Lee, and
before twelve arrived at Paramus, in New–Jersey, where they immediately attacked and
routed a body of rebels, took 65 prisoners, and killed about the same number. The
prisoners were all brought to town yesterday, except a Major Byles, who being severely
wounded, was left on parole.
Among the rebels brought in, are Capts. Jacob Weaver and Isaac Sealey; also
Lieutenants Samuel Bryson and ––––– Glintworth, of the Pennsylvanians; Ensign
Nathaniel Thatcher, of Jackson’s Boston regiment – and Ensigns Hervey and Sherman of
Sherburn’s regiment – nine of the prisoners taken were wounded.

15

We are sorry to add, that of the intrepid party, commanded by the gallant Major
Dubuois: ten are wounded and six missing.
We hear that about the same time, a party from the camp on Staten–Island, under the
command of Col. Buskirk, made a successful incursion into the Jerseys, and are returned.
The particulars we have not learnt.32

British records report "1 Captain, 8 Privates taken by Col. Van Buskirk. Paramus, April
1780," likely on the 16th.33
Buskirk’s role was again mentioned in the 20 April Royal American Gazette.
On Saturday the 15th inst. a detachment of cavalry, consisting of two Captains, six
Subalterns, and about one hundred and twenty horse, were ordered from Staten–Island on
an excursion in the Jersies. They embarked by four o’clock in the afternoon, and the
whole were at Bird’s–Point by eight o’clock in the evening, when Capt. Diemar pursued
his march to Dumeres’s, where he arrived without opposition by twelve o’clock that
night, joining Major Du Buys, who with three hundred foot had crossed the North–River
at Fort Lee. The troops marched on as quick as the badness of the roads would permit,
arrived at New Bridge about half past two, where one shot was fired by the enemy; one
continental officer and three militia were taken, the former by the Hessians, and the latter
by Lieut. Col. Buskirk, who served as a volunteer on the expedition.34

“Revolutionist” participants left a number of old–age accounts of the affair. Some are
brief, such as Bergen County militia Capt. John Outwater’s 1784 certificate, “Henry
Denny whas a Soldier In my Company of Melitie of Bergen County Coln. Deys Regt. at
the time he Got wounded By the British On an alarm In April 1780.” In his pension
deposition Josiah Willard, Hastings’ company, Jackson’s Massachusetts Regiment,
merely mentioned the fact of his wounding on 16 April, and that he was discharged after
returning from captivity in November 1780. David Jacobs, a private in Spencer’s
Additional Regiment, was a bit more expansive, noting that, after participating in Maj.
Gen. John Sullivan’s western campaign in 1779, his unit went “to the Sco[t]ch Plains in
New Jersey where they went into winter quarters seven miles from Morristown … he …
was under the command of Majr. Thos. Bayles at Paramus Mills … where he sd. Jacobs
was taken prisoner and detained in New York about nine months he was then exchanged
& joined his Regt at Stony Point.”35
Some men offered more details. Garret Brinkerhoff, who also fought in the 23 March
action, noted,
In the month of April He again was ordered out by … Capt. David Vanbusum and Served
one month Stationed at Hackensack, Polifly and at Slotterdam whilst Stationed at the Last
mentioned place newes was Recived that the Enemy were marching into the County, our
company were ordered on their march emeadiately to oppose them but before our
company with the Rest of the Militia Could come up with the enemy commanded by the
noted Refugee Col. Abraham Buskirk, they had Succeeded in burning Hoppertown and
on their Retreate we followed Closly in their Rear through the Neighberhood of Paramus
New bridge English Neighberhood as far down as Bergen woods in which Retreate the
Refugees and Tories Lost a number of men in Killed and wounded.36

16

Abraham Banta recalled,
… the British commanded, as he thinks, by Colonel Boskerck, a Refugee, came up in the
night from New York or Hoboken to Hopperstown, about two miles from his residence:
that the same night they burnt it, when all the militia, with himself came out to attack
them … they were not organized under any Captain, but … followed the British who
were returning the next morning to Fort Lee, and Killed some of them … he himself did
not pursue them all the way to Fort Lee, as on their pursuit the militia from New Bridge
and Closter came also upon the British and his assistance was not so necessary … the
British were called green coats …37

A few men offered more details. Bergen militiaman Benjamin Romaine gives an idea
of the hurly–burly Crown forces’ advance and withdrawal:
I was … engaged throughout the whole day, when the enemy burned Paramus and
Hopperstown, about Eight miles above new bridge. The troops harassed the rear and
flanks of the enemy, in their march to the Hoppers Mills, and continued to do so, in their
final retreat back to Fort Lee; at which place they recrossed the Hudson for fort
Washington … we recaptured almost all the baggage and Effects which they had
plundered. In the course of the conflict the enemy horse made three attempts of attack, on
our several companies, pressing on their flanks and rear, but at no time did they come to a
charge. On one occasion … they surprized about one hundred of us, in a clear field: they
advanced at full speed and with apparent determination: we instantly formed, as retreat
was useless, when the enemy declined the attack and filed off. Our officers,
notwithstanding to the great mortification, forbid us to fire, though the enemy was at easy
distance shot.38

In 1860 nonagenarian Stephen Lutkins, who “now lives with his grand daughter’s
husband … very deaf & no teeth – so that it is not easy to talk with him,” stated he
well remembers the burning of Hoppertown – the same day a valuable dog belonging to
his Father was shot by the british on their March up – about 1 ½ miles below said place.
he well remembers the enemy being drove back by the Militia regiment and the
Continental troops … the British were continually robbing and plundering the
inhabitants, he well remembers how his mother buried the silver spoons finger rings &c.
to avoid them being taken by the enemy.39

Some participants claimed another reason for singling out the Hopperstown post.
Ninety–three year old Stephen Westervelt testified in 1860, “the British came out of New
York & burned the property of Capt. John Hopper … All the stores of the US Army were
placed in custody at Hoppertown and consequently required a great amount of vigilence
… & being a River County so near New York there was scarcely any respite …” Peter
Van Buskirk noted “Hoppertown was a depot for the Arms stores &c of the American
Troops, [and] Militia …” while Mr. Lutkins stated that “Major Boyles and others with a
Garrison and soldiers was quartered at Hoppertown and ammunition &c was stored
therein this was a general Depot for the American Army …”40
In 1838 Mary Hopper, wife of Capt. John A. Hopper, whose home was next door to
John J. and Lena Hopper’s “headquarters” house, related her memories of the day and
what it meant to her family,

