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Along the Ramapo: History of the Cannonball Trail and Federal Hill in New Jersey
The Ramapo river, a beautiful and plentiful river, begins in a small freshwater lake in the Village of Monroe N.Y and flows through Potash Lake in Oakland and then into Pompton Lake in Pompton Lakes.. As we travel these various curves let’s look back in time to the early years of american settlement, to the Colonial time of the revolutionary war.

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Fun fact: Did you know that the Wayne/ Bloomingdale area was home to Alexander Hamilton, Marquis de LaFayette, and General Anthony Wayne, all of whom joined forces with Washington?

Cannonball Trail:

Cannonball Trail was once a busy yet secretive trail to those on the forefront of the American Revolution. It follows the route of the Ramapo and Passaic Rivers and passes through the Ramapo mountains and the towns Mahwah and Oakland, to name just a few.

This trail was essential because it was the path used to transport food, clothing, intel, ammunition, and other essentials to the soldiers on the front line of then struggling war effort.

Today, some of the historic Cannonball trail is preserved as a hiking trail, part of which crosses I-287 and was once a popular spot for local hikers.

Dey Mansion

Dey Mansion, located in modern-day Wayne N J. served as a headquarters for General George Washinton during the American Revolutionary War from 1776 to 1781. He camped there with approximately 2000 soldiers. It was the place where Washington learned of the traitorous act of Benedict Arnold; where he betrayed us and informed the British of our plans to seize New York City from their control.

The Mutiny on Federal Hill:

During the early periods of American history, there were many acts that have shaped the character of not only the Army but of the United States as a whole. On January 20th, 1781, a mutiny involving 200-300 soldiers took place on what is now Bloomingdale.

The mutiny started because basic provisions such as blankets and food have been denied to the soldiers that have already gone a year without pay, Two soldiers deflected, enlisted other soldier conspirators, and decided to take their grievances to Trenton. However, with a lack of support, the soldiers were convinced to go back to the area of what is now Union Ave in Bloomingdale, N.J. There, the two original 2 mutiny leaders, were captured, and after a short trial executed by a firing squad made up of their co-conspirators.

Later, General Washington acknowledged those who were part of the mutiny and their grievances. In his letter, he states, “having punished guilt and supported authority-it now becomes proper to do justice.”

Citations: Griffin, greg. “The Cannonball Trail: Tracing the Footsteps of American History.” Researching New Jersey History, 18 Feb. 2013, “REVOLUTIONARY WAR SITES IN BLOOMINGDALE, NEW JERSEY.” Bloomingdale, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites | Bloomingdale, New Jersey Historic Sites, TRAIL MEDALS,

We will be back to Federal Hill in a later episode of Skylands.

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