New Jersey’s “Other” Red Bank

October 27, 2011
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by Maria Mullevey

There’s an “other” Red Bank?  Yes, that’s correct, but this “other” Red Bank has little in common with the thriving hub on the Jersey Shore that is rich with shopping, restaurants, arts and culture.

Several years ago, I was studying a map of New Jersey and quite by accident I discovered the “other” Red Bank in Gloucester County.  It is located in the shores of the Delaware River across from Philadelphia and south of Cherry Hill.

An on-line search revealed a story of our American history that neither I, nor my family and friends, had any knowledge of.

The Red Bank Battlefield was the location of a significant Revolutionary event.

With my curiosity, and now my husband’s, piquing, we planned our trip to the “other” Red Bank on the “other” Jersey Shore.

The autumnal weather was sunny and glorious as we traveled on the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway.  The fall foliage didn’t disappoint us and either did our lunch at the Westville Diner, a should be-destination for **ITALSDiners, Drive Ins and Dives.***END

Within minutes after lunch, we crossed over a small bridge to National Park, New Jersey, home of the Red Bank Battlefield.  We were greeted with signs that told of the history of Red Bank as we drove on Red Bank Road.

Our arrival at Red Bank Battlefield and Whitall House was breathtaking with the magnificent Delaware River as backdrop.  A spacious and beautifully designed park complete with rolling lawns, gazebos, memorial benches and promenade lay before us.

Red Bank was the location of a plantation owned by James and Ann Whitall, wealthy Quakers who built their home in 1748.  Peace and tranquility did not last for long. The Continental Army seized the property and Fort Mercer was constricted as a defense for Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War.

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In October 1777, the British sent the Hessians, German mercenaries, to attack this small garrison at Red Bank.  The battle lasted less than an hour, during which only 400 Americans remarkably defeated 1,200 Hessians.  The American Revolution literally came to the Whitall’s doorstep at Red Bank.

A reenactment of the battle is presented every year around October 22.  You can tour the beautiful Whitall House and view its lovely period rooms.  Is that old blood I see?  The “other Red Bank is not like “our” Red Bank, but certainly worth the ride.

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