Central New Jersey witnessed many small battles and important events during the American Revolution. This area saw it all: from spies and espionage, to military encampments like Morristown and Middlebrook, to mutinies, raids, and full-blown engagements like Bound Brook, Short Hills, and Springfield. The British had their own catastrophes too. So did civilians caught in the middle.
In the fall of 1776, British forces drove the Americans out and secured the state. Following the battles of Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey became a battleground.
The spring of 1777 saw the formation of a new Continental Army, one that served the rest of the war. That spring, British and American forces clashed in a series of small but sharp battles.
By summer, British General Howe tried to lure Washington into a major engagement, but the Americans avoided the trap. As the conflict dragged on, civilians became engulfed in the fray, and a bitter civil war erupted, continuing until the end of the conflict.
In Unhappy Catastrophes: The American Revolution in Central New Jersey, 1776–1782, Robert M. Dunkerly follows the course of the war through its various phases and details lesser-known battles, military campsites, raids, espionage, and more. The book also includes historic sites to visit, markers, and websites for further research and study. This part of New Jersey saw more action during the Revolution than anywhere else in the young nation and has been called the Cockpit of the Revolution. To truly understand the war, look at central New Jersey.
” …historian Robert M. Dunkerly takes the reader on a journey that not only covers the well-recorded battles, but also introduces them to the lesser-known engagements. Dunkerly is a park ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park so his gift for guiding tours shows through in this book. Historians and enthusiasts alike will enjoy Unhappy Catastrophes as a valuable source on what took place in a state that was perhaps the most pivotal of all in the Revolutionary War.” ~Michael Aubrecht
“…a first-class historic field guide…a well-written and engaging history that achieves his objective of bringing to light often overlooked events and communities of the American Revolution in central New Jersey.” ~JAMP