Remains of soldiers unearthed at Revolutionary War battle site in New Jersey

The public dig also uncovered a rare 1766 King George III gold coin, buttons and ammunition.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2022
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An additional excavation uncovered what are believed to be various remains of 13 Hessian soldiers - German troops hired by the British - who were part of about 377 troops killed by Colonial forces during the Battle of Red Bank.

NATIONAL PARK, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A Revolutionary War-era discovery was announced Tuesday at Red Bank Battlefield Park in National Park, New Jersey.

During a public dig at the battlefield's Fort Mercer trench on June 26, a volunteer found a human femur.

An additional excavation uncovered what are believed to be various remains of 13 Hessian soldiers - German troops hired by the British - who were part of about 377 troops killed by Colonial forces during the Battle of Red Bank. Americans lost 14, historians said.

The victory allowed Americans at the fort to delay the British from moving supplies up the Delaware River.

Archaeologists said they treated the burial ground with dignity.

"Everyone involved appreciated the gravity of the task. I personally witnessed the gently laying down of hands, with a pause as remains were lifted. The eye contact and subtle nod as each box of remains changed hands," said Rowan University historian Jennifer Janofsky, director of Red Bank Battlefield Park in National Park.

The public dig also uncovered a rare 1766 King George III gold coin, buttons and ammunition.

The project is a joint effort between Rowan University and Gloucester County.

The remains have been turned over to forensic anthropologists at the New Jersey State Police forensic unit to extract DNA from the bones and teeth to identify their origin. Additional studies are being conducted to examine life history, health and disease.

The scientists hope they can identify the remains and find their descendants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.