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August 22, 1777: Maj. Gen. John Sullivan plans a surprise attack against the British forces on Staten Island. Gen. Howe had left New York with 20,000 troops on the Philadelphia campaign, so the enemy was reduced in numbers. From their camp at Hanover, NJ, Gen. Sullivan led 1,000+ soldiers, of Maryland and Canadian Continentals, with NJ Militia (under Col. Frederick Frelinghuysen.) Leaving camp on the 21st, they crossed to Staten island on the 22nd. Some NJ Militia successfully attacked an enemy outpost, capturing 100 prisoners, then returned to NJ. The main force went inland, near Richmondtown. Opposed by 1,300 British, Hessian and Loyalist militia, not as much was accomplished. Upon retreating back to NJ, 100 men fought a rearguard action. After beating off several enemy assaults, many of the rearguard were captured when their ammo ran out. Gen. Sullivan was later court-martialed for this venture, but was exonerated.
From: The Military Service and Public Life of Major General John Sullivan, by Thomas Amory, 1868.
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