Hessian Burials

diggersw

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Dec 4, 2003
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As we have discovered on this site and from experience, Beck had his problems also. However, without him we most likely would not be having a discussion right now.

Guy
Guy,
I concur wholeheartedly, but also feel that Beck's work serves several major functions: he sparks an interest in the subject matter in an light yet informative way; he captured memories and folktales that would otherwise have drifted into oblivion; and, he inspires further indepth research. The research most of us have conducted regarding the ghost towns in the pines are testament to his seminal efforts. I know that I attribute my MA thesis and my work on Brooksbrae to his convulted and confused folklore regarding the "Pasadena Terra Cotta Company".

Just a few thoughts.

Scott W.
 
Thats a nice rendering of the battle of Gloucester. Guess you been to the G.C.H.C.? They have Washington's commendation later to LaFayette for a job well done. And to think that battle goes pretty much unnoticed in Rev. War history.
Piney Boy:

Thanks for the nod. Regarding la Fayette and the battle of Gloucester, not only is there the material at the Gloucester County Historical Society, but there is a five-volume set of books on la Fayette in America; George Washington's own correspondence files; and the recollection of others with him. In addition, a la Fayette's aide d'camp, Michel deCapitaine DuChesnoy, prepared a map of the entire skirmish, which can be readily interpreted using modern topo quads.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Furball1

Explorer
Dec 11, 2005
378
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Florida
La Fayette & Other European Officers

Jerseyman, first, thanks for the additional information you sent me and then included for everyone elses pursuit. If I could make a suggestion to anyone proposing to write about S. Jersey as an important "crossroad" of the Revolution, please-please-please try to include fold-out maps with color-coded arrows symbolizing each participants journeys---I think it would help dunder-heads like myself who have a difficult time comprehending the journey through words alone. Now, getting a little off-topic about the Hessians, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, or, the Marquis de Lafayette (whew, I'm glad someone shortened THAT name!) has always been a person of interest to me, probably because Washington grew very fond of him and considered him like a son, was 19 years old when he came to America in July 1777. By August he was 20, a major general, and riding at Washington's side! Not just him, but many men served in the Revolution who hailed from other countries:the German, Lt.General Frederick William Augustus Henry Ferdinand Baron von Steuben (Valley Forge), the highborn Polish patriot and exile Cashimir Pulaski who was killed in 1779 during an attack on Savannah. The conflict was truly international, and to think many of these people passed through and battled in NJ.
 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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Guy,
The research most of us have conducted regarding the ghost towns in the pines are testament to his seminal efforts.


Scott W.
And I also agree with you. Without Beck there are quite a few things I would have never known about or found in the pines. Just one line in his Rockwood chapter gave me a month or more of great times.

Guy
 
If I could make a suggestion to anyone proposing to write about S. Jersey as an important "crossroad" of the Revolution, please-please-please try to include fold-out maps with color-coded arrows symbolizing each participants journeys---I think it would help dunder-heads like myself who have a difficult time comprehending the journey through words alone. Now, getting a little off-topic about the Hessians, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, or, the Marquis de Lafayette (whew, I'm glad someone shortened THAT name!) has always been a person of interest to me, probably because Washington grew very fond of him and considered him like a son, was 19 years old when he came to America in July 1777. By August he was 20, a major general, and riding at Washington's side! Not just him, but many men served in the Revolution who hailed from other countries:the German, Lt.General Frederick William Augustus Henry Ferdinand Baron von Steuben (Valley Forge), the highborn Polish patriot and exile Cashimir Pulaski who was killed in 1779 during an attack on Savannah. The conflict was truly international, and to think many of these people passed through and battled in NJ.
Furball:

While I enjoy viewing maps contemporary to the Rev War period devoid of modern annotation, I do agree that supplying a companion modern interpretative map makes sense in certain situations. You will find such a map in the Smith book I recommended to you, although I do think the textual material that accompanies the interpretative map contains some erroneous information. Smith attempts to interpret the circuitous route of the Hessian march to Fort Mercer, but misses some important legs and misconstrues others. He uses arrows on his interpretative map to denote the route and I think you would gain a much better understanding of the Hessian movements from examining this volume.

