Category Archives: Military History

A Revolutionary War Cemetery Reveals More Secrets


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn historical researcher studying the pension files of Revolutionary War veterans has identified a Maryland officer who died at the Fishkill Supply Depot and was buried in a long-abandoned Revolutionary War cemetery threatened by development.

In late 2007, an archaeological team rediscovered the cemetery on privately-owned land just south of the Van Wyck Homestead along U.S. Route 9. The Van Wyck Homestead served as the headquarters for what was George Washington’s principal supply depot during the Revolutionary War and is the site’s only remaining structure. Continue reading

Podcast: The Mohawk Valley History Conference


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The Historians LogoThis week “The Historians” podcast features coverage of the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley Conference held May 1-3. The half hour episode features interviews with conference participants Jim Kirby Martin, co-author of Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution (Hill and Wang, 2006); Jack Kelly, author of Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence (Macmillan, 2014); and Don Hagist, author of The Revolution’s Last Men: The Soldiers Behind the Photographs (Westholme Publishing, 2015). Continue reading

Freedom Journey: Westchester Co Black Civil War Soldiers


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Freedoms Journey Black Civil War SoldiersAlmost 200,000 black men served in the Army during the Civil War, but only 34,000 were from the North. An underrepresented segment in Civil War studies, the stories of some of these Northern soldiers are told in Edythe Ann Quinn’s Freedom Journey: Black Civil War Soldiers and the Hills Community, Westchester County, New York (SUNY Press, 2015).

Freedom Journey presents in-depth, personal histories of thirty-six free black men from New York State who fought in the war. The book is both an African-American community history and a Civil War history of three regiments of the United States Colored Troops (USCT). Continue reading

Fenian Raids Living History Event This Weekend


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Fenian RaidersOn Saturday, May 9 and Sunday May 10, the Old Stone Fort Museum Complex in Schoharie, NY will host an encampment and interactive program on the 1866 Fenian Raids.

The Fenian Raids of 1866 were conceived by a faction of the Fenian Brotherhood, organized in America to fight for the independence of Ireland from Britain. Many of the men were Irish-Americans who had fought in the Civil War. Continue reading

1780 Beer Challenge, Rev War Festival May 16th


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1780 Beer ChallengeOn May 16th, The Middleburgh Library, The Albany Ale Project, and Green Wolf Brewing Company are hosting an afternoon (1 pm to 5 pm) event celebrating beer, brewing, and Middleburgh’s Revolutionary War history.

The day’s activities include a Revolutionary War encampment, colonial brewing and cooking demonstrations, 18th century toys and games for kids, talks on the history of beer and hops in upstate New York and the Schoharie Valley, a Schoharie Valley hops display at the Library, beer samples from Green Wolf and MacKinnon Brothers, and Green Wolf brewery tours. Continue reading

Black Civil War Veteran James Lucas of Albany


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coloredtroops recruitment“Albany’s Only Negro Civil War Veteran” was the title of an article in The New York Age in May, 1933. The paper reported an interview with the city’s last surviving black veteran from the War Between the States, Sergeant James N. Lucas.

After serving with Company E of the 38th U.S. Colored Volunteers from early 1865 until 1867, he lived in Troy before moving to Albany in 1869. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Offers Scout Overnight Program


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DCIM100MEDIAFort Ticonderoga has announced the return of the immersive overnight program for Scouts during the spring and fall of 2015. Scouts can book their adventure for Saturday nights May 16th through June 6th and August 29th through October 24th. This offer is available for Boy Scout troops and Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors.

“Imagine your troop being able to garrison Fort Ticonderoga overnight!” said Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Education Rich Strum. “Give your scouts an experience they’ll never forget—a rare chance to spend the night at Fort Ticonderoga.” Continue reading

George Washington’s Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldWhat drove George Washington to become a Patriot during the American Revolution?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Robert Middlekauff, Professor Emeritus of colonial and early United States History at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Washington’s Revolution: The Making of America’s First Leader (Knopf, 2015), reveals the answer as we explore George Washington the man and leader. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/026

Continue reading

The Dutch Wars of Independence, 1570-1680


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Dutch wars of independenceIn The Dutch Wars of Independence: Warfare and Commerce in The Netherlands, 1570-1680 (Routledge, 2014), Marjolein ’t Hart assesses the success of the Dutch in establishing their independence through their eighty years struggle with Spain – one of the most remarkable achievements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Other rebellions troubled mighty powers of this epoch, but none resulted in the establishment of an independent, republican state. Continue reading

USS Slater Opens For The Season In Albany


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USS SLATER 2015USS Slater has opened to the public for the ship’s 18th season in Albany.  A National Historic Landmark, the Slater is the only remaining World War II Destroyer Escort afloat in America.

