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For Americans, the word brings to mind a occupying army that attempted to crush a revolution against king and country. Griffin, whose troops had occupied Mount Holly, slowly retreated to their fortified position on the hill, following which the two sides engaged in ineffectual long-range fire. On the morning of December 23, von Donop brought about 3,000 troops (the 42nd British (Highland) Regiment and the Hessian Grenadier battalions Block and Linsing) to Petticoat Bridge where they overwhelmed Griffin's men. Here, sir … Mount Holy.”, “Mein Gott. However, should any targets of opportunity present themselves, he was to use his own best judgement. That is to say, a deadly distraction to attract the attention of the British at Blackhorse (Columbus) and the Hessians at Burdenston. Rall went so far as to order his men to sleep "fully dressed like [they were] on watch.". He is a member of various national and local organizations relating to the Revolutionary War—including the Friends of Washington Crossing Park, the Museum of the American Revolution, Crossroads of the American Revolution, the Old Barracks Association, the Princeton Battlefield Society, the American Battlefield Trust, and the American Revolution Round Table of South Jersey—and lives in Lawrence Township, NJ (known as Maidenhead at the time of the Revolution). That he, Colonel Griffin and the forces under his command would support the main action, by conducting a local diversion. Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersery Historical Commission/Department of State and the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Department of Resource Conservation, Division of Parks. ", Colonel von Donop sat at his desk and stared out of the window. When von Donop asked Stirling for advice, he replied, "You sir, with the troops at Bordentown, should come here and attack. In the looming days of December 1776, the American Cause for independence faced its greatest threat: disillusionment from within. His first book, a biography on British mapmaker John Hills, is currently finding a publisher. They took place in Mount Holly, New Jersey , between an American force mostly composed of colonial militia under Colonel Samuel Griffin and a force of 2,000 Hessians and British regulars under Carl von Donop . Learn of the lesser known skirmishes that took place immediately prior to the famous crossing of the Delaware River that produced victory at Trenton on December 26, and why these developments around Mount Holly, some only now we’re becoming aware of, had consequential impacts on Trenton, the American Revolution, and American history. Copyright © 2020 Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences Association - All Rights Reserved. Published accounts of the day varied, including among participants in the battle. By December 21, Griffin had advanced to Mount Holly and established a rough fortification atop a hill near an iron works, south of the Rancocas Creek and the village center. One of courage and sacrifice that defines the American Revolution. Battle of Iron Works Hill This year's event is Saturday, December 13, 2014. Against the sweeping backdrop of the war, Hagist directs his focus on the small picture, illuminating the moments in an individual soldier’s life—those hours spent nursing a fever while standing sentry in the bitter cold, or writing a letter to a wife back home. Von Donop himself took quarters in the house that Ewald described as belonging to an "exceedingly beautiful widow of a doctor", whose identity is uncertain. As the troops of von Donop and Rall occupied the last outposts, they were often exposed to the actions of rebel raids and the actions of Patriot militia forces that either arose spontaneously or were recruited by Army regulars. Thomas Stirling, who commanded a contingent of the 42nd positioned about seven miles north of Mount Holly at Blackhorse (present-day Columbus), heard rumors that there were 1,000 rebels at Mount Holly and "2,000 more were in the rear to support them". News of the skirmishes at Mount Holly was often exaggerated. Who were they? The Volunteers and Townspeople endured withering musket volleys from the infantry. But those storied triumphs were also due to the heroic feats of people less well known to history who remain the “unsung heroes” behind our nation’s struggle for independence during its darkest days. Where did they go when the war was over? The Continental Army was in tatters, and General George Washington knew that unless drastic measures were taken, the game would be ‘pretty much up’ by year’s end. Griffin’s next order to his men was to advance and reduce it. The Battle of Iron Works Hill, also known as the Battle of Mount Holly, was a series of minor skirmishes that took place on December 22 and 23, 1776 during the American War of Independence. Griffin's force, whose exact composition is uncertain, probably included some Virginia artillerymen, Pennsylvania infantry, and New Jersey militia, and numbered five to six hundred. For whatever reason, von Donop and his contingents remained in Mount Holly, 18 miles and a full day's march from Trenton,until a messenger arrived on December 26, bringing the news of Rall's defeat by Washington that morning. Delaying the inevitable, Griffin and his men fought house to house, and street to street, in order to keep the British forces engaged. Over the next several months, Howe's forces, which were British Army regulars and auxiliary German troops usually referred to as Hessian, chased Washington's Continental Army out of New York City and across New Jersey. Washington's army, which was shrinking in size due to expiring enlistments, and desertions due to poor morale, took refuge in Pennsylvania on the western shore of the Delaware River in November, removing all the available watercraft to deny the British any opportunity to cross the wide river. Griffin's troops retreated to Mount Holly where von Donop reported scattering about 1,000 men near the town's meeting house. A Hessian guard post had been detected three miles north of the town, at the Petticoat bridge. On the evening of December 22, Washington's adjutant, Joseph Reed, went to Mount Holly and met with Griffin. The real impact came the next day when General Washington’s attack fell on the Hessian Barracks in Trenton like a hammer blow. Many homes were broken into and any liquor found, was liberated. Redcoats. Reed noted in his journal that "this manouver [sic], though perfectly accidental, had a happy effect as it drew off Count Donop ...." The planning for Washington's crossing of the Delaware did include sending a militia force to Griffin in an attack on von Donop at Mount Holly; this company failed to cross the river. On the morning of the 23rd, Colonel von Donop had quick-marched his Hessians to Blackhorse and joined forces with the Major Stirling and his British infantry. They had been drawn too far south, and unable to support the Hessian Colonel Johann Rahl and the main Garrison. They took place in Mount Holly, New Jersey, between an American force mostly composed of colonial militia under Colonel Samuel Griffin and a force of 2,000 Hessians and British regulars under Carl von Donop. He had received orders from General Putnam in Philadelphia, to cross into New Jersey. It was almost Christmas and it was snowing, again. They wasted no time, a fortified redoubt was constructed on the Ironworks hill, south of the Rancocas creek. Excited artillerymen fired Round shot and Cannister, that whistled up and down High street causing random death and destruction. But, all was in order with his command. View or print a copy of our updated schedule. Our town’s involvement in this Historic engagement became a chapter in a much greater story. These men and boys were bolstered by regular Pennsylvania infantry. The resulting firefight at the Petticoat bridge was brief. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island. After a restless night the Townspeople awoke to a blistering cannonade. Bordentown itself was not large enough to house all of von Donop's force. With no reports of any serious casualties on either side, Sam Griffin and his volunteers were able to fall back in good order to the town. The Battle of Iron Works Hill, also known as the Battle of Mount Holly, was a series of minor skirmishes that took place on December 22 and 23, 1776, during the American War of Independence. 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