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Benjamin Drake 1746-1810

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Re: Benjamin Drake 1746-1810

Posted: 1515520285000
Classification: Query
I'm studying a Scottish regiment (42nd) in the American Revolution and believe there was a skirmish on Benjamin Drake's farm near Metuchin, NJ on Feb, 1, 1777. The History of Metuchin, by the Federal Writers’ Project, 1941, lists only one Drake during the period of the Revolution. Benjamin Drake had a farm on the west side of the Woodbridge Road. Here is an original account of the skirmish: Journal of Engineer Extraordinary and Capt. Lt. Archibald Robertson
Describes Actions of the 42nd Regt., Drake’s Farm, New Jersey, Feb. 1, 1777

February 1st went this morning on a foraging party with [Brig. Gen.] Sir William Erskine towards Metuchen. Our Party consisted of Lieutenant Colonel [Hon. William] Hartcourt [16th Drag.], about 20 mounted, and the other Dragoons foraging, Lieutenant Colonel [William] Meadows 1st Battalion Grenadiers, Lieutenant Colonel [Robert] Abercrombie, 1st Battalion Light Infantry and part of a Battalion of Hessian Grenadiers, the whole amounting to between 8 and 900 men. We likewise fell in with a Party of the 42d of 180 men [commanded by Brevet-Maj. Duncan McPherson] who were foraging so that the whole was upwards of 1,000. When the Waggons were nearly all loaded About ½ after two o'clock we were Attacked by a Body of the Rebels consisting of about 4 or 500 who made a push at the Head of the Waggons where the 42d drew up in the Road and kept up a very hot fire for upwards of 10 minutes, when Sir William Ordered the Hessian Grenadiers to advance towards the Rear and Flank of the Rebels, who upon seeing them forming immediately gave way and ran, the 42d pursuing. The 1st Battalion Grenadiers advanced likewise on the right of the Hessians towards the Woods where the Rebels retreated, but all of a Sudden a Column of the Rebels appeared within 250 Yards coming to us over a rising Ground in Front. They began to form with great Steadiness but upon a Cannon or two being fired and some firing from the Grenadiers they immediately run away. At the same time other two Columns advanced towards the Right of the Grenadiers where the Light Infantry were drawn up and they very soon disspersed and run excep’t poping from behind Rails. At last the whole went off. From their Appearance I suppose them upwards of 2000. They left between 30 and 40 dead on the spot besides a Number of Wounded they had taken away. The 42d kill’d 15 of them. Our loss on the whole was 30 Killed and Wounded; amongst the Killed 1 Officer and 6 private. We returned home without the loss of Horse or Waggon. By accounts since received the Rebel’s had about 180 Killed and Wounded.

Source: Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers, His Diaries and Sketches in America, Ed. Harry Miller Lydenberg, New York Public Library, New York, 1930, pp. 123-124.

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