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The New Jersey Brigade Encampment of 1781-82

The last major battles of the Revolutionary War were fought in the South, ending with the Virginia campaign which resulted in the surrender at Yorktown, on October 19, 1781, of the British Army commanded by Lord Cornwallis. Following this event, Washington ordered most of his forces to return northward. Plans were made to establish the main Continental Army encampment at Newburgh, N. Y., during the coming winter, but the New Jersey Brigade was directed to "take Post somewhere in the Vicinity of Morristown, to cover the Country adjacent, and to secure the communication between the Delaware and North [Hudson] River."

Col. Elias Dayton, soon afterward promoted to brigadier general, was then in command of the New Jersey Brigade, which at that time consisted of two regiments with a combined strength of around 700 men. His troops had arrived at Morristown by December 7, 1781, and they immediately established themselves in its neighborhood, again using log huts for quarters. Local tradition gives the position of their encampment as being in Jockey Hollow, a short distance southeast of the Wick House. Wherever the exact location, the Brigade remained there until August 29, 1782, when Dayton had orders from Washington to march toward King's Ferry. A few of the sick and some regimental baggage were left behind when the New Jersey troops began their march, but these also were forwarded in the next 2 weeks.

This was the last winter encampment of American forces in Morris County during the Revolutionary War. The period of Morristown's significance as a base for Washington's military operations in that conflict had come to a close.


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Last Modified: Mon, Dec 2 2002 10:00:00 am PDT

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