RED BANK BATTLEFIELD PARK
JAMES AND ANN WHITALL HOUSE
The James and Ann Whitall House and Fort Mercer at Red Bank Battlefield is located on the Delaware River in northeastern Gloucester County. The House, built in 1748, is a fine example of 18th Century Georgian architecture. Lived in by the Whitall's for 114 years, it was the center of life on the 400-acre Red Bank Plantation that once occupied the site.
During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Red Bank was successfully fought at Fort Mercer which was erected by the Americans north of the House. The battle was decisive for American troops and a great morale booster for American forces (the second victory after the one at Saratoga, New York, three days before). Afterwards, the wounded were brought into the House which was converted into a hospital for all those wounded in battle. Mrs. Whitall, who had remained behind, tended the wounded and gained a significant place in American history. On November 19th, the Fort was destroyed and Americans moved on. The Whitall's, forced to vacate also, returned on April 20, 1778.
After the Revolutionary War, the Whitall's went back to working the plantation which was the center of a thriving multi-faceted business; orchards, livestock, grist mill, ferry across the Delaware, smoke house and shad fishery. The family lived in the House until 1862. Later in 1872, the United States government purchased it and it is now under the care of the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders. With few changes made, thus reflects in a fairly undiluted fashion at century of tenure by four generations of one family.
Today, the James and Ann Whitall House is open to the public for tours Wednesday to Sunday during April through mid-October 1 to 4 p.m. Special events include: Heritage Day on the third Sunday of each month (April to October); Children's History Encampment, two one-week sessions, 1/2 days in July; Herb Garden Flower Show, second Sunday in June; 18th Century Field Day on the third Sunday of October; and a Colonial Candlelight Christmas Open House, second Friday and Saturday in December.
Thousands of visitors each year come to the 44-acre passive historical park which includes picnic groves and pavilions, riverfront pathways and pier (offering scenic view of Delaware River), remains of Fort Mercer, playgrounds and nature landscaping and foliage. It is located in northeastern Gloucester County, seven miles from Woodbury, accessible from the New Jersey Turnpike and I-95.
For further information call Museum Curator, Megan Giordano at (856) 853-5120 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday or the main office of Gloucester County Parks and Recreation at (856) 251-6710. Opportunities for volunteers are always welcome and training is available. Interpreters and guides meet on the third Wednesday. Herb Gardeners meet on the first Thursday. Field trips and special programs offer a variety of volunteer opportunities.