17

… on the 16th day of April 1780 a troop of Dragoons of British Light Horse surprised the
American garison of soldiers stationed at Hoppertown, Killed the Maj[or] in Command
took a few prisoners and burned and destroyed two Dwelling Houses one store House, &
one Grist Mill with two [ton?] of stores … one of the Dwelling houses and Store House
was the property of her late Husband [John Hopper] that in Consequence of the
Destruction of the buildings, her late husband lost all his private … property Contained in
the buildings, Consisting of Household furniture, a Large quantity of Linnen and various
other goods, And also the sum of seven thousand Dollars in Money, Not a Dollar of
Which Money was saved … The Money was put in a safe place in the house some time
previous to its destruction by fire on the Morning of the 16 April 1780 at Dawn of Day …
the Buildings Destroyed were wood and occupied by the American Troops, and Arms,
Amunition, & provisions Kept and stored in the Buildings for the use of the American
garison of Officers & soldiers quartered and stationed at Hoppertown. … her late
Husband Escaped at the time with the loss of his hat …41

Army orders issued on the evening after the Hopperstown attack called for a force to
march the next day under Maj. James Moore, 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, equipped with
“their Arms, Blanketts, two days provisions and forty rounds pr man.” On the 18th
General Washington ordered “A Surgeon and Mate from General Maxwell's brigade to
join the detachment under command of Major Moore immediately.”42 The surgeon was
Ebenezer Elmer, 2d New Jersey Regiment, who wrote his colonel from Paramus on 20
April:
Sir ––– The circumstances attending the surprize at this place last Sunday [16 April] are
something alarming, & the effects of it truly distressing. They had fifteen deserted from
the party before the affair happened, which they say came up with the Enemy – The
morning of the surprise a number went immediately & joined them. Some rund off thro’
back doors & made their escape others secreted themselves in their Quarters, a number of
whom being in the houses of the two Hooper’s were driven out by the flames, & by bones
being found in the ruins we have reason to believe some were burnt. –
The Majr. not being alarmed ‘till a minute before they reached his Quarters delivered
himself up but was Shot thro’ the left breast just as he opened the door whether designed
at him or not is uncertain – He died however on Tuesday morning [18 April]. – Those
who made their Escape & could collect harrassed the Enemy considerably. One Dead &
two wounded fell into our hands. The Militia from Harlingen Did them Much damage. A
Waggoner from this place purposed to carry off the wounded says there was three
waggon loads with him – Some Dead therein – Our loss is one Majr. Killed 2 Captns & 2
subalterns taken – about 70 Rank & file Killed taken & deserted – Mr. Hopper wounded
in several places, but not bad. His grand house with his own & Colo: Brashiers furniture
all consumed. Col. Simcoe commanded the Enemy. Col. Bushwick [van Buskirk] was
along – He told some of the women that no relief would escape them – Our situation is
really critical, scant of provision & no spirit[s] to Chear the men who are half on duty at
once, which I fear will operate against us in causing them to desert like the former – The
Major [James Moore] here seems exceeding attentive & cautious but he has no horse to
patrol below, & not a single inhabitant to Depend upon for any intelligence – I scarcely
believe they will surprise us should they come but if any should get to deserting I fear we
shall meet with trouble as there is but little prospect of hearing any thing till they are very
near – However if we can but get provisions I hope we shall do well – all are vigilant –
none undress …
I am, Sir, with respect
Your humble Servt.
Paramus 20th April –80–
Eben[ezer] Elmer 43

18

The Hopperstown enterprise gave the British the result they desired. On 17 April
General Washington informed Congress,
I am sorry to be obliged to transmit the inclosed disagreeable account from Paramus. The
Post there is intended to restrain the traffic between that part of the Country and New
York which from the disposition of the Inhabitants has been very considerable. This
consideration has induced me to station a party there though at some hazard, but …with
reluctance I imagine I shall be obliged to withdraw it, for the extreme disaffection of the
Inhabitants gives the Enemy even greater advantages than was supposed.44

The region remained only intermittently protected for some time after the 16 April
attack. French officer Francois Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux noted,
The 23rd [November 1780] I set out at eight o’clock, with the intention of arriving in
good time at the Marquis de la Fayette’s camp … The shortest road was by Paramus; but
my guide insisted on my turning to the northward, assuring me that the other road was
not safe, that it was infested by tories, and that he always avoided it, when he had letters
to carry.45

The translator, “an English gentleman, who resided in America at that period,” supported
Chastellux’s narrative,
The guide gave the Marquis very true information, for the Translator who took the
Paramus road, had several well–founded alarms, in passing through that intricate
country. At Hopper’s Mill, near Paramus, where he slept among myriads of rats in a milk
house, the family assured him, that their quarters were constantly beat up, and horses,
men, &c. carried off. At this place there was no lock to the stable door, which they said
was a superfluous article, as these banditti were guilty of every act of violence.46

Despite the setback, the local Whigs were undaunted. This extremity of spirit is
evident (perhaps with some hyperbole) in Benjamin Romaine’s 1834 pension narrative:
I … here sketch my three or four … months service under my Brother, at the command of
my Father in 1777. I had pleaded excuse from going to school, as my Father had
requested, (we then lived on the lines where both the belligerant parties had alternate
possession.) One evening my Father came into the house with a large english musket, and
its appendages, with a catouch box filled with 24 rounds of ball catriges. He sat the
musket in the closet; mother asked his meaning, he answered not. In the early morning he
bid me rise, and buckled on me the armour, and said, “you have refused to make effort
with me to perfect your education, now go to your Brother and defend your country!”
These trying moments, Sir, to the family, can never cease to be appreciated, while a
particle of life remains, and the effect of this command has never ceased to influence my
life and conduct … and “in defence of my Country;” and very specially in support of its
present united Constitution of general Government, and opposed to that venal tendency
of State Sovereignty aberrations, as under the old Confederation, by whomsoever or in
whatever form these may make appearance … These I shall never cease to oppose by
every talent, and every remaining energy of my life … Such are the main Germes, the
Bohan Upas, or tree of death to our happy Union.
To resume. I proceeded to the liberty Pole [Bergen County, New Jersey] to my
Brothers quarters, was gazed uppon through the range of tory neighbourhood, it was

