Monmouth. Battle Of, an engagement between the American forces under Washington and the British under Sir Henry Clinton, at Freehold, Monmouth co.,N. J., June 28, 1178. On June 18 Clinton evacuated Philadelphia and marched toward Brunswick, with a view of embarking on the Raritan. Washington broke camp at Valley Forge, sent forward some light troops to harass the enemy, and started in pursuit. At Allentown Clinton suddenly turned to the right by a road leading through Freehold to Sandy Hook, and Washington determined at once to give him battle. The evening of the 27th found the main body of the enemy encamped on high ground near Monmouth court house in the town of Freehold, while the American advance, about 4,000 strong, under Lee, was posted at Englishtown, 5 m. distant, with the main body about 3 m. in the rear. Early on the 28th Lee engaged the rear division of the enemy, his orders being to hold it in check until the main body under Washington could come up. The Americans were successful at first, but the whole body soon fell into a confusion in which their commander seemed to participate, and commenced a disorderly retreat, closely followed by the British. Washington, advancing with the main body, received the first intimation of this movement in the crowds of fugitives.
He rode up to Lee and reprimanded him vehemently; then, rallying the fugitives, he reformed them, and hastened back to bring up the main body. Lee, resuming his command, held his position with spirit until compelled to retire, and brought off his troops in good order. The main body, which had taken a favorable position on an eminence, with a mo-rasa in front and a wood in the rear, opened an effective cannonade from both wings upon the British. The latter, after an ineffectual attempt to turn the American left under Lord Stirling, directed their chief efforts against the right commanded by Greene, where Wayne, under cover of an orchard, was harassing their centre by a severe fire. To dislodge him, Col. Monckton advanced with a column of royal grenadiers, but fell at the head of his troops, who were repulsed with considerable loss. The enemy at length fell back to the ground occupied by Lee in the morning, and during the night Clinton effected a noiseless retreat.' Excessive heat and fatigue rendered pursuit impracticable. 'I he American loss was 69 killed and 160 wounded; that of the British probably nearly 300 killed and loo prisoners,including wounded. On both sides many men died from the heat alone.
For his conduct in this battle Lee was court-raartialled and suspended for one year from his command.