Philadelphia Campaign > Battle of Short Hills

Battle of Short Hills

Background

The Battle of Short Hills (also known as the Battle of Metuchen Meetinghouse and other names) was a conflict between a Continental Army force commanded by Brigadier General William Alexander ("Lord Stirling"), and an opposing British force commanded by Lieutenant General William Howe. The battle took place on June 26, 1777, at Scotch Plains and Metuchen, New Jersey, during the American Revolutionary War. Despite the name, no fighting occurred in modern-day Short Hills, a section of Millburn. In mid-June General Howe marched most of his army into central New Jersey in an attempt to lure George Washington's Continental Army to a place where it might be better attacked than its defensive position in the Watchung Mountains. When Washington refused to abandon his position Howe returned to Amboy on June 22. Washington's forward divisions, including that of Lord Stirling, shadowed this British movement, and Washington moved his main army out of the hills. Howe seized this opportunity, and on June 26 marched two columns of troops out in an attempt to cut Washington off from the high ground. These troops skirmished with Lord Stirling's troops, and eventually engaged in a pitched battle in Scotch Plains. Stirling's outnumbered force retreated, but Washington, alerted to the British movement, had by then retreated back into the hills.

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