|[Extract from the Journal of Chaplain Philipp Waldeck of the 3rd Waldeck Regiment.] |
The 23rd [September]
General Von Knyphausen is on the march for White Plains.
The British grenadiers and light infantry crossed the Hudson River.
These troops have set up their camp at Hackensack in Jersey and have begun to dig in.
A small fleet of single-masted ships, along with a galley with a canon, have sailed on by and into Newark Bay and from there into the Hackensack River.
Everything in a state of unrest here, and the regiment was ordered to be in readiness to march at the first signal. The intended march to Jersey met with approval from all of us. General Vaughn is now in command on the island.
We are still full of good hope and were prepared to break camp at any moment. A generals adjutant came hurrying over from the Jersey shore in a rowboat with eight marines. We were eager to hear something new from him, but he would not engage in a conversation but rather immediately set out on horseback and rode to the general. Two English regiments were commanded to march to Elisabeth Point immediately; Admiral Parker also sent his boat from the men-of-war there, and all was put in readiness to cross over. The enemy on the other side was quite alarmed. Since we had also ridden to that spot and were therefore separated from the enemy by the mere distance of a cannon shot, we were able to observe quite clearly the activities around their batteries which lasted into the night. On our side we made no further movement to cross over and the regiment marched back again. Apparently the intention was to make a feint, so that they would pull up from Hackensack. On our return trip we encountered a number of regiments and the light dragoons were saddled and bridled as if something were still to be undertaken this evening.
During the preceding evening there was heavy fire from the Jersey shore at our sloops, which sailed into the Hackensack River.
Two three-masted ships with cannon sailed by, and lay at Newark in order to take the Jersey shore so that our sloops could move unhindered into the Hackensack River.
Our army now began to spread out in the English neighborhood in Jersey. Since the first maneuver worked to our advantage, several regiments were ordered to attack seven hundred Rebels who had been posted in the neighborhood of Hackensack in the evening. Several deserters brought the news that they were already in flight and found it useful not to wait for an attack. However, this evening proceeded somewhat differently. The Second Battalion Light Infantry, together with the Seventy-second [sic-71st] and the Queens Rangers, crossed over the Hudson River at Dobsferry, and encountered the Third Virginian Dragoon regiment which bore the name Washingtons Guard, having the finest men and horses. Feeling secure and anticipating no enemy, they were attacked by our troops and with the exception of three men, were either captured or struck down. The colonel in command, Bayler, who was severely wounded and captured, wrote to Washington, among others: Nothing in the world humiliates me more than the responsibility I bear to inform you that your entire regiment has been either cut down or taken captive.
The captured horses, three hundred head of horned cattle, and a large number of sheep were brought past here to New York.
Diary Kept by Chaplain Waldeck during the Last American War, Part II, translated by William E. Dornemann, Ph.D. Journal of the Johannes Schwalm Historical Association, Inc., Volume 2, No. 4 (1998,) Pages 50-51.