Patriots defend strategic Long Pond Iron Works

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    WEST MILFORD-Imaginary musket balls flew and a cloud of blue haze from black-powder muskets hovered above re-enactors portraying patriot attempts to recapture a British-occupied town in the strategic North Jersey Highlands. It was all part of an educational and fun weekend for some 450 people who attended the Long Pond Ironworks State Park on the eastern side of this community last weekend. The Revolutionary War reenactment and 18th Century Living History Weekend gave visitors a taste of what it might have been like to live under an oppressive government, then to fight for their freedom from British control. When the redcoats came charging through on horse, shots were fired and it wasn't long before a realistic reenactment complete with rifles, gunshots, smoke, screams and casualties took place. The American colonists put up a noble fight to defend against the Redcoat occupation in an attempt to gain control and take back their land. Kyle Kessler a 10- year-old History Buff came because, " I really enjoy learning about history. It's one thing to read a textbook but to see an actual battle is great. That was my favorite part." The Friends of Long Pond Ironworks (FOLPI) hosted the event. During the weekend, re-enactors portraying local Patriot militia attempted to liberate the village from British control. The event was co-sponsored by the New Jersey Militia, Heard's Brigade and Shreve's Light Horse. Some of the recreation included authentic looking war campsites, military drills and a battle with horses and gunfire. On both days, before the 2 p.m. battles, campsites were set up to depict what life was like for colonists and soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Kevin and Sean Storan , father and son re-enactors from Franklin Park, portrayed British soldiers from the 63rd Regiment of Foot (Olde British). They have been participating in events like this since the 1976 Bi-centennial. "It is important to conduct realistic reenactments like stacking guns and conducting military drills because the details let people really see what took place in history and it is very important to preserve that. New Jersey served as the crossroads during the Revolutionary War and these type of events keep history alive." Bruce Benda of West Milford who portrayed an American colonist and solider, holds the rank of private in the Long Pond Militia. "In 1775 a militia was formed right here in West Milford to protect Long Pond. You don't realize how important Long Pond Iron Works was during the Revolutionary War. Iron processed here was used to make gun metal and cannonballs. I love history and I usually take my eight-year- old son Matthew with me. We have a great time learning and experiencing history." In addition to the battle re-enactment there were crafts which replicated items from the Revolutionary War as well as guided tours. Both are available through the museum. Long pond Ironworks is a state park that is open form sun up to sun down everyday. The Ironworks museum is open from March thru November on Saturdays and Sundays 1-4 p.m. For more information on future reenactments call 973-657-1