Destroyer Escorts originally were conceived to battle Nazi U-Boats while escorting convoys across the Atlantic. However, their versatility proved useful in the Pacific defending task forces from Kamikaze attacks. Many Destroyer Escorts continued to serve during the Korean and Viet Nam Wars. The current US Navy Fleet’s frigates are descendants of these small ships. Continue reading

Arnold Or Gates: Who Was The Hero of Saratoga?


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Saratoga October 1777  - L to R Sir John Burgoyne, Benedict Arnold and Horatio GatesOn Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 2 to 3 pm, the NYS Military Museum at 61 Lake Ave in Saratoga Springs will host a debate on an old question: Horatio Gates or Benedict Arnold…who is the real hero of the Battles of Saratoga?

National Park Rangers Joe Craig and Eric Schnitzer will present this structured discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of American Generals Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold and how each helped, or hindered, the American victory in the world-changing Battles of Saratoga, called the “most important battle of the last 1,000 years.” Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute Seeks Applicants


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teacher instituteFort Ticonderoga in Essex County, NY is now accepting applications from teachers to participate in the 2015 Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute, June 28 through July 3, 2015.

The focus of this year’s institute is “The French & Indian War: Ticonderoga at the Center of a Global Conflict” and will accommodate 12 teachers for a week-long exploration of the pivotal role that Ticonderoga and the Champlain-Hudson corridor played in the global contest for empire. Continue reading

John C. Fremont: Rockland County’s Forgotten Hero


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John_Charles_FrémontIn a cemetery overlooking the Hudson River just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, lies John C. Fremont, who’s contribution to the end of slavery and the Union victory in the Civil War was tremendous, though he is little-remembered today.

Most generally associate Fremont with the State of California. He is the namesake of Fremont, California, and in 1846 was court-martialed for leading a revolt of American settlers there against the Mexican government. He lived most of the latter part of his life in New York State however, in New York City, and Westchester and Rockland counties. He also played a critical role in shifting the focus of Abraham Lincoln’s efforts in the Civil War from a sectional constitutional conflict to a crusade to abolish slavery. Continue reading

Colonial America Conference for Educators Set


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DCIM100MEDIAFort Ticonderoga will host the Seventh Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 15, 2015, in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference, while intended for educators, is open to anyone with an interest in helping connect students with history.

The conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. The conference precedes Fort Ticonderoga’s Twentieth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, a weekend-long seminar focused on the French & Indian War (1754-1763). Continue reading

Phebe Reynolds Thwarts The Tories


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phebeJames Eldridge Quinlan’s History of Sullivan County is generally regarded as one of the most thorough and entertainingly written local histories.  Published in 1873, Quinlan’s history is the undisputed bible of Sullivan County’s past, and yet it is not without its shortcomings. Some have criticized what they view as his selective exclusion of material – he does not, for instance, write much about the Civil War, and it has been said that this was because he was a Copperhead, or a southern sympathizer. And each year in March, Women’s History Month, we are reminded that he afforded minimal space in his writings to the women of the era.

That makes the few women he does write about stand out even more than they might otherwise, and no woman receives greater praise from Quinlan than Phebe Reynolds Drake. Continue reading

New Chief Ranger For Saratoga Battlefield


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1503_Dave_LaMereSaratoga National Historical Park Superintendent Joe Finan has announce the appointment of David LaMere as the Park’s new Chief Ranger. The Chief Ranger oversees visitor safety and resource protection of the park’s Battlefield and Old Saratoga units, heading up law enforcement and coordinating the structural and wildfire programs.

LaMere replaces former Chief Ranger Greg Wozniak, who has taken a position as District Ranger at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Continue reading

American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley Conference


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Fort Plain ConferenceThe Fort Plain Museum, in the heart of upstate New York, has announced a Conference on the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley.

The conference will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 1-3, 2015. Conference attendees will arrive at the Fort Plain Museum Friday evening followed by a cocktail reception and presentation on the history of Fort Plain/Fort Rensselaer. Saturday will include a full day of talks by six authors with a box lunch provided. On Sunday a bus tour will begin at the Fort Plain Museum exploring six historic colonial sites with a guided tour by Fort Plain Museum chairman, Norm Bollen. Continue reading