I was a Patriot soldier who tried to fight the enemy in an ingenious way.
I was born in Holland around the year 1740 and migrated to Long Island before settling in New Jersey. My family owned land in Trenton and Maidenhead – now Lawrence Township – and I married my wife Regina Lovell, whom I called Rezine, in 1766.
In 1775, when the Second New Jersey Continental Regiment was being formed, I accepted a commission as a second lieutenant. We were sent to Quebec to fight against the British navy anchored there. Since their ships were made of wood, they were very flammable. So I loaded a ship with tar and other things and we steered it right at the British and abandoned ship just before it crashed into them. Unfortunately, the attack didn’t work but I got badly burned.
After I recovered, we tried the same thing against British ships in New York Harbor, and again it failed.
On June 27, 1777, I fought in the Battle of Short Hills, and was killed by artillery fire. This made me just one of many brave soldiers in the war who volunteered to fight, worked hard to win battles, but suffered injury and death without success.
Even worse, my Rezine was left with no way to support our two young sons, and had to petition the New Jersey Assembly for assistance. She ultimately was awarded one-half of my monthly soldier’s pay.