This Sunday, Aug 14, not only is the main floor of the museum open for tours, but we have a special speaker who will be giving a talk in our lower worker's dining room (off lower porch, center door) from 2 to 3:30pm. The door will be open for visitors around 1:45 p.m. (To access the location for the speaker, use the driveway to go to our lower porch. There are a few stairs to climb and then you may enter the door on the porch. If the door is shut and it is after 2 p.m., please enter quietly so as to not disturb our speaker.)
Ms. Walls' topic for this Sunday is "Black History of Warren County: A Legacy".
This presentation is free to the public. Seating is limited.
For more information regarding parking, accessibility, and more please visit the event below or you can call the office between 8 and 4 p.m. (908) 453-4381.
* If our back parking is full, please park on Washington Ave. (past the church). Please do not block the driveways as they need to remain open for emergency vehicles and for visitors' vehicles to be able to safely enter and exit the site. We do not have enough volunteers to monitor the parking, so we will ask that you read the event to see about other areas where you can park that are nearby.
Last tours of our museum begin at 3:30 p.m. If you are unable to visit the museum this time, we are open on the 1st and 2nd Sundays. See our events or Warren200.com for more information about our 2022 schedule.
In 1936, Mr. Leonard Peckitt (sp) of Warren Foundry & Pipe Corp. wrote a letter to Rev. Yount (Oxford 2nd Presbyterian Church) regarding Bulletin 286 and the Oxford Furnace.
Rev. Yount's Bulletins were Sunday church bulletins that told stories of Oxford history-- of the furnace(s), railroad, Manor and more.
I am working to get some of the church bulletins posted at our website (Warren200.com), but it will take some time to sort through them (there are almost 1000 or more!). I'll post when I have some up for you to see.
On the inside of Bulletin 286, it references the old furnace being deeded to the State of NJ (that's Furnace #1 on Cinder & Washington, next to the Oxford Colonial Methodist church) by the Warren Foundry & Pipe Corporation, which owned the Empire Steel & Iron holdings.
"The old Oxford Blast Furnace in Oxford, Warren County, where cannon balls were cast during the Revolutionary War, and which, in 1839, passed into the hands of George and Selden Scranton, for whom the city of Scranton, Pa. was named, will be restored as the only historic industrial plant owned and preserved by the State of New Jersey. Old military headquarters inns mansions and birthplaces publicly owned and maintained, dot New Jersey from the Delaware River to the Hudson. 'The furnace, however, will be unique as it will be a memorial to the rise and development of American industry.' … Thus after more than three years of effort to have the old furnace recognised as an important historic object, and to have it properly cared for in the future, we have resched the final stage with confidence that it will be properly restored and maintained as a national shrine."
In the bulletin, Rev. Yount discussed plans to restore the Furnace, but I am unsure if they were able to do so at the time. The County of Warren acquired the Furnace and Manor in 1984 and restoration of the Manor began a few years later (1990s into the early 2000s). The furnace, on the other hand, was restored and stabilized in the 1980s (the back wall of the furnace was collapsing).
See Warren200.com for more information about the stabilization of the Furnace.
Looking to do something on Sunday? Say, between the hours of 1 and 4?
Well, isn't that funny? Shippen Manor will be offering tours of the main floor of our museum at the same exact time!
We also have a few new displays for you to see as well.
Our last tour is at 3:30 p.m. Parking in our small Belvidere lot is still limited due to that last stages of the reconstruction of our south wall. There is one accessibility parking space nearest the boardwalk. Our back lot will be open, but has limited parking spaces.
See our event for more information about parking, accessibility and more.
#TODAYINHISTORY “Damn torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
In naval history, there are three famous sayings uttered in battle:
1. “I have not yet begun to fight”, by John Paul Jones during the American Revolution (1779)
2. “Don’t give up the ship”, on the flag of Oliver Hazard Perry’s ship (originally spoken by Captain James Lawrence onboard the frigate Chesapeake, 1 June 1813)
3. “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” by the US Navy’s first Rear, Admiral David G. Farragut (August 1864)
Mobile Bay (Alabama) was heavily defended during the Civil War by two forts that protected its entrance, each with heavy guns. The battle that ensued on 5 August 1864 was one that occurred on both water and land. The Union fleet, commanded by Rear Admiral David G. Farragut, along with a contingent of soldiers attacked a smaller Confederate fleet led by Admiral Franklin Buchanan (who was aboard the CSS ironclad, Tennessee) and three forts guarding the entrance to the bay (Morgan, Gaines and Powell).
• Fort Morgan is a pentagonal bastion fort at the mouth of Mobile Bay that was built in 1834.It is at the tip of Mobile Point at the western terminus of State Route 180 in Alabama.
