HIGHLANDS, NJ – The Historical Society of Highlands will host Robert A. Mayers, local author and Revolutionary War Historian, at7:30 PM, Thursday, June 25 at the VFW Hall, 331 Bay Ave Highlands,N.J. The event is free and open to the public His topic will be “The War At The Shore”
The strategic seashore From the Bay Shore and Sandy Hook south along the coast through Monmouth and Ocean Counties was the setting for bloodshed, violence and occupation by the enemy during the American Revolution. Americans fought not only the British but their Loyalist neighbors. Many fascinating events occurred in Highlands during the War for Independence. There was a battle on the “Heights of the Navesink” on Rt. 36 and a massive troop evacuation when 16,000 Redcoats marched down Linden Ave. into the lower town after the battle of Monmouth in 1778.
Mayers will trace the evacuation Route of the Redcoats from Freehold though Colts Neck, Middletown and Highlands on their way to Sandy Hook using the old maps of the time. When the British Army arrived they found that the Hook was an island and a pontoon bridge had to be build to cross to it from what is today the north end of Sea Bright.
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In this area two of the most colorful leaders of the entire war met untimely deaths. Patriot Joshua Huddy was hung on Gravelly Point in Highlands and his foe Colonel Tye an African American Tory from Shrewsbury perished from a wound. Bob Mayers, describes many of these events in new book The Forgotten Revolution When History Forgets: Revisiting Critical Places of the American Revolution That Have Been Neglected by History, written after he searched original documents from that time, eyewitness accounts that survive and recently unearthed evidence.
Sites of many critical events of the Revolutionary War in Monmouth County have been lost or neglected by history. Places where patriots fought and died are often unmarked, shrouded in mystery, distorted by mythology and unknown even to local people. After more than two centuries some of these sites have entirely disappeared while others have languished unnoticed. Natural defenses such as the the high ground at Middletown and the Navesink, Shrewsbury and Raritan Rivers determined the location of these places. The Monmouth County hills, rivers, cities, forests and coastlines influenced troop movements, battle sites, supply routes and the flow of action during the entire war.
Mayers will revive these forsaken locations with fresh research from original military records and onsite visits. He found that myths were often created when the winner wrote the history. Obscure British, Hessian and Loyalist accounts often reveal more accurate details than those that have traditionally been accepted as authentic by earlier historians. He admits that no amount of archival research can compare with visits to these places and by comparing how they appear today to over two hundred years ago. The author is an active member of 10 historical societies and is a frequent speaker and contributor to society publications.