St. Patrick's Day Encampment

St. Patrick's Day Encampment

Weekend nearest March 17
The winter of 1779-80 was a time of discouragement and despair for the Continental Army. General George Washington set up camp in Morristown, New Jersey, that year so he could rest and reassemble his men. The soldiers' winter routine was bleak and monotonous. There was so much work to be done that they did not even celebrate Christmas. General Washington did, however, grant his men a holiday on March 17, St. Patrick's Day. A good portion of the American army was Irish, and political changes taking place in Ireland at the time found a sympathetic following among the American revolutionaries.
The St. Patrick's Day Encampment of 1780 is reenacted each year at the Jockey Hollow Encampment Area in Morristown. Between 30 and 40 men and their camp followers set up camp for the weekend and perform more or less the same chores and activities that Washington's men performed, although the trend toward milder winters has robbed the event of some of its authenticity. The original March 17 encampment was not the first St. Patrick's Day celebration in America; the first celebration took place in Boston in 1737.
CONTACTS:
Morristown National Historic Park
30 Washington Pl.
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-539-2016; fax: 973-285-5021