Joseph Bloomfield was born in Woodbridge in the Province of New Jersey to Moses Bloomfield, a physician, and Sarah Ogden on October 18, 1753. Moses Bloomfield was a surgeon and an abolitionist.
Joseph was educated at Reverend Enoch Green’s school in Deerfield Township, New Jersey, where Enoch was the pastor of the local Presbyterian Church. Bloomfield studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1775 and began his law practice in Bridgeton, New Jersey. He entered the Continental Army as captain of the 3rd New Jersey Regiment on February 9, 1776. He attained the rank of major on November 28, 1776, and was appointed judge advocate of the northern army. He was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777. He resigned from the Continental Army on October 28, 1778, after he was elected clerk of the New Jersey General Assembly.
In 1794, he led Federal and New Jersey state troops to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, a popular uprising conducted by Appalachian settlers who resisted the excise tax on liquor and distilled drinks, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From 1795 to 1800 he served as Mayor of Burlington, New Jersey.
At the start of the War of 1812 he was commissioned as a brigadier general in the United States Army on March 13, 1812. He served until June 15, 1815 along the Canada–US border.
Joseph married Mary McIlvaine (1752–1818), the daughter of William McIlvaine (1722–1770), a physician from Burlington, New Jersey. Her brother, Col. Joseph McIlvaine (1749–1787), was the father of Joseph McIlvaine (1769–1826), United States Senator from New Jersey. They had no children.
After the death of his first wife, he married Isabella Ramsey (1779–1871), the daughter of John Ramsey.
He practiced law in Burlington, New Jersey and was the registrar of the admiralty court from 1779 to 1783. He served as the New Jersey Attorney General from 1783 to 1792 and as a trustee of Princeton College from 1793 until his death. He was elected Governor of New Jersey as a Democratic-Republican and served in office from 1801–1802 and from 1803–1812.
In 1814, Bloomfield was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society.
Bloomfield was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Fifteenth United States Congress and reelected to the Sixteenth Congress from March 4, 1817 through March 3, 1821, where he represented New Jersey's At-large congressional district. Bloomfield ran for, but was not elected to, the Seventeenth Congress.
In 1796, what had been known as the Old First Church was formed and was named the Presbyterian Society of Bloomfield in honor of Joseph Bloomfield. When the Township of Bloomfield was formed, the name was taken from the name of the church.
Bloomfield died in Burlington, New Jersey on October 3, 1823, and was buried in Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard in Burlington.