• Fort Gaines is located on Dauphin Island in Alabama was named for Edmund Pendleton Gaines. It was created in 1821 and most known for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay.
• Fort Powell was a sand fortification constructed by the Confederacy to guard the entrance into Mobile Bay from the Mississippi Sound. It was located slightly northwest of Fort Morgan and north of Fort Gaines. It was an artificial half-acre island made of oyster shells and sand. It was the only fortification of the three to be built by the Confederacy and the only in the lower bay defenses using sand with wooden reinforcements instead of brick.
During the battle, when the USS Brooklyn slowed as the USS Tecumseh crossed her path, Farragut asked why she wasn’t moving ahead. The reply he received was “torpedoes” (or naval mines) were blocking her path. Allegedly, he responded with, “Damn the torpedoes!” Others heard him shout to the USS Brooklyn, “Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead!” He could have also yelled it to the captain of the USS Hartford, “Damn the torpedoes. Four bells, Captain Drayton.” Then, it was believed that Farragut shouted to the commander of the USS Metacomet, which was lashed to the Hartford’s side, to “Go ahead, Jouett, full speed.” So, the saying was altered in time to the more familiar phrase.
• The US fleet fell into confusion when the USS Tecumseh was immediately sunk upon entry of Farragut’s fleet into the bay.
• During the Civil War, the term “torpedo” was used to describe a contact mine that floated on or just below the surface and used an air-filled demijohn (or floating device).
With New Orleans captured and the Mississippi River secured by the Union, Mobile Bay was a significant location for the Confederacy—particularly useful as a port to receive goods and military supplies from Europe.
The casualties of Farragut’s fleet included 150 killed and about 170 wounded. The Confederates on the other hand suffered 13 dead and 26 wounded.
Recently, Rowan University History and Social Sciences departments uncovered the remains of about 13 Hessian soldiers who died fighting in the Battle of Red Bank (National Park) during the Revolutionary War. The battle occurred at the site of Fort Mercer (Gloucester Co.). Also uncovered were musket balls, brass and pewter buttons and a rare 1766 King George III gold Guinea (equivalent to a soldier’s pay for one month). After 245 years, a human femur was found in June during an archaeological dig of a trench system that surrounded the fort.
Officials believe the remains were a part of a mass grave of Hessians (German forces hired as mercenary soldiers by the British to supplement their forces) were a part of a British force killed during the battle (the Americans lost 14 men). This victory permitted the Continentals at the fort to keep the British from moving supplies up the Delaware River.
The scientists will try to identify the remains and locate their descendants. According to University public historian, Jennifer Janofsky, “If we can extract their stories, and if we can tell their stories, it lets us put a name to a face. And that, to me, is a very powerful moment in public history" (Rourke & Marsh).
After the study is complete, the remains will be interred elsewhere, the trench refilled and land will then be merged into a park on the bluff overlooking the Delaware.
BATTLE OF RED BANK (FORT MIFFLIN)
The fort was one of a series of defenses built on the Delaware River to protect Philadelphia from the British. When the British learned of these defenses and the “cheaveaux de fries” (large boxes with long spikes to prevent ships from sailing up the river), they chose to invade the city from another route. They sailed up the Chesapeake to a point where they could disembark and marched 50 miles overland to Philadelphia. The route was longer, but it allowed them to take Philadelphia on 26 Sept 1777.
British General William Howe took action against the American forts on the river and two days after they occupied Philadelphia, Howe sent troops to attack Fort Binngsport, forcing the Americans to evacuate.
On 22 Oct 1777, Howe sent 1207 Hessians (under the leadership of Colonel Von Donop) from Philadelphia to attack Fort Mercer. They crossed the Delaware from Philadelphia into New Jersey, landing in Cooper’s Ferry (Camden). Once in New Jersey, they marched to Haddonfield and camped for the night. The next morning, they marched southwest to Fort Mercer, crossing Big Timber Creek. They marked to a bridge (Brooklawn) but discovered that the American forces dismantled it. This caused them to march an additional 8 to 10 miles and cross Big Timber Creek at Clement’s Road Bridge. From there, the Hessians marched to Fort Mercer along what is now Almonesson and Caufield Roads, and Deptford and Hessian Avenues.
The Hessians attacked the fort around 4 p.m. in the Battle of Red Bank. The Hessians, which numbered 1207, greatly outnumbered the 614 Americans in the fort who were commanded by Colonel Christopher Greene. Having knowledge of the pending attack, Greene and his men were prepared. The battle, which lasted about 40 minutes, resulted in the defeat of the Hessians who suffered 514 casualties, including their commanding officer, Col. Von Donop, who was treated for his battlefield wounds in the house of James and Ann Whitall—but died a short while later. The Americans, on the other hand, lost 14 and suffered 23 wounded. The defeated Hessians retreated to Haddonfield and the next morning, they crossed the Delaware at Cooper’s Ferry and returned to Philadelphia.
