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Operations on the Delaware sign


Location of sign - Red Bank Battlefield - 100 Hessian Avenue, National Park, New Jersey


Photo taken -  November 2005

Operations on the Delaware, Red Bank Battlefield

Photo courtesy of Daniel M. Popek


Text of sign:


Fort Mercer at Red Bank


Late in September 1777, Philadelphia was captured by General William Howe, with a serious disadvantage.  Extensive river 

defenses blocked the shipping of food and supplies to the British army and citizens of Philadelphia.  A major attack was planned

against the garrison at Fort Mercer.  A British brigade of about 1200 Hessians under Colonel Carl Emil Ulrich Von Donop was

ferried over to Coopers Ferry (now Camden) spending the night at Haddonfield.


The morning of October 22, 1777, Colonel Von Donop and his brigade marched on Fort Mercer.  Young Jonas Cattell, an 

apprentice blacksmith, alerted Colonel Christopher that a surprise attack was imminent.  Around 4pm, the attack began. Quickly

gaining the old northern section of the fort, the Hessians faced another 10 foot wall and abatis of sharpened tree trunks and 

branches.  The disordered Hessians tried to move forward, but the Americans gained the advantage and held the fort.  Hessian

casualties amounted to over 500, including the mortally wounded Von Donop while Americans counted 14 killed and 23 wounded

out of 600.  Many of the wounded, including Von Donop were taked to Whitall House where they were tended by American

doctors and Ann Whitall, who had remained in her home. Colonel Von Donop died in another house nearby and was interred with

remains of his brigade on the battlefield. 


The Battle of Red Bank resulted in heavy losses to the British and was a much needed morale builder to Washington's army, giving

new hope and rallying the spirits of soldiers.  This victory coupled with the British defeat at Saratoga, New York resulted in the

French decision to enter the war against Great Britain/


Graphics on the sign:  


In addition to the text there is map of historical Fort Mercer courtesy The Historical Society of Pennsylvania attributed to 


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