Middlebrook, New Jersey. Middlebrook? Can't find it on the map? Its not there. It has been absorbed by the town of Bound Brook. It was a small village north west of Bound Brook, about where Thompson Avenue and Route 28 meet. The encampment was north of the village, around the gap into the hills which Chimney Rock Road runs through. Today it is just east of the junction of Routes 22 and 287.
The Main army, consisting of the Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania Brigades, with the Delaware regiment, the artillery Corps, and the artisans and attached support units, were along the base of the Watchung Mountains. Here they were protected from some of the weather, had a good supply of trees for construction and firewood, and were supported by a generally patriotic population, with an active militia.
Only tools and boards for the bunk beds were provided, and a very few expensive nails. There was no glass for windows, or iron for hinges. They built along the lower slopes, using the wooded hills as their supply depot. Each hut was 16X14 and had walls 7 foot tall. The tools they needed were issued by the Quartermaster Department. Deputy Quartermaster Jacob Weiss made frequent requests from Middlebrook for tools, including this request on Deck.16th:
Broad Axes, Adzes Claw or Carpenter's Hammers, 12 or 15 Cross cut Saws with cross cut and Hand Saw Files and also Saw Setts, 10 or 12 Saddles with the prices or distinguishing whose Merchandize, About 2 Tun Barr Iron as wrote for including that for Mr. How, 10 or 12 Barrs Steel suitable for new Steeling Axes &c.-And a good Stove with pipes agreeable to dimensionsWashington had standardized the hut size as 16 feet by 14 feet, with 7 foot tall walls and a peaked roof, with one fire place and chimney.
Dr. James Thatcher described the Middlebrook encampment like this:
"February 3/.-Having continued to live under cover of canvas-tents most of the winter, we have suffered extremely from exposure to cold and storms. Our soldiers have been employed six or eight weeks in constructing log huts, which at length are completed, and both officers and soldiers are now under comfortable covering for the remainder of the winter. Log houses are constructed with the trunks of trees cut into various lengths, according to the size intended, and are firmly connected by notches cut at their extremities in the manner of dovetailing. The vacancies between the logs are filled in with plastering consisting of mud and clay. The roof is formed of similar pieces of timber, and covered with hewn slabs. The chimney, situated at one end of the house, is made of similar but smaller timber, and both the inner and the outer side are covered with clay plaster, to defend the wood against the fire. The door and windows are formed by sawing away a part of the logs of a proper size, and move on wooden hinges. In this manner have our soldiers, without nails, and almost without tools, except the axe and saw, provided for their officers and for themselves comfortable and convenient quarters, with little or no expense to the public. The huts are arranged in strait lines, forming a regular, uniform, compact village. The officers' huts are situated in front of the line, according to their rank, the kitchens in the rear, and the whole is similar in form to a tent encampment. The ground for a considerable distance in front of the soldiers' line of huts is cleared of wood, stumps and rubbish, and is every morning swept clean for the purpose of a parade-ground and roll-call for the respective regiments. line officers' huts are in general divided into two apartments, and are occupied by three or four officers, who compose one mess. Those for the soldiers have but one room, and contain ten or twelve men, with their cabins placed one above another against the walls, and fitted with straw, and one blanket for each man."