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Unhappy Catastrophes (Paperback)

The American Revolution in Central New Jersey, 1776-1782

Military > Pre-WWI > American History > American Revolution

Imprint: Savas Beatie
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 10 maps, 150 images
ISBN: 9781611215274
Published: 11th October 2022



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"The Importance of the North River (the Hudson), and the sanguine wishes of all to prevent the enemy from possessing it, have been the causes of this unhappy catastrophe." So wrote General George Washington in 1776 as the British invaded New Jersey. Worse was to come, as the British overran the state, and the Americans suffered one unhappy catastrophe after another.


Central New Jersey witnessed many small battles and important events during the Revolution. This area saw it all: from spies and espionage, to military encampments like Morristown and Middlebrook, to mutinies, raids, and full blown engagements like Bound Brook, Short Hills, and Springfield. The British had their own catastrophes too. So did civilians caught in the middle.


In the fall of 1776, British forces drove the Americans out and secured the state. Following the battles of Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey became a battleground.


The spring of 1777 saw the formation of a new Continental Army, one that served the rest of the war. That spring British and American forces clashed in a series of small but sharp battles.


By summer, British general Howe tried to lure Washington into a major engagement, but the Americans avoided the trap. As the conflict dragged on, civilians became engulfed in the fray, and a bitter civil war erupted, continuing until the end of the conflict.


In Unhappy Catastrophes: The American Revolution in Central New Jersey, author Robert M. Dunkerly follows the course of the war through its various phases, and details lesser-known battles, military campsites, raids, espionage, and more. The book features historic sites to visit, markers, and websites for further research and study. This part of New Jersey saw more action during the Revolution than anywhere else in the young nation. It has been called the Cockpit of the Revolution. To truly understand the war, look at central New Jersey.

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