Manufacturing a Revolution: Trenton in the Winter of 1778

Photo Courtesy of the Old Barracks Museum

Trenton, NJ— On Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29, from 10 am – 5 pm, the Old Barracks Museum will break your winter cabin fever by reliving the winter of 1777-1778, when Washington’s troops were experiencing the harsh Winter at Valley Forge.

The scheduled events for both days are:
11:00-12:30 and 3:00-3:30: “Trenton as a Depot to the Continental Army in the Winter of 1778” – Historian Larry Kidder provides insight into Trenton’s integral role.
1:00-1:30: “The Tradespeople of Trenton” – Historian Larry Kidder talks about 18th century trade skills, craftsmanship, artisans, and more.
12:00-12:30 and 2:00-2:30: “Hunterdon County Militia” – Soldiers will drill and talk about the equipment used during the 18th century.

Ongoing demonstrations by carpenters, saddlers, hatters, bakers, shoemakers, tailors, and gunsmiths throughout both days.

Photo Courtesy of the Old Barracks Museum

In the winter of 1777-1778, George Washington’s Army suffered through harsh winter with limited supplies at Valley Forge, PA. During that same winter, the residents of Trenton were almost overwhelmed with satisfying the Army’s manufacturing and supply demands while also trying to perform their obligations to serve in the militia. This bit of history about New Jersey’s capital city was not well known, until the publishing of “Crossroads of the Revolution: Trenton 1774-1783”, written by local historian, Larry Kidder. The book vividly portrays Trenton as a beehive of activity that winter. Gen. Casimir Pulaski had come to town making a great many demands for leather goods and supplies for all the cavalry units under his command. The Pennsylvania State Navy had taken refuge in town, with supply demands for weapons, clothing, shoes, boots, and more to be manufactured by the many artisans in the community.

The Old Barracks will host 18th century carpentry, baking, saddlery, hatting, tailoring, shoemaking, gunsmithing, and members of the Hunterdon County Militia. Come see the scale at which production was happening in Trenton in 1778 in order to sustain the needs of the Continental Army! Artisans and tradesmen will be demonstrating all day, both days.

All presentations are included in the regular cost of admission: $10-Adult, $8-Student/Senior, Free-Children under 6, Active U.S. Military, Members.

ABOUT THE OLD BARRACKS MUSEUM: The Old Barracks Museum preserves the history of a building constructed as a French and Indian War military barracks and used as a Revolutionary War hospital. It also stood witness to Washington’s crucial victory at the Battle of Trenton. At the beginning of the 20th century, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames organized The Old Barracks Association and spearheaded a campaign to purchase the building. The building has been a museum for over a century and has frequently been used as a symbol for the state of New Jersey. The Old Barracks Museum welcomes visitors from across the state as well as around the world.