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PHOTO: Re-enactment of the Battle of Monmouth

muriel j smith 120We are so fortunate to live in Monmouth County, where the Board of Freeholders, so many historical societies, the county Historical Commission, the Monmouth County Historical Association and the state take so much pride in preserving so much of our past. Probably the single most important event that has taken place in our area is the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolution, the longest fought battle of that entire war, and one in which so many men died as much from exhaustion and heat as actual battle.

The battle of Monmouth took place June 28, 17778 and each year the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield stage a re-enactment that is as fascinating to watch as it is educational and precise. The re-enactors are all volunteers, in uniforms or dress of the ear, and complete with horses and cannons.

 

battle monmouth 2This year’s re-enactment will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18 and is sponsored by both the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield and the State Park system who maintain the battlefield. Plan now to spend at least one day that weekend learning about this remarkable piece of American history and joining in some of the activities.

Parking will be at a premium as always, so getting there early is a good thing. There is some limited parking for handicapped drivers, and plenty of food vendors with both snacks and beverages to tide you over. They’re asking for donations of $10 per car for the event, and that’s still a great deal to see a realistic portrayal of the battle which also led to the court martial of an American General and a turning point in the war.

It’s more than just the battle being re-enacted and it’s definitely a family day especially because the kids will actually enjoy learning about their ancestors! The battle will take place in the fields distant from the Visitor Center and there’s a bit of walking to do to get to it. But there are also troop camps and demonstrations, a musket drill for the kids, some programs on ladies’ fashions of the day and Molly Pitcher herself!

battle monmouth molly 1Stacy Roth has portrayed the famed Molly many times at Monmouth Battlefield and she’s sheer delight. Whichever story, fable, documented history you read or believe about Molly Hays, she is definitely a part of American history and was doubtlessly at Monmouth Battlefield. Heck, she even received a pension from the Army, though it took her quite a while to get it!. She be all be back to the Battlefield for the special programs and drills that will be held the weekend of June 24 and 25, closer to the actual dates of the battle, so there are plenty of opportunities to see her in action. Besides her presentations, Roth will talk about the role of women in those early armies and have cannon drills for the kids.

If it isn’t possible to see the reenactment next weekend, or the special programs the weekend after, think about one of the walking tours that are held the first Sunday of every month at the Battlefield. They start at the Visitor Center…and that’s worth a visit all by itself!....at 1:30 on the first Sunday and professionals point out highlights and give great stories surrounding the men who were present during that time. The Covenhoven House on Main Street in Freehold is also open weekends and it’s another opportunity to get a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. Britain’s General Clinton took over the house as his headquarters while the battle was being waged, and he and his troops left with considerable belongings from the family on their way out. Guides there can tell great stories that make our early history here in Freehold so exciting.

battle monmouth molly 2Check the Friends’ website at www.friendsofmonmouth.org for specific activities, times, and further information on the Battle of Monmouth reenactment and other activities. Check www.monmouthhistory.org for information on the Covenhoven House and all the other historical association’s sites and activities. Celebrate America by learning more about its history. Get a new appreciation for what the Fourth of July and the American Revolution really are.