Author Topic: Courthouse Green Revitalization/British Soldiers Raid City! (225 years ago)  (Read 4664 times)

Offline Editor

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4415
  • Karma: 17
    • View Profile
    • Hackensack Now
I found this at: http://history.rays-place.com/nj/bergen-cty.htm.   There is more about New Barbadoes here also.  Hackensack was formerly called New Barbadoes.



In the latter part of March, 1780, a party of about 400 British, Hessians, and refugees, passed through Hackensack on their way to attack some Pennsylvania troops at Paramus. It was about 3 oclock in the night when they entered the lower part of the town. All was quiet. A small company of 20 or 30 militia, under Capt. John Outwater, had retired for the night to the barracks, barns, and out-houses, where those friendly to the American cause generally resorted to rest. One half of the enemy marched quietly through. When the rear, consisting mostly of Hessians, arrived, they broke open the doors and windows, robbed and plundered, and took prisoners a few peaceable inhabitants, among whom was Mr. Archibald Campbell. This gentleman, who had been for several weeks confined to his bed with the rheumatism, they forced into the street and compelled to follow them. Often in their rear, they threatened to shoot him if he did not hasten his pace. In the subsequent confusion he escaped and hid in the cellar of a house opposite the New Bridge. He lived until 1798, and never experienced a return of the rheumatism.

The Hessians burnt 2 dwellings and the courthouse. The latter stood on the west side of the green, 8 or 10 rods from Campbells tavern. Fortunately the wind was from the west and drove the flames and sparks over the green, and the tavern was saved by the family throwing water over the roof. At this time those in the outhouses were aroused, and the militia hastened across the fields, mounted horses, and alarmed the troops at Patamus. By the time the enemy had arrived at what is now the Red Mills, 4 miles from Hackensack, they ascertained the Americans were on their way to meet them. Disappointed, they retraced their steps, and when near Hackensack turned off to the north, on the road leading to the New Bridge, to the left of which there is a range about half a mile distant from the road, the intervening ground being level. Here the continentals and militia were hurrying over, kept however at a distance by large flanking parties of the enemy, who, on arriving at the bridge, were detained about two hours in replacing the plank torn off by the Americans. In the mean time their parties were skirmishing with our people. Having crossed over, they marched down the east side of the Hackensack through the English Neighborhood, being pursued 12 miles, to a considerable distance within their lines, down to Bergen woods: They lost many killed and wounded. There were none killed on our side. A young man of the town was wounded by a spent ball, which cut his upper lip, knocked out lour front teeth, and was caught in his mouth. Capt. Outwater received a ball below the knee, which was never extracted. He carried it for many years, and it was buried with him.

Incidentally, the Courthouse Green will soon be restored: 

HACKENSACK - The Green, where Gen. George Washington and his army once camped, will soon undergo improvements.

Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, this week announced that the city will receive $72,750 in federal funds, which will be used to pay for new sidewalks, street lighting upgrades, and seating for pedestrians in the area on the southern end of Main Street by the county courthouse.

The improvements are part of the city's downtown streetscape renovation project. The city has also gotten $190,000 in state funds for the project, city officials said.

In 1776, the park site served as a base camp for Washington's army. It was there that Washington surveyed local roads and bridges to evade the British during the Revolutionary War.

From The Record
by Monsy Alvarado
« Last Edit: April 12, 2005, 09:16:05 AM by Editor »



Offline martindale

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
The interaction of armies described in Paragraph 2 must have taken place in the Fairmount Section of Hackensack. I copied the text between the astericks, read it again:

***** By the time the enemy had arrived at what is now the Red Mills, 4 miles from Hackensack, they ascertained the Americans were on their way to meet them. Disappointed, they retraced their steps, and when near Hackensack turned off to the north, on the road leading to the New Bridge, to the left of which there is a range about half a mile distant from the road, the intervening ground being level. Here the continentals and militia were hurrying over, kept however at a distance by large flanking parties of the enemy, who, on arriving at the bridge, were detained about two hours in replacing the plank torn off by the Americans *****

The author described the enemy retreating 4 miles from what is now the Red Mill in Paramus along the road towards Hackensack. That road is undoubtedly Passaic Street. Just before reaching the village of Hackensack, the enemy turned north and traveled along the road to New Bridge. There werent too many roads in those days. That left they took has got to be Main Street, which is the only street that leads north to the New Bridge at the border of River Edge and Hackensack. The author exactly describes the terrain in the Fairmount Section. As the enemy marched north along the street, there was a range a half-mile to the left. That range is none other than the Summit Avenue Hill.  The author even describes the area between the road and the hill as the intervening ground being level, an accurate description of the Fairmount Section north of Clinton Place.

Somewhere along Main Street the enemy encountered the continentals and militia, I would guess in the vicinity of Ross, give or take a few blocks. Probably not north of Spring Valley Avenue, or the author would not have made reference to the range. The enemy made large flanking motions to force the continental forces to retreat to New Bridge. This would not have been to the east, since the river is there, so it must have been to the west over the level terrain and range described. Otherwise it would not have been relevant to describe the terrain in such detail. One imagines portions of the British and Hessian forces swarming west towards the hill, and then turning north, and then northeast in a huge clockwise motion through the entire Fairmount section. Open level terrain is not easy to defend. The continental forces along Main Street must have been facing the threat of becoming trapped in a pincer motion, so they retreated to the New Bridge and disassembled the planking on the bridge. Skirmishing broke out at the New Bridge, and during the enemys further retreat south and east.

Offline Editor

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4415
  • Karma: 17
    • View Profile
    • Hackensack Now
I think your right Eric. 

Along the northern half of Main Street, I'm sure you've noticed the blue and gold signs that say "Retreat Route 1776". There may even be one on Grand Avenue.

Main Street used to run right across Route 4, passed Hoffman Koos (Main St. River Edge) past the Van Stueben House (Washington slept there) and New Bridge (described above).  It never occurred to me that the "range" was Summit Avenue, but that sounds logical. 

I think it's fascinating that the same streets we use everyday are so closely tied to George Washington, the Revolution and the birth of the Nation. 


 

anything