Manalapan Travel Guide

  • Battle of Monmouth Re-enactment
    Battle of Monmouth Re-enactment
    by KiKitC
  • General Von Steuben
    General Von Steuben
    by KiKitC
  • Monmouth Battlefield
    Monmouth Battlefield
    by KiKitC

Manalapan Things to Do

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    General Von Steuben

    by KiKitC Written Jul 8, 2009

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    Sitting in front of the visitor's center at Monmouth Battlefield State Park, this life size memorial to General Von Steuben stands proudly.

    The monument has a life size casting of the general, standing upright and proud with a sabre in one hand and a looking glass in the other. Von Steuben's training of the troops has been attributed to the victory of the Continental Army at the Battle of Monmouth and other victories.

    The plaque under the statue reads:

    "September 17, 1730 - November 28,1794

    Friedrich Wilheim August Heinrich Ferdinand Baron von Steuben was born September 17, 1730 in Magdeburg, Prussia (Germany) to a military family. Reared in the rigorous military school of Frederick the Great, von Steuben served with distinction in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) and as an Aide-de-Camp to the Prussian King.

    In the fledgling US, after the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress sought foreign assistance in the strugle against the British. In 1777, Benjamin Franklin met von Steuben, who then came to America that December, offering his service without rank or pay, to aid the Revolution. In January 1778, the Continental Congress accepted von Steuben's service as a volunteer in the Continental Army and ordered him to report to General Washington's quarters at Valley Forge as soon as possible.

    Even in the face of depserate conditions, including frost, disease, inadequate shelter and lack of supplies, von Steuben gave military training and discipline to the citizen soldiers fighting for American Independence. In May 1778, Congress approved General Washington's recommedation to appoint von Steuben as Inspector General of the Continental Army.

    On June 28, 1778, at the Battle of Monmouth, the benefits of Von Steuben's training were evidenced by the American troops opposing the ritish Army. The heroic American performance, a turn in the tide of the war, is attributed in large part to the work of von Steuben. Colonel Alexander Hamilton, an eyewitness, declared that von Steuben's system of drilling, reviews and inspection moved the officers and soldiers with the confidence that from now on, they were on equal ground with the armies of the enemy.

    Von Steuben was instrumental in further American victories, including the defeat of te British at Yorktown in 1781, where the Baron received the overture of capitulation from the British General Cornwalls. During 1778-1779, von Steuben prepared a complete set of regulations for Continental troops, the "Blue Book", which became the United States Army training manual. In 1783, von Steuben became an American citizen. In 1784, von Steuben was discharged from the military with honor and turned his energies to preparing for the defense of New York Harbor and designing the plans for a military academy that were later realized at West Point. In 1788, the State of New York, wishing to express its gratitude for his service, granted him 16,000 acres north of the Mohawk River. Von Steuben was lso the President of the German Society of New York and a Regent of the State University of New York. Von Steuben died on November 28, 1794, and was laid to rest in a hero's grave in Ramsen, New York, where we read the following inscription:
    "Indispensable to the Achievement of American Independence"

    Erected 2004 by the Steuben Society of America and the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield in gratful recognition of his valiant service to America in her struggle for liberty"

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Perrine Hill 2 more images

    by KiKitC Written Jun 23, 2009

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    The second of two historic walking trails begins and ends at the Friends of Monmouth House on Route 522 in the middle of the battlefield and encountered mostly action from noon to 4:30 pm. Just 3/4 mile from Wemrock Road on Route 522 is an historic house, now part of the Friends of Monmouth. A small parking area is available just on the edge of the battlefield.

    Allow 70-90 minutes of walking time for this 1.5 mile hike (2 miles with optional trip to "Molly Pitcher's" stream). The trail is mowed for easier navigation, but remember, this was a battlefield, and the cannonball pocked ground may be less than level. Stop at the visitor center for an informational brochure and map of this trail. There are markers and signs along the way to help the visitors relive the battle.

