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Park Commission Press Releases

Civil War Army Invades Morristown During the Civil War Encampment Weekend at Historic Speedwell
MORRISTOWN, NJ. Step onto the battlefields of the American Civil War, and into the lives of the soldiers’ camp life at Civil War Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Second New Jersey Brigade is stationed at Historic Speedwell in Morristown for a unique two-day event that presents the lives of Civil War soldiers more vividly than textbooks.

Speak to the soldiers about their wartime experiences. Witness a staged skirmish and feel the ground shutter with the firing of the massive period cannon. Throughout the day, there are artillery and bayonet drills, and musket firings. Experience the soldiers’ daily life through authentic cooking, and general setup. A Civil War-era Signal Corps authentically demonstrates how important messages were sent between units using colorful flags to signal.

Activities include soldiers preparing for battle, and the basics of battlefield medicine for soldiers who suffered from battle-inflected injuries or disease. Visit the medical area where re-enactors care for the ‘wounded’ and demonstrate how these emergency units functioned during battles. Around every corner there is something to discover.

While enjoying your visit, tour Historic Speedwell, known as the “Birthplace of the Telegraph,” including the National Historic Landmark Factory Building featuring an interactive, hands-on telegraph exhibit. Tour the Vail Home, built more than 150 years ago. Explore the exhibits on the Speedwell Ironworks, a granary filled with early farm implements, and watch the enormous 24-foot overshot waterwheel turn in the Wheelhouse.

For more information, please call 973-285-6550. FREE parking and FREE shuttle service available. Admission for this event is $7 for adults; $6 for seniors; $5 for children ages 4 – 16; and children under 4 are FREE.

The Morris County Park Commission received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

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Morris County Park Commission, is one of the region’s best park systems in the state of New Jersey, currently protects and maintains 18,600 acres at 38 distinct sites and a year-round calendar of events and activities.
Decoration Day Weekend: Civil War Remembrances
MORRISTOWN, NJ – Commemorate the Civil War’s 150th anniversary by discovering how former resident, General Joseph Warren Revere, made a costly decision at the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville. On Saturday, May 25, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., relive a chapter from the annals of the Civil War at Decoration Day Weekend during “Civil War Remembrances” at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm in Morris Township. Historian, author, actor, educator, and recipient of the North Jersey Civil War Roundtable Lifetime Achievement Award, William R. Chemerka portrays the general and recounts the details of his action which resulted in a court martial. Joining Chemerka at the Revere’s Gothic Revival home, The Willows, is Debbie Chemerka who shares a woman’s perspective as Mrs. Rosanna Revere.

This event provides a unique opportunity to view an extensive collection of original Civil War artifacts owned by author and 33rd New Jersey Infantry re-enactor, Robert Jones, at Fosterfields. On display are period weapons, letters, and personal items used by individual soldiers during war, as well as relics from the Gettysburg battlefield, as well as a shaving mirror used by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who was featured in the movie Glory commanded the all-Black 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Another unique artifact is a dinner plate from the Lincoln Presidential dining service ordered by Mary Todd Lincoln in 1864.

Both guests, Bill Chemerka and Robert Jones, are esteemed authors. Bill’s literary accomplishments include books about Davy Crocket and the Battle of the Alamo and his most recent feat, General Joseph Warren Revere: the Gothic Saga of Paul Revere’s Grandson, which will be on sale at Fosterfields for $20 each. Robert Jones has authored: “Children at the Battle of Gettysburg: Their Unforgettable Summer;” “The Civil War Canteen;” “Battle of Gettysburg: the Relics, Artifacts, and Souvenirs”, and his most recent, “Civil War Artillery- A Pictorial Introduction.” For more information, please call 973-326-7645.

Morris County Park Commission, is one of the region’s best park systems in the state of New Jersey, currently protects and maintains 18,600 acres at 38 distinct sites and a year-round calendar of events and activities.
What Is A Tree Cookie, Anyway?

Morristown: Natural ‘tree cookies,’ more special than any store bought cookies, are round slices of tree trunks, not edible, of course. They are now available for purchase at the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in Chatham Township. Available in four different sizes, they are professionally carved and personalized with a person’s name, anniversary, birthday, special event, team, or scout troop – you choose! What is truly special about these unique ‘tree cookies’, which make incredible gifts, is that their purchase is a donation to the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center. The completed ‘tree cookies’ will be displayed in a mosaic on the outside walls of the Great Swamp for everyone to enjoy and share your special commemoration.

Since opening its doors 50 years ago, the Great Swamp has been a place of preservation and education. Now, the GSOEC is getting ready to spread its message of conservation and human/wildlife interdependence in an entirely new way. Professional educational exhibits that illustrate the center’s important role as the border between populated towns and the wilderness of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the Morris County Park Commission’s unique part in the fight to save the swamp from becoming an airport in the 1950s, will be installed in the center’s auditorium. Fundraising for the design and fabrication of the exhibits for the auditorium is underway, and your purchase of ‘tree cookies’ can help!

The cost range from $25 for a tree cookie with a six inch diameter to $200 for a twelve inch diameter. For more information, visit or call 973-635-6629.

The Morris County Park Commission, the largest park system in the state of New Jersey, currently protects and maintains 18,600 acres at 38 distinct sites and a year-round calendar of events and activities.