Morristown National Historic Park

IAround the city of Morristown there sites that tell the story of the hardship of the Revolutionary War. The severe winter weather of the north east coast ensured that fighting stopped in winter and both sides moved to winter quarters. From December 1779 to May 1780 Washington and the 10,000 soldiers of the Continental Army made their winter quarters around Morristown. It seemed like an ideal location, high ground from which any British activity could be spotted and sympathetic local people. However, the New Jersey winter of 1779-80 was the coldest on record and life in the small timber huts into which up to 12 soldiers were crammed proved unbearable. A thousand soldiers deserted and the entire Pennsylvania contingent successfully mutinied. An attempted mutiny by New Jersey soldiers resulted in several alleged ringleaders being hanged. Morristown National Historic Park was created in 1993 to preserve the sites where the soldiers endured the hardship of the winter and the mansion where Washington and his entourage stayed.

 

Washington's Headquarters, Ford Mansion

Unlike the soldiers who had to build their own huts, Washington and his entourage had the luxury of a mansion to live in.  The mansion was built in 1774 by iron manufacturer Jacob Ford, Jr. During the Revolutionary War, Ford was a colonel in the Morris County Militia, but he died of pneumonia in January 1777. It was his widow, Theodosia, who allowed General Washington to use the mansion as his headquarters during the winter of 1779-1780. Martha Washington joined her husband at the mansion after a difficult journey through snow. The Ford family continued to live in the mansion while Washington was there. Fortunately it was big enough to provide space for both. The mansion remained the home of the Ford family until the 1870's when it was sold at auction.  As part of Morristown National Historic Park, the National Park Service has furnished the mansion to reflect how it might have appeared during Washington's time there. It is open to the public for guided tours. Click Tab 2 to see the bedroom used by George Washington while staying at the mansion.

Soldiers huts, Jockey Hollow

The huts built by the soldiers were buit to  a specification laid down by Washington.  4.9 x 4.3 metres (16 x 14 feet) in size, They were made of rough hewn logs with clay sealant and a shingled roof.  They had an earthen floor and each hut had a small fireplace to provide warmth and for cooking food. The soldiers also had to make bunks and any furniture that they needed. Hundreds of these huts were built. Click Tab 2 to see the interior of a soldiers hut.

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Wick House, Jockey Hollow

Jockey Hollow is where 10,000 soldiers were stationed and more were stationed further south near Bernardsville.  In Jockey Hollow stood Wick House, built around 1750 by Henry Wick. He owned 570 hectares (1,400 acres) of land. A considerable amount of his land was forest, and he allowed the Continental Army to cut down trees to build cabins.  He also allowed Major General Arthur St. Clair, the commander of 2,000 Pennsylvania soldiers, to stay in Wick House. The house is open to the public and furnished as St. Clair’s headquarters.  Click Tab 2 to see the garden

 

 

 

Washington's Headquarters Museum

The museum is the starting point for guided tours of the Ford Mansion. There are three rooms of exhibits relating to the winter that the Continental Army spent in Morristown, and a video is shown entitled ‘Morristown: Where America Survived’.

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- An insight into the hardships suffered by soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
- Nothing to report.
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Ford Mansion (Washington's HQ), Morristown National Historic Park, Morristown, NJ, USA
Washington's Headquarters Museum, Morristown National Historic Park, Morristown, NJ, USA
Wick House, Jockey Hollow, Morristown National Historic Park, Morristown, NJ, USA
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Soldiers huts, Jockey Hollow, Morristown National Historic Park, Morristown, NJ, USA
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