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Military Masters, Burlington NJ

...The gallant young sea captain spat his final furious words of defiance,
“Don’t give up the ship!”...

R E V O L U T I O N A R Y  W A R

Col. Dan'l. CoxeCol. Daniel Coxe was Commander of Queen Anne’s forces in New Jersey, later a member of the Governor’s Council and a member of the House of Assembly. In 1734 he was Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. General George Washington met with Royal Governor William Franklin (son of Ben) at the Green Bank mansion (Riverbank Houses, 29 on map, now the site of the V.F.W.) on the banks of the Delaware River.

Celebrated African American Revolutionary War soldier Oliver Cromwell was one of the 5,000 who served. He crossed the Delaware with George Washington Dec. 25, 1776, and battled at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Monmouth and Yorktown. Washington personally signed his discharge papers, and he was decorated for serving out the entire conflict, after which he resided at 114 E. Union Street (40 on map).

Light Horse Harry Lee dashed through Burlington in spring 1777 and scattered marauding Hessians encamped in front of the Bradford house, on West Broad Street.

Among the ranks of Continental Army and New Jersey militia we find Col. Bowes Reed, later mayor of Burlington 1784.

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W A R  O F  1 8 1 2

Capn. James Lawrence
Navy Motto Flag

Captain James Lawrence grew up in Burlington
Lawrence House(Capn. James Lawrence House, 38 on map). He became the naval war hero in the War of 1812. Commanding the 48-gun frigate U.S.S. Chesapeake off Boston Harbor, on June 13, 1813 he accepted the challenge of British Captain Phillip B. V. Broke aboard H.M.S. Shannon. Battle was joined, and in 15 minutes it became apparent that Lawrence’s rookie sailors lacked considerable experience. After taking a terrible battering at the hands of some of the best-trained sailors in the British Navy, the Chesapeake was boarded and Captain Lawrence, who had been mortally wounded, shouted to his men, “Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks!”. His valiant officers all obeyed, until all had been killed or wounded, to a man, and his ship captured. He died four days later. His words moved a group of women who sewed them onto a flag, paraphrased as, “Don’t Give Up the Ship”. Presented to Commander Oliver H. Perry of the U.S.S. Lawrence, a ship named for James, those colors flew during Perry’s Battle of Lake Erie rout of an entire squadron of British ships, and the phrase was made the motto of the U.S. Navy. There have been six American vessels commissioned in Capt. Lawrence’s honor. Today, the words fly from the flag masts at Riverfront Promenade, near the great anchor, where High Street meets the Delaware River.

A Captain of the Continental Army,
Birch-Bloomfield HouseJoseph Bloomfield, was made mayor of Burlington in 1795. From 1801 to 1812 Governor of New Jersey , he became a Brigadier General and led men into military action in the War of 1812. Bloomfield was President of the first Society for the Abolition of Slavery, 1783. From 1817 to 1821 he served as Congressman (see Birch-Bloomfield House, 415 High Street, 34 on map).

A Burlington battalion Major, one John Larzalere, also became Mayor a score of years later.

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C I V I L  W A R

Gen'l. U. S. GrantCivil War General Ulysses S. Grant
Grant Housetook his family here in 1864 to avoid the war’s physical conflict. Mrs. Grant and her children lived at 309 Wood Street until the conclusion of the war in 1865. Grant visited his family prior to his victories at the Battles of the Wilderness. On April 14, 1865, Grant twice declined invitations from President Abraham Lincoln and his First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln to attend a play at the Ford Theatre that night, in order that Grant might honor his wife’s wishes to get back home to Burlington to be with their children. They took the train from Washington D.C., and a contemporary account states an assassin was foiled by the locked door of Grant’s railcar. At midnight the Grants disembarked in Philadelphia. They ate in Bloodgood’s Hotel with plans to ferry to Camden and continue to Burlington. Receiving the telegram that president Abraham Lincoln had been shot, the stunned General swore his wife to silence, and they crossed the Delaware for the carriage ride to Burlington. By 6:00 AM Grant had dashed back to Philadelphia in time to board the special train waiting to take him back to Washington.

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General E. Burd Grubb (see Grubb Estate, on the riverbank)
Grubb Cottagefought valiantly at the battles of the Peninsula, dashing not once but twice on horseback through shot and shell for orders. At Bull Run, he saved mortally wounded General Taylor from falling into enemy hands. At Chancellorsville he had his horse shot from beneath him. Heading up his regiment at Fredericksburg, once again his horse is shot from beneath him. He advanced then on foot, first and foremost, and was last to leave the field in the magnificent and disastrous charge on Salem Church. After the War, he was awarded the Ambassadorship to Spain. A fine marble bust of Genl. Grubb is on display at the Library Company of Burlington (23 W. Union St., 25 on map) where you can marvel at his noble mustache.

Some 400 veterans of America’s Civil War are buried in the City of Burlington, notably next to the Bethlehem AME Church (213 Pearl Blvd., 44 on map); Broad Street Methodist where lies Oliver Cromwell, African American Revolutionary War soldier and others; Friends Burial Ground (behind 341 High St., 12 on map); and St. Mary’s Churchyard behind W. Broad St. (18, 19 on map). See the special tour “Graveyard Shift” for more on the resting places of heroes.

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Bravery... a proud part of our past... and it’s our present to you. Welcome to the City of Burlington.

Read on, for famous Burlington People to Meet:
Spiritual Leaders
Military Masters
Political Powerhouses
Educational Pioneers
Undying Legends

 

 

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