Forage Wars

“… the Rebels have the whole winter gone upon a very prudent plan of constantly harassing our quarters with skirmishes and small parties, and always attacking our foraging parties. By this means they gradually accustom their men to look us in the face, and stand fire which they never dared to attempt in the field.”

– British Colonel Allan MacLean

It is the Winter of 1777, and the British are withdrawing to a forward base in New Brunswick. This base is centrally located within New Jersey and can be supplied from New York via the Raritan River. From this base, the British troops traverse the countryside seeking forage — food — to keep their horses alive during the cold months. The Continental Army, which has been encamped at Morristown, harries British foraging parties. Frequent skirmishes and small engagements continue to break out between the warring factions until the growth of the new grass of spring ended the need for competition.

The British eventually abandoned New Brunswick and never again exerted dominating control upon the New Jersey countryside.

The Raritan Valley north and west of New Brunswick to the Millstone River was the scene of most of the conflicts during this period. Visitors today discover a picturesque landscape with many preserved historic buildings and sites associated with the Revolutionary period, along with recreational opportunities.

Explore the People and Places Related to the Forage Wars

Forage Wars Photo Gallery

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