|Memorial Day is much more than picnics and the
start of summer. It's the day Americans take time to reflect on its
heroes; the men and women who have given so much in service of this
country, and Hackettstown is no exception. While there have never been
any battles fought here, Hackettstown's citizens have contributed
greatly to protecting the freedom we all enjoy.
During the Revolutionary War, Jeremiah Pool was an
Army wagon driver who unselfishly came to the aid of the Continental
Army during the winter of 1778-1779, when 22 major snow storms, six
foot snow drifts and freezing temperatures all but isolated Washington
and his troops encamped in Jockey Hollow. Without food and supplies,
the fate of the Army, and perhaps the Revolution itself, hung in the
Pool, and others like him, took the wheels off
their wagons, replaced them with sleigh runners and using oxen instead
of horses, navigated the snow-covered roads to deliver food and
clothing to the starving soldiers. They knew the terrain, the route and
the criticality of getting food and supplies to the stranded soldiers.
Pool, who died in 1818, is buried in Hackettstown's Olde Presbyterian
Burial Ground, along with 28 other commemorated Revolutionary War
"The contributions made by Jeremiah Pool and
others like him were as important to the war effort as the commitment
of the men who took up arms," says Charlie Prestopine, Revolutionary
War re-enactor and member of the Olde Burial Ground Committee, a local
volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of the burial
ground and its importance to Hackettstown. "These men were bona-fide
The same can be true of the men and boys who
marched off to fight in the Civil War. New Jersey sent 49 regiments,
including the 11th, the 15th and 27th, comprised of men from Warren
County and the Hackettstown area. Captain
Daniel Bailey led the 27th New Jersey to the Battle of Fredericksburg.
The men of the 27th were said to be the most traveled regiment from New
Jersey, marching more miles than any other regiment from the state. In
September 1863, after being mustered out, about half of the men from
the 27th re-enlisted as members of the 33rd New Jersey Volunteers.
Captain Bailey's great-great grandson, John Covert
pays tribute to his ancestor's memory as a Civil War re-enactor. "Every
regiment suffered losses," says Covert, "and so did most families.
These men lived and died with honor, sometimes in the cruelest of
conditions. Ancestors or not, we need to be proud of them and remember
their contributions to our country."
To commemorate the contributions of Hackettstown
and its citizens, the Historical Society Museum is featuring a display
of Revolutionary, Civil and World War artifacts, uniforms, information
and images, now through the end of May. The Museum is located at 106
Church Street, next to the Library. Hours of operation are Monday,
Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30am- 1:00pm; Wednesday, Friday and Sunday,
2:00pm - 4:00pm. For additional information, please contact the Museum