• The James and Ann Cooper Whitall House, built in 1748, is currently a museum (www.gloucestercountynj.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Whitall-House-Museum-15). The Whitalls were wealthy Quakers who had a 400-acre plantation in Red Bank along the Delaware River. They raised 9 children who worked on the plantation alongside dozens of Irish, Dutch and German indentured servants. (Indentures were usually prisoners or poor who were given passage to North America in return for their “servitude” under contract for usually 4 to 7 years. They were primarily male and most did not survive their indenture.) The Pennsylvania militia commandeered the farm and built Fort Mercer in April 1777 in the northern apple orchard. Job Whitall, their son, wrote in his journal that the Americans “turned us out of our kitchens ye largest room upstairs and ye shop and took our hay to feed the horses” (www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=13439). When the attack on the fort began on 22 Oct 1777, most of the family fled to Woodbury, but Ann refused to leave her home. When a cannonball broke through the north wall she calmly carried her spinning wheel to the cellar and continued to spin. The house was left intact and used as a hospital following the battle and Ann remained at the house to tend to all wounded Hessian and American soldiers. Americans destroyed the fort and left the property on 24 Nov 1777.
House is located on Hessian Road on the Red Bank Battlefield.
During the 1770s, smallpox raged through the American colonies. The Continental Army was severely impacted by smallpox during the Revolutionary War, so much so that Gen. Washington required inoculation for all Continental soldiers in 1777. It is estimated that about 6800 Americans died in action, 6100 were wounded and about 20,000 were taken prisoner during the war. But, there is at least an additional 17,000 deaths as a result of disease, including 8-12,000 that succumbed to disease while imprisoned. [www.nps.gov/articles/000/smallpox-inoculation-revolutionary-war.htm]
In March 1778, Washington, ever concerned about inoculation against smallpox issued a warning, “Innoculation for the small pox having been haply performed in all the subjects in camp it is necessary to guard the fatal effects of the disorder taken in the natural way.” The previous Christmas, while in winter camp at Valley Forge, the men were in tents (not huts yet) and the sick suffered more so. They avoided piddling pills, powders, cordials—all caused the patient to vomit up his money instead of ridding himself of the disease. (According to Albigence Waldo, Surgeon from Connecticut who was at Valley Forge that terrible winter.) [www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/surgeons2.html]
On 6 January 1777, Washington wrote the Medical Director of the Continental Army, Dr. William Shippen, Jr. and detailed instructions regarding inoculation against smallpox, which is capable of surviving for days or weeks outside of the human body, which makes it more transmissible. To inoculate a person, an incision in the arm or leg would be made and a thread that contained live smallpox from person afflicted would be rubbed across the open wound. The inoculated person usually got a milder version of the disease and, if they survived, would be immune against future exposure. [allthingsliberty.com/2021/10/george-washington-and-the-first-mandatory-immunization/]
General Washington described smallpox in 1777 as a potentially greater threat than “the Sword of the Enemy.” He was exposed to smallpox on his first visit away from the American mainland while visiting Barbados (Nov 1751) when he was 19 years of age. He was ill for about a month and it left him with slight scarring (pockmarking on his skin), but did provide him with immunity from further attacks. It is speculated that smallpox may have caused him to become sterile and unable to have children.
From George Washington to William Shippen, Jr., 6 February 1777
To William Shippen, Jr.
Head Qurs Morristown February 6th 1777.
Finding the Small pox to be spreading much and fearing that no precaution can prevent it from running through the whole of our Army, I have determined that the troops shall be inoculated. This Expedient may be attended with some inconveniences and some disadvantages, but yet I trust in its consequences will have the most happy effects. Necessity not only authorizes but seems to require the measure, for should the disorder infect the Army in the natural way and rage with its usual virulence we should have more to dread from it than from the Sword of the Enemy. Under these circumstances I have directed Doctr Bond to prepare immediately for inoculating in this Quarter,1 keeping the matter as secret as possible, and request that you will without delay inoculate All the Continental Troops that are in Philadelphia and those that shall come in as fast as they arrive. You will spare no pains to carry them through the disorder with the utmost expedition, and to have them cleansed from the infection when recovered, that they may proceed to Camp with as little injury as possible to the Country through which they pass. If the business is immediately begun and favoured with the common success, I would fain hope they will be soon fit for duty, and that in a short space of time we shall have an Army not subject to this the greatest of all calamities that can befall it when taken in the natural way…