Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010
After 230 years, Morristown, New Jersey, is taking its rightful place in the annals of American history. The long overlooked story of Morristown’s pivotal role in the American Revolution has been scheduled for national broadcast over the PBS network of member stations after a critically acclaimed premiere of the 30-minute documentary on New Jersey Public Television in October.
“Morristown: Where America Survived” tells the story of how George Washington’s army of more than 10,000 troops survived the terrible winter of 1779-1780, a winter which is the worst one in recorded history.
With the American Revolution on the brink of disaster, Washington and his army settled in Morristown in a densely wooded area called Jockey Hollow. After building a small city of log huts, they faced months of unbearably cold temperatures, 24 snow storms, a dismal lack of supplies and near-starvation. In a story of remarkable courage and fortitude, the troops not only survived, but eventually prevailed against a sweeping British attack in the spring.
Based on the book The Uncertain Revolution by award-winning historian John T. Cunningham, the NJN produced documentary explores that terrible winter encampment through the words of those who survived – from the letters of General Washington to the recollections of a young private. The film, narrated by the acclaimed actor Edward Hermann, brings to life a crucial and pivotal episode in American history that exemplifies the extraordinary turning point for our young country. As John Cunningham observed, “That winter might well have threatened the course of the Revolution.”
The program has been praised by historians and experts on the Revolution. Historian Thomas Fleming called the documentary “…a gripping account of the most perilous winter of the American Revolution. It is a large step toward making people aware of the drama and importance of the Morristown winter camp. Move over, Valley Forge!”
And James C. Rees, the executive director of Mount Vernon praised the program as a “standout” which “tells an important story that very few Americans – even those who love history – know and appreciate.”
“Morristown: Where America Survived” can be seen on member PBS stations across the country on March 1st at 10:30 p.m. EST, following a new American Experience special on First Lady Dolly Madison. Produced by Emmy-award winner Bob Szuter, the documentary received major funding from S. Dillard and Adrienne Kirby. For more information on the program, visit www.njn.net.