Yes, the Marquis was the son that Washington never had, although at times the American General dispaired of the young Frenchman's adventures. Prior to the attack that la Fayette led on the Hessian Pickets, he attempted to recon the British position in Gloucester. With the aid of a local guide, the Marquis made his way to Sandy Point, the spit of land lying at the mouth of Newton Creek on the stream's north shore. While using his telescope to obtain intelligence, British guards observed the daring but reckless leader, although he did not spot their approach, presumably by boat. Although the British soldiers came very close to surrounding la Fayette, to make a long story short, la Fayette evaded his would-be captors by returning to his troops via a different road likely unknown to the British vanguard.

As you say, the Revolutionary War garnered an international force of soldiers on both sides of the battlelines. For those foreigners supporting the cause of liberty, their collective leadership during the conflict's darkest periods materially aided in an American victory.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Steve:

Nice photographs! As I recall, back in the late 1990s, an Eagle Scout made it his project to restore the Salem Road sign, originally placed there during the 1920s by the New Jersey Commission on Historic Sites. If you are feeling adventurous, park your car near this sign, jump out (not for the faint-hearted along Brace Road!!), leap over the guardrail, and go up the berm immediately to the east. Walk into the woods a short distance and you will still see the route of the Salem Road there, still clear of vegetation, even though no one has used it since the early nineteenth century. It is a unique experience to stand in the middle of that road and realize that our seventeenth and eighteenth century ancestors once trod the very same thoroughfare!

When the British and Hessian troops evacuated Philadelphia during June 1778, they bivouacked overnight in Haddonfield while the American militiamen constantly harrassed them with rifle fire. Upon rising early on June 19, 1778, the British forces split into two groupings because the primitive roads of the period would not accept the passage of the entire entourage as a single entity. The wagon train, reporting containing upwards of 500 vehicles (if my memory is correct), went up the Salem Road/King's Highway to Moorestown, while Cornwallis, his troops, and many of the Hessians went out Old Borton Mill Road/Kresson Road to a local road in the area of Marlkress Road, where the military forded the North Branch of Cooper's Creek and went out Greentree Road to Evesboro and out Mount Laurel Road to the Evesham Quaker Meeting (now known as Mount Laurel Meeting), where they encamped overnight. Hence the inscription on the sign along Brace Road.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Piney Boy

Explorer
Sep 19, 2005
365
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Williamstown, NJ
All,

I can't say what a pleasure its been reading everyone's bits and pieces on this and related topics. It warms my heart to see so much love of SJ and its Rev qar history. While it has been understated at both the state and national levels a wealth of Rev. War personas and sites does exist in Southern NJ. I really do believe in the next year or two we will see the State do more in the way of protecting sites and putting out literature.
Love the map idea Furball, my attempt is not aimed at so much of a battle book idea as that of following some significants involved in and around the battle. That being said, perhaps a than and now section would be a welcomed addition.
 

Furball1

Explorer
Dec 11, 2005
378
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Florida
Google Earth-view

Heres a shot of the area I spoke of in an earlier post. My grandparent's home is to the left, and the swale leading to the old bridge is to the right, just left of the placemark---this yard/home has undergone almost NO change in the last 40-50 years. This site should definitely have a historic marker. My GP's home is where the cannonballs were found. I wonder if there is a way to do an assay/iron composition to determine their origin's--whether British or Colonial (Batsto?). Here are the dimensions: 14 1/4" circumference, 3/4" diameter filler hole (7/8" thickness of the iron), and weight is 8.2 lbs ( all this time I thought they were 6 lb'ers) when filled with sand/gravel it must have weighed nearly 9lbs, a formidable piece of iron! The gun must have been large as well. Anyone out there clued in to armament of the Revolution?LTC-Swale.jpg
 
Furball:

I harbor very little doubt that the cannonballs found on your Grandparents property once belonged to Cornwallis's troops. On 24 November 1777, not only did the British commander and his men tred upon the peninsula that hosts Brooklawn today, but the entire force encamped there overnight. These soldiers expended so much time crossing Big Timber Creek on the portable bridge that they had no choice but to bivouac there because the Americans had also destroyed Little Bridge. Once the army had crossed Big Timber Creek, the British military engineers had to recover the copper pontoon bridge and move it overland to the site of Little Bridge. This all took time, so Cornwallis ordered his troops to set up their tents and spend the night. As I indicated in a previous email, to guard the engineers engaged in redeploying the bridge components, the artillery attached to Cornwallis established a defensive position near the top of the swale to thrwart any earnest American attempts to interfere with the bridge work. In their haste to move out in the morning, either the artillerymen missed the cannonballs or opted to leave them behind due to indolence. A third reason could be an upset wagon or cart.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Furball1

Explorer
Dec 11, 2005
378
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Florida
Thanks!

