SURVEYOR'S NOTEBOOK

Guns Blazing; The War of 1812 and the Jersey Shore

By Rik van Hemmen

In 2014 our friends at Navesink Maritime Heritage Association organized an event that commemorated New Jersey’s 350th anniversary. Martin & Ottaway and a number of maritime organizations quickly jumped in as event sponsors and their sponsorship allowed the replica vessel Onrust to visit the Navesink River where New Jersey was originally settled.

This year Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, together with Twin Lights Historical Society organized another premier event that focuses on the period 1800 to 1825. The anchor of the event is an exhibit of a collection of maritime paintings on the early US Navy by world renowned artist Maarten Platje, at Twin Lights Museum in Highlands, NJ.

Maarten Platje describes his approach to maritime painting in this video.

The show will run from August 30 to November 22, 2019 and will be combined with a closer investigation of Monmouth County in that period. Remarkably, while the Colonial and Revolutionary period in Monmouth County is well established, the history of the county between 1800 and 1825 is actually not that well known. But just like for the US Navy, this period was quite interesting and formative in the development of Monmouth County as we know it today and this program will shed a deeper light on it.

Bahrs Landing Restaurant, Randive, the Society of Marine Port Engineers, Seastreak Ferries, and Martin & Ottaway are program sponsors for the event. The sponsors have made it possible to produce an excellent exhibit guide called: “Guns Blazing; the War of 1812 and the Jersey Shore”. The guide contains detailed descriptions o the paintings and essays by local and national historians on the War of 1812 and its effect on the Jersey Shore and is available for purchase at the museum gift shop.

Make sure you come see this show. If you are coming from New York City make it a weekend day trip; take the Seastreak Ferry to Highlands, NJ, see the show, have dinner at Bahrs, and take the Seastreak back to New York City. You will not be disappointed.

Here are some pictures in the exhibit and the Guide. The below picture is one of my favorites since it happened right off the Jersey Shore. I like to call it the Great Jersey Rowing race, and it deals with the USS Constitution outrowing a much bigger British force right at the beginning of the War of 1812. Through skill and solid decision making, the Constitution escaped at the very beginning of the war to start her illustrious career. But it was a rum close thing, and without this narrow escape the US Navy might have never found its footing.

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