The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley: The Jersey Dutch and the Neutral Ground, 1775-1783

The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley: The Jersey Dutch and the Neutral Ground, 1775-1783

The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley: The Jersey Dutch and the Neutral Ground, 1775-1783

The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley: The Jersey Dutch and the Neutral Ground, 1775-1783

Excerpt

Overshadowed on two sides by her great and historically minded neighbors, New Jersey, though aptly called the cockpit of the Revolution, has seemed to Jerseymen to have had little notice of its place in that dramatic war, and what notice it has had has centered largely upon the Battle of Trenton and the short campaign that preceded and followed it, with perhaps some further notice of the Battle of Monmouth. The student of the war will know the names of John Witherspoon, Elias Boudinot and the Rev. James Caldwell, and the role that the men of middle Jersey played in the war, and perhaps something of the Jersey Quakers of the country to the south.

New Jersey north of Newark also had a dramatic part in the Revolution.

Its people were Jersey Dutch, cut off in many ways from their English countrymen in the rest of the colony. These men, only recently come to full estate in British colonial politics and more comfortable talking plain Dutch than the language of the royal capital at Perth Amboy, spent the months before Lexington, like their English neighbors, in quarreling among themselves over the Intolerable Acts and the other issues of the day, never, we may be sure, realizing that it was to be the Jersey Dutch farmer, not the New Englander or the Virginia planter, who would find himself surrounded by contending armies when war came.

The British moved the theater of war from New England to New York in the summer of 1776. Thereafter Bergen County Dutchmen lived in the dread neutral ground, forced, as few other colonists were ever . . .

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