The American Revolution in Monmouth County

The Theatre of Spoil and Destruction

Michael Adelberg has written the most thorough account possible of the American Revolution in a particular region… It is a great honor for this reviewer to commend Adelberg for producing what must rank among the very best regional studies of the Revolutionary War.

–Professor William Pencak, Pennsylvania State University, for The Journal of Military History

The American Revolution in Monmouth County

Like much of New Jersey during the American Revolution, Monmouth County was contested territory in between the great armies. As the Battles of Trenton, Princeton and Bound Brook raged nearby, the people of Monmouth County fought their own internal revolution; Loyalist partisans led insurrections and raids that laid waste to entire neighborhoods. In 1778, General George Washington rallied his Continental army and fought the British within Monmouth’s borders, barely holding the field. Monmouth Countians joined the fight and then spent the following weeks caring for the wounded and burying the dead. The remaining war years brought more hardships, as they grappled with a local civil war charged with racial, religious and economic undercurrents–a local civil war that continued long after the Battle of Yorktown supposedly ended hostilities. Revolutionary War scholar Michael S. Adelberg brings to life the struggles within Monmouth County, a place that New Jersey governor William Livingston called “the theatre of spoil and destruction.”

Spotlight Review

Adelberg perceptively defines this contested territory [Monmouth County, NJ] as more than battles between the big armies. It is evidence-loaded with the nasty partisan bloodshed of Loyalist insurrections, Whig reprisals, property destructions, and numerous precarious situations. Racial, religious and economic undercurrents highly charged this local civil war.

–David Paul Reuwer, Editor, American Revolution (magazine)

Spotlight Review

It wasn’t like what they told you in school. Not for nothing did the governor of New Jersey call Monmouth County the Theatre of Spoil and Destruction. The Patriots were so ugly to the Loyalists, and the Loyalists to the Patriots… Gripping.

–Kathleen Dunn (aka Irene Fleming), author of The Edge of Ruin and The Brink of Fame

One of the most impressive studies we have of the War for Independence at the local level… based on a masterful research.

–Professor Mark E. Lender in The Journal of Military History

For more than two decades, Michael Adelberg has devoted himself to studying the fascinating social laboratory of Revolutionary Monmouth County… His body of work not only describes events but also places them within a conceptual framework.

–David J. Fowler, Ph.D., author of Egregious Villains, Wood Rangers and London Traders

[Adelberg] does an excellent job demonstrating the gradation of people involved in the American Revolution at both ends of the spectrum and the grey areas in-between.

–Chad Leinaweaver, Chair, NJSAA Author Awards Committee