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River Vale in Bergen County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Propaganda: The Mighty Pen
 
Propaganda: The Mighty Pen Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
1. Propaganda: The Mighty Pen Marker
 
Inscription. The American army may have had trouble supplying its soldiers and keeping them fit for fighting, but in one way the Americans were superior: their propaganda writers were experts at whipping up anti-British feelings. An incident like the Baylor “Massacre,” an embarrassing defeat for Washington’s army, was a perfect subject for the Rebel press.

“There is certain intelligence arrived this day in town that the brave Colonel Baylor, after being twice bayoneted, still survives & is in a fair way of recovery, but that Major Clow [Clough], a gallant officer, with sundry others of his regiment, were slain, being put to the sword, & butchered in the most cruel & rascally manner by the British peace-keeping savages.”
Virginia Gazette, October 23, 1778

Massacre or Tactical Success?
Was the attack on Baylor’s regiment a massacre? Not surprisingly, contemporary reports of the event are conflicting, depending upon the loyalties of the reporter:

British:
By a well projected plan of Lord Cornwallis’s, almost an entire regiment of the enemy’s light dragoons were surprised and carried.
Sir Henry Clinton to Lord George Germain, October 8, 1778

American:

[The enemy] after Butchering in a most inhuman manner a number
 
Markers in Baylor Massacre Park Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
2. Markers in Baylor Massacre Park
 
of the Light Horse and militia who had surrendered themselves prisoners, they turn’d their Cruelties to Woman and Old men; whom thy treated with every kind of brutality their Perfidiousness could inveny.

From a petition by citizens of Orange County to Governor Clinton, October 18, 1778

British:
The Major-general [Grey] conducted his march with so much order and so silently…that he entirely surprised [the dragoons], and a very few escaped being either killed or taken.
General Cornwallis to Sir Henry Clinton, September 28, 1778

American:

Our cavalry being in a situation which did not admit of a successful defence, a considerable part of the regiment unavoidably fell a sacrifice to those cruel and merciless men.
New Jersey Gazette, October 7, 1778

British:

…a part of Sir James Baird’s company was detached to a barn where sixteen [American] privates were lodged, who, discharged ten or twelve pistols, and striking at the troops sans effect with their broadswords, nine of them were instantly bayoneted, and seven received quarter. Major Mairland’s force coming up at that time, attacked the remainder of their rebel detachment, lodged in several other barns, with such alertness as prevented all but three privates from making their escape.
Rivington’s
 
Baylor Massacre Markers Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
3. Baylor Massacre Markers
Several wayside markers are located in this park. The Propaganda marker is the rightmost one in the photo. The Baylor Dragoons Memorial Committee Monument can be seen in front of the other markers.
 
Royal Gazette, October 3, 1778


What Do You Think?

 
Erected by Bergen County.
 
Location. 41° 0.787′ N, 74° 0.511′ W. Marker is in River Vale, New Jersey, in Bergen County. Marker is at the intersection of Red Oak Drive and Rivervale Road, on the right when traveling east on Red Oak Drive. Click for map. Marker is in Baylor Massacre Park. Marker is in this post office area: Westwood NJ 07675, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Night of “Savage Cruelty” (here, next to this marker); “The Baylor Massacre” (here, next to this marker); The British General (here, next to this marker); The Third Continental Light Dragoons (here, next to this marker); The Price of Freedom: A Patriot’s Grave (here, next to this marker); 200 Years Later (here, next to this marker); Baylor Massacre Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Gravesite (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in River Vale.
 
More about this marker. The bottom left of the marker features the famous 1770 engraving by Paul Revere (1735-1818) entitled “’The Bloody Massacre’ at Boston, March 5th, 1770.” after a drawing by Henry Pelham. The engraving, supplied by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has a caption of “Paul Revere, the American patriot, silversmith and master propagandist, shows evil-looking British soldiers slaughtering innocent, helpless Bostonians. The episode, like the Baylor incident termed a ‘massacre,’ occurred when British soldiers fired into am unruly crowd, killing five men. The cartoon helped Boston radicals reinforce American fears about the presence of the British army in the Colonies.”
 
Soldiers Graves Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
4. Soldiers Graves
Six of the soldiers killed at the Baylor Massacre are buried at this site, located a short distance from the marker.
 

 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This series of markers tell the story of the Baylor Massacre of September 28, 1778.
 
Also see . . .  OVERKILL: Revolutionary War Reminiscences of River Vale. Bergen County Historical Society. (Submitted on June 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Baylor Dragoons Memorial Committee Monument Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
5. Baylor Dragoons Memorial Committee Monument
200 Years Later we remember
September 28, 1978
 
 
Baylor Massacre Burial Site Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
6. Baylor Massacre Burial Site
The marker is located in this Bergen County Historical Site on Red Oak Drive, in River Vale, NJ.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on June 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,295 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
 
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