Category Archives: Military History

New York State’s World War One Website Now Online


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photo of British tank on 5th Ave in New York City in World War IThe New York State WWI Centennial Commission website now contains links to oral histories with WWI soldiers and free access on Ancestry.com, through a partnership with the New York State Archives, to information compiled from federal WWI military service records for Army officers, enlisted men, sailors, Marines, and nurses who enlisted or were drafted in New York.

This service information is particularly valuable because most World War I Army service records were destroyed in a 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. New York’s information, however, exists for exploration only because, shortly after World War I, New York’s adjutant general gathered the military records for New Yorkers. Continue reading

Lakes to Locks Passage: New York’s Great Northeast Journey


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Lakes to Locks Passage has completed the third in the series of Waterways of War guidebooks. Waterways of War: The Turning Point of the American Revolution focuses on the 1777 northern campaign of British General John Burgoyne. The book is also the centerpiece of a broader initiative to develop the Turning Point Trail, a narrated driving tour from Plattsburgh to Albany. Continue reading

12th U.S. Infantry Hosts Civil War Weekend in Peterboro


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nurses skirmish 2016The 12th Regiment U.S. Infantry Co. A (reenacting) and the Civil War Heritage Foundation will host the 25th Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend from June 9 to 11. The 12th was first organized in 1798 and disbanded in 1800, raised again in 1812 and for the Mexican War. The regiment portrayed by the reenacting unit was organized by direction of President Lincoln on May 4, 1861. The 12th Infantry is still active.

As in many years past, “The 12th” (reenacting) will be encamped on the western half acre of the Peterboro Green and will be joined by several other military re-enacting units. The field is under the command of Captain Neil MacMillan. “The 12th ” participates in both local and national events as members of the U.S. Continue reading

1757: What Adirondack History Might Have Been


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“These are mere deserts on both sides of the river St. Lawrence, uninhabited by beast or bird on account of the severe colds which reign there.”—Samuel de Champlain.

“One cannot see a more savage country, and no part of the earth is more uninhabitable.” —Pierre Charlevoix, 1756. And about winters in the north: “It is then a melancholy thing not to be able to go out of doors, unless you are muffled up with furs like the bears…. What can anyone think, where the very bears dare not show their face to the weather for six months in the year!”

The last quotation (1767) is from John Mitchell, who cited the above comments by Charlevoix and Champlain in assessing New England, New York, and Quebec during discussions about the future of the American colonies. His writings at that time supported a solution Mitchell had proposed a decade earlier, one that would have drastically altered today’s map of the Americas and seriously revised the history of the Adirondack region. Continue reading

Peter Hess: Civil War Reaches Albany


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 Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Albany's Washington ParkFollowing his election as President in 1860, Abraham Lincoln undertook a train ride to Washington that would take him through Albany. He arrived here on February 18, 1861 with his wife and three sons. As their train passed the West Albany railroad shops, an electrical switch was turned off at the nearby Dudley Observatory, causing an electromagnet mounted on the roof of the Capitol in downtown Albany to release a metal ball that slid down a pole, signaling to military officials to start a 21-gun salute in Capitol Park. Continue reading