RIVER EDGE, N.J. — This weekend, the Brigade of the American Revolution will re-enact an epic scene from history in Fort Lee and River Edge.
The 240th Anniversary of the British Invasion and American Retreat highlights the happenings of Nov. 20, 1776.
Some 5,000 British, Hessian, and Loyalist troops, led by Lt. Gen. Lord Cornwallis, scaled the Palisades and marched against Fort Lee.
An alert officer warned the American troops, who retreated across the Hackensack River at New Bridge, known as “the bridge that saved a nation.”
Today, Historic New Bridge Landing in River Edge houses the Bergen County Historical Society .
For the schedule of events happening at Fort Lee Historic Park, starting 10 a.m. Saturday, CLICK HERE .
Activities resume Saturday evening in River Edge, where they extend through Sunday. For a full schedule, CLICK HERE .
“At 7 p.m. Saturday, we’ll have a candlelight reading of part of Thomas Paine’s ‘The American Crisis’ on the bridge outside,” said Todd Braisted, past president of the Bergen County Historical Society.
Afterwards, he’ll give a talk about espionage during the American Revolution.
“We hope everyone will come out and enjoy the pageantry and the performances, the history, and the lectures,” said Braisted, a Dumont native and Mahwah resident.
He is a military historian and author specializing in Loyalist history. His latest book is “Grand Forage 1778: The Revolutionary War's Forgotten Campaign.”
The weekend events are presented by the county historical society, a nonprofit, and The Brigade of The American Revolution , a re-enactment group.
The historical society is building enthusiasm among residents, 10 years early, for the upcoming 250th anniversary of the country.
That’s befitting, according to Braisted, particularly in Bergen County, where a lot happened during the American Revolution.
Three 18th century houses sit on the New Bridge Landing site, where there were 11 skirmishes, battles, and encampments during the war for independence.
Beyond that site, though, it’s difficult to find evidence of the war’s history, Braisted said. Notable exceptions: Fort Lee Historic Park and Baylor Massacre Park in River Vale.
“A lot of the battlefields are condominiums or shopping malls or highways today,” Braisted said. “There’s no trace of the past that can be seen and so a lot of what went on is unknown to people.”