Home Sweet Home a Morristown

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Morristown New jersey is now home to some of us. But in Washingtons time, it was known as his Winter Headquarter.Imagine waking up one day, in the dead of winter, and imagine staying there until it gets warm enough sometime in April to take off your down jacket. Imagine standing there without your shoes on, without even one of the huts on top of the hill for retreat from the intense winds, whiping at you.
George Washington first came to Morristown in May of 1773, two years before the Revolutionary War.
In 1777, General George Washington and the Continental Army marched from the victories at Trenton and Princeton to camp near Morristown. Washington had his headquarters during that first season at Jacob Arnold's Tavern located at the center of the town. This camp was almost an odd place to have a camp. Since it was in the middle of the town, it might have been easier for people to find them if they were looking.
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From December 1779 to June 1780 the Continental Army's second encampment at Morristown was at Jockey Hollow. Washington's headquarters in Morristown was located at the Ford Mansion, a mansion near the end or edge of the town. The Ford family shared the house with Martha Washington and officers of the Continental Army.
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*The winter of 1780 was the worst winter of the Revolutionary War. The starvation was complicated and the debt they were in did not help at all.
From the time that the washington got to morristown in january, the average tempature was 38*F, low of 18*f. With the wrong clothes, and not being prepared, these men are almost set up to die.
General George Washington's army settles into a second season at Morristown, New Jersey, on this day in 1779. Washington's personal circumstances improved dramatically as he moved into the Ford Mansion and was able to conduct his military business in the style of a proper 18th-century gentleman. However, the worst winter of the 1700s coupled with the collapse of the colonial economy ensured misery for Washington's underfed, poorly clothed and unpaid troops as they struggled for the next two months to construct their 1,000-plus "log-house city" from 600 acres of New Jersey woodland.
Life was similarly bleak for the war-weary civilian population. With an economy weakened by war, household income declined 40 percent. Farmers faced raids from the British and their Indian allies. Merchants lost foreign trade. Even a great victory, such as the capture of British General John Burgoyne's army in October 1777, led to 7,800 more mouths to feed. As in 1776, the troops were eager to go home and many did. Although enlistment papers showed 16,000 men in Washington's ranks, only 3,600 men stood ready to accept his commands. Even those remaining were unable to sustain combat since they lacked sufficient horses to move their artillery. With their currency rendered worthless, the army relied upon requisitions from farmers to supply themselves. Military-civilian relations strained under demands on farmers and shopkeepers to sell at a loss and because of the now-professional army's disdain for civilians. Without paper money, Congress could not pay the army. Without fair pay, farmers stopped planting. By spring, the Continental Army stood at risk of dissolution.
April 12, British General Charles Cornwallis opens the 1777 campaign in New Jersey in an attempt to lure Washington and his army out from winter headquarters at Morristown.
June 20, Washington writes Congress and General Philip Schuyler on the success of the New Jersey militia in forcing the British out of New Jersey and on the general failure of the British to win the inhabitants there back to allegiance to the Crown. George Washington to Congress, June 20, 1777 | George Washington to Philip Schuyler, June 20, 1777

The American army spent two winters at Morristown (virtual winter)(see the NPS sitejocke hollow national park) in 1777, and again in 1779-80. Washington passed the winter of '78-'79 inMIDDLEBROOK, between Somerville and Bound Brook. In the winter of '81-82, some units were again posted at Morristown, and the lack of pay and supplies lead to two mutinies, one by the Pennsylvania troops there, and one by the NJ troops in Elizabethtown. Many times various armies passed through the state, on the way to New York, or Philadelphia, or upstate New York. The French allies marched through with the American forces on the way to Yorktown, and again on the way to New England to ship home.
In June of 1780, with the troops at Jockey Hollow in very low morale, the British launched an attack towards Morristown, and were held first at Connecticut Farms, (now Union) and then at Springfield. This was the last major action in the north during the war. See The Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield.

After the battle at Princeton, June 3, 1777, George Washington led his wearied troops to Morristown, New Jersey, and placed them in winter encampment. There he issued a proclamation requiring the inhabitants who had taken British protection to abandon their allegiance to the King or go within the British lines. Hundreds joined his standard in consequence. From that encampment he sent out armed parties, who confined the British in New Jersey to three points on the seashore of the State, and the commonwealth was pretty thoroughly purged of Toryism before the spring. The ranks of his army were rapidly filled by volunteers; and when the campaign opened in June, his force, which numbered about 8,000 when he left headquarters at Morristown in May, had swelled to 14,000. He had maintained through the winter and spring a line of cantonments from the Delaware River to the Hudson Highlands. Washington and his army again encamped at Morristown in the winter of 1770-80. In 1777 his headquarters were at Freeman's Tavern; in 1780 he occupied as such the fine mansion in the suburbs of the village belonging to the widow Ford. The building was purchased in the early 1900's for the purpose of preserving it, by a patriotic association, which has gathered within it a large and interesting collection of Revolutionary relics.
A Revolutionary Relic is bullets or fighting objects from guns, muskets, and cannons. Relics are now easily found in peoples back yards and in the woods.

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Some questions that are currently asked about te revolution are as followed:
1) What holiday did Washington declare at morristown?

2) What were churchs used for?

3) When was Morristown founded?