Tracing Revolutionary War History at Fort Nonsense

Fort Nonsense

Fort Nonsense once sat on the highest elevation in Morristown. Colonial forces, led by Gen George Washington, built the fort during the Revolutionary War to secure the town in the event of a British attack. Now the site offers a beautiful, peaceful overlook with a fascinating history.

Washington was Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. In January 1777, he brought his forces to Morristown for rest and re-organization. To protect his army and supplies from a British attack, he ordered the construction of the small fortification on the hill overlooking Morristown, then a village of less than 100 buildings.

Located in a long valley west of the mountains, Morristown became an army supply town. Connecting roads brought in vital supplies. Local rivers powered iron forges, grist mills, saw mills, and a gun powder mill, essential supplies for any army.

Fort Nonsense and Morristown

But in January 1777, Washington and his Continental Army needed a rest. Before they’d arrived in Morristown, they’d completed successful attacks against the British and Hessian troops. But enlistments were ending, and Washington watched the number of troops dwindle down to just a few thousand. (Luckily, as word got out about the Continental Army’s recent successes, enlistments started picking up. By spring Washington’s army numbered about 10,000.)

Now, there isn’t any fort left. Belgium blocks in the ground indicate the former location of the walls of the earthen fort referred to as the “upper redoubt.” This former earthwork fort had a strategic view over Morristown, but never saw any action. Interpretive panels help tell the story of the fort and its importance to the protection of Morristown.

Through a clearing in the trees, you can see the very tops of New York City’s skyscrapers. Why is this important? The British made New York City their headquarters during most of the Revolutionary War.  

Know Before You Go

Fort Nonsense is one of four sites that form the Morristown National Historical Park, in Morristown NJ. The other sites are the Ford Mansion, Jockey Hollow and the New Jersey Brigade Encampment Site in Bernardsville. There are no facilities in the Fort Nonsense section.

But what a great place for a picnic! Picnic tables scattered around Fort Nonsense offer plenty of places for a picnic repast.

Getting there: Fort Nonsense Access Rd, Morristown, NJ
Hours: daylight
Website: Morristown National Historical Park

Check out other articles about Revolutionary War daytrip destinations!