Category Archives: Military History

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

American Revolution Tory Partisan William Caldwell


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Butlers Rangers in the American RevolutionThe name William Caldwell first caught my attention while researching the August 12, 1781, raid in Wawarsing, in Ulster County, NY. His name was mentioned again in Governor George Clinton’s public papers. It was also in connection to the August raid which, it was believed, was lead by Caldwell (then a Captain).  During this raid he led other Tories and Native American allies.

William Caldwell was born around 1750 in Northern Ireland. Prior to the American Revolution, Caldwell came to England’s North American Colonies first settling in Pennsylvania. Continue reading

100th Anniversary of America Entering WWI


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Cultural Services of the French Embassy In late March, the Cultural Services of the United States French Embassy kicked off “How 1917 Changed the World: A Centennial Commemoration of The United States Entrance into World War One,” a major cultural and educational year-long initiative highlighting the 100th anniversary of this critical year of change. The slate of programs will also focus on the significant cultural impact of the Great War. Continue reading

Black Soldiers of New York State Lecture In Schenectady


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black soldiers of ny stateAfrican Americans have a long, and often overlooked record of serving in NYS armed forces. Join the Schenectady County Historical Society on Saturday, April 1 at 2 pm, as author Anthony Gero explores the contributions of New York’s African Americans prior to the military’s integration.

African American solders – in spite of many obstacles – served courageously and valiantly, winning many commendations and earning the respect of friend and foe alike. This talk is presented as part of the “Together Until the End: Schenectady in the First World War” series. Continue reading

Joseph Brant’s 1780 Attack On Canajoharie


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joseph brantThe American Revolution Round Table (ARRT) of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys will host Wayne Lenig, who will give a presentation entitled Joseph Brant’s 1780 Attack on Canajohary.

Original accounts of the August 2nd raid began appearing in major newspapers about two weeks after the attack. A newspaper account dated September 9, 1780 stated the following: “At the fort now called fort Ransalaer (Fort Plain), Sir John Johnson and Captain Brant have burnt 51 houses, 42 barns, 17 killed, and 52 prisoners.”

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