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17 November 2001

The featured activities of this day will involve an historical reenactment of the British invasion of Bergen County and the retreat of the Continental Army from Fort Lee.

To accomplish this, members of the Brigade of the American Revolution, a living history society that accurately portrays the various regiments from all sides of the conflict, will recreate some of the historical scenarios that occurred here in Bergen County some 225 years ago.

British Invasion, Nov. 1776
Contemporary watercolor by Thomas Davies
See BCHS 1975 Annual
At approximately 8:00am, the British troops will ascend the original Huyler’s Landing Road up the Palisades, much as the original British force under Cornwallis did. About a half-hour later, a mounted countrymen will ride into Fort Lee Historic Park and warn the garrison there that the British have landed. The troops will quickly assemble and begin their trek towards Historic New Bridge Landing, ending in River Edge, some six hours later. Along the way there will be ceremonies in some of the different towns, paying tribute to the original soldiers of 225 years ago. Amongst the day’s most dramatic moments will come when George Washington meets his army in Englewood, which should occur around 11:00am. Close on the trail of Washington’s Army will be the British troops, joined by Loyalists, who will close in from the north. Both armies will meet at Historic New Bridge Landing at about 2:45pm, when a sharp skirmish will take place, representative of the British troops under General Vaughan capturing the bridge. The capture of the bridge historically took place the following day, November 21st 1776. The day’s activities will close with speeches after the troops of both armies have crossed the bridge, bringing to a close an epic moment in New Jersey & American History.

Not all the troops 225 years ago marched the beaten roads towards New Bridge. Some of the retreating soldiers and followers made their way towards “the ferry” on the Hackensack River, crossing there in boats. To commemorate this part of the event, the towns of Ridgefield Park and Little Ferry will conduct a symbolic crossing of the Hackensack, complete with an authentic reproduction of an 18th Century batteau, or boat used to transport goods or people along rivers and lakes. This crossing is dependent on the tides, which are scheduled to run favorably between 10:30 – noon.

While this is a reenactment involving authentically clad and equipped living historians, the public is also cordially invited to not only view, but take part in some of the activities. The American Army of the day was truly a force of Citizen Soldiers, serving short enlistments and then returning to their homes, or serving in the local militia. To honor their service we invite all the townspeople along the march and throughout the county to follow in the footsteps of history. The residents of today will form their own division of troops and march behind the troops and followers of the army. They are encouraged to don 18th Century attire to further get in the spirit of the event. They are welcome to march through their own town or follow the troops the whole route. Those residents loyal to His Majesty are encouraged to follow the British troops in their advance.

18 November 2001

The following day will see additional activities throughout the county. At Historic New Bridge Landing at 11:00am will be a recreation of the enlistment of a Loyalist regiment, the 4th Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers. In the days immediately following the British invasion, hundreds of Bergen County residents flocked to the King’s troops and were enlisted in the above regiment. Loyalist reenactors will be attested, swear an oath of allegiance, receive uniforms & arms, and be instructed in military discipline by a few trained British regulars. This activity is scheduled to run from 11:00 – 1:00. At 4:00pm a lecture on the events of 20 November 1776 will be given by noted historian and Bergen County Historical Society Trustee Kevin Wright. The lecture is part of a series commemorating the state’s roll 225 years ago.

At Fort Lee Historic Park the members of the Brigade of the American Revolution will take part in an afternoon of camp life and tactical demonstrations, showing the clothing, weapons and tactics of the day. Here is your opportunity to ask an American or British soldier about the life and times of the average soldier of the day, or a follower of the army about the difficulties of raising a family during the war.

The events of both days will be supported by local ceremonies and commemorations in many of the towns along the route. Historic New Bridge Landing will be open to the public on both days.

This historic reenactment is one not just to be viewed, but in which to participate. The public is invited to join in behind the troops' line of march and walk the historic route, whether it is to flee the British or invade New Jersey with them! Marchers are encouraged to wear 18th Century style clothing. Whether you simply march through your own town or do the whole route, you will truly be walking the paths of history!

Detailed Schedule of Events

Saturday , November 17, 2001

8:00 British & Hessians begin march up Huyler’s Landing Road.

8:30 “Countryman” rides into Fort Lee Historic Park (FLHP) and reports British have landed. Drums beat to arms & troops assemble. US Forces begin march from FLHP.

8:50 US Forces arrive at Monument Park, take part in ceremonies.

9:15 British & Hessians arrive at Tenafly Nature Center.

9:20 US Forces resume march from Monument Park.

9:45 Ceremonies in Cresskill commence.

10:15 US Forces arrive at Wood Park in Leonia.

10:15 British & Hessians resume march from Tenafly Nature Center.

10:15 Loyalists commence march from Cresskill to Tenafly.

10:30 US Forces resume march.

10:45 British & Hessian forces arrive at Huyler Park, Tenafly and are joined by Loyalists.

11:10 US Forces arrive at Liberty Pole in Englewood and are joined by “George Washington.”

11:25 US Forces resume march from Liberty Pole.

11:40 Crown Forces resume march from Tenafly.

11:45 US Forces arrive at Teaneck Armory. Lunch break.

12:40 Crown Forces arrive at Teaneck Armory. US Forces resume their march as the British approach. Lunch break for Crown Forces.

1:15 US Forces arrive at Memorial Park in Bergenfield.

1:20 Crown Forces resume march from Teaneck Armory.

1:45 US Forces resume march from Memorial Park.

2:00 Crown Forces arrive at Memorial Park in Bergenfield.

2:15 US Forces arrive at HNBL.

2:15 Crown Forces resume march from Memorial Park.

2:45 Crown Forces arrive at HNBL. Battle at Brett Park on East side of the Hackensack River.

3:15 Battle ends. US Forces withdraw to West side of river, followed by Crown Forces.

3:30 Closing ceremonies & guest speakers.

Note: The activities at Ridgefield Park & Little Ferry will run from about 10:00 until 1:30. They include ceremonies at a Loyalist & Whig house, a crossing of the river, a small march and school programs. These towns are commemorating those US forces that crossed the Hackensack at that point.

Many of the towns will have small ceremonies marking the occasion when the troops arrive. Make sure you come early for these!

Historic New Bridge Landing, located in River Edge, will open at noon on Saturday. There will be artillery demonstrations, a hospital exhibition, an 18th Century women’s fashion show and open historic houses.

Townspeople and others interested in following in history’s footsteps may march in their own division behind the troops. March the whole route or just in your town. Transportation back though is on your own!

Sunday, November 18th, 2001
The following activities take place at Historic New Bridge Landing, River Edge.

11:00 – 1:00 Take the King’s Shilling! The raising of Bergen County’s Loyalist troops at Historic New Bridge Landing.

4:00 A lecture by the noted historian Kevin Wright— “Historic New Bridge: The First Crossing.” Lecture held in the Steuben House.

The 3 Houses are open both days. (See above link)

The following activities all take place at Fort Lee Historic Park.

1:00 Soldiers of the Universe. Museum Patio.

1:30 Field Music Demonstration. Museum Patio.

2:00 Artillery Demonstration. Barbette Battery.

2:30 Afternoon Formation. Field outside Museum.

3:00 Tactical Demonstration followed by Retreat Ceremony.

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