UNION COUNTY, NJ – Drivers hurrying along Elizabeth Avenue and shoppers rushing to stores probably don't notice the sign near the Minuteman Statue there announcing the significance of the area in the founding of this country.
The sign reads, "Elizabethtown on this spot at daybreak June 7,1780, began the fighting against the British Forces moving toward Springfield. Here fell General Stirling at the head of the advancing column on June 8. After the British retreat from Springfield, General Hand here attacked and drove back the 22nd regt. to the British main position at the point.Skirmishing on this ground continued until the British retreat to Staten Island, June 23rd.
Elizabeth as well as Union County and New Jersey in general played a crucial role in the American Revolution. Positioned between the new nation’s capital in Philadelphia and the British stronghold in New York, no place in New Jersey was spared the ravages of war. During six years of conflict, General George Washington and the Continental Army spent more days in New Jersey than any other state.
Now that history will become more visible with the unveiling of new signage marking Union County’s inclusion in the National Park Service’s Crossroads of the American Revolution (CAR) National Heritage Area.
The new signage is part of Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen initiative to raise awareness of the history in the area. Union County is one of 14 counties that comprise the National Heritage Area and the first to roll out signage across the county recognizing the designation.
Plans are in the works to stage a re-enactment of the Battle of the Short Hills at Oak Ridge Park in June, along with the annual Four Centuries in a Weekend in October.