Winters of 1776-1777 and 1779-1780
Twice during the Revolution the Continental Army used the Morristown area as winter quarters. Morris County was an enclave of sympathetic Patriot enthusiasts, and the area was protected from British attack from the east by the Great Swamp and the Watchung Mountains. The area is also rich in natural resources, particularly iron and wood, which served the army’s logistical needs.
In January of 1777, the Army retreated here following the success of the Ten Crucial Days around Trenton and Princeton. And then it encamped here once again, in 1779-1780, which proved to be the coldest winter in a century (Valley Forge, the winter before, though legendary for its bitterness, wasn’t nearly as severe). The harsh conditions required that the troops build a large number of huts and the officers take residence in the largest area houses.
Morristown is the first National Historic Park in the country, and it preserves and interprets the 1779-1780 sites where Washington’s army encamped. The region is particularly scenic and has preserved much of its historic landscape.
You can travel this route with a virtual audio tour, as a driving tour in your car or online, and learn about all the places where, “Washington Slept Here” and made his headquarters. You can take the tour remotely by clicking on the white arrow in the green circle below and then clicking on the story sites on the map. Or enjoy the tour on-site by downloading the TravelStorys app for free. The audio, text, and images will launch automatically as you approach each story site.