Pulaski Massacre: The Affair at Little Egg Harbor

On a small parcel of land located in Little Egg Harbor, there is a monument dedicated to a “massacre” that happened there during the American Revolution. This event is known as Pulaski Massacre or The Affair at Little Egg Harbor. Just a quick turn off of Radio Road brings you to this historical landmark. Amazing! Like most people I’ve spoken with, I didn’t know it existed. But now that I do. I have to find out what it’s all about and who was involved. Was the Father of our country actually here? So, I started some digging.

This all happened in the early morning hours of October 15, 1778. There was this Admiral, Kazimierz Pulaski also known as Count Casimar Pulaski, a Polish nobleman. Before coming to America, he was a leading commander for the Bar Confederation and fought against the Russians. He wasn’t that successful, so at the recommendation of his friend Benjamin Franklin, Count Pulaski immigrated to North America and joined in the cause of the American Revolutionary War. He had better success here in America and when he saved George Washington’s life his reputation grew and he became a general in the Continental Army. From there he created the Pulaski Calvary Legion and is responsible for reforming the entire American Calvary. He, along with his Hungarian friend Michael Kovats de Fabriczy, was called “the father of the American cavalry”.

The Massacre

So let’s get on with the massacre. About 10 days prior to the massacre, there was the Battle of Chestnut Creek. British Army Captain Patrick Ferguson, was sent to stop the American defenders, privateers, who were seizing British ships and their supplies. The Privateers would use the ships and take these stolen goods to where the Mullica River and the Batsto River meet. From there they would make trips to Philadelphia to sell these goods and supply George Washington at Valley Forge. General Washington learned of Captain Ferguson’s plan to shut down this base of distribution and since he was cut off from supplies at other ports he sent Admiral Pulaski and his legion to Chestnut Neck. They arrived a day late. Captain Ferguson was able to retrieve some goods and destroyed anything he couldn’t but they did arrive in time to stop Captain Ferguson from raiding the iron works at Batsto Village. The two sides were at a standstill for about a week.

A deserter, Lt. Gustav Juliet, learned of a camp where 50 of Pulaski’s men were located. He found out morale was low and so was security, he alerted Captain Ferguson. Ferguson loaded 200 of his men into boats and rowed 10’ miles in the dark to Osborne Island. From there they marched 2 miles to the encampment. At the first sign of light 200 soldiers attacked the men killing them with bayonets while they slept. Pulaski and his mounted troops arrived too late but forced Ferguson and his troops to retreat back their boats.

The Monument

The monument is located in Mystic Island on Pulaski Blvd. Not sure if I believe this but I am told by some, those who do know about the monument say that if you go there for morning’s first light on the anniversary of the massacre you can hear faint sounds of men yelling in pain. Who knows who started this but it could be interesting. Maybe one day our little piece of the Revolutionary War will end up in Weird New Jersey.