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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Haddonfield, Skirmishes and Loyalists

According to David C. Munn in Battles and Skirmishes in New Jersey, six episodes occurred in Haddonfield, including some skirmishes.  New Jersey militia units harassed British forces heading towards Red Bank (October 21, 1777) and were on the receiving end of British attacks prior to the Battle of Gloucester (November 24, 1777).  Later, in February 1778, General Mad Anthony Wayne and British Major John Simcoe were involved in separate foraging encounters.  On April 5, 1778, American Major William Ellis was captured in Haddonfield in a skirmish.  The British moved through Haddonfield in June 1778 on the way to Monmouth, and were set upon by General William Maxwell's brigade.

But Haddonfield also was where the New Jersey General Assembly met in 1777.  Here we see the Indian King Tavern, where it met.

Today in Haddonfield are two shops featuring the Union Jack and British food and objects, an interesting reminder of the Loyalist community in New Jersey. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Fable Agreed Upon

On March 20, 2012 I blogged about the Battle of Short Hills in New Jersey, fought on June 26, 1777.  One of the very personal aspects of this near-illegible battlefield is the Frazee house, shown below.

There is a colorful story associated with this place and, if true, we can come closer to the enigma known to us as William Howe.  According to the Aunt Betty Frazee House project's website, the day after the battle, on June 27, General William Howe knocked on the Frazee door, supposedly smelling the aroma of fresh baked bread, and asked for some.  Believing she had no choice, Frazee said "I give this bread not in love but in fear." And supposedly Howe then politely declined the bread and left.  There is some indication that the Frazees (Gershom and Betty) made bread for local militia during the early part of 1777.

The Joseph Warren Monument Association, in a 1905 book on the monument, embellishes upon the story, and has the conversation going something like this, but with Cornwallis, not Howe, as the other speaker:

"Cornwallis is the name, Madam.  General Cornwallis.  And with me is General William Howe, my superior officer.  Passing by, we caught the odor of the bread you are baking and are tempted to ask for a loaf.  A rare delicacy for soldiers, I assure you, Madam."
"I give this to you, Sir, in fear, not in love."
"Then neither I or a solider of mine shall eat it, Madam."

As Napoleon observed, history is a fable agreed upon.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Alamance Revisited

I previously blogged about Alamance, that some have labeled the "first" battle of the American Revolution.  Regardless of that "debate," Alamance, North Carolina was the scene of its own real skirmish during the Revolution, which anniversary comes up on March 5.  Here is a view of the battlefield today.

A plaque on the site notes an encounter on March 5, 1781 between members of the Delaware Light Infantry under Captain Robert Kirkwood and some British units.  In the Journal and Order Book of Capt. Robert Kirkwood, the entry for March 5,1781 states: "Marched this Night to the old Regulation ground and attack'd the advanc'd picquet.  Brought off one of their Centinells & returned to Camp by morning."