NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley Scout Troop 147, sponsored by the Franklin Reformed Church, hiked the 10 mile Victory Trail from Elizabeth to Springfield, NJ.
The hike followed the route the British and Hessian troops took in 1780 when they tried to reach George Washington's Army who had endured a hard winter at Jockey Hollow in Morristown during the Revolutionary War. The route went through Elizabethtown, Connecticut Farms (Union), and Springfield.
New Jersey and Rhode Island Regiments fought the British during the Battle of Connecticut Farms (June 7, 1780) and the Battle of Springfield (June 23, 1780). The British burned Connecticut Farms and Springfield and the Americans wrongfully felt they suffered a defeat. The British had suffered a harsh repulse and they never invaded New Jersey again.
Reverend James Caldwell (for which Caldwell, NJ is named) was the Chaplain of the NJ Brigade and played a big part in both battles, urging militiamen to hurry to the front. His First Presbyterian Churches in Elizabethtown and Connecticut Farms were burned by the British. Caldwell's wife, Hannah, was killed by a British soldier when he shot through a window at the parsonage. Caldwell was shot a year later by an American sentry.
The Scouts paid their respects at the James Caldwell gravesite in the cemetery at the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, one of the stops on the Victory Trail.
The Scouts learned quite a lot of Revolutionary War history as they trekked along the trail completing a questionnaire booklet which they had to turn in at the end to get the Victory Trail Medal.
Historically, the battles are termed "New Jersey's Forgotten Victory" as the British were defeated before they could get to Morristown, and retreated back to Elizabethtown.
Scoutmaster Al Welenofsky, along with six other Troop adults, led the hike on a warm April Saturday, one of over 100 historical trails the Scout Troop has hiked over the eastern United States in its 98 year history.
In the photo:
Nutley Scouts Who Hiked the 10 Mile Victory Trail Willem Wuebben (sitting in front)
Next row (l to r) Ethan Cox, Clark St. Amant, Vipul Kothakonda, Sumedh Ameti, Rishi Bhandari, Marc Visco
Back row (l to r) Aidan Karpousis, Scott Bolton Jr., Archer St. Amant, Joseph Buset, David Crecco, Ryan Lui.