What would it be like to retrace the steps of the American revolutionary war soldiers who engaged the British in Metuchen on June 26, 1777, and then fought a running battle across what is now Edison and Scotch Plains before retreating to the safety of the Watchung Mountains—through a pass by Seeley’s Pond that would become known as Bloody Gap?
In addition to several historic sites in Metuchen and Edison, hikers will pass the Frazee House, the Ash Brook Reservation, perhaps the only location in the entire battle that has not been developed since that time.
Colonial forces sought to slow the British by having their cannons bogged down in the Ash Swamp.
The British hoped that if they feigned a departure from New Jersey, they would lure the Continental Forces down from the Watchung Mountains, crush them, and finally end the Revolutionary War. The plan didn’t go so well, even though Washington’s troops of less than 6,000 were vastly outnumbered by a combined British and Hessian force numbering about 12,000.
There is also a nature trail leading into the swamp for those who would like to see the area. While the site was drained to some extent, there are still some wet sections that will give the visitor a sense of why the American troops wanted to draw the British through this area and slow their advance.
Hikers will also pass the historic Fanwood Train Station, where the historical society will have free refreshments for hikers. The route continues past the Osborn Cannonball House in Scotch Plains and ends at the Deserted Village.
The 240th Anniversary reenactment of the Battle of the Short Hills proved to be such a popular event that should funding be available, the County is considering holding another re-enactment in 2022 to mark the 245th anniversary.