For the next two weekends, Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Manalapan is holding events to commemorate the 241st anniversary of the pivotal Battle of Monmouth, fought on June 28, 1778. It was a critical element of the American Revolution and our nation's fight for independence.

On June 22 and 23, the park will have family activities and re-enactments of the skirmishes between General George Washington's Continental Army troops and British Redcoats.

A $10 per vehicle donation is requested to help defray event costs. Battle re-enactments begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

There will also be activities recalling the story of Molly Pitcher, who is considered the legendary heroine of the Battle of Monmouth.

Pitcher, whose real name is believed to have been Mary Hays McCauley, reportedly loaded cannons and carried pitchers of water to aid soldiers, leading to her nickname. Legend has it that Molly Pitcher took her husband's place in a cannon crew after he either collapsed or was wounded.

The following weekend on June 29 and 30, the park will have children's cannon drills, more programs about Molly Pitcher and walking tours of the battlefield.

Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Caryn Shinske  said the re-enactment is an opportunity to remind residents and visitors of the very important and critical roles New Jersey played in making America a free country. She said The Battle of Monmouth was pivotal in the Revolution because it turned the tide.

The Battle of Monmouth occurred when Washington's army intercepted the British, German and Loyalist soldiers fleeing from Philadelphia to New York to escape an impending blockade of the Delaware River by the French fleet. Even though the British-led troops escaped during the night, the battle happened while the Continental Army was low on ammunition and had spent a brutal winter at Valley Forge. Both sides wound up making leadership mistakes during the battle that may have ultimately helped Washington's troops.

For information on the activities scheduled for both weekends, visit www.friendsofmonmouth.org.

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