Thanks, Jerseyman. I've tried to do a little search on the internet to no avail, to determine the size of the fieldpiece used to shoot a 9lb cannonball--do you know of a good resource? Thanks, again, for your insight and obvious and genuine love of this topic!
 

Furball1

Explorer
Dec 11, 2005
378
1
18
Florida
A thought

I wonder if the ground around the swale would yield archeological finds of interest to the State? Just a thought.
 
I wonder if the ground around the swale would yield archeological finds of interest to the State? Just a thought.
Furball:

The area surrounding the swale likely holds high potential for an historic archaeological artifactual record. Unfortunately, I do not think the state would expend any money in conducting such an investigation. It would be great if they did fund projects like this one in the name of public history and archaeology, but the pols are too busy spending tax revenue on their pet projects. If the state or county undertook a modern road construction project through the immediate area, under state regulations the work would trigger an E.O. 215 proceeding. If the work included payments using federal funds, then NJDOT would need to conduct a cultural resource study under a federal code known as Section 106. However, I think it highly unlikely that the state would push a highway through the middle of Brooklawn, so I don't think there is much of an opportunity to conduct an archaeological investigation there.

Meanwhile, the still buried artifacts will remain safe and intact until such time as projects like this one receives proper funding.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Thanks, Jerseyman. I've tried to do a little search on the internet to no avail, to determine the size of the fieldpiece used to shoot a 9lb cannonball--do you know of a good resource? Thanks, again, for your insight and obvious and genuine love of this topic!
Furball:

I've enjoyed the reparteé of this topic and I am delighted to find a ready and willing audience. I do not have a source at hand for determining the fieldpiece used to fire such a projectile, but I will inquire of a colleague at work who is well-versed in historic military artillery pieces. I will let you know.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Furball:

Sorry for the delay in responding. Unfortunately, my colleague is out of the office due to involvement in processing an archaeological collection under NAGPRA regulations. He will be returning to the office on 9 November, so I hope he can provide some definitive information at that time. Meanwhile, I have put out feelers elsewhere to gather information on the cannonballs.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Furball:

My other contacts have come through already! Artillerists refer to these projectiles as shells and not cannonballs and fired them from cohorn mortars or howitzer. To quote one contact:

"The hollow shell would be packed with powder and a wooden fuse hammered into the opening. The fuse would be cut so that the shell would explode just over the enemy's head showering them with fragments of the shell."

Another contact wrote:

"Mortars and howitzers were described by their bore diameter, as opposed to cannons which were described by the weight of the solid shot that they fired, for example, 3-pounders, 6-pounders, etc. In actual use, the hole contained a fuze rather than a plug, and the bomb was filled with gunpowder. The one that you describe has apparently been emptied of the powder, and had a the hole plugged. There is no operational reason for the sand or gravel being there, nor for the wooden plug. Both may post-date this bomb's actual military service."

Please let me know if you require additional information.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Furball1

Explorer
Dec 11, 2005
378
1
18
Florida
Thank-you!

I appreciate your attention to these details, Jerseyman. I was a kid when I pried out one plug, and then poured out the "sand"--it was white, not black as I would envision gunpowder. Is it possible they would have filled the shell, then plugged it, with the intent to bombard fortification walls, buildings, or ships? I can imagine the promontory (sp?) of the embankment of the Little Timber Creek close to my GP's house would have offered an incredible ability to shell any craft, boats, etc. coming in from the Delaware to harass the British Troops or to bombard snipers on the other side of the creek opposite the bridge. Again, I wonder about the possibilities of finding artifacts of the revolution on both sides of the creek. Maybe I'm just making this whole story a bit too important, probably because of the fact that I grew up in the area. Sorry if I have made this a chore. Take Care....Furball1

David