Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment
& National Historic Site
One of the great untold stories of the American Revolution took place near Pluckemin, New Jersey, on the 2nd Watchung Mountain hillside where General Henry Knox created America's first military training academy and changed the course of American history.
Documentary Short - The Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment of 1778 -1779
Narrated by Archeologist, Professor, and former Pluckemin Archeological Project leader Dr. John Seidel, listen as Dr. Seidel describes his latest research and highlights the history of the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment.
Noted by historians as one of America's most untold Revolutionary War stories, learn how General Henry Knox, the father of the American Artillery, created America's first military training academy in the small town of Pluckemin, New Jersey in 1778. Watch and learn why New Jersey is known as the "cockpit of the American Revolution" and how the Jacobus Vanderveer House served as the headquarters to General Knox while overseeing the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment.
Special thanks go out to the Friends of Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster, NJ - Bedminster Township, the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, and Washington College for supporting and preparing this presentation.
The Pluckemin Artillery Academy Unveils the Lost History of America's First Military Academy
What was once just a notepad drawing in a Continental Officers notebook back in 1779 has now become a modern virtualization of what was once known as the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment, America's first military academy. See how this new technology is bringing history alive. Click Here to learn more
Commissioned Painting of General Henry Knox to Be Unveiled at Vanderveer House's 10th Annual Colonial Christmas
A specially commissioned painting of General Henry Knox in command at the Pluckemin military cantonment – “General Knox at the Pluckemin Artillery Barracks, 1779” -- will be unveiled during the 10th Annual Colonial Christmas at Bedminster’s historic Jacobus Vanderveer House.
The painting, by noted American landscape artist John Phillip Osborne, will be among several Osborne paintings on exhibition during the annual show house and tour, which has been expanded to two weekends and will be open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday – November 30-December 2 and December 7-9.
Documentary Highlights How Important Our Area was to the Survival of America
Morristown, just one year after the Pluckemin and Middlebrook encampments in 1779, watch the NJN documentary about the history at the 1780 winter encampment at Morristown. Click Here
Ready - Aim - Fire
Visualize how Artillery Trained at Pluckemin
One of the most prominent aspects in 1778-1779 at Pluckemin was the Artillery Academy, where officers and artillery men were trained on the all aspects of artillery preparation, planning, officer training, and engineering. A video presentation. Watch the videos. Click Here
Before West Point ....There
America's first artillery
Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House have been undertaking a
monumental task alongside the Bedminster Township
with recognizing the Pluckemin Artillery
Encampment and the Pluckemin Artillery Academy as a National Historical Site.
Move over West Point, there are some historians that believe that before the famed United States Military Academy was established by President Thomas Jefferson's signed legislation in 1802, there was an earlier army training academy nestled in the Somerset Hills behind the second Watchung Mountain in Pluckemin, New Jersey... read more
Virtual 3D Computer Model Showcases the Lost Pluckemin Artillery Academy
History Meets High Technology
As part of our ongoing charter, the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House have leveraged research and technology to create the first virtual representation of the 1778-1779 Winter Encampment of the Revolutionary War colonial artillery, known as the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment.
Take a virtual ariel tour of one of America's greatest revolutionary war sites - America's First military academy. IMAGE: The Pluckemin Academy of 1779 - The initial Pluckemin 3D Virtual Model was unveiled at the JVH in April 2012.
Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment Artifacts Move Closer to Coming Home to the JVH
One of the long term museum objectives of the Friends of the Vanderveer House is to present the history and artifacts uncovered at the nearby Pluckemin Continental Artillery winter cantonment (pronounced can-tone-ment) of 1778-1779.
Take a look into the detailed process and people who have been working behind the scenes for years to where we are finally close to presenting this great view into an often missed part of american revolutionary war history. ... read more
Pluckemin Cantonment Makes the National Historic Register
Normally a foregone conclusion after making the State Historic Register, the official name of the latest placement to the National Historic register: Pluckemin Continental Army Artillery Cantonment" including the Pluckemin Artillery Academy was designated officially on the National Register of Historic Places.
