Monmouth Battlefield State Park is the site of one of the largest battles of the American Revolutionary War. The park is located in Manalapan and Freehold Townships.
Scottish and Dutch families settled this area in the 1680s, and by 1770 seven well-established farms stood on the site that is now that park.
On June 18, 1778, General Sir Henry Clinton led the main British Army from Philadelphia to march on New York. The next day, General George Washington moved in to harass the British. On the morning of Sunday, June 28, 1778 as the 20,000 militia in the British Army was breaking camp to begin the march, General Charles Lee led his regimen of 5,000 in the Continental Army to attack the British from the rear.
When Lee realized that half of the British soldiers had readied and were coming his way, he led a retreat across Monmouth Battlefield. General Washington instructed Lee to delay action until the main Continental Army, with another 8,500 troops could approach. The battle resumed at 12:30 pm with a bloody clash at the hedgerows. The British advanced, only to find the Continental Army occupying a strong position atop Perrine Hill, behind a line of ten guns. Exhasted from the earlier clash and march, the British attack collapsed.
The British sent light infantry to outflank the Continental Army, but found Lafayette and the Continental Reserves waiting for them. The British positioned ten cannons and howitzers in front of the hedgerow to silence the Continental Artillery. That afternoon, the largest field artillery battle of the American Revolution waged.
General Nathaniel Greene brought a brigade of Virginians and four guns to the top of Comb's Hill, overlooking the British's line at the hedgerow. The British were forced to beak rank and retreat. General Washinton took the opportunity to counterattack. Two battlaions of light infantry advanced to skirmish with the retreating British, while three regiments, under General Anthony Wayne crossed the bridge to attack the British Grenadiers. Wayne's men, succumbing to the grenadiers, were forced to retreat to the Parsonage on the site of the battlefield. Again outdone by the Continental Army, the British pulled back and made camp.
Washington moved fresh troops in to resume the attack the next morning but by 11pm, the British had broke camp an retreated to continue their march. This marked the end of the last major battle in the north.
The Battle of Monmouth was a triumph for General Washington and the Continental Army, forcing the British to retreat. The British army suffered two to three times the casualties as the Continental Army.
On the north side of Route 522 on the historic Monmouth Battlefield, some 7,000 soldiers of the Continental Army Artillery were stationed here on Perrine Hill. Here, on the roadside sits a blue, informative sign and tells an "historical" tale of Molly Pitcher. It reads:
Americas First Heroine
During the Revolutionary War, on June 28, 1778.
A blistering hot day at the Battle of Monmouth.
A woman who was with her husband, John Casper Hays,
who served in the Pennsylvania Regiment
carried water to the thirst American soldiers
who shouted "MOLLY, "Molly Pitcher" when they needed water.
Through heavy Bombardment Molly carried the water
to the parched soldiers during the artillery dual.
Her husband was wounded and she immediately
helped load and fire the cannon
continuing the barrage against the British.
Legend has it that General George Washington
commended Molly Pitcher after the battle
and commissioned her a sergeant on the battlefield.
This seems to be substantiated by the fact that
she was given an army pension and buried
in her home town with full military honors in 1832.
The home where she drew the water is to your Northeast
Robert N. Ferrell"
Though Mr. Ferrell's information follows the legend of Molly Pitcher, recent historic researchers find slightly different tales. Mary "Molly" Hays McCauley was at the Battle of Monmouth. She did assist her husband's unit in the blistering heat and cannonade. But, in the excitement that ensued after the victorious battle, the tales of Molly's heroic action of helping fire the cannon may have been exagerated and confused with another Revolutionary War heroine named Margaret Corbin ("Captain Molly"). Corbin's husband was killed at the Battle of Fort Washington, New York on November 16, 1776.
Also, the exact place where Molly drew the water is unclear. Mr. Ferrell's sign places it at the house just to the northeast, which would have been yards ahead of the cannonade she was assisting. Another "known spot" is a small well across the street from the area where this sign sits. That would have put Molly running 200 yards towards the British line to draw water. Unlikely. The park has identified the most likely place where Molly got the water...and by the way, she would have been carrying in an artillery bucket, not a pitcher, like legend says.
The Battle of Monmouth was waged in near 100 degree (F) heat, in the open, sunny fields of local farms. Historical accounts show that local wells had been run dry, and the water in the creeks surrounding the battlefield were muddy. The only clean water source readily accessible would have been a spring, which sits to the northeast of the regiment. About 200 yards BEHIND the line. The park has marked historical signs at this more probable site.
A private recorded a story telling how a cannonball flew right between Molly's legs, ripping her petticoat, but how the brave lady continued on her mission.
What many people don't know about NJ is that about 70% of it is undeveloped. Although Freehold is an extremely densley populated city, it is located in a very beautiful and scenic area of NJ. Only about 30 minutes from Freehold is one of the most beatiful places in the country (in my opinion), the Highlands. There are 3 tourist attractions in this area that can be covered in one day:
1. Mt. Mitchell Scenic Overlook- Mt. Mitchell is the highest natural point in Monmouth county, and affords some of the best views of the Raritan Bay and the New York City skyline available.
2. Battery Lewis at Hartshorne Woods- Once a military base, then abandoned and turned into a 14 mile long park along the Navesink Bay and Atlantic Ocean. From atop the battery and mountains you can see breathless views of the ocean, Sea Bright, Sandy Hook, and NYC.
