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River Vale in Bergen County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A Night of “Savage Cruelty”

September 28, 1778

 
 
A Night of "Savage Cruelty" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
1. A Night of "Savage Cruelty" Marker
Inscription. The evening of September 27, 1778, found Baylorís Dragoons settling for the night near this site. The neighborhoodís name, Overkill, came from the small bridge “Over de kill”, a kill being a creek or river to the Jersey Dutch settlers. It included the farmhouses and barns lying along the main road leading north to New York, and an old tannery, with its millstone and in-ground vats, along the river. The area was selected for its strategic location near where several roads converged above the bridge, and where information might be gathered on the northern British troop movement.

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” Greyís troops had dispatched the guard Baylor had posted near the bridge. They surrounded the barns where the sleeping soldiers lay. Again, Greyís men had removed the flints from their guns and stood with bayonets ready. They threw open the barn doors and attacked. Baylorís men quickly
Markers in Baylor Massacre Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
2. Markers in Baylor Massacre Park
realized their hopeless situation.

Gentlemenís 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 Baylorís 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 Jerseyís 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 to the 3rd Virginia Brigade, to procure affidavits from the survivors.

It was there that he began his investigation of what would become known as the “Baylor Massacre.”

“The
Baylor Massacre Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
3. Baylor Massacre Markers
Several wayside markers are located in this park. The Night of "Savage Cruelty" marker is the third from the right, in the center of the photo. The Baylor Dragoons Memorial Committee Monument can be seen in front of the other markers.
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 Baylorís 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. Touch 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. “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 Patriotís 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 right of the marker contains
Gravesite image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
4. Gravesite
Six of the soldiers killed at the Baylor Massacre are buried a short distance from the marker. The bodies were discovered in 1967, buried in three abandoned tan vats. The millstone in the background had been placed over the vats to hide the bodies. They were re-interred here in 1972.
a map of "Baylorís 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 SitesMilitaryNotable EventsWar, US Revolutionary
 
Baylor Dragoons Memorial Committee Monument image. 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 image. 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.
Map of Baylor's Dragoons Massacre Site from Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 23, 2008
7. Map of Baylor's Dragoons Massacre Site from Marker
 
 
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 1,591 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on June 20, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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