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Past Events Archive

Past Events Archive
Nathaniel Heard's Brigade to present a Revolutionary War Re-enactment

Saturday, November 6th at Camp Jefferson

The Nathaniel Heard Brigade's re-enactment organizational goal is to promote an understanding of the life and times of the people of the American Revolution specifically, and the 18th century in general. Also, it is their goal to promote research in order to more accurately recreate and represent the various material goods as well as aspects of military and home life during the American Revolution. The Brigade is a member organization of the Brigade of the American Revolution, a national organization of re-enactment units. Currently they have the following military and civilian membership -- 2 officers- Captain & Lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, 47 men-at-arms, and 36 civilians - including children.

As some historical background, The New Jersey militia participated in numerous battles and skirmishes during the American War for Independence. Militia of the State, from time to time, were required that volunteers be called into service to repel raids, prevent foraging, protect the sea coast, supplement the Continental Army , and perform a variety of duties in territory which was in the area of strife.

New York State, probably the most loyalist state in the colonies, furnished 15,000 men to the British Army, and another 8,000 to local militias. Long Island contributed many to these numbers.

In February 1776, the Continental Congress ordered Colonel Nathaniel Heard to take about 500 men of his New Jersey militia through the Long Island towns of Jamaica, Hempstead, Jericho, and Oyster Bay, to disarm the loyalists. A wide assortment of weapons were confiscated. The song Yankee Doodle was originally composed by the British to ridicule American troops. The British were astonished when the Americans began singing it themselves! As a result of Heard's foray through Long Island, they composed another verse to the song.... "Colonel Heard has come to town in all his pride and glory, And when he dies, he'll go to hell for robbing of the Tory."

In late 1776, before the battles of Trenton and Princeton, Heard had been promoted to Brigadier General. His brigade consisted of 800 officers and men of the following New Jersey militia regiments: Colonel Phillip Van Cortland's regiment, Colonel David Forman's regiment, Colonel Joseph Phillip's regiment, Colonel Ephriam Martin's regiment, and Colonel Silas Newcomb's regiment.

On June 14, 1776, New Jersey was requested to provide 3,300 militia troops for the defense of New York City. They were placed under the command of Continental General Nathaniel Greene and fought the British at Bedford Road in the Battle of Brooklyn. They also fought at the Battle of White Plains, NY on Oct. 28,1776; in New Jersey at the Battle of Short Hills on June 26,1777; The Battle of Monmouth on June 28,1778; and The Battle of Minisink on July 22, 1779, on the Delaware River (near today's Barryville,NY). The troops were composed mostly of NY militia, but some NJ militia also participated and also fought in many more smaller actions in New Jersey.

In a letter dated June 12,1780 to General Heard from General Washington in the handwriting of Alexander Hamilton, Heard was ordered to remove horses and cattle within five miles of the water from Newark to Amboy and drive them inland to prevent them from falling into the hands of British foraging raids. An account of the number taken was to be kept so the owners would be paid.