The 100-mile Atlantic coastline, with its many harbors and bays, provided American privateers with safe havens, while thwarting any British naval blockade of New Jersey. The privateer system established along the Atlantic Seaboard was a great success for the American cause. It disrupted the British merchant fleet, broke the British supply line and resulted in the capture of 16,000 British prisoners. At the same time, it allowed goods and supplies to reach the Continental Army. By 1777, privateers and merchantmen had brought in over 2 million pounds of gunpowder and saltpeter.
Natural resources along the seaboard were also important to the American forces. The saltmarshes produced salt critical to preserving vast quantities of food for Washington’s troops. In addition, forests and ironworks in the Pine Barrens provided raw materials and supplies for the Continental Army and Navy.
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