19

exclaimed, that old Rebel has now also sent his youngest son to join his other son, at the
liberty Pole …47
____________________________________
Part 1, “`So much for a Scotch Prize.’: Paramus, New Jersey, 23 March 1780”
is available online at

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133062410/%E2%80%9CSo-much-for-a-Scotch-Prize%E2%80%9D-Paramus-New-Jersey-23-March-1780
For a civilian’s view of the April 1780 Hopperstown action see “`It appeared to me as if here
we should live secure …’: A Family’s Precarious Refuge in Paramus, 1776 to 1780,”
Barbara Z. Marchant, ed., Revolutionary Bergen County, The Road to Independence, 31–42.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/121845065/%E2%80%9CIt-appeared-to-me-as-if-herewe-should-live-secure-%E2%80%A6%E2%80%9D-A-Family%E2%80%99sPrecarious-Refuge-in-Paramus-1776-to-1780
_________________________________
Special thanks to Todd W. Braisted (http://www.royalprovincial.com/)and Company
Fellow Donald Londahl–Smidt, without whose assistance and generosity this work would
not have been possible. I am also grateful Joseph Malit (Infanterie regiment von Donop,
http://www.vondonop.org/vondonophome.html) and Robert A. Selig for assistance
with period images of German troops,
Endnotes
1. Lt. Col. Josiah Harmar’s Journal No. 1, 11 November 1778 to 2 September 1780, pp. 95–
96, Josiah Harmar Papers, William L. Clements Library, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
2. General orders, 4 April 1780, John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George
Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745–1799, vol. 18 (Washington,
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1937), 18: 214; Francis B. Heitman, Historical
Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution – April
1775 to December 1783 (Washington, D.C.: The Rare Book Publishing Shop, Inc., 1914),
70, 138; The American commander is usually identified as Thomas Langhorne Byles, but
the officer in command was actually that man’s cousin, Thomas Lambert Byles, for which
see, D. Brenton Simons, “Major Thomas L. Byles of the Pennsylvania Continental Line:
A Revolutionary War Misidentification,” The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, vol.
XXXIX, no. 4 (Fall/Winter 1996), 381–389; Hoppertown (now Ho–Ho–Kus), “The
Paramus post was located in Paramus Church on what is now New Jersey Highway 17
and Glen Avenue, Ridgewood, where the church’s 1860 successor presently stands.”
Samuel Stelle Smith, Winter at Morristown, 1779–1780: The Darkest Hour (Monmouth
Beach, N.J.: Philip Freneau Press, 1979), 28.
3. General orders, 9 April 1780, Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington, vol. 18
(1937), 239.
4. Donald M. Londahl–Smidt, “Hessian Accounts of the Expedition to Hopperstown in
April 1780,” Barbara Z. Marchant, ed., Revolutionary Bergen County, The Road to
Independence (Charleston, S.C. and London: The History Press, 2009), 96 (As noted by
Mr. Londahl–Smidt, “The original manuscripts are in the Hessisches Staatsarchiv
Marburg. Transcripts and translations of all of them, except the letter of Captain von
20

Diemar, are in the Lidgerwood Collection of Hessian Transcripts at Morristown National
Historical Park.”). At the beginning of the War of the American Revolution, Johann
Christian Du Buy was the senior captain in the Hessen–Cassel Fusilier Regiment von
Dittfurth. On 11 February 1776, shortly before beginning his march and voyage to
America, Du Buy was promoted to major in the Regiment von Trümbach (renamed von
Bose in January 1779). He was also appointed brigade major to the Hessian corps, which
position he resigned in July 1779. As a reward for his leadership during the expedition to
Hopperstown and other actions in which he was involved, Landgrave Friedrich II
awarded Du Buy the Hessian order Pour la Vertu Militaire. In November 1780 Du Buy
was promoted to lieutenant colonel and two months later, was appointed quarter master
general to the Hessian corps in America. “Under Du Buy’s command, the Regiment von
Bose went south to Virginia with Major General Alexander Leslie in October 1780 and
then continued to South Carolina. As part of Lord Cornwallis’s army, Du Buy and his
regiment participated with distinction in the Battle of Guilford Court House, North
Carolina on March 15, 1781 and then accompanied Cornwallis to Virginia. Fortunately
for Du Buy, he was ordered to come to New York to take up his duties as quarter master
general of the Hessian forces in America and escaped being captured at Yorktown. In
November 1783 he left New York as part of the British evacuation, wintered in England,
and finally returned home to Hessen–Cassel in the Spring of 1784.”
5. Outlines for the service of Regiments von Bose and von Mirbach from “Infanterie
Regiment von Donop” website (World Wide Web),
http://www.vondonop.org/hkuniforms.html
6. Londahl–Smidt, “Hessian Accounts of the Expedition to Hopperstown in April 1780,”
96. The “Journal of the Regiment von Bose” gave the following numbers, “On the 14th
April 1780 a detachment of cavalry from Staten Island consisting of 120 men of the 17th
Dragoon Regiment, the Queen’s Rangers, Diemar’s Hussars and Lt. Colonel [sic –
Lieutenant] Stuart’s Volunteers, and one of infantry, 312 men strong, from York Island
consisting of 12 Jägers, 150 men of the von Bose Regiment, 100 men of the von Mirbach
Regiment and 50 men of the Loyal Americans, under command of Major du Buy, landed
in Jersey,” ibid, 98.
7. Ibid., “Hessian Accounts of the Expedition to Hopperstown in April 1780,” 99.
8. Ibid., 96–97.
9. Londahl–Smidt, “Hessian Accounts of the Expedition to Hopperstown in April 1780,”
96–97.
10. Steven M. Baule with Stephen Gilbert, British Army Officers Who Served in the
American Revolution, 1775–1783 (Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2004), 53
Gary Corrado, The Black Hussars: A Brief and Concise History of Frederick Diemar’s
Hussars (Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2005), 5–13. At the beginning of 1776,
Friedrich Baron von Diemar was a lieutenant in the Hanoverian Infantry Regiment von
Goldacher serving as a German aide de camp to Lt. General James Murray, Governor of
Minorca, where Diemar’s regiment was stationed. In 1778 he entered British service as a
titular lieutenant in the 3d Battalion of the 60th (or Royal American) Regiment of Foot.
In April 1779 Diemar was appointed commander of a troop of Hussars composed mainly
but not exclusively of the Brunswick and Hessen–Hanau soldiers who had been captured
during Burgoyne’s campaign in 1777 and had escaped to New York City from American
captivity. The former POWs returned to their respective services on 15 May 1780 and

