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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora and Hancock's Bridge

The slaughter of innocent people in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater this past week is profoundly horrific; words are inadequate to try to understand it.  We grieve with the families and friends of those killed.

During the Revolution, there were several notorious massacres, acts of wholesale slaughter.  One in particular occurred in Salem County in southern New Jersey at Hancock's Bridge.  The notorious Colonel John Graves Simcoe of the Queen's Rangers and Colonel Charles Mawhood (who led the British at the Battle of Princeton) faced off against New Jersey militiamen at Quinton's Bridge (also Quintin's Bridge) at Alloway Creek on March 18, 1778 with four times the men, and would have destroyed the force there, but for reinforcements.  Failing to dislodge them, Mawhood sent Simcoe to Hancock's Bridge upstream to the north, where they surprised about 20-30 men at Judge William Hancock's house, and (in the American version) massacred them on March 19.  Simcoe, in his Military Journal, reported that "[s]ome very unfortunate circumstances happened here.  Among the killed was a friend of the Government, then a prisoner with the rebels, old Hancock, the owner of the house, and his brother."

The house still stands as a reminder and a memorial.
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