On September 20, during the night, Gen. Howe dispatched Maj. Gen. Grey to deal with Wayne’s division. Grey left with his force at 10:00 P.M.and marched down the Moores Hall Road to the Admiral Warren cross-roads. As the leading British light infantry approached the junction, shots were fired by an American picket. It is said that these shots alerted the Pennsylvanian camp which lay behind woods to the South of the junction.
The British forced the blacksmith, whose smithy lay by the Adm. Warren, to act as guide. The first wave of British troops, comprising the 2nd Battalion of Light Infantry, rushed through the woods and attacked the American camp. The Light Infantry were followed by the 44th Foot and, in a third wave, by the 42nd Highlanders. A small group of 16th Light Dragoons accompanied the Light Infantry.
At Grey’s direction, the flints had been removed from his men’s muskets to ensure that no shots gave prior warning to the Americans. The attack was to be at the point of the bayonet. Grey thereby acquired the nickname of “No Flints” Grey.
In the face of the British charge, the Pennsylvania troops were dispersed and driven out of the camp to the West, many through a gap in a fence along the edge of the encampment. Groups of British soldiers mixed with the Americans and confused fighting continued as far as the White Horse Tavern.
Smallwood’s force approached from the West as the attack was coming to an end and came under attack as it passed the White Horse Tavern. The inexperienced and badly organized Maryland Militia dissolved in confusion.
The Battle of Paoli was a severe humiliation for the Pennsylvania Continental troops but probably little more. The fight is referred to as the "Paoli Massacre". It is difficult to see how that label can be justified in the light of the small number of American fatalities. Claims are made that the British took no prisoners. This allegation appears frequently in the Revolutionary War and is made against both s...