21

the remainder were transferred to the Queen’s Rangers in April 1781. Diemar remained
in America until April 1783 when he departed New York for six months’ leave in
Europe. He was placed on half pay when the 3d and 4th battalions of the 60th Regiment
were disbanded at the end of the war.
11. Philip R.N. Katcher, Encyclopedia of British, Provincial, and German Army Units
1775–1783 (Harrisburg: Stackpole Books, 1973), 98; John Graves Simcoe, A Journal of
the Operations of the Queen’s Rangers (originally published as A Journal of the
Operations of the Queen’s Rangers from the End of the Year 1777, to the Conclusion of
the Late American War (Exeter: Printed for the Author, 1784; reprinted as Simcoe’s
Military Journal, New York: Bartlett and Welford, 1844; reprinted, New York: New
York Times & Arno Press, 1968), 17, 31–33 (World Wide Web),
http://home.golden.net/~marg/bansite/src/simcoesjournal1.html
12. Ibid., 31–33.
13. Ibid., 97, 136–137; “on the 23d of March 1780, the infantry of the corps [of Queen’s
Rangers] received orders to embark for Charleston, which it did on the 4th of April. Capt.
Wickham was left with the Huzzars in the town of Richmond. … The … Queen’s
Rangers … sailed on the 7th … anchored in Stono inlet on the 18th, and … arrived at the
camp before Charles Town on the 21st [of April] …,” Simcoe, Journal of the Operations
of the Queen’s Rangers, 136.
14. Ibid., 139–142.
15. Ibid., 140. Steven M. Baule with Stephen Gilbert, British Army Officers Who Served
in the American Revolution, 1775–1783 (Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2004), 53;
Katcher, Encyclopedia of British, Provincial, and German Army Units, 85; Return of
“The Loyal American Regiment State of His Majesty's Loyal American Regiment of
Foot Commanded by Colonel Beverley Robinson New York 1st Octr. 1779”:
1 Colonel, 1 Lieutenant Colonel, 1 Major, 7 Captains, 12 Lieutenants, 8 Ensigns, 1
Chaplain, 1 Adjutant, 1 Quarter Master, 1 Surgeon, 1 Mate.
Present– 7 Serjeants, 5 Drummers, 96 Rank & File.
Absent, on Command & Recruiting– 6 Serjeants, 2 Drums, 82 Rank & File.
Prisoners– 4 Serjeants, 2 Drummers, 71 Rank & File.
Sick– 5 Serjeants, 63 Rank & File.
Wounded– 4 Rank & File.
Total– 22 Serjeants, 9 Drummers, 316 Rank & File.
Wanting to Compleat– 8 Serjeants, 1 Drummer, 244 Rank & File.
Alex: Innes Inspr. Genl. P[rovincial]. Forces
Sir Henry Clinton Papers, vol. 70, item 4, William L. Clements Library, University of
Michigan; Online Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies (World Wide Web),
http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/rhist/laregt/laregtstate1.htm;
“Muster Roll of Capt. Wickham’s Troop Queens Rangers Hussars Commanded by Lieut.
Col. Simcoe, from 25th December 1779 to 23rd February 1780—“
Captain Alexander Wickham
Cornet George Spencer
Lieutenant Allan McNabb
Quarter Master John Magill
Sgt ——– Pryor
Sgt –—— Jarvis
Sgt –—— McLaughlin
Cpl –—— Ellison

on Command

22

Cpl –—— Wilson
Cpl –—— Tully
Promoted 28 Jany. 1780
Trumpeter –—— French
Farrier –—— Gauntley
–—— Owens
Prisoner
–—— Carty
John Campbell
Discharged 9 Decr. 1779
–—— McCarey
–—— Wright
Orderly with Col. [Simcoe] at N. York
–—— Ryan
–—— Biggs
–—— Baptist
–—— Smailes
–—— Adams
in Genl. Hospital at N. York
–—— Cornwall
–—— Franks
–—— Tuttle
–—— Emsley
Duncan Campbell
–—— Johnson
–—— Creen
–—— Molloy
–—— Russacua
on furlough
–—— Kelly
–—— Shannon
–—— Smyth
–—— Ward
Deserted 19 Feby. 1780
–—— Burt
–—— Stevens
Prisoner
Laurence Hughes
–—— James
–—— Williams
–—— Lee
–—— Hagan
–—— Harvey
–—— Callaghan
–—— Higgins
–—— Marks
–—— Taylor
in Genl. Hospital
–—— Galloway
Promoted 28 Feby. 1780
–—— Killon
–—— Martin
–—— Davis
Dead 10 Jany. 1780
–—— Bates
Daniel Tully
Recruiting
Robert Hughes
–—— Shearrs
–—— Ferguson
–—— Lindsey
–—— Dowd
Thomas Tully
Recruiting
James Campbell
–—— McGinniss
Volunteer –—— Miller
–—— Caulfield
16 Jany. 1780
Richard Ariss
22 do

