River Vale in Bergen County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
A Night of “Savage Cruelty”
September 28, 1778
The twelve officers took up residence in three nearby stone farm houses. The houses belonged to the extended family of the Harings and Blauvelts, and another named Bogert, not all of whom were sympathetic to the American cause. Baylor and Clough made their headquarters in the Cornelius A. Haring house ½ north of the bridge. The 104 soldiers were to sleep in six barns stretched along the Overkill Road.
By one in the morning, “No-Flint” Grey’s troops had dispatched the guard Baylor had posted near the bridge. They surrounded
Gentlemen’s rules of war called for defeated troops to receive “quarter”: if they surrendered, their lives would be spared. Unfortunately, not all soldiers are gentlemen. Eleven of Baylor’s Dragoons were stabbed repeatedly and killed, and another four died later. Thirty-three, some with wounds, were taken prisoner. The others escaped into the woods.
British soldiers burst into the house where the officers slept. A British newspaper reported that Baylor and three of his officers tried to hide up a large Dutch chimney, but were quickly discovered. Major Clough was so severely wounded that he died the next day. Baylor was bayoneted in the thigh and groin, and taken captive.
On October 6, 1778, the Continental Congress requested that New Jersey’s Governor William Livingston investigate what happened that night: “of the treatment of Lieutenant Colonel Baylor and his party by the enemy, who attacked them.”
Subsequently, Livingston requested that Major General Lord Stirling, Commanding Officer of the area, direct the investigation. He turned to Dr. David Griffith, a 36-year-old medical doctor and chaplain
It was there that he began his investigation of what would become known as the “Baylor Massacre.”
“The inclosed Testimony will shew that Congress was not misinformed respecting the Savage Cruelty attending the surprize of Colonel Baylors Regiment."
Dr. D. Griffith, surgeon appointed to attend Baylor’s wounds and to investigate the “Massacre," October 21, 1778.
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 on Red Oak Drive, on the right when traveling east. Marker is in Baylor Massacre Park. 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. “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); Propaganda: The Mighty Pen (here, next to this marker); 200 Years Later 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 right of the marker contains a map of "Baylor’s Dragoons Massacre Site, Sept. 28, 1778".
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 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Military • Notable Events • War, US Revolutionary •
More. Search the internet for A Night of “Savage Cruelty”.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,705 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on June 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.