June, 1778: Battle of Monmouth Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

On June 18, 1778, General Sir Henry Clinton evacuated Philadelphia after an eight-month occupation and marched toward New York City. George Washington pursued with an army that had been extensively trained by Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben during the preceding winter at Valley Forge. On June 28, the Americans caught the British rearguard near Monmouth Courthouse and attacked at 10:00 a.m. General Charles Lee directed the assault but issued no firm orders, and the Americans were soon in full retreat. Washington rallied his army and organized a new line. The two armies then fought in the sweltering heat until dark, as the Americans repulsed a series of disjointed British attacks. Clinton then withdrew and resumed his march to New York. The British had at least 147 killed, many from sunstroke, 170 wounded, and 64 missing. Washington lost 106 dead, 161 wounded, and 95 missing.

On June 18, 1778, General Sir Henry Clinton evacuated Philadelphia after an eight-month occupation and marched toward New York City. George Washington pursued with an army that had been extensively trained by Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben during the preceding winter at Valley Forge. On June 28, the Americans caught the British rearguard near Monmouth Courthouse and attacked at 10:00 a.m. General Charles Lee directed the assault but issued no firm orders, and the Americans were soon in full retreat. Washington rallied his army and organized a new line. The two armies then fought in the sweltering heat until dark, as the Americans repulsed a series of disjointed British attacks. Clinton then withdrew and resumed his march to New York. The British had at least 147 killed, many from sunstroke, 170 wounded, and 64 missing. Washington lost 106 dead, 161 wounded, and 95 missing.

George Washington at Monmouth. From an 1858 engraving by G. R. Hall. (National Archives)

Monmouth demonstrated the growing professionalism in the American army. For the remainder of the war, the army would be able to stand up to the British in open combat. The battle was also the last major engagement in the north. Washington would station his army near New York City, awaiting an opportunity to attack, until the Yorktown campaign in 1781.

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