County Receives $49,500 Federal Grant to Investigate Revolutionary War Battle
The National Park Service has awarded Cumberland County $49,500 to study what’s believed to be the only documented military action in the county during the American Revolution. The grant, which is part of the American Battlefield Protection Program, focuses on the Battle of Dallas’ Landing, a deadly 1781 confrontation on the Maurice River between continental troops and British loyalists. At least seven loyalists are said to have died in the skirmish after they reportedly tried to force their way onto a small ship near what is now known as Port Norris.
More than two centuries later, many questions – including the burial sites of the dead and the specific location of the battle – remain unanswered. And because of rising sea levels and shoreline erosion around the Maurice River, important evidence could disappear in the not so distant future. That’s what prompted the Cumberland County Cultural & Heritage Commission to apply for the grant.
“It’s literally a race against time and mother nature,” said Matt Pisarski, the Commission’s principal planner. “Our hope is to get a more comprehensive understanding of the battle using tools like ground penetrating radar and metal detectors. Once water levels rise to cover the site the archaeological resources will be lost.”
“We’re fortunate to have this research opportunity,” said Freeholder Carl Kirstein, liaison to the Cultural & Heritage Commission. “This battle might have been small in the scope of the American Revolution, but it exemplifies the role of maritime activities to Cumberland County and the deep divisions among our local residents to American independence.”
The study will take place on both banks of the Maurice River in the Port Norris area.