23

–—— Burrage

National Archives of Canada, RG 8, “C” Series, Volume 1863, page 3, Online Institute
for Advanced Loyalist Studies (World Wide Web),
http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/musters/qarng/qarwickham1.htm
16. George Spencer to John G. Simcoe, undated (with enclosure, map of Hopper’s
Town.), Simcoe Papers 1774–1824, William L. Clements Library, University of
Michigan; Spencer noted of the force’s composition “On the 15th of April 1780 the
Cavalry on Staten Island (Consisting of Cornet Tucker & 20 of the 17th Dragoons, Captn.
Wickham, Lieut. [Allan] McNab, Cornet Spencer and 45 men, Queens Rangers and
Captn. Deimar, Lt. [George] Albus, Cornet [Benjamin] Thomson with 40 [Diemar]
Hussars) were cross’d at Cole’s Ferry and Join’d with 300 Hessians Under the Command
of Col. DeBuy (from York Island) near the English Neighbourhood at one o’Clock in the
morning, without being discovered.” Diemar’s Hussar Cornet Benjamin Thomson “was
born in 1759 in Somerset County, New Jersey. He was an aid de camp to Brigadier
General Skinner of the New Jersey Volunteers. He became a cornet in Diemar's Troop in
1779 [for reasons unkown] … as they were almost entirely Germans. This troop became
a part of the Queen's Rangers on 25 April 1781.” Information courtesy of Todd W.
Braisted, http://www.royalprovincial.com/ .
17. Spencer to Simcoe, undated, Simcoe Papers 1774–1824, Clements Library.
18. Simcoe, Journal of the Operations of the Queen’s Rangers, 140.
19. Spencer to Simcoe, undated, Simcoe Papers 1774–1824, Clements Library.
20. John Burt was “a native of England, enlisted in Capt. Alexander Wickham's Troop of
Hussars on 1 February 1779 … enlisted by Maj. Richard Armstrong. He was promoted to
corporal sometime after the regiment returned from South Carolina, perhaps because it
needed Simcoe's approval. He was transferred to Captain Saunders' Troop of Light
Dragoons and promoted to sergeant on 25 October 1780. This was a new troop, with the
men intended to be raised in Virginia, where Saunders was from. They were a part of
Leslie's expedition there in October of 1780 (the troop was only 16 enlisted men.) They
continued on to South Carolina the following month and remained there until early 1782,
part of the time garrisoning Georgetown.
Saunders noted that when in Virginia, they needed to cross Lynnhaven Inlet. They
spied a canoe a half mile across, so Saunders asked for a volunteer to fetch it. ‘Sergeant
Burt instantly offered himself, and, with his sword in his mouth, plunged into the water,
swam over and brought the canoe, in which we crossed, and this he did, although, on our
arrival at the inlet, we had observed a man on horseback, who appeared from the
precipitancy with which he had rode off, to have been placed there as a vidette.’
(Simcoe’s Journal, page 240)
Burt was with the troop under the command of Lt. John Wilson when they went out to
patrol on 6 January 1781. After charging a dozen mounted Rebels who fled, they ran into
the man body, where he and the other sergeant were captured, the corporal killed and two
or three others wounded. That effectively ended his war. He was exchanged or escaped,
and was present with the troop again in the muster of 24 April 1782 at New York. I
believe he settled with the regiment in the Province of New Brunswick after the war.”
Courtesy of Todd Braisted, http://www.royalprovincial.com/ .
21. Simcoe, Journal of the Operations of the Queen’s Rangers, 140–142.
22. Spencer to Simcoe, undated, Simcoe Papers 1774–1824, Clements Library,
University of Michigan.
24

23. Londahl–Smidt, “Hessian Accounts of the Expedition to Hopperstown in April
1780,” 101–102.
24. The Royal American Gazette (New York,) 20 April 1780 New–York Historical
Society Newspaper Collection
25. Londahl–Smidt, “Hessian Accounts of the Expedition to Hopperstown in April
1780,” 97–98.
26. Ibid., 102. Identifying Navy lieutenants Cranton (or Cranston) is problematic, at best.
Compiled Admiralty records show only one man with a similar name serving in 1780, Lt.
James, Lord Cranstoun, who was at Gibraltar at that time. Lord Cranstoun’s younger
brother, Midshipman Charles Cranstoun, was serving as an acting lieutenant when he was
captured in 1776 and imprisoned in Rhode Island; however, his whereabouts following
his February 1777 exchange is unknown. No Lieutenant Cranton (or similar name) was
found on the Admiralty sea pay list of officers serving on ships on the North American
station in March 1780. The identity of “Lieut. Cranston of the Navy” is difficult to pin
down, but Bob Brooks kindly provided the information that indicates a possible identity.
A notable resource, The Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy, 1660–1815
(David Syrett and R.L. DiNardo, eds., London: Navy Records Society Occasional
Publications, vol.1, 1994), lists one Cranton and two officers named Cranstoun, an
alternate spelling, all of whom were not in New York in April 1780. James, Lord
Cranstoun, is listed, but his younger brother Charles, who had been captured in June 1776
and exchanged in February 1777, is not. Charles may have been the senior officer
commanding the flatboats.
27. Jonathan Hallett to George Washington, 16 April 1780, George Washington Papers,
Presidential Papers Microfilm (Washington: Library of Congress, 1961), series 4; Captains
Weaver and Sealy, Lieutenants Bryson and Glentworth, and Ensigns Thatcher and
Sherman, were still prisoners at New York City in October 1780, BV Prisoners of War, 1
Vol., 6x8, 58 pages, New–York Historical Society (courtesy of Todd W. Braisted,
http://www.royalprovincial.com/ ).
28. The New Jersey Journal, vol. II, no. LXVI, 17 May 1780, William Nelson, ed.,
"Extracts from American Newspapers Relating to New Jersey," vol. IV, 1 November 1779–
30 September 1780, Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of New
Jersey, Second Series, (Trenton, N.J., 1914), 378–380. As with the 23 March Paramus
attack, the newspapers spread word of Hopperstown. A small notice in the 20 April New–
York Packet, and the American Advertiser stated, “We learn that the enemy last week, sent a
party on another excursion to Paramus, where they burnt Mr. G. Hopper’s houses and mills,
and carried off some people: What further damage they have done we have not been able to
learn: – ‘Tis said the militia, as usual, attacked them with great spirit; drove them off, and
killed a considerable number.” The 19 April New Jersey Journal was more expansive:
“CHATHAM, April 19.
Last Sunday morning about 7 o’clock, a party of the enemy, consisting of near 200 horse, and
300 foot, made a descent upon Paramus, where they surprized Major Biles of the Pennsylvania
line, and took several of his command prisoners. Their rout was so secret, and retired, that the
Major was never apprized of their being out until they were nearly round the house, which, with a
Lieutenant and Corporal’s guard, he determined to defend to the last extremity, which he
heroically did for a considerable time, and from every account, killed and wounded many of the
enemy; but being mortally wounded, his Lieutenant killed, and overpowered by numbers, he was
obliged to surrender. The enemy burnt the house, which belonged to one of the Hopper’s, who

25

bravely seconded the endeavours of the party to defend it, and was badly wounded in the fray.
They also burnt his mill, his brother’s house, and one more; the proprietor’s name we have not
learned. The enemy, as usual, plundered both whig and tory of all the stock they came across.
Our people on their retreat hung upon their rear, and killed and wounded several of them.”

