Philadelphia Campaign > Battle of Bound Brook

Battle of Bound Brook


The Battle of Bound Brook, fought on April 13, 1777, was a minor engagement during the American Revolutionary War. It took place in Bound Brook, New Jersey, and involved a surprise attack by British and Hessian forces against an American garrison. The battle highlighted the challenges faced by both sides in maintaining control over the contested New Jersey region.


  1. Strategic Context:

    • After the Continental Army's victories at Trenton and Princeton in late 1776 and early 1777, General George Washington established winter quarters in Morristown, New Jersey. From this position, he could monitor and harass British forces in New Jersey and New York.
    • The British, commanded by General Sir William Howe, sought to maintain control over key points in New Jersey and protect their supply lines and communication routes between New York City and Philadelphia.
  2. American Garrison:

    • The American garrison at Bound Brook, commanded by Major General Benjamin Lincoln, consisted of about 500-600 Continental Army soldiers. Bound Brook was strategically located near the Raritan River and provided a base for operations against British positions in New Jersey.
    • The garrison's main objectives were to protect the local population, gather intelligence, and disrupt British movements in the region.

The Battle:

  1. British Plan:

    • General Cornwallis devised a plan to surprise and overwhelm the American garrison at Bound Brook. The attack aimed to capture supplies, prisoners, and disrupt American operations in the area.
    • The British force, numbering around 4,000 men, included British regulars and Hessian troops. They planned a coordinated attack with multiple columns converging on Bound Brook from different directions.
  2. Surprise Attack:

    • The attack began in the early hours of April 13, 1777. The British and Hessian columns moved under cover of darkness to surround the American position.
    • The American garrison was taken by surprise as the British forces launched their assault. Despite the surprise, the Americans quickly organized a defense.
  3. Engagement:

    • The fighting was intense but brief. Major General Lincoln and his men put up a determined resistance but were outnumbered and outflanked by the larger British force.
    • Realizing the untenable situation, Lincoln ordered a retreat. The American forces managed to escape across the Raritan River, avoiding capture but leaving behind some supplies and artillery.

Aftermath and Impact:

  1. Casualties and Losses:

    • American casualties were relatively light, with around 20-30 men killed or wounded. The British suffered a similar number of casualties. The Americans also lost a few cannons and supplies during the retreat.
    • Several American soldiers were captured, but the garrison largely managed to evade complete destruction.
  2. Strategic Outcome:

    • While the British achieved a tactical victory by capturing the American position at Bound Brook and seizing some supplies, the strategic impact was limited. The Continental Army's main forces remained intact, and Washington continued to operate effectively from Morristown.
    • The battle demonstrated the challenges of conducting surprise attacks and maintaining control in the contested region of New Jersey.
  3. Continued Skirmishes:

    • The Battle of Bound Brook was part of the ongoing series of skirmishes and raids in New Jersey throughout 1777. Both the British and American forces sought to control key points and disrupt each other's operations.
    • The engagement at Bound Brook highlighted the fluid and dynamic nature of the war in New Jersey, with both sides continually vying for advantage.


The Battle of Bound Brook serves as an example of the smaller, yet significant, engagements that characterized the Revolutionary War. It illustrates the continuous efforts by both sides to gain and maintain control over critical areas, contributing to the overall course of the conflict.

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