When War Touched New Jersey

Legend contends that Gen. George Washington called fellow patriot commander Gen. Charles Lee a “damned poltroon” after Lee’s retreat during the June 28, 1778, Battle of Monmouth Courthouse. Alas, we cannot tell a lie—Washington never really said it.
P28photo Hhnjwar

Legend contends that Gen. George Wash- ington called fellow patriot commander Gen. Charles Lee a “damned poltroon” after Lee’s retreat during the June 28, 1778, Battle of Monmouth Courthouse. Alas, we cannot tell a lie—Washington never really said it.

This myth-busting tidbit comes from a new book, Hidden History of New Jersey at War, by Joseph G. Bilby, James M. Madden and Harry Ziegler, published this spring by The History Press. The book, which highlights Garden State military mo- ments from the 1600s to recent times, features an appendix listing war-related sites and museums worth visiting today.

“Monmouth Courthouse was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War in the North,” explains Ziegler, a former newspaper reporter who is now associate principal of Bishop George Ahr High School in Edison. (To find out about this year’s reenactment of the battle, set for June 21–22, visit friendsofmonmouth.org or call 609.448.6355.) As for Charles Lee, he soon left the army and is mostly forgotten today—unless you watch AMC’s television series Turn, in which he’s a character, or pass through a Hudson River town named for him: Fort Lee.

Categories: Monmouth Health & Life