(TITUSVILLE, NJ) -- Can you imagine rowing through ice floes, and then trudging ten miles through a blizzard in the middle of the night — and your destination is a battle to decide the fate of your country? The paintings that show General Washington crossing the Delaware on that snowy Christmas night in 1776 have forever caught the imagination of the public — so much so that reenactments in Pennsylvania attract thousands of visitors each year. But what happened once the troops landed in New Jersey? Get a glimpse at Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, NJ.
On Sunday, December 10, from 11:00am to 3:30pm, please join NJ State Park historians, the Washington Crossing Park Association, the First Rhode Island Regiment, and other NJ-based reenactor groups who will give the public an opportunity to experience both the Crossing and the March to Trenton through the eyes of the men and women who lived it.
The title of this event is “Washington’s Landing in New Jersey,” which occurs on the same day as the Pennsylvania Park’s rehearsal crossing of the Delaware. The encampment will take place at the New Jersey Park’s “Overlook,” next to the historic Johnson Ferry House, with a wonderful view of the river below. Reenactors will patrol the lower park and encourage visitors to undertake a brief “march” — led by Ronald Rinaldi as General Nathaneal Greene — over the Park’s pedestrian bridge and up to its Overlook to be met with cozy fires, hot cider, and skilled reenactors who will regale them with tales of the rich history that took place in Mercer County. NJ historians will narrate the Crossing rehearsal in real time, and special efforts will be made to engage the youngest visitors in hopes of sparking their interest in New Jersey history.
The encampment at the Park Overlook will be anchored by members of the First Rhode Island Regiment (shown above), who made history as the first African American colonial reenacting unit hosting an event in a NJ State Park. Members of the First Rhode Island will portray the roles of Black soldiers, sailors, artillerists, marines and musicians. They will be supported by members from the Northampton County Militia, Lamb's Artillery, Lt. Trevett's Company of Marines, and the New Jersey 3rd Regiment (New Jersey Greys).
This year their reenactors will be joined by the New Jersey Fifes and Drums!
Just beyond the encampment will be a Haybale Theater where historians Leslie Brammet and Larry Kidder will speak on the contributions of New Jersey families, including women, soldiers, farmers, and African Americans both free and enslaved.
The Park’s Stone Barn will feature an exhibit entitled, “Oh Freedom,” which chronicles the contributions of African Americans in the Revolution, as well as the Park’s large Crossing Diorama.
Visitors will also be welcomed at the nearby Johnson Ferry House (the only remaining witness structure from the 1776 Crossing) where Park Historian Nancy Ceperly and her crew of volunteers will give tours, answer questions, and serve free hot cider to visitors.
A food truck will be on site, with both breakfast and lunch dishes available for sale.
Entrance is free, although a suggested donation of $10 per car is requested to help cover costs.
This event is supported by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The program is also made possible in part by the Mercer County Division of Culture & Heritage through funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission. It is further supported by generous sponsorships from the Swan Historical Foundation, the Sons of the Revolution in the State of NJ, author Salina B Baker, NJM Insurance, Northfield Bank, and the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of NJ.