June 28, 1778: The British and the colonists square off at a site near present-day Freehold, New Jersey. The colonists are led by Gen. Charles Lee, the British by Gen. Henry Clinton.
“Lee planned to surround Clinton’s forces, but the strength of the opposition took him by surprise. After only an hour” the Rebels began a disorganized retreat. Washington was leading the bulk of his army towards the battleground when he began to encounter fleeing groups of soldiers. When he eventually met up with Lee, “Washington simply looked Lee in the eye and asked, whence arises this disorder and confusion, to which Lee had no real reply.” Washington then unleashed “a terrific eloquence of unprintable scorn . . . dismissed Lee and took charge of the battle . . . His presence stopped the retreat . . . His stately appearance on horseback, his calm, dignified courage . . . provoked a wave of enthusiasm among the troops.”
Washington to Lieut. Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay of the 3rd Maryland Regiment: “If you can stop the British for ten minutes, till I form, you will save my army!”
Ramsay’s response: “I will stop them or fall.”Washington’s Immortals, pp. 184 – 185