James and Ann Whitall House
James Whitall, a wealthy Quaker farmer and merchant, and his wife Ann Cooper built the main brick section in 1748. On April 16, 1777, the Pennsylvania militia commandeered the farm and built Fort Mercer in the northern apple orchard. Son Job Whitall noted in his diary on October 10, 1777 that the Americans “turned us out of our kitchens ye largest room upstairs and ye shop and took our hay to feed the horses.” That day Colonel Christopher Greene had arrived to command the fort and used a portion of the house as military headquarters.
On October 22, 1777 when the attack began on Fort Mercer, family members fled to Woodbury; but Ann Whitall refused to abandon her home. When a cannonball broke through the north wall, according to legend, Ann calmly carried her spinning wheel to the cellar and continued to spin. The house, left intact, was used as a hospital after the battle. Ann remained to tend all the wounded Hessian and American soldiers.
The battle was a key victory and morale builder; however, news of a second siege caused the Americans to destroy the fort and leave the property on November 24, 1777.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Churches & Religion • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Quakerism series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1777.
Location. 39° 52.157′ N, 75° 11.424′ W. Marker is in National Park, New Jersey, in Gloucester County. Marker is on Hessian Road, on the left when traveling west. Marker is on the Red Bank Battlefield. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: National Park NJ 08063, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Medicinal Garden (a few steps from this marker); Ann Cooper Whitall (a few steps from this marker); Operations on the Delaware (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to Red Bank Battlefield Park! (a few steps from this marker); Whitall House (within shouting distance of this marker); National Park Armed Service Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Red Bank Battlefield (within shouting distance of this marker); The Aftermath (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in National Park.
More about this marker. The marker contains a map of “Fort Mercer and adjacent farm properties.” from a Section of 18th century map by Jean de Villefranche. Also on the marker is a “1988 Map of Red Bank Battlefield, maintained by Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders.”. A picture of Ann Whitall working on her spinning wheel also appears on the marker.
Also see . . .
1. Red Bank Battlefield. Account of the action at Fort Mercer during the Revolutionary War. (Submitted on November 9, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
2. Red Bank Battlefield Park and the James & Ann Whitall House, National Park, NJ. (Submitted on November 9, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 9, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,305 times since then and 118 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 9, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on October 28, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.