Unhappy Catastrophes: The American Revolution in Central New Jersey

It is that time again, for another Emerging Revolutionary War Sunday Night Happy Hour! This will be our 50th Sunday Night Happy Hour! There is no better way to celebrate than to talk about New Jersey in the American Revolution.

Robert M. Dunkerly

New Jersey was one of the most fought over areas during the American Revolution. Most know of the battles of Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth, but central New Jersey witnessed many small battles and important events during the Revolution. This area saw it all: from spies and espionage, to military encampments like Morristown and Middlebrook, to mutinies, raids, and full blown engagements like Bound Brook and Springfield. This part of New Jersey saw more action during the Revolution than anywhere else in the young nation. A full understanding of the war demands a study of these events and places.

We welcome historian and author Robert Dunkerly who has authored the latest ERW book titled “Unhappy Catastrophes: The American Revolution in Central New Jersey, 1776-1782” due out later this year. This talk coincides with our bus tour this November of Trenton and Princeton and will provide a good backdrop on the situation in New Jersey in 1776.

This Sunday, August 22nd at 7pm we will go live on our Facebook page. We look forward to this lively discussion and we encourage questions and comments via the chat box. “See” you this Sunday!

Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown

Part of an ongoing series of about the Continental Army in Morristown, New Jersey. For the first post, click here.

Across the street from the Ford Mansion, the elegant home of the Jacob Ford, Jr. and his family, and the headquarters for George Washington during the winter encampment of 1779-1780, sits a small boulder with a iron plaque plastered on the side.IMG_0027

Erected in 1932 by the Tempe Wicke Society Children of the American Revolution, the monument commemorates the Life Guards that served as Washington’s headquarters command during the American Revolution. Although the unit went by different names and reorganized at least twice, including once during the winter encampment at Morristown, the company, numbering approximately 150 men, would be around for the duration of the war. Continue reading “Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown”

Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown

Part of an ongoing series about the Continental Army in Morristown, New Jersey. To read previous posts, click here.

All that remains is a historical marker, on the side of North Park Place across the street from Morristown Green. For a few months, between January 1777 and May 1777, in this location, the headquarters of the Continental Army was located. Within that headquarters, obviously, was George Washington.

Arnold’s Tavern historic sign (author’s collection)

Although no specific date of construction exists, it is believed that Arnold’s Tavern was built by Samuel Arnold between 1735 and 1750. By the time of the American Revolution owned by the son, Colonel Jacob Arnold. The structure was three stories high, with a wide hallway that bisected the building, a front and back parlor, barroom, dining room, and kitchen. Continue reading “Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown”

Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown

Part of an ongoing series of about the Continental Army in Morristown, New Jersey. For the first post, click here.

“The smallpox has made such head in every quarter that I find it impossible to keep it from spreading thro’ the whole army the natural way.” General George Washington wrote in February 1777.

By the time the Continental Army was encamped in Morrristown, Washington had become a firm believer in the inoculations for smallpox for the entire army. The inoculation process would entail the following: Continue reading “Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown”

Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown

Approximately one month ago, I took a temporary detail assignment to Morristown National Historical Park. The national park preserves the winter cantonments of the Continental Army during the American Revolution; including the harshest winter, weather-wise, of the entire war, in 1779-1780.

For parts of multiple winters and even during the campaigning season, Washington’s forces would come to Morristown, situated behind the Watchung Mountains, which provided safety but also a perch to monitor the British in the New York City.

The town still bears witnesses to this rich legacy of housing soldiers, with historic buildings and signs dotted around the spiraling town. On a walk the other day, I came across the house below, with a small plaque situated on the front of the dwelling.


The home saw soldiers use it for their encampments throughout the majority of the war years. On his return to the United States the Marquis de Lafayette was welcomed with a reception in the building as well, which is in the photo below.


Morristown is filled with tidbits of history from the American Revolution and I as spend the next few months there as a park ranger, I will share what I come across. So, stay tuned as I uncover the history of the place that “Saved America” according to the park’s unofficial slogan.


North Jersey American Revolution Round Table

Two of the most significant battles of the war happened in the state of New Jersey; Trenton and Princeton. The harshest winter of the war for the Continental Army was at Morristown, New Jersey. Maybe it is only fitting that the largest American Revolution Round Table is also located in the Garden State.

North Jersey American Revolution Round Table

The North Jersey American Revolution Round Table is now on its ninth year as an organization and according to Secretary Rich Rosenthal, they are known for their “caliber of speakers and membership participation.”

Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at the Washington’s Headquarters Museum Great Hall. All facets of the American Revolutionary War and era are discussed with, of course, “special emphasis” on New Jersey and Morristown’s role in the history of the United States.

Guests are certainly welcome. “We meet at a National Park facility [Morristown National Historical Park]–there is no admission!”

For more information, consult the following website by clicking here. An email newsletter is also available to keep up-to-date on events of the non-profit round table.