September 28, 1778
Late one night in 1778, the woods you are standing in suddenly echoed with the sounds of battle. A surprise attack by British soldiers nearly destroyed an American regiment, Baylor's 3rd Continental Light Dragoons. Today, this park tells the story and honors the memory of the men of "The Baylor Massacre."
Who was Baylor?
George Baylor was born to advantage. His father, Colonel John Baylor, a prominent member of the Virginia aristocracy, raised fine race horses on his plantation north of Richmond. Colonel Baylor's wide circle of influential friends included General George Washington, with whom he had served in the French and Indian War. Washington visited the Baylor plantation often, and young George Baylor became his prot?g?.
In 1775, at the age of 23, Baylor received a commission as a captain in the newly formed Continental Army. Washington favored the young soldier with an appointment as his first aide-de-camp (an officer assigned to assist a general). Baylor's duties were ordinary ones - he bought supplies, performed secretarial duties, kept track of Washington's personal effects, and served as an escort to Mrs. Washington - but the honor of serving the Army's Commander in Chief far outweighed the routine nature of his responsibilities.
Baylor distinguished himself as the Battle of Trenton when he accepted the surrender of a group of Hessian soldiers. General Washington and the Continental Congress soon rewarded him with his own command of cavalry, the Third Continental Light Dragoons.
"Sir: I have the pleasure of congratulating you upon the success of an enterprize, which I had formed against a detachment of the enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yesterday morning?Colonel Baylor, my first aid de camp, will have the honour of delivering this to you, and from him you may be made acquainted with many particulars; his spirited behaviour, upon every occasion, requires me to recommend him to your particular notice."
George Washington to John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, December 27, 1776.