A "cantonment is "a group of building constructed primarily for the purpose of housing troops"; the term camp or "encampment" refers to troops quartered in their regimental or brigade lines. So you can decide for yourself if Pluckemin is an encampment or cantonment. We don't mind either way.
Being placed on the National Register opens a number of doors ....Learn More
Cliff Sekel -
One of Pluckemin's Most Famous Historians and Archeologists Dies at the age of 65
For Sekel, who died at the age of 65, the place was in Pluckemin, New Jersey, and the buried history was that of America's first West Point - the artillery and officer training camp for George Washington's Revolutionary War Army.
What began 42 years ago with Sekel hacking through the underbrush with a machete on Second Watchung Mountain in search of building foundations ended with a professional dig that uncovered more than 130,000 artifacts. By then, the 16-acre site was in the middle of a construction zone, what would become The Hills development in Bedminster...learn more
What was Pluckemin Like in 1779?
Take a look at a map that was recreated for the 1978 Grand Alliance Ball program by the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.
Vanderveer House and Montpelier Museum Open Idea Exchange
Montpelier, the Henry Knox Museum in Thomaston, Maine and the Vanderveer/Knox house in Bedminster (Pluckemin), New Jersey have begun an open dialog to begin sharing information regarding General Knox and his involvement in the Revolutionary War. Known sometimes as "The Forgotten General", our two programs plan to enlighten and embrace all of the heroic efforts of Henry Knox, his stories, and his accomplishments.
Who's Been Digging in the Watchung Mountains and Why?
The Pluckemin Archeological Dig is a deep rooted story filled with intrigue and many participants over the last century. You can go back as far as 1913 when Henry (Max) Schrabisch, the former New Jersey State Archeologist began his archeological efforts on the Pluckemin countryside when the term "The Dig" was coined.
Over the years, the site has seen many educational efforts, and this site intends to share with you the rich history of the various challenges of the past, and tell their detailed stories...learn more
Pluckemin Artifacts and Displays
In the Works at JVH
Excitement is building at the Vanderveer/Knox Museum House as a Philadelphia design house readies the look and layout of exhibits to be used in the museum when we open. Concept design plans are being fashioned now by Steve Feldman, one of America’s top museum designers, in concert with the Friends of JVH Board Museum and Acquisitions Committee led by Daniel Powell. Learn more
General Washington's Visit to Pluckemin Celebrates Anniversary
Sunday, February 18, 1779 , Pluckemin (Pluckamin), New Jersey
One of the most noted events in Pluckemin (Washington spelled it Pluckamin) was The Grand Alliance Ball of 1779 in Pluckemin.(Sometimes spelled Pluckamin).
General Washington and 400 others attended the celebration held on the grounds of the Boylan House in 1779. The ball celebrated the first anniversary of the alliance with France, which ended in victory for the allies at Yorktown.
General Knox wrote his brother William describing in great detail the evening event, and mentioned that General Washington and Mrs. Caty Greene danced for three hours without sitting down once. (Image: Revolutionary War Archives)
The ball was attended by more than 400 dignitaries ...Learn More
What's Next for the Pluckemin Cantonment Site?
As the Friends of JVH continue to pursue state and National Historic Site status, we will continue to expand coverage of the events and history of this monumental time in American history.
The Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment area, while under the ownership of Bedminster Township, is actually surrounded by private property. Hence, the area is currently closed to the public and there are ordinances in place that restrict public access to the area. The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House are working on ways to secure the area and look to ways to preserve the area while providing access to the public and promote the history of one of the greatest Revolutionary War sites in America.
Please respect the area (and the Law) and DO NOT trespass the area.
If you'd like to know more, or become involved with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment effort, please visit the Volunteer Section for additional information.
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Our latest newsletter
Just one year after the Pluckemin and Middlebrook encampments, NJN film highlights the winter encampment at Morristown. Click Here
American Revolutionary War General
Henry Knox and his family lived in the Jacobus Vanderveer
House during the winter of 1778-1779 while the general
commanded the Continental Artillery that was encamped nearby