3. Twin Lights- Once a double-lighthouse, this monument is recognized from all over. On top of a mountain overlooking the ocan and bay, you can climb 200 feet to the top of the north lighthouse for the best views anywhere.
Freehold area played a big part in the American Revolution, and its prevelant in parts of town. Allaire Historic Village, Railroad, and State Park is only about 15 minutes outside of Freehold, and is a beautiful place to spend a day.
See a real, working 1700's steel mining and milling town, complete with buildings restored and reenactments, as well as the historic Pine Creek Railroad from the mid-1800's! Ride the Pine Creek Railroad on its mile loop in 1850's era train cars!
$5.00 entry fee weekends.
Anywhere in NJ, you can visit many farms and pick your own fruits and vegetables. Freehold/Monmouth County have several.
If for some reason, this site is not working, just do a search of "New Jersey" and "u-pick" and I am sure you will find something.
There are also a working historic farm in the Monmouth County area: Longstreet Farm in Holmdel (http://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/parks/longstreet_revised.asp) at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel (732) 946-3758. The farm is free, and there is a park next to it for hiking and for the kids to play in. Various activities occur throughout the year that the public can participate in, such as harvest, etc.
generally, the Freehold Center Partnership organizes the outdoor activities in the boro. Last Thursday from May through September is Kruize Night when antique cars are driven into town. On other Thursdays, there are usually bands playing. And most recently, a gazebo has been set up on Main Street for other performers on random nights. The partnership also organizes small downtown festivals. You should look at their website to find the latest. THey are all free.
I've never seen so many bicycles in my life! The Metz Bicylce Museum has one of the world's largest collections of historical bicycles and other historical means of transportation, and is quite interesting.
In the 1700's, our country's forefathers fought for our independence. The Battle of Monmouth occured right here in Freehold.
Monmouth Battlefield State Park commemorates one of the largest battles of the American Revolution. There are miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, as well as a restored farmhouse that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Located in Freehold, NJ.
There are also battle re-enactments during the warmer months.
For all you nature lovers out there, turkey Swamp park is the perfect place. Just a couple of miles outside of downtown Freehold is this nature lover's paradise, complete with 2 large lakes, miles and miles of trails, and camping facilities. Kayak and Canoe rentals available during the summer in the lake.
Less than one mile outside of downtown is this popular relaxation and recreation spot. This largest lake in Freehold has a walking/biking trail which closely hugs its side for about a mile, picnic facilities, and is a great place to go and just enjoy the scenery for an hour or two, and I'm not the biggest nature lover either!
The Jersey Shore. It's one of those world famous places that everyone knows about, but not everyone gets a chance to experience. Coming to Freehold during the summer months will allow one an easy daytrip to one of NJ's many famous beaches. Since traffic and parking in beach towns are nightmares during the summer (I once circled Point Pleasant for 2 hours before finding a parking spot), the bus is the preferred method of arrival from the Freehold area.
->The 836 bus travels from Freehold Center to Asbury Park transportation center, where transfer is available to the 317 and 830 buses, as well as the North Jersey Coast Rail Line, all of which travel from the Asbury Park Transportation Center to beaches up and down the Monmouth and Ocean county coastline.
->The 139 and 67 buses run frequent service to Lakewood, where a transfer can be made to the 317 bus to Point Pleasant, Manasquan, and Spring Lake.
->For acess to southern beaches like Atlantic City, Cape May, and Wildwood, ride the 67 bus to the end of the route at Toms River and transfer for the 319 express to Atlantic City. The entire trip from Freehold takes about 2 hours, including transfer time in Toms River. Once in Atlantic City, local and express service is available to Cape May and Wildwood, with some 319 buses continuing as far as Cape May in the summer!
Freehold has not only world class cuisine, but also many places for both budget and world class shopping.
->The Freehold Raceway Mall, about a 1 1/2 miles southwest of downtown (W. Main St. to Trotters Way or 67, 833, or 836 buses from Freehold Center Bus Terminal), is one of the nation's largest shopping malls, offering stores for both shoppers on a tight budget, as well as those who are looking to spend more. Anchor department stores are Nordstrum, Lord and Taylor, JC Penny, Sears, and Macys.
->The Jackson Outlet Village, about 10 miles southwest of downtown offer hundereds of premium outlet shops, from brands ranging from Banana Republic to Brooks Brothers to Bose to Nike, everything is here! Stay on W. Main street and turn left on Commodore Blvd. (about 10 miles from downtown), or take the 307 bus (April to November only) from Freehold Center to the Jackson Outlet Village stop.
Six Flags Great Adventure, about 15-20 minutes southwest of downtown is a great, however expensive, place to spend a day. Only about a mile from the Jackson Outlet Village, Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the largest Six Flags theme parks in the country. Every year, this park is breaking records as far as tallest and most intense rides.
The safari is another cool place, right next door!
Take W. Main St. westbound from downtown for about 11 miles, following signs for Six Flags Great Adventure.
Take the NJ Transit 307 bus and save on admission! The NJ Transit 307 Express bus runs every hour during the Six Flags season from Freehold Center to the Jackson Outlet Village and Six Flags Great Adventure. Save the hassle of parking, too!