Category Archives: Military History

Rebels on the Niagara: The Fenian Invasion of Canada


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rebels on the niagara book coverLawrence E. Cline’s new book Rebels on the Niagara: The Fenian Invasion of Canada, 1866 (SUNY Press, 2017) takes a look at what is now largely considered a footnote in history, the American invasion of Canada along the Niagara Frontier.

The group behind the invasion – the Fenian Brotherhood – was formed in 1858 by Irish nationalists in New York City in order to fight for Irish independence from Britain. Continue reading

Twin Forts Day: The Assault on Forts Montgomery and Clinton


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The Assault on Forts Montgomery and ClintonFort Montgomery State Historic Site is hosting Twin Forts Day: The Assault on Forts Montgomery and Clinton, on Saturday, October 7 from 10 am to 4 pm.

On October 6, 1777 an invading British Army assaulted Fort Montgomery and nearby Fort Clinton. Outnumbered 3 to 1, the defending Continental soldiers and militia held out as long as they could until at last the forts were overrun, the Continental ships burned by their own crews to prevent capture, and the Great Chain removed. Over half of the garrison was captured or killed. Continue reading

Test Your Battle of Plattsburgh Knowledge (Part 2)


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September 11, 2017, marks the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of Plattsburgh. The official 2017 commemoration of the battle ended Sunday. To mark the event, a quiz appeared here last week, mostly addressing Commodore Thomas Macdonough’s role in the victory on Lake Champlain.

There were two battles at Plattsburgh however, one on the bay and one on land. This week’s quiz covers the land battle and related subjects. See if you can answer a few, and learn a few fun facts in the bargain. Continue reading

Fort Montgomery: A Chain That Saved the Colonies


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Links from West Point ’s Great Chain on display at Trophy PointFort Montgomery State Historic Site will host The Chain that Saved the Colonies, as part of their Thursday Night Speaker, on Thursday, September 28, at 7 pm.

To stop the British from gaining control of the Hudson River during the American Revolution, Peter Townsend manufactured a Great Chain for the Continental Army at his Sterling Furnace and Forge. This chain was placed across the Hudson River at West Point.   Continue reading

A Unique Memorial To A Fallen World War One Soldier


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Morgan S. Baldwin 1915 Cornell YearbookHe was undoubtedly the first victim of the first World War whose name I learned. As a freshman at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, I would lower my stress levels by walking. I traipsed around the expansive campus, but I’d also venture onto city streets. I discovered that near the stately Llenroc mansion (built to be the home of Cornell founder, Ezra Cornell – though he never lived there), there was an impressive stone staircase, with a large terrace that was a perfect spot for looking down on “the bustling town” (as the Cornell anthem calls the city). A plaque identified the structure as a memorial for Morgan Smiley Baldwin, a 1915 graduate of Cornell, whose body lay “where he fell at Boni-France, September 29th, 1918.”

For years, this was what I knew about Baldwin. I assumed – as probably others have – that “Smiley” was a nickname, but it turns out it was his given middle name (his mother’s maiden name was Smiley). I did learn that the stairway had been erected by his aggrieved father. We are in the midst of the centennial of the “Great War,” and I decided to take a fresh look at Baldwin’s story. Continue reading

NYC Lecture: World War One and Modern Veteran Care


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Disabled World War One veteran pan handling Unknown photographer, Um Spenden bittender Kriegsinvalide, Germany, after 1918 - source Deutsches Historisches MuseumThe New York Academy of Medicine in New York City will host a lecture by Beth Linker on The Great War and Modern Veteran Care on Thursday, September 28 from 6 to 7:30 pm.

Popularly known as “The War to End All Wars,” the First World War was also the war to end all disability. Determined to curtail the human and economic costs of military conflict, the United States and many other belligerent nations instituted programs of physical and vocational rehabilitation in order to make injured men more whole again, so that they could fit back more seamlessly into civilian society.

This talk will trace the practice and ethic of the rehabilitative model of veteran care, with an eye toward showing how it later became commodified as part of America’s ongoing commitment to pursuing a militaristic foreign policy.  Continue reading

Sackets Harbor Discussions: After The Civil War


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Josh Canale and Dr. John DeansThis autumn, the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site will continue their readings and discussions series with a “follow up” which takes up where the previous Civil War topic concluded.

Jefferson Community College history instructor Josh Canale will guide the discussions during four Tuesday 7 pm sessions on September 12, 19, 26 and Oct 17. Facilitating with Josh is the College’s past president and history instructor Dr. John W. Deans. Continue reading

Q&A: Test Your Battle of Plattsburgh Knowledge


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The Battle of Plattsburgh celebration is upon us again, so there’s no better time than now for a little Q&A to test your knowledge (and you’ll learn stuff, too!) about a truly remarkable victory.

The focus here is on Commodore Thomas Macdonough, who was lauded nationally as a hero for his actions on Lake Champlain. On Plattsburgh’s museum campus (located on the former air base property), you’ll find the Battle of Plattsburgh Association’s War of 1812 Museum, and check out the schedule of events for the 2017 Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration running from September 7–10. There’s something for everyone, with plenty of great family venues. Continue reading