River Vale in Bergen County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
“The Baylor Massacre”
September 28, 1778
Late one night in 1778, the woods you are standing in suddenly echoed with the sounds of battle. A surprise attack by British soldiers nearly destroyed an American regiment, Baylor’s 3rd Continental Light Dragoons. Today, this park tells the story and honors the memory of the men of “The Baylor Massacre.”
Who was Baylor?
George Baylor was born to advantage. His father, Colonel John Baylor, a prominent member of the Virginia aristocracy, raised fine race horses on his plantation north of Richmond. Colonel Baylor’s wide circle of influential friends included General George Washington, with whom he had served in the French and Indian War. Washington visited the Baylor plantation often, and young George Baylor became his protégé.
In 1775, at the age of 23, Baylor received a commission as a captain in the newly formed Continental Army. Washington favored the young soldier with an appointment as his first aide-de-camp (an officer assigned to assist a general). Baylor’s duties were ordinary ones – he bought supplies, performed secretarial duties, kept track of Washington’s personal effects, and served as an escort to Mrs.
Baylor distinguished himself as the Battle of Trenton when he accepted the surrender of a group of Hessian soldiers. General Washington and the Continental Congress soon rewarded him with his own command of cavalry, the Third Continental Light Dragoons.
“Sir: I have the pleasure of congratulating you upon the success of an enterprize, which I had formed against a detachment of the enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yesterday morning…Colonel Baylor, my first aid de camp, will have the honour of delivering this to you, and from him you may be made acquainted with many particulars; his spirited behaviour, upon every occasion, requires me to recommend him to your particular notice.”
George Washington to John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, December 27, 1776.
Erected by Bergen County.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #01 George Washington series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 27, 1875.
Location. 41° 0.787′ N, 74° 0.511′ W. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Westwood NJ 07675, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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 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); Propaganda: The Mighty Pen (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in River Vale.
More about this marker. The marker features several pictures, including a portrait of George Baylor (1752-1784) from the Baylor University Texas Collection, the “Battle of Trenton” from Harper’s Monthly, 1853, “Hessians fleeing from the battle of Trenton, December 26, 1776” from the New York Public Library Picture Collection, and a 1792 Oil on canvas of “George Washington at the Battle of Trenton” painted by John Trumbull (1756-1843), courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Related markers.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 . . . Bergen County Historical Society. Society website homepage (Submitted on June 21, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 21, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 5,356 times since then and 127 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 21, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.