Thursday, August 16, 2018

Lafayette's First Command: Gloucester #2

This popped up on the internet:


Thousands of drivers pass by the Kings Highway spot where Haddon Heights, Audubon and Mount Ephraim converge at Haddon Lake Park, oblivious to the Revolutionary War battle that occurred there.  That history involves a victory by one of the most famous generals of the war, the Marquis de Lafayette, during a battle overlooked by most history textbooks: the Battle of Gloucester, which was fought across six towns from Gloucester City and Bellmawr to Haddonfield in what is now known as Camden County.

There are park and town signs but no historical markers today at the two Haddon Lake Park entrances on both sides of Kings Highway. It was there and in an area extending a few hundred yards to the east that the Frenchman Lafayette scored a skirmish victory on Nov. 25, 1777, in the midst of the two day Battle of Gloucester that led to his full commission in the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington. - Carol Comegno, Cherry Hill Courier-Post Published July 15, 2018 


I refer to this battle that was so important to the young Frenchman in A Buss from Lafayette this way:

I laughed along with the men, then asked shyly: “I still do not understand why Lafayette is thought to be such a hero, sir. I heard he won no big battles.” 

The veteran shrugged. “That is true enough, my girl, but he did very well when he was finally given men to command.” 

I listened closely as the man explained that Lafayette’s actions at Brandywine had so impressed General Nathanael Greene that had he sent the young Frenchman on a reconnaissance mission commanding a few hundred men. Lafayette had led them on a surprise attack on some Hessians near Gloucester, in the Jerseys. Though outnumbered, it was said that Lafayette and his men “fought like demons,” and it was not until the British commander, Cornwallis, sent out some grenadiers from the main camp that Lafayette withdrew. 

The stranger took another gulp of the rum. “Greene said afterwards that Lafayette ‘seemed to search for danger.’ High praise indeed for such a young man in his first command.” Mr. Towne explained that after that, Washington put Lafayette in command of a division, so he was no longer a major general without any troops.

Jensen, Dorothea. A Buss from Lafayette (pp. 47-48). Boutique of Quality Book Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 


And here is my rhyming version:


Greene put him in command to watch Cornwallis' armed forces
To see how many men there were, and armaments, and horses.
Near Gloucester, in the Jerseys, lurked a Hessian company
Outnumbered, the Marquis attacked, and won a victory.
 Greene said he "searched for danger", when the facts of this were known.
And Lafayette was given a division of his own.