In December 1776, the British rapidly occupied most of northeastern New Jersey. Washington had lost two major forts on the lower Hudson River and had retreated across New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Hessian soldiers advanced as far as Bordentown, Columbus and Mount Holly. By deploying this extraordinary show of force, the British expected to crush the revolt. Instead, Washington won stunning victories at Trenton and Princeton, convincing the British to withdraw to bases on the Raritan River.
War returned to the Delaware Valley in August 1777. Advancing from Chesapeake Bay, the British defeated Washington’s forces at Brandywine on September 11, occupied Philadelphia and laid siege to forts controlling the Delaware River approach to that city. In the months that followed, armies and foraging parties crisscrossed southwestern New Jersey.
When the French allied themselves with the United States in 1778, they dispatched their Mediterranean fleet to blockade the Delaware River. Fearing they would starve in Philadelphia, the British evacuated the city on June 18. Some 20,000 British, Hessian and Loyalist soldiers, together with fleeing civilians, began a difficult crossing of New Jersey to reach their stronghold at New York.
Bordentown, a small town of quiet, tree-lined streets was home to American patriots Francis Hopkinson and “omas Paine. Hessian troops briefly occupied the town in December 1776, and in 1778 the British cannonaded it. A self-guided walking tour of notable homes is available at City Hall, and in stores throughout the historic district.
During the Revolution, the mill village of Allentownwas a center for collecting supplies for the Continental Army. On June 24, 1778, the British Army, en route to New York, occupied the town. A 19th century gristmill built on the site of earlier mills still stands beside a millpond in the village.
The historic town of Mount Holly is the seat of Burlington County. Strategically located on the Rancocas Creek, it was occupied by Continental, British and Hessian troops. On December 23, 1776, the Battle of Iron Works Hill was fought between a brigade of Hessians and a detachment of Continentals and militia. By luring the Hessians from their base in Bordentown, the Patriots prevented them from supporting the Trenton garrison during Washington’s attack on December 26. There was more skirmishing in June 1778, when the British occupied the town on their march from Philadelphia to New York. The following year, the New Jersey Legislature declared the town the state capital from November through December 1779, while Trenton was threatened with invasion.
Between October 1777, and June 1778, Continental and British forces repeatedly occupied Haddonfield. On June 18, 1778, both divisions of the British Army camped here en route from Philadelphia to New York.
Take the tour!
34. Historic Walnford
62 Walnford Rd., Allentown, New Jersey 08051
(609) 259-6275 • Monmouth County
35. Crosswicks Friends Meeting House
15 Front St., Crosswicks, New Jersey 08515
(609) 298-4362 • Burlington County
36. Friends Meeting House
81 High St., Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060
(609) 261-7575 • Burlington County
37. Burlington City
Office of Tourism, 12 Smith Alley, Burlington City,
New Jersey 08016 • (609) 386-3993
38. Old St. Mary’s Church
Wood and West Broads St., Burlington City, New Jersey
08016 • (609) 386-0902 • Burlington County
39. Lawrence House
459 High St., Burlington City, New Jersey 08016
(609) 386-4773 • Burlington County
40. Bard-How House
453 High St., Burlington City, New Jersey 08016
(609) 386-4773 • Burlington County
41. Evesham Friends Meeting House/Mt. Laurel Meeting House
438 Mount Laurel-Moorestown Rd., Mt. Laurel,
New Jersey 08054 • Burlington County
42. Smith-Cadbury Mansion
12 High Street, Moorestown, New Jersey 08057
(856) 235-0353 • Burlington County
43. Indian King Tavern State Historic Site
233 Kings Highway, Haddonfield, New Jersey 08033
(856) 429-6792 • Camden County
44. Greenfield Hall
343 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, New Jersey
08033 • (856) 429-7375 • Camden County
45. Red Bank Battlefield Park (NHL)
100 Hessian Ave., National Park, New Jersey 08063
(856) 853-5120 • Gloucester County
46. Pomona Hall
1900 Park Blvd., Camden, New Jersey 08103
(856) 964-3333 • Camden County
47. Hunter-Lawrence House
58 N. Broad St., Woodbury, New Jersey 08096
(856) 848-8531 • Gloucester County
48. Woodbury Friends Meeting House
124 N. Broad St., Woodbury, New Jersey 08096