Monday, October 22, 2012

The Blue Hills of NJ and the Revolutionary War

map via
What we call the Watchung Mountains today was known to General Washington and the Continental Army as the Blue Hills. They were the natural barrier that could keep the Army safe from incursions by the British who held Manhattan.
You may have visited some of these sites, or you might drive by them every day. 
Bound Brook Village and the surrounding area were British targets during their encampment at New Brunswick in 1777. On April 13, there were 4,000 British and Hessian troops under General Cornwallis that moved from New Brunswick and surprised the American garrisons who were guarding the Raritan River crossings. They were overpowered and the Battle of Bound Brook was lost by the Colonists.

The village of Middlebrook, between the first and second range of the Watchung Mountains, was a site
where the Continental Army camped along in June 1777 and returned to in the winter of 1778-1779. 
That portion of the Army was made up of 10,000 troops - which equaled the population of Somerset County at the time. So as not to overwhelm the local residents, state brigades were spread out across the area. There was a Maryland brigade to the east of Middle Brook and the Virginia troops were on the west side. Pennsylvania was assigned across the Raritan, on the west side of the Millstone River, and the artillery was camped at Pluckemin. 
General Washington identified "Middlebrook" as the location in his dispatches. That 18th century village no longer exists. It is now the western end of Bound Brook

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