Saturday, June 22, 2013

Monmouth and Mythology

     June 28 marks the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth.  I posted on this battle last June.  Last week was the reenactment, but I chose to go today and avoid the crowd, and check out the new visitor center.  This state park and its center rival many of the federal park battlefields I've visited in terms of presentation of information and legibility, and its electric map and accompanying thirteen minute presentation provide an excellent overview of the battlefield.  The controversy surrounding Charles Lee and George Washington was treated evenly, if briefly, but at the end, the battle was heralded as a great victory for Washington.  As Brendan Morrissey writes in Monmouth Courthouse 1778: The Last Great Battle in the North, "[b]y any objective criteria, the battle of Monmouth Courthouse was a draw." The British left the field, but they were doing so anyway, and continued their "retreat" to Sandy Hook.  Washington had set out to destroy the British army if he could find the right engagement, and that did not occur.  For those with limited interest or exposure to such things, though, they leave this introduction with opinion offered as fact, and so does mythology continue.

     I did see something new: I finally made it to the Craig House portion of the battlefield.

     Restored in 1993 to look as it did during the battle, it was not directly involved in the area of fighting but certain Continentals retreated across the farm at one point, and the British used the house as a hospital.

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