The New–York Packet, and the American Advertiser, no. 169, 20 April 1780, and The New
Jersey Journal (Chatham,) 19 April 1780, ibid., 321, 350–351.
29. John U. Rees, “`It appeared to me as if here we should live secure …’: A Family’s
Precarious Refuge in Paramus, 1776 to 1780,” Barbara Z. Marchant, ed., Revolutionary
Bergen County, The Road to Independence, 31–42.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/121845065/%E2%80%9CIt-appeared-to-me-as-if-herewe-should-live-secure-%E2%80%A6%E2%80%9D-A-Family%E2%80%99sPrecarious-Refuge-in-Paramus-1776-to-1780
30. The Royal Gazette, no. 371, 19 April 1780, ibid., 306–308; “William Stewart on 9
July 1777 raised a small troop of light dragoons on Staten Island (12 men) for service
there. This was increased to 25 the following year, but reduced to 18 a few months
thereafter. Stewart received a commission as lieutenant commandant on 1 November
1778. This troop took part in a few raids off the island, particularly Somerset (26
October 1779) Elizabethtown (26 January 1780) Hopperstown and Pleasant Valley (June
1781.) They were often referred to as a troop of New Jersey Volunteers, and indeed most
appeared to have been from there. On 1 July 1781 they officially became a part of the
King's American Dragoons and Stewart took rank as captain from 23 February 1781. By
all accounts he was a gallant officer. He was wounded in the Somerset raid under
Simcoe. He was born in 1751.” Information courtesy of Todd W. Braisted,
http://www.royalprovincial.com/ .
31. Mr. Braisted notes, “Buskirk was definitely there, and would appear to have been
involved in attacking the picket at New Bridge en route to Hopperstown. There is a return
of officers and men captured by the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers through April
of 1780 in the Cornwallis Papers … it states: ‘1 Captain, 8 Privates taken by Col. Van
Buskirk. Paramus, April 1780.’ … I don't know who was with Buskirk. Enough of the
pension applications from the militia state him being there (actually, they most often
mistakenly state he was in command) … but with how many of his own men, if any, I
don't know. Since only cavalry came from Staten Island, they would have had to have
been mounted, and the battalion didn't have any cavalry. Interestingly though, in a letter
of 15 July 1780, Skinner wrote Clinton that he wanted to raise and attach 4 troops of
cavalry to attach to the brigade. Two of the troops were to be raised by Van Buskirk and
Cornelius Hatfield, the latter being … mentioned in Knyphausen's thanks. The third troop
was Stewart's, which we know was on the raid.”
32. The Royal American Gazette (New York,) 18 April 1780, New–York Historical
Society Newspaper Collection (courtesy of Todd W. Braisted,
http://www.royalprovincial.com/ ).
33. Great Britain, Public Record Office, Cornwallis Papers, PRO 30/11/2, folio 19.
34. The Royal American Gazette (New York,) 20 April 1780 New–York Historical
Society Newspaper Collection. Other sources give varying accounts of casualties, or
provide additional details. Queen’s Ranger Cornet Spencer told of Major Byles being
wounded in the Breast of which he died three days after– two men [Continentals] were
killed and one wounded in the House by the shots from my men outside and
notwithstanding the precaution I had taken of taking them close to the wall they killed

26

two men and two Horses of the Q. Rangers and one of the 17th with his Horse– Wounded
two men & one Horse of Mine … [Major Byles] two Captains, three subalterns and
twenty one men were taken in this House– Nine in the next and One Hundred and fifty
eight more and seven other officers in the Town.

And the 19 April Loyalist Royal Gazette gave a
Return of the killed, wounded and prisoners of the rebel detachment at Hopper’s town …
Killed 40, wounded, left behind, believed about 10, taken prisoners, of whom many are
wounded 51. Exclusive of the officers, of whom one was killed upon the spot; the major
who commanded and another officer left badly wounded; two captains, two lieutenants
and two ensigns taken prisoners.

That same issue of the Royal Gazette gave a precise breakdown of Crown losses:
Return of the killed, wounded and missing of the troops at the affair at Hopper’s–town
the 16th inst.
17th light–dragoons, 1 horse killed, 3 rank and file wounded, 1 horse wounded.
Queen’s Ranger Hussars, 3 rank and file killed, 3 horses killed, one rank and file
wounded, two horses wounded.
Diemar’s hussars, 2 rank and file wounded, one horse wounded.
Staten Island volunteers, 2 rank and file wounded.
Jagers, 1 wounded.
Mirbach, 1 killed, 11 rank and file wounded.
Bose, 2 killed, 1 serjeant wounded, 5 rank and file wounded.
Loyal Americans, 1 killed, 5 wounded.
Total 7 rank and file killed, 4 horses killed, two [?] serjeants wounded 29 rank and file
wounded, four horses wounded.
Two wounded men left behind are included in the above return, many of the wounded
are doing their duty.23

Historian Todd Braisted provides further details on Crown forces’ casualties:
Queen's Rangers, Privates Robert Hughes and John James were killed outright.
Samuel Lindsey and Thomas Shannon were wounded [one more wounded than listed
above]. All were members of Captain Wickham's Troop. Robert Hughes had enlisted in
the Hussars 30 July 1779; John James on 8 March 1779. Samuel Lindsey enlisted in the
QR Infantry on 1 August 1779, joined the Hussars on 1 November 1779; was taken
prisoner at Yorktown. Thomas Shannon was a former corporal who served probably from
the beginning of the regiment; became a Hussar in June of 1778; previously wounded at
Mile Square, New York on 31 August 1778; taken prisoner at Yorktown.
Black Hussars (Diemar's) Frederick Basicke was wounded. He was discharged 15 May
1780 to return to the Brunswickers in Canada.
Loyal American Regiment, Privates Nehemiah Travis and Isaac Lownsbury were
wounded. Travis enlisted in the LAR on 27 March 1777; he deserted on 15 August
1783. Lownsbury enlisted in the LAR on 28 March 1777; he deserted on 12 April 1781 in
Virginia.

