Town-wide Skirmish event returns bigger than ever

Historical reenactments recall Haddonfield's place in colonial history

Joe Murphy (left) chairman of the Skirmish Committee, and town crier Philip Zoebisch gear up for the first event since 2019 to mark a Kings Highway battle during the American Revolution. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

The Skirmish is coming, the Skirmish is coming! 

After a two-year hiatus, the Friends of the Indian King Tavern Museum will host the biggest Skirmish event yet on Saturday in Haddonfield and along Kings Highway, where a firefight took place during the Revolutionary War. 

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Highlights include breakfast with the troops at the First Presbyterian Church,  Colonial-era sword fights in front of the Masonic Temple, a Betsy Ross Quilting Workshop and a Revolutionary-Era themed clay workshop.

The Skirmish event began in 2014 at the suggestion of Garry Stone, a state historian at Monmouth Battlefield who lived in town. In his research, Stone learned about the skirmish – otherwise known as a small battle – that took place  in the borough in 1778, when the British evacuated Philadelphia. 

Stone suggested the tavern museum have a reenactment. Joe Murphy, chair of the Skirmish Committee and a board member of the Friends of Indian King Tavern Museum, described the present-day Skirmish as a community  celebration of history.

“I’ve never seen any (historical reenactments) with a town, (where) the local community literally participates this way and is part of it,” Murphy said. “(The Skirmish) goes from one part to the next in an environment that looks Colonial. 

“ … Here, you can look up and down this (Kings) highway and imagine you were back in that time period.”

There have been a number of events leading up to this year’s Skirmish, including a six-part lecture series on the American Revolution and Haddonfield’s role in it  by Camden County College and a debate between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson reenactors.

“You could see where they agreed or disagreed on the issues, and the issues are not that dissimilar to current issues,” Murphy said of the historic figures. “ … Learning from history is a nice abstract construct, but when you actually see it, you’re more likely to remember it.”

In addition to the expanded number of organizations represented at the Skirmish, its committee worked with local expert, Joe Levine, to develop a mobile-friendly interactive visitor guide online to help attendees easily find parking,  restrooms, restaurants and locations of the day’s events.

By scanning the QR code or visiting the website (, visitors are able to see how to get to individual lots from any location. The feature will remain available for future events as well.

The Skirmish takes place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To view the full list of events and their details, visit

This article has been updated on May 31 to correctly state that the Skirmish committee worked with Joe Levine to develop the mobile app.

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