On November 20th, 1776, five thousand British, Hessian and Loyalist troops, under command of Lt. Gen. Lord Cornwallis, scaled the Palisades at Lower Closter Dock and marched against Fort Lee, the principal remaining fortification on the Hudson of the fledgling United States. Warned by an alert officer, Major General Nathanael Greene quickly evacuated the American garrison and made for the only escape route available to him, New Bridge, now known as the Bridge That Saved a Nation. Safely crossing the Hackensack River enabled Washington’s Army to secure their retreat across New Jersey and to live to fight another day.
To mark the 235th Anniversary of the “times that try men’s souls,” the Bergen County Historical Society, along with the Third New Jersey Regiment and Fourth Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, will co-sponsor a weekend of living history and scholarly presentations at Historic New Bridge Landing , 1201-1209 Main Street, River Edge, NJ 07661. Tickets cover both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Suggested donation: $7 adult, $5 children, BCHS members free.
At 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2011, noted military historian Todd W. Braisted, a Bergen County Historical Society Past President, will present new research on the British invasion, disclosing the identities of British guides who accompanied British forces, the discovery of the American officer who warned the garrison, and description of the pitched battle that nearly occurred between the British and Americans that night. Afterwards, visitors may enjoy light refreshments at the Campbell Christie House, along with living history members portraying the soldiers and followers who took part in the Revolutionary struggle from that time.
Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 20th, members of various living history groups, representing both sides of the conflict, will perform military demonstrations, showing the life and times of the common soldier of the American Revolution. Cooking and baking demonstrations will likewise take place in the Out-Kitchen behind the Campbell Christie House and visitors may tour the historic homes on the site.
At 1 p.m. Todd Braisted will speak in the Steuben House on the raising and history of the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, Bergen County’s Loyalist unit, actually formed at New Bridge in the days immediately following the British Invasion. Some of the Society’s treasure of Revolutionary War artifacts will be displayed.
The Bergen County Historical Society is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) volunteer organization, founded in 1902 to preserve important evidence of the past and to promote historical literacy through interesting programs and publications. Not receiving public operating support or grants, we rely entirely upon private donations, membership dues and volunteer contributions of time and talent. We are presently trying to raise $350,000 to construct a first-rate historical museum building and library for Bergen County on the Society’s property at Historic New Bridge Landing.