NATIONAL PARK - When they established their plantation in 1748, Quakers James and Ann Whitall could never have imagined their house and peaceful 400-acre property would become a battlefield where hundreds would die.

They would be just as surprised that their own history, as well as those of the men, women and children who worked the land, would be retold there through a free theatrical production.

The stories of the soldiers who came to fight at what became known as Fort Mercer also will be recounted during performances June 6 that re-create the day leading up to the Battle of Red Bank, a crucial Revolutionary War clash in October 1777.

The Whitall house became a field hospital during the fight between Continental forces and New Jersey militia, and Britain's Hessian troops. Ann Whitall tended to the wounded of both sides.

Two performances - scheduled for noon and 3 p.m. - will be directed by playwright Joe Salvatore, a Pitman native and clinical associate professor of educational theater at New York University, who also wrote the script.

Seven actor portrayals will be held at the Whitall homestead and on several locations on the battlefield, and will be followed by workshops and discussions.

The event - called "Animating the James and Ann Whitall House at Red Bank Battlefield" - will be hosted by the Cultural & Heritage Commission of Rowan College at Gloucester County and the Gloucester County Parks Department.

The Battle of Red Bank delayed the British from destroying one of two American forts guarding the Delaware River. Rebel forces at Fort Mifflin in Pennsylvania and Fort Mercer on the Whitall Plantation blocked the flow of supplies to Redcoats controlling the city of Philadelphia.

The battlefield, Whitall homestead and remains of Fort Mercer are on the banks of the Delaware River at 100 Hessian Ave. in National Park.

Preregistration and advance tickets are required for the event. Space is limited. Tickets will not be available at the door. Visit to register.

The James and Ann Whitall House is wheelchair accessible. Please call 856-464-5214 for additional information.

- Edward Colimore