The Camden County Historical Society invites the public to an illustrated lecture on “The Battle of Gloucester, 1777—Where Lafayette Won His Spurs” on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 6:30 PM at the Camden County Historical Society, 1900 Park Boulevard, Camden NJ. Free parking is available in the parking lot beside the tennis courts on Park Boulevard.
Did you know that 241 years ago, during the American Revolution, United States troops based in Haddonfield attacked a Hessian outpost at the western edge of Haddon Heights and chased them—and British reinforcements—all the way to the hamlet of Gloucester Court House (now Gloucester City)? This was the “Battle of Gloucester,” in which the marquis de Lafayette and a small band of American rebels were the winners.
Historians Paul W. Schopp and Garry Stone will explain how on 25 November 1777, the marquis de Lafayette with 350 to 400 Continental rifleman and New Jersey militia were able to rout 330 German riflemen—and kept the enemy retreating even after they were reinforced by elite British light infantry. The German riflemen were an outpost of a 5,000-man British Army occupying part of the “Town of Gloucester,”—an 8.6 square mile township encompassing current Gloucester City, Mt. Ephraim, Bellmawr, and Brooklawn. The British Army had just destroyed Fort Mercer at Red Bank and was in the process of conveying 400 head of looted cattle to Philadelphia. Two days later, British warships cannonaded present Gloucester City as rebel riflemen and militia sniped at embarking British troops.
Did you know that in 1777, the “downtown” of the “Town of Gloucester” was a tiny courthouse hamlet with about three dozen inhabitants? Most of the town lots were being farmed—several were still forested!
Coopers Ferry—the nucleus of Camden City—was about the same size, with two ferries, two taverns, warehouses, and a store or two, but no courthouse or government employees.
In contrast, the village of Haddonfield had been a thriving market town of about 40 families. In 1777-1778, however, it was an army base and the region’s economy was in shambles due to the British occupation of Philadelphia.
Garry Stone and Paul W. Schopp (with the help of CCHS staff and others) are conducting this research for the Camden County Historical Society. The work is funded by a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, National Park Service.
published gloucestercitynews.net | April 25, 2019
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