As few books regarding American history have achieved, Jim Stempel’s The Enemy Harassed brings a previously neglected period of the American Revolution to life.
In late December 1776, the American War of Independence appeared to be on its last legs. General George Washington’s continental forces had been reduced to a shadow of their former strength, the British Army had chased them across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, and enlistments for many of the rank and file would be up by month’s end. Desperate times call for desperate measures, however, and George Washington responded to this crisis with astonishing audacity. On Christmas night 1776, he recrossed the Delaware as a nor’easter churned up the coast, burying his small detachment under howling sheets of snow and ice. Undaunted, they attacked a Hessian brigade at Trenton, New Jersey, taking the German auxiliaries by complete surprise. Then, only three days later, Washington struck again, crossing the Delaware, slipping away from the British at Trenton, and attacking the Redcoats at Princeton—to their utter astonishment.
The British, now back on their heels, retreated toward New Brunswick as Washington’s reinvigorated force followed them north into Jersey. Over the next eight months, Washington’s continentals and the state militias of New Jersey would go head-to-head with the British in a multitude of small-scale actions and large-scale battles, eventually forcing the British to flea New Jersey by sea. In this captivating narrative of the American War of Independence, author Jim Stempel brings to life one of the most violent, courageous, yet virtually forgotten periods of the Revolutionary War. Sure to enthrall professional historians and book lovers of all stripes, The Enemy Harassed is scholarly history presented in an accessible style anyone can enjoy.
“Jim Stempel has given us in The Enemy Harassed a superb and spirited account of the little remembered but pivotal contest for New Jersey in the aftermath of Washington’s famous Christmas 1776 Crossing of the Delaware. He is to be applauded for his extensive research and elegant prose. This is a must read for all students of the Revolutionary War.”
–Dr. Cole Jones, author of Captives of Liberty: Prisoners of War and the Politics of Vengeance in the American Revolution.
“This is a very well researched, deep dive into a little-known period of the American Revolution, sometimes referred to as the New Jersey Forage Wars, during the long winter of 1777. Jim Stempel’s book addresses that shortfall in a highly readable book that brings to light many recently (re)discovered primary source diaries and journals. He weaves these new sources and heretofore unknown stories together with information from some of the period’s better known ‘Bloggers’ like Jaeger Captain Johann Ewald and British Army Officer Archibald Robertson, to provide a complete and well-rounded history of a critical period in our war for independence. This is a must read for both the serious historian and the casual history reader, and I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I have.”
–Brooks Lyles, LTC, US ARMY, Retired – Historian General, The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
“Jim Stempel’s appropriately titled Enemy Harassed takes the reader past the Ten Crucial Days into the New Jersey Campaign and the summer of 1777. Combining detailed descriptions of the nineteen most noteworthy military engagements with explanations of Congress’ legislative efforts, Washington’s development as a military leader, and Britain’s ultimately unsuccessful attempts to pacify New Jersey, Stempel’s vivid prose is sure to captivate anyone interested in the all too often forgotten months between Trenton and the Philadelphia Campaign, ‘one of the most violent, bloody, and consequential periods of the entire American Revolutionary saga.’”
–Robert A. Selig, PhD, Historical Consultant and project historian for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route. Dr. Selig was recently nominated a chevalier of the French National Order of Merit by French President, Emmanuel Macron.
“George Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware River would have meant little if not followed up by more than a year of fighting with the British to keep them out of New Jersey. Jim Stempel covers this critical period of the American Revolution, presenting a well-researched and vividly presented account of this conflict.”
–Michael J. Troy, Host, American Revolution Podcast.
“Jim Stempel has given us a spirited and engaging account of a little-known period in our struggle for independence from Great Britain. This is a welcome chronicle of a series of military encounters that helps explain the critical role New Jersey played as the ‘Crossroads of the Revolution.’ Here is a story that warrants greater attention in the context of the approaching semi-quincentennial of America’s birth.”
–David Price, author of John Haslet’s World: An Ardent Patriot, the Delaware Blues, and the Spirit of 1776 and The Road to Assunpink Creek: Liberty’s Desperate Hour and the Ten Crucial Days of the American Revolution
“Spanktown, Ash Swamp, Quibbletown, Bound Brook, Piscataway—all critical, yet essentially forgotten, small actions between the Ten Crucial Days and the Philadelphia campaign. But Jim Stempel’s The Enemy Harassed: Washington’s New Jersey Campaign of 1777 brings them back to life in this rousing and historically accurate accounting. Stempel leads us through the reconstruction of the Continental Army as it maneuvers in the Jersey midlands, responding to British thrusts. We meet the key players and visit the strategic locations while the author weaves a dramatic yet scholarly tale. Definitely recommended.”
–Bill Welsch, American Revolutionary War Roundtable, Richmond
“As a Historian’s Historian, in The Enemy Harassed: Washington’s New Jersey Campaign of 1777, Jim Stempel once again takes the road less traveled, bringing to life a period of the American Revolution that had been virtually forgotten. Based upon deep research—obtained in part from a wonderful trove of period diaries, journals, and letters—Stempel wields the artist’s brush to recreate the kaleidoscope of combat, maneuver, and counter-maneuver that raged across New Jersey during 1777, which ultimately had a profound impact on the war’s outcome. Bound to enthrall readers of all backgrounds and interests, The Enemy Harassed is very highly recommended.”
–James Holden-Rhodes, Ph.D., retired Marine Corps combat officer and former Director of the Intelligence Studies Program at New Mexico State University. Author of Smart and Faithful Force.
“Washington’s New Jersey campaign of early 1777 is finally receiving the historical attention it has long deserved. The Enemy Harassed offers a lucid account of how the rebel commander-in-chief rebuilt his army and, along with the New Jersey militia, fought with stunning effectiveness after the first Morristown winter. Stempel’s new book has offered a window into one of the most important but least understood chapters of the War for Independence.”
–Mark Edward Lender, author of Cabal! The Plot against General Washington
“Jim Stempel’s account of George Washington’s 1777 New Jersey Campaign is both readable and important. The Enemy Harassed is a colorful nonfiction book based on meticulously footnoted eyewitness accounts taken from the letters, diaries, and journals of soldiers, militiamen, homeowners, 18th Century newspaper reports, and American and British government records. The Appendix includes excellent biographical vignettes.”
– Kim Burdick, author of Revolutionary Delaware and frequent contributor to the Journal of the American Revolution.
“There were numerous turning points in the American Revolution. None have played a more critical role and been studied less than the New Jersey Campaign during the winter of 1777. In The Enemy Harassed, Jim Stempel unveils this challenging time with incredible detail and research. This book is very interesting and is surely destined to become required reading for anyone interested in the American Revolution. I would highly recommend this book.”
–Jim Griffith, Revolutionary War Rarities