On September 22, 1778, Gen. Sir Henry Clinton ordered Maj. Gen. Sir Charles Grey, Maj. Gen. The Marquess Charles Cornwallis,and Brigadier General Edward Mathews to mobilize troops in an effort to provoke Gen. George Washington into a battle. After learning that Col. George Baylor had secured quarters for his troops, twelve officers and 104 enlisted men, in the barns of several farms on Overkill Road (now Rivervale Road), Cornwallis ordered Grey to pursue Baylor's troops.
Around 3 o'clock in the morning on September 28, 1778, British Major-General Charles Grey mobilized six companies of light infantry under Major Turner Staubenzie and six companies of light infantry under Colonel John Maitland. The troops used their bayonets to maintain the element of surprise as they went from house to house, a tactic Grey used previously in the Battle of Paoli. At least 69 of the dragoons were killed, injured or taken prisoner. Eleven were killed outright; four were left and died of their wounds.
After the attack, some of the injured were taken to the Reformed Church of Tappan in nearby Tappan, New York, which served as a prison and hospital.
The 52nd Regiment of Foot, which was nearing the end of its service in the American War, was involved in this incident. The events were described as follows by General Hunter: "While at New Bridge we heard of their being within twenty-five miles of our camp, and a plan was laid to surprise them. We set out after dark, mounted behind dragoons, and so perfectly secure did the enemy think themselves that not even a sentry was posted. Not a shot was fired, and the whole regiment of dragoons, except a few who were bayoneted, were taken prisoner". Shortly afterwards, the 52nd was ordered back to England.