(CNBNEWSNET)(June 13, 2018)-- TRENTON - The pivotal Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth will be re-enacted this Saturday and Sunday at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Manalapan, the DEP announced today.
The battlefield will become the backdrop to skirmishes between Gen. George Washington's Continental Army and British Redcoats as cannons and muskets fire during the battle, which historians have long considered a strategic and pivotal turning point in the war.
Additional events commemorating the 240th anniversary of the battle fought on June 28, 1778, are scheduled on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 at the park's visitor center. The park is at 16 Business Route 33 in Manalapan, Monmouth County.
"The annual re-enactment of the Battle of Monmouth retells a critical point in the war for independence," DEP Acting Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. "Events such as this remind us that New Jersey's rich history gives Americans a unique glimpse into the birth of our nation."
Encampments will open at 9 a.m. to the public and close at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 17. Skirmishes are scheduled each morning. Various presentations and battle re-enactments are planned each afternoon. Children can participate in an afternoon cannon drill on Saturday and an afternoon musket drill on Sunday. A $10 per vehicle donation is requested to help defray event costs.
Several new activities are planned this year. Representatives with the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia will be on hand with replicas of Gen. Washington's tents and interpret their history for visitors. An ox team from Howell Living History Farm also will be present.
The story of Molly Pitcher, the legendary heroine of the battle, also will be told each day. Pitcher, whose real name is believed to have been Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, reportedly loaded cannons and carried pitchers of water to aid soldiers, leading to her nickname. Legend holds that Molly Pitcher took her husband's place in a cannon crew after he either collapsed or was wounded.
"Monmouth Battlefield was the site of a day-long battle that pitted the Continental Army against British Redcoats," Division of Parks and Forestry Director Olivia Glenn said. "The bravery displayed on this historic field is a solemn reminder of the efforts made in the name of freedom."
The Battle of Monmouth occurred when Washington's army intercepted British, German and Loyalist soldiers fleeing from Philadelphia to New York to escape an impending blockade of the Delaware River by a French fleet. Although the British-led troops escaped during the night, the battle happened while the Continental Army was low on ammunition and had spent a brutal winter at Valley Forge. Both sides made leadership mistakes during the battle that may have ultimately helped Washington's army.
In addition to the battle re-enactments, visitors can get a glimpse of how soldiers lived during wartime, from cleaning their muskets and doing battle drills, to women cooking and other troops playing cards. Each day will also feature cavalry demonstrations and memorial services.
The re-enactment weekend is co-sponsored by Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, DEP's Division of Parks and Forestry, and the re-enactment community.
A food vendor will be on site and parking for the disabled will be available.
Activities for battle commemoration weekend on June 23 and 24 begin at 12:30 p.m. each day and end at 2:15 p.m. A tour of the battlefield will be offered each day, in addition to other activities for children and adults.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park has an award-winning visitor center that includes windows framing a panoramic view of the rolling farmland upon which the Battle of Monmouth unfolded. Fascinating and engaging exhibits track the battle's progression and are complemented by park interpretive specialists who bring the battle to life.
The non-profit Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, Inc. is dedicated to preserving, protecting and historically interpreting Monmouth Battlefield and historically related sites.
For questions about re-enactment activities in case of inclement weather, call the Monmouth Battlefield State Park Office at (732) 462-9616.
For a re-enactment weekend schedule visit www.friendsofmonmouth.org/reenactment.html
To learn more about Monmouth Battlefield State Park, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/monbat.html
For more information about the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, as well as tours and additional commemorative programming, visit www.friendsofmonmouth.org/