    Walk behind the house here, and you will clearly see the Sutfin House on your right. Use this house as a reference as you walk around the outskirts of this field. Walk about 90 yards along the field, and the trail will swing to the right. About 120 yards ahead is the start of another fence line. This marks the beginning of General William Alexander, also known as Lord Stirling, defensive, artillery line that continued back to the tree lines. Walk about 100 yards along the fence, and the 100 yards or so to the left to two more historical markers. This is where the center of Stirling's line held, and where the shot that killed Lt Colonel Mockton was probably fired from. General George Wahington rode this hill for hours during the battle.

    About 200 yards further marks the left wing of Stirling's line. Here a young gunner named William Hayes and the rest of Captain Francis Proctor's line endured heated battle in blistering heat. Mary Hays, wife of William is said to have battled beside her husband, here on Perrine Hill, and running ammunition nad needed water to the soldiers. 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.

    Many stories abound as to where Molly Pitcher's well, from which she drew the water during the battle stands. But, due to the location of the troops, and proximity to a stream, she more than likely would have traveled back and forth to a stream just 200 yards back in the woods. Follow the trail back to see where she would have drawn the water.

    Head back out the woods the way you came in, and turn left. Follow the trail along the woodline, on the outskirts of the battlefield for about 600 yards, to the site where the British fell back to in the sweltering heat. Turn right and follow the fence line for about 120 yards. This marks the area where the 42nd Regiment (also known as the Royal Highland Regiment or "Black Watch") were centered. Before the cannonade subsided, WAshington had already sent brigades to advance on the British here.

    About another 250 yards along the fence is where the Continental Army stopped an advance of British breaking through the bloackade. Follow the trail to the Sutfin House, built on the 1730's and was one of the building present on the battlefield during fighting.

    The starting point is just 125 yards or so from here.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Monmouth Battlefield 2 more images

    by KiKitC Written Jun 23, 2009

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    The first of two historic walking trails begins and ends at the visitor center on the top starts at the top of Comb's Hill, follows the hedgerow , where the left wing of the British Army was stationed and through the Parsonage farm, where General Anthony Wayne mad his last stand against the pursuing British.

    Allow 45-60 minutes of walking time for this hike over approximately 2 miles of grassy fields and dirt road. This trail highlights the fighting of the battle on the south side of Route 522 and the morning's skirmishes. The trail is mowed for easier navigation, but remember, this was a battlefield, and the cannonball pocked ground may be less than level. Stop at the visitor center for an informational brochure and map of this trail. There are markers and signs along the way to help the visitors relive the battle.

    From the visitor's center, two bridges can be seen over the stream (Spotswood South Brook) at the bottom of Comb's Hill. Begin your tour on the right hand side, at the sign marking the site of the Comb's Hill Cannonade. From here, the Continental Army and the British, stationed along the Hedgerow, engaged in a stalemated artillery battle, until Major General Greene appeared with four additional artillery pieces, forcing the British to pull back.

    Take the bridge on the right crossing the stream and stay ont he path to your right when you will come to a fence-line. This is the southern edge of the hedgerow. Follow the hedgerow until you come to the top of the hill. This is where the first fighting of the battle began...where General Charles Lee had just 800 soldiers against 2,000 British.

    Further down the hedgerow, on a knoll to the left, is where the two sides engaged in musket fire at point blank range. Just further along the hedgerow, just before hitting Route 522, is the position where the British repositioned for the afternoon's battle. Look to your left, at a small ditch in the highway about 1/4 mile away. This is the area where the commander of the 2nd Grenandiers, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Monkton was killed at 1:15 pm by a round of grapeshot through the heart. He is now buried at the Old Tennent Churchyard. Monkton was the highest ranking officer of either side to be killed at the Battle of Monmouth.

    Turn left at this point, following the path between the orchard and the railroad for about 150 yards, where the path turns to the left. This is the road to the Parsonage farmhouse. Continue to follow the trail back towards Comb's Hill. At the site marked 10 on the trail map, intense fighting ensued. Over 70 muskets have been recovered on this hill alone. To return to Comb's Hill, follow the footbridge over the stream to the right and back up the hill to the visitor's center.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Road Trip

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    Molly's Well? 2 more images

    by KiKitC Written Jun 23, 2009

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    Favorite thing: 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:

    "Molly Pitcher
    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology

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