Community Life

Battle of Short Hills 240th Anniversary Re-enactment Planned for June 24-25 at Oak Ridge Park

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A monument commenorating the Battle of Short Hills stands tall at the entrance to Ashbrook Golf Course in Scotch Plains. The Battle of Short Hills, a historic battle in the American Revolution, was commemorated on it's 236th anniversary on June 26th. Credits: HMDB.org
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1977 commemorative program of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Short Hills.
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CLARK, NJ -- The Battle of Short Hills planning committee and the Brigade of the American Revolution announce that the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders will co-sponsor the Battle of Short Hills 240th Anniversary re-enactment at Oak Ridge Park in Clark on Saturday, June 24th and Sunday, June 25th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event is free to the public.

“We are pleased to co-sponsor an event that highlights the historic importance of Union County in the founding of our Country,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen. “This re-enactment brings history alive and reminds us of the sacrifices our founders made in the name of liberty and love of Country.”

Paul Tofani, a participant and one of the organizers of the event, thanked the Freeholder Board for their co-sponsorship.

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“This is a great step forward for public education on our history,” said Tofani. “This event will bring to life what took place here and help visitors to understand the complexity of the foundation of our nation. We appreciate the co-sponsorship and the opportunity to present this in a county park.”

Preceding the battle the night before (Friday, June 23rd), the New Jersey Symphony will also perform a free concert beginning 6:30 p.m. at Oak Ridge as part of annual Union County’s Summer Arts Festival series of concerts.

At the Battle of Short Hills in late June 1777, a numerically inferior force of 2,500 Local New Jersey and Pennsylvania troops serving in the Continental Line, along with patriot militia, achieved a strategic victory against over 10,000 British and Hessians troops seeking to trap the main body of Washington’s army. This strategic victory prevented almost certain destruction, allowing the Americans a tactical retreat to the Watchung Mountains. 

The battle took place on June 26, 1777, through Scotch Plains and Metuchen, stretching through Clark (where the re-enactment is being staged) and all the way to Westfield. Despite the name, no fighting occurred in modern-day Short Hills, a section of Millburn.

On a related note, the Frazee House in Scotch Plains is a Union County landmark made famous by its sheer survival for more than 230 years and by the tale of Elizabeth “Aunt Betty” Frazee’s legendary confrontation with a British general during the battle of Short Hills. The house, constructed by Gershom Frazee,  has received official recognition on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. The Frazee House is located at 1451 Raritan Road, near Terrill Road, Scotch Plains.

The County of Union also maintains a Battle of Short Hills historic trail link, which outlines the other historic sites in Union County, including Plainfield and Fanwood: http://ucnj.org/parks-recreation/paths-trails-greenways/battle-of-short-hills/

Visitors to Oak Ridge park should note that portions of the park, including the public parking lot, will be closed from June 23 to 26th for the re-enactment to be set up and take place. Also those attending  are advised to bring hats, sunscreen and water as the re-enactment will take place in an open field at the height of summer.

Those wishing more information on this event or who may be interested in participating should go to either the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BoSH2017/

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