William Wright, a Loyalist soldier, likely served at Hopperstown, and gave his service
deposition in 1838:
To the Honl. the House of Assembly for the
province of New Brunswick in general
Assembly convened.
… your petitioner … a British Subject is now nearly 78 years of Age, and in rather
destitute circumstances … [he] has been engaged during the revolutionary war from the
year 1777 to 1783 under the Command of Colonel Robinson in the following places
viz— Fort–Montgomery, Richmond, Smithfield, Nancymond, Portsmouth, Norfolk,

27

Town of Suffolk, New London, New Bridge, Hackingsack, Horse Neck, and the
Slaughtering Lady Washingtons Light–Horse … your petitioner tho slightly wounded
never has had any pension or other Emolument for his Services. He therefore prays your
Honl. House will favourably consider his Situation and grant him Such Sum of money as
you may in your generosity think fit … William Wright

Spencer to Simcoe, undated, Simcoe Papers 1774–1824, Clements Library, University of
Michigan; Also concerning Continental casualties, the 20 April Royal American Gazette
related, “The cavalry took one Major, one Capt. three Subalterns, and fifty–two privates,”
and the 17 May New Jersey Journal claimed, “The loss … killed, wounded, and taken,
was one Major, two Captains, four Lieutenants, and about forty rank and file.” The Royal
Gazette, no. 371, 19 April 1780, and The New Jersey Journal, vol. II, no. LXVI, 17 May
1780, William Nelson, "Extracts from American Newspapers Relating to New Jersey,"
306–308, 378–380; The Royal American Gazette (New York,) 20 April 1780 New–York
Historical Society Newspaper Collection; The Royal Gazette, no. 371, 19 April 1780,
William Nelson, "Extracts from American Newspapers Relating to New Jersey," 306–
308; Todd Braisted to author, 31 December 2004 (email, author’s collection); William
Wright deposition, 17 January 1838, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Sessional
Records of the Legislative Assembly, RS24, 1838 Petition 277.
35. “… 1775 found us warm Whigs or Revolutionists as we were then called …”
Park Holland, Journal of Park Holland: Soldier of the Revolution and Shays’ Rebellion,
Maine Surveyor, and Early Penobscot Settler, Jeffrey H. Fiske and Sally Ostergard Fiske,
eds. (New Braintree, Ma.: 2000), 3; John Outwater certificate, 9 January 1784, New
Jersey State Archives, Department of Defense, Military Records, Revolutionary War,
Revolutionary Manuscripts Numbered, document no. 8; David Jacobs told more of his
extensive service in the war, “he enlisted as a soldier … in the Spring of the year
1777under Captain James Black in the Independent York Regiment Commanded by Col
Malcom in the Brigade of Genl. Conway which Regimt was afterwards United with Col
Spencers Regt & Commanded by Col Spencer when said Jacobs was put under the
command of Capt. John Orr – the sd Regimt. In Genl. Maxfields Brigade moved up the
Susquehanah river & from thence to the Sco[t]ch Plains in New Jersey where they went
into winter quarters seven miles from Morristown … he … was under the command of
Majr. Thos. Bayles at Paramus Mills … where he sd. Jacobs was taken prisoner and
detained in New York about nine months he was then exchanged & joined his Regt at
Stony Point at this place sd Regt. Was discharged & every one ordered to join his state
troops sd Jacobs being a native of Pennsylvania was put into the Company of Capt
Walter Fenney in Col Richard Humptons Regiment being the 3rd Pennsylvania in Genl
Waynes Brigade. After the Battle of Green Springs in Virginia Three Regiments were put
into two the said Jacobs was in the 2nd Pennyslvania Regt commanded by Col Walter
Stewart. Genl Waynes Brigade was at the Capture of Cornwallis & was discharged in
Philadelphia in the year 1783 … he was wounded with a bayonet in his thigh at the Battle
of Monmouth …” Josiah Willard, Captain John Hastings company, Jackson’s
Massachusetts Regiment, was taken prisoner at Hopperstown. Willard enlisted in Colonel
Whitcomb’s Regiment July 1776, then in Jackson’s regiment in November 1777. Served
at the Battle of Rhode Island in August 1778, discharged November 1780. David Jacobs
deposition (S38865), and Josiah Willard deposition, 23 April 1818 (S44082), (National
Archives Microfilm Publication M804, 2,670 rolls, rolls 1402 and 2582) Revolutionary

