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National Park is a borough in Gloucester County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 3,036, reflecting a decline of 169 (-5.3%) from the 3,205 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 208 (-6.1%) from the 3,413 counted in the 1990 Census. Despite its name, National Park is neither a national park nor associated with one.
In 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army under command of George Washington constructed two forts on the Delaware River to block the approach to Philadelphia: Fort Mifflin on the Pennsylvania side and Fort Mercer on the New Jersey side in what is now National Park. The fort was named in honor of Brigadier General Hugh Mercer who had died earlier that year at the Battle of Princeton. A park, monument, and museum commemorate the fort on its original site.
On October 22 of that year, in what is known as the Battle of Red Bank, an attack by 900 Hessian troops, serving under British Major General William Howe, who then occupied Philadelphia, was repelled, with heavy losses on the Hessian side (including the death of their commander, Colonel Carl Emil Kurt von Donop) by the 600 Continental defenders under Colonel Christopher Greene. After the loss of Fort Mifflin, Fort Mercer was abandoned without a fight when Lord Charles Cornwallis landed 2,000 British troops nearby on November 18.
Beginning in 1895, the area was commercially developed as a religious retreat for members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and called National Park on the Delaware. The founder, the Rev. James E. Lake, also created Ocean City, New Jersey.
National Park was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 15, 1902, from portions of West Deptford Township.
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