A battlefield from 1777 yields a dozen mercenaries' remains

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, May 27, 2024

A battlefield from 1777 yields a dozen mercenaries' remains
Wade Catts, an archaeologist, at the Red Bank Battlefield site where the remains of Hessian soldiers killed in 1777 were found, in New Jersey on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. Archaeologists uncovered the remains of 13 Hessian soldiers killed by American forces in the bloody Battle of Red Bank near Philadelphia. Michelle Gustafson/The New York Times.

by Zach Zorich

NEW YORK, NY.- Archaeologists working at Red Bank Battlefield, a site along the Delaware River south of Philadelphia, have uncovered the remains of 13 Hessian mercenaries who were killed during a bloody Revolutionary War battle.

The remains were found in a former trench that was part of the defenses of Fort Mercer, where 500 American patriots were stationed to prevent British ships from supplying troops in the city. On Oct. 22, 1777, a contingent of 2,000 Hessian soldiers fighting for the British set out to overwhelm the small force, but the day ended in a resounding defeat, with 377 Hessians killed but only 14 American casualties.

“Finding bone, finding Hessians was not on my radar,” said Jennifer Janofsky, a historian at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, and the director of Red Bank Battlefield Park. “We have documentation from that period showing where mass graves are. This was not on the map.”

Genetic studies are being conducted on the remains, which include isolated body parts. The hope is to eventually connect these to the names of soldiers known to have been killed in the battle and cast a finer light on life and death during the Revolutionary War.

Some of the bones display wounds from musket balls and from grapeshot that would have been fired from cannons inside the fort or from ships in the river. “These guys were being hit by all kinds of things,” said Wade Catts, principal archaeologist for South River Heritage Consulting in Newark, Delaware, who led the scientific fieldwork. “What a horrible place this would have been.”

Catts said he believed that the Hessian remains belonged to members of the Regiment von Mirbach, which is known to have attacked the center of Fort Mercer’s defenses. He was excited by an additional discovery: a British gold coin, worth about one month’s salary for the average soldier, that may have belonged to Lt. Col. Ernst Rudolf von Schieck, who commanded the Hessian regiment and died in the fighting.

“This is really an opportunity to expand our knowledge of the Hessian forces — about their material culture, about the men themselves,” Catts said.

The American soldiers defending the fort were from the 1st and 2nd Rhode Island Regiments and the 6th Virginia Regiment, and included a small number of New Jersey militiamen. The Rhode Island regiments were among the nation’s first integrated military units. Ten to 15% of the force was made up of Black soldiers and members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. The fort was further supported by 13 ships of the Pennsylvania navy, with cannons that fired chain and bar shot — typically used to damage a ship’s sails — at the Hessian attackers.

For Janofsky, the human remains add poignancy to the story of the battle. Among the dead was a man between the ages of 17 and 19, the same age as many of her history students. “Very few of us have seen the violence of the battlefield, and it’s what we’ve been looking at for the past months,” she said. “I feel like we are charged with helping our visitors understand that moment.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

August 4, 2022

A battlefield from 1777 yields a dozen mercenaries' remains

Cheekwood acquires sculpture from notable Nashville-born, Brooklyn-based artist Virginia Overton

Nationalmuseum acquires sculpture by Carl Richard Söderström

Sprüth Magers presents new glass sculptures by Andreas Schulze in Venice

Jeremy Eden awarded Archibald Prize 2022 ANZ People's Choice award for portrait of Samuel Johnson

Phillips in collaboration with The Artist Room presents New Romantics in Seoul

Bortolami announces the passing of Mary Obering

The pedal steel gets its resurrection

AstaGuru's 'Opulent Collectibles' auction impresses collectors of vintage and antique decoratives

Pérez Art Museum Miami presents 'Mariano: Variations on a Theme'

Zeitz MOCAA opens a site-specific commission of monumental scale by Joël Andrianomearisoa

Oscar Wilde first edition, Tom of Finland original illustrations, historic ephemera, & more at Swann

Buxton Contemporary presents a newly commissioned work by Susan Jacobs

Eli N. Evans, who wrote about Jews in the American south, dies at 85

Bernard Marson, a catalyst for SoHo's renaissance,dies at 91

'Paint brush warrior' Tom Phillips announced as 2022 Guildhouse Fellow

SuperRare's 'Ghost In The Machine' opens at SoHo Gallery

At the BlackStar Film Festival, a revelatory understanding of cinema

Mo Ostin, music powerhouse who put artists first, dies at 95

The Shed presents 'Tiona Nekkia McClodden: The Trace of an Implied Presence'

New Frontier's Aug. 27 annual auction features iconic John Wayne film-worn hats & apparel

"Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters" launches two new projects

Nicola Vassell Gallery presents a group show examining novel and stirring interpretations of interior space

15th Triennial Kleinplastik Fellbach announces winners of the Triennial Prize

The art of playing Swedish casino online

The Science of Spatial Learning Inside Virtual Reality

Why Yiwu Sourcing Agencies Are Best in China

Medical marijuana is not a myth

3 Tips For a Fast WordPress Website

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful