Decision Activity: Stephen Blucke
Toms River, New Jersey, March, 1782
My name is Stephen Blucke. I am a leader of the “Black Pioneers” and the Captain of an elite group of guerrilla fighters known as the “Black Brigade.” The “Black Brigade” consists of black loyalists who have operated independently and alongside the Queen’s Rangers in Monmouth County, New Jersey for the past seven years. Respected and feared for our effective raids and kidnappings of Patriot leaders, our reputation precedes us throughout New Jersey. Our combat unit gained notoriety under the command of Colonel Tye, whose valor and courage on the battlefield made us one of the most feared fighting forces in New Jersey. Colonel Tye was killed in action during a military operation to seize Colonial leader Joshua Huddy. While the “Black Brigade” took down Huddy after a long standoff, New Jersey Militia attacked our men, freeing Huddy, and in the process, mortally wounding Colonel Tye. When he died, I was asked to take his place, commanding the “Black Brigade.” This great honor bestowed upon me is a reflection of my dedicated service to the Crown and the “Black Pioneers.” I joined the “Black Pioneers” early in the American Revolution. While I am from Barbados and was never enslaved, I was inspired by Dunmore’s Proclamation and the Crown’s promise to free all enslaved persons who fought against the Colonists. Colonel Tye died two years ago, having failed his final mission. But his memory continues to inspire his men. We are also inspired by the thought that his killer, Joshua Huddy, remains at large. We have received intelligence that Joshua Huddy is commanding a small contingent of New Jersey militiamen in Toms River, guarding a salt factory. The “Black Brigade” has the opportunity to take control of the salt factory and also take down Joshua Huddy. We have over one hundred men and Huddy has twenty-five. While we outnumber him four to one, Huddy has escaped similarly challenging situations. Where Colonel Tye failed, I must succeed.
As he prepares his troops, what should Stephen Blucke do?
Be sure to provide reasoning for your response.
- Use numerical superiority to overwhelm Huddy and his men and quickly take control of the salt factory, even if that means Huddy may be killed in the fighting.
- Surround the salt factory to preclude the possibility of Huddy escaping, and send elite soldiers to apprehend Huddy alive. Taking Huddy as a prisoner is more important than capturing the salt factory.
After making your decision complete the following extension activity:
Write a letter from Stephen Blucke, explaining which option you chose and what occurred after your military action in Toms River.
Below is a map of New Jersey around the time of Blucke’s attack on Toms River.
Use this map to answer the following:
1. Locate Toms River on the map using prior knowledge or maps online.
2. Stephen Blucke and the “Black Brigade” were stationed in “Refugeetown” in Sandy Hook over the course of the American Revolution. Locate Sandy Hook on the map.