CLARK, NJ - Oak Ridge Park is full of action this weekend as hundreds gather to reenact the Battle of Short Hills, put on by the Brigade of the American Revolution.
On June 26, 1777, New Jersey and Pennsylvania troops fought against an encroaching British Army. 240 years later, history was brought to life just one mile from where the battle took place.
Reenactors acted out the Battle of Short Hills, complete with artillery and a calvary. Visitors stood on the edge of the field to hear the commands given to the troops and watch the soldiers charge past. Other spectators sat on the bleachers and listened to the running commentary and historical trivia.
The battle was intense, as smoke from black powder muskets blew across the battlefield, and the British and Continental Army went back and forth in charges and retreats to claim a stronghold. The crowd cheered for the American dragoons each time they made an advance, and gave three cheers when the battle was over.
After, visitors were able to alk through a lane of tents where more reenactors were ready to answer questions and sell their wares.
Ruth Konrad of Pennsylvania sells linen and yarn. She’s been reenacting since 1985. “It started with a goat and a sheep,” she said. Her attraction to spinning yarn grew to include all aspects of a woman’s life in the 18th century. “It was like opening the door a crack and this whole big room opened up.”
It was the same for Dan. His love of antique guns lead him to local reenactment groups in New York 20 years ago. He’s glad people are drawn to America’s history, and can learn about the sacrifices made for American freedom.
The 240th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Short Hills may be the spark of interest for the next generation of historians. Two young visitors (ages 6 and 4) liked the event, especially the charges and cannons. Their father was happy that it taught them about local history.
The reenactment continues on Sunday, June 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.