"I got involved with living history in 2009 to not only learn about history but to experience it firsthand. I was drawn to Outwater's Militia due to it's important but often untold story of the American Revolution. I've been lucky to visit countless historic sites and make amazing friendships along the way."
- James Smith , Commander
"I joined Outwater's to get to live some history - you get to learn more about an era when you re-enact it, because you learn more about the details. Militia was an important part of the Revolution, and gives you options on how to dress, where Continentals have uniforms."
- Glenn Valis
The History of Outwater's Company
Captain John Outwater's Company of the Bergen County Militia Regiment was one of twenty-five companies raised by Act of the New Jersey Assembly in 1776. However, due to the demoralizing retreat of the Continental Army across New Jersey after the Fall of New York and the surrounding American positions, it seems the Company did not actually form until early 1777.
When the Company was assembled in Hackensack, the Company elected its Company Commanders: John Outwater as Captain; Adam Boyd, Lieutenant, and Abraham Allen, Ensign. Outwater's Company one of several companies in the Bergen County Militia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Theunis Dey.
The Company was composed of Jersey Dutch farmers and tradesmen who attempted to protect their property from British foraging parties. Because of the proximity to the British in New York City and the large Tory or Loyalist population, Bergen County was dangerous for those in rebellion. Unlike other militia, it was often unsafe for these men to return to their homes. Because of this, the men of the Outwater's Company were often on constant duty, much different from the men of New England. Raids into the area from New York City and British held Paulus Hook (now Jersey City) were frequent and often directed towards capturing militia men at home. The militia tried to guard the roads amd rivers as much as possible.
When not repelling raiders or invasions, the company concentrated on interdicting Loyalist trade with the British in New York. Goods for the British were often sent down the Hackensack River and the goods and transporters would be seized by Outwater's men. The Justice of the Peace would then award the goods to the captors. Sometimes Outwater's militia guarded prisoners for the Sheriff.
In December 1780, the State legislature commissioned the company Outwater's Company, New Jersey State Troops. State Troops were considered a cut above militia; the comparative stability of their long-term enlistment allowed them to be assigned more important and intensive duties. They served as State Troops through 1781.