28

War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900, Record Group 15;
National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
36. Garret Brinkerhoff deposition, 25 February 1834 (W136), ibid., roll 342. The scope
of service experienced by some militia soldiers can be seen in the appended deposition:
“… Paul Rutan … saith that in the month of April 1778 he turned out as a drafted militia soldier
and joined Captain Abraham Speer’s Company stationed as a guard at the village of Belleville,
county of Essex, New Jersey, at which place he continued to do active duty as a soldier in the
field for the period of one month and returned home. After being home four or five days he
volunteered his services as a substitute for John Banta and joined Captain Abraham Speer’s
Company stationed at Belleville as aforesaid. That he continued to do active duty as a soldier in
the field and a member of Captain Speer’s Company for the period of one month. That during the
last mentioned months service the said Company to which he belonged was doing duty at the
village of Belleville, at second River and Newark New–Jersey. And this deponent further saith
that he performed one other month’s tour as a drafted militia man under Captain Abraham Speer
during the same summer of 1778 at which time the said Company under the command of Captain
Speer, was stationed at Elizabethtown and Elizabethtown Point, Essex County, New Jersey. That
the British were in possession of Staten Island opposite Elizabethtown Point at the same time.
And this deponent further saith that Colonel Van Courtlandt and Major Hays are the only Field
Officers he now recollects by name as having command of the detachment to which he then
belonged. And that this deponent further saith that the next tour of service was performed as
follows, thinks it was in the latter part of the Summer or Fall of the year 1778 he volunteered as a
private soldier and enrolled himself as a member of Captain Henry Van Blarcom’s Company for
active duty for the period of one year unless sooner discharged. That he joined Captain Henry
Van Blarcom’s Company stationed as a guard at the Totowa Bridge on the Passaic River in the
County of Essex, New Jersey, Lieutenant Richard Van Houten and Ensign Fleming belonged to
the same Company. That he continued to do duty as a soldier in the field and member of said
Company stationed as a guard at Totowa Bridge as aforesaid during the whole of the following
winter and until the early part of the summer 1779 when the whole Company to which he
belonged, was marched in the night time to Hopperstown in the county of Bergen, New–Jersey
where he joined a large detachment of militia and regular Troops. And this deponent further saith
that he was then engaged in the battle with the British and Refugees which took place near
Hopperstown. That this deponent together with the detachment of Americans to which he
belonged succeeded in driving the enemy and followed up their retreat to the neighbourhood of
Fort Lee on the Hudson River a distance of eighteen miles. This deponent saith that a Major
Boyls of the regular American Army was killed at Hopperstown, in the early commencement of
the action, that Colonel Tunis Dey and Major Kip commanded the detachment of militia to which
this deponent belonged on that occasion. That they returned to Hopperstown where they
continued to lay sometime. And this deponent further saith that during the time they lay at
Hopperstown as aforesaid the two Companies of militia then in the service of the United States
commanded by Captain Van Blarcom and Willis were consolidated, when Captain John Willis
opened a new enrolment at which time this deponent by and with the consent of Captain Van
Blarcom entered into a new engagement to serve as a volunteer for one year in actual service
unless sooner discharged, thinks it was in the month of July 1779 when he entered Captain
Willis’ Company as aforesaid. And this deponent further saith that the Company to which he
then belonged was marched from Hopperstown to a place called the Liberty Pole about six miles
from Fort Lee in the county of Bergen and there stationed as a guard. And this deponent further
saith that he continued as a member of Captain Willis’ Company constantly doing duty as a
soldier in the field from the date of his enrolment till the summer following when he was
wounded in the battle of Fort Lee and was carried home to his father’s house. During the time he
continued in the service as a soldier in Captain Willis’ Company as aforesaid, the Company was

29

stationed at various places in the county of Bergen, New Jersey, namely, the Liberty Pole,
Hackensack, the English Neighborhood, Tenifly, Little Ferry, and New Bridge on the Hackensack
River and at Tappan. And this deponent further saith that the said Company to which he
belonged was stationed at various places as a guard, at other times they were embodied with other
Companies as a Battalion, and sometimes as a Regiment, and that Colonel Tunis Dey, Majors
Kipp and Goetchies generally had the command. And this deponent further saith that they were
frequently engaged with British and Refugees and that he received a musket ball wound in the
battle at Fort Lee within that period. And this deponent further saith that after recovering of his
wounds he then voluntarily enrolled himself as a private soldier in Captain John Outwater’s
Company for six months unless sooner discharged. That he joined Captain Outwater’s Company
stationed at Hackensack, New Jersey, that he continued to do duty as a soldier in the field and in
the service of the United States for the full period of six months and was discharged. That during
the last mentioned service the Head Quarters of the detachment to which he belonged was at the
town of Hackensack. That their constant duty was to keep up a chain of out–posts, guards and
sentinels along the lines of the enemy across the county of Bergen to the town of Newark, the
British being in possession of the city of New York, also the town of Bergen, Poulis Hook,
Vergen Point and other places in the county of Bergen at the same time. And this deponent
further saith that he continued in the service of the United States doing duty as a soldier in the
field during all the period of time herein before stated and charges the truth to be that he never
was absent from duty to exceed one week at any one time during the whole period for which he
had engaged to serve either as a substitute or enlisted volunteer, excepting the time he was
confined from a wound which he received at the battle of Fort Lee.“ Paul Rutan deposition, 20

November 1833 (S18192), ibid., roll 2105.
37. Abraham D. Banta deposition, 27 October 1832 (S6575), ibid., roll 135.
38. Benjamin Romaine deposition, 27 May 1834 (W18839), ibid., roll 2079.
39. Stephen Lutkins deposition, 18 August 1860, Abram (Abraham) Hopper pension file
(W251), ibid., roll 1326.
40. Stephen Westervelt deposition, 13 February 1860, Abram (Abraham) Hopper pension
file (W251), ibid., roll 1326. Peter Van Buskirk deposition, 25 November 1854, John A.
Hopper pension file (W5220), ibid., roll 1326. Stephen Lutkins deposition, 1 March
1854, John A. Hopper pension file (W5220), ibid., roll 1326.
41. Mary Hopper deposition, 15 January 1838, John A. Hopper pension file (W5220),
ibid., roll 1326.
42. General orders, 16 and 18 April 1780, Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George
Washington, vol. 18 (1937), 268, 282.
43. Ebenezer Elmer (surgeon, 2nd New Jersey Regiment) to Israel Shreve, 20 April 1780,
Israel Shreve Papers, New Jersey Room Special Collections, Rutgers University, New
Brunswick, N.J.
44. George Washington to Continental Congress, 17 April 1780, Fitzpatrick, The
Writings of George Washington, vol. 18 (1937), 271–272.
45. Marquis de Chastellux, Travels in North America in the Years 1780–1781–1782,
(originally published 1827; reprinted New York: Augustus M. Kelley, Publishers, 1970), 57.
46. Ibid., 57, page note.
47. Benjamin Romaine deposition, 22 July 1834 (W18839), Revolutionary War Pension
Files, Record Group 15, roll 2079. Bohan Upas (Malay pohon upas, poison tree): A tall
Asiatic and East Indian tree (Antiaris toxicaria of the mulberry family) that yields a latex
that contains poisonous glucosides used as an arrow poison; a shrub or tree of the same
region (Strychnos tieuté of the family Loganiaceae) also yielding an arrow poison.

30

(Claimed in some quarters as mythical.) Glossary from Delano's Voyages of Commerce
and Discovery: Amasa Delano in China, the Pacific Islands, Australia and South
America, 1789–1807 (originally published as A Narrative of voyages and travels in the
Northern and Southern Hemispheres, by Amasa Delano, 1817), Eleanor Roosevelt
Seagraves, ed., 1994. (World Wide Web),
http://www.delanoye.org/Amasa/Glossary.html

31