The British attacked the village of Chestnut Neck on October 6, 1778. The British decided to attack this location in retaliation to the Privateers seizing many of their vessels. The British destroyed many houses in the village as well as several ships. When they learned that Count Casimir Pulaski was on his way with troops for backup, the British quickly left by ship the following day.
village of Chestnut Neck was an important shipping harbor before the
Revolutionary War due to its location on the Little Egg Harbor River (presently
called the Mullica River) that had access to the Atlantic Ocean. When the war
started the village of Chestnut Neck became a refuge place for American
Privateers. The American Privateers
would capture vessels from the British and bring them to Chestnut Neck, where
some of the goods from the British vessels would be taken to be used by the
Continental Army and the rest of the goods would be sold. The Privateers would then convert some of the
captured British vessels into Privateer ones.
late September of 1778, British Commander General Henry Clinton decided it was
time to take action against these Privateers.
On September 30, 1778, a fleet of nine British ships sailed from New
York City to make an attack on Chestnut Neck.
The British didn’t arrive to Chestnut Neck until October 5, 1778 due to
strong winds and a storm. When the
British soldiers arrived, they had to get into smaller boats to head up river
to the village of Chestnut Neck. They
didn’t make it to the village until October 6, 1778.
Americans had built a small fort guarded by soldiers to try to protect Chestnut
Neck but they did not have any cannons.
When the British arrived to the village, the Americans were unable to
put up much of a resistance against the cannons that were fired on the fort
from the British ships. When the British
came on land they started attacking and driving the American forces from the
fort and chasing them off into the surrounding woods. The British destroyed several houses in the
village as well was any Privateers ships they were able to find.
possible that the British would have caused more damage, however with the British
delay due to the weather, the American Privateers had enough time to move a
number of vessels upriver to a location named Forks. The villagers also had time to remove
valuables from their homes and hide them in the woods. The British had planned
on sailing upriver to Forks to capture the other Privateer vessels but changed
their plans when they heard that additional soldiers in the Continental Army
were on their war to help defend Chestnut Neck.
The British decided to leave on October 7, 1778 to head back to New York
City but were delayed in the bay another fifteen days due to weather