|Queen's American Rangers/
New Jersey Volunteers/
Guides & Pioneers
Battle of Brandywine Creek
[Extract from the Journal of Stephen JARVIS, originally published in “The Journal of American History,” Volume 1 (1907.)]
[JARVIS was a Loyalist from Connecticut who had joined the British on Long Island in late April, 1777. He initially joined the New Hampshire Volunteers, commanded by Major William STARK, and was appointed a sergeant. Within two months, he with his corps were drafted into the Queen’s American Rangers, commanded by Major James WEMYSS. He would end the war as a lieutenant in the South Carolina Royalists.]
“There was nothing of moment…until we embarked for an expedition— the fleet sailed, as it appeared afterwards for the Chesapeake and about the middle of August we landed at the head of Elk River, where the Army encamped for some days, and here was my first exploit.
"I commanded the out piquet and at daylight in the morning a body of American horse charged my Piquet. I repulsed them and took one Dragoon, which I secured as well as his horse, and which I took to camp with me when relieved.
"I was sent with my prisoner to General HOWE’s quarters, when the prisoner was sent to the Provost, the horse and appointments given to me, which I took back to the Regiment and which I was soon relieved of by Captain McKAY taking to himself. This was an act of injustice which I did not much like but thought best to put up with it.
"There was little to notice after this until the action at Brandywine; The Queen’s Rangers led the Division of General KNYPHAUSEN.
“We came in sight of the enemy at sunrise. The first discharge of the enemy killed the horse of Major GRYMES, who was leading the column, and wounded two men in the Division directly in my front, and in a few moments the Regiment became warmly engaged and several of our officers were badly wounded.
"None but the Rangers and FERGUSON’s Riflemen, were as yet engaged; the enemy retired, and there was a cessation for a short time, to reconnoiter the enemy, who had taken up their position in a wood which skirted the road that led down to the River.
"The Rangers were ordered to advance, and drive the enemy from that position. We marched from the right of Companys, by files, entered the wood, and drove the enemy from it, into an open field where there was a large body of the enemy formed.
"Major WYMES, who commanded the Rangers, ordered the Regiment to halt and cover themselves behind the trees, but the right of the Regiment was hotly engaged with the enemy, and Captain DUNLAP came to Major WYMES, and requested him to let the Regiment charge or the two Companies would be cut off.
"The Major then ordered the Adjutant (ORMAND) who was very glad of the opportunity, to desire the troops in our rear to support him, ordered the Regiment to charge. At this instant, my pantaloons received a wound, and I don’t hesitate to say that I should been very well pleased to have seen a little blood also.
"The enemy stood until we came near to bayonet points, then gave us a volley and retired across the Brandywine. Captain WILLIAMS and Captain MURDEN were killed, and many of the officers were wounded in this conflict.
"The Brandywine on each side was skirted with wood, in which the Rangers took shelter, whilst our artillery were playing upon a half moon battery on the other side of the River which guarded the only fording place where our Army could cross.
"In this position we remained waiting for General HOWE to commence his attack on the right flank of General Washington’s main Army.
“Whilst in this situation Captain AGNEW was wounded, of which wound he was ever after a cripple. Several other men were also wounded by the riflemen from the other side.
"Captain AGNEW (he was only a lieutenant at this time) had behaved very gallantly when we drove the enemy. I saw him plunge his bayonet into the fellow who had killed Captain MURDEN the minute before.
"General HOWE commenced his attack late in the afternoon, and this was the signal for our Division to advance. The Fourth Regiment led the Column and the Queen’s Rangers followed, the battery playing upon us with grape shot, which did much execution.
"The water took us up to our breasts, and was much stained with blood, before the battery was carried and the guns turned upon the enemy. Immediately after our Regiment had crossed, two Companies (the Grenadiers and Capt. McKAY’s) was ordered to move to the left and take possession of a hill which the enemy was retiring from, and wait there until further orders.
"From the eminence we had a most extensive view of the American Army, and we saw our brave comrades cutting them up in great style. The battle lasted until dark, when the enemy retreated and left us masters of the field.
"We were then ordered to leave our position and join our Regiment. We did so and took up our night’s lodgings on the field of the battle, which was strewed with dead bodies of the enemy.
“In this day’s hard fought action, the Queen’s Rangers’ loss in killed and wounded were seventy-five out of two hundred fifty rank and file which composed our strength in the morning…”
Extract from the Journal of Stephen Jarvis, originally published in “The Journal of American History,” Volume 1 (1907.)
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