Category Archives: Military History

A Cattaraugus County Man’s Account of World War 1


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somewhere in france book coverThe United States entered World War I in April 1917, and by the end of the conflict two million American soldiers were fighting on French soil.  One of them was Private Frederick A. Kittleman. In Somewhere in France: The World War I Letters and Journal of Private Frederick A. Kittleman (Excelsior Editions, 2017), Thomas J. Schaeper transcribes journal entries and letters, showing a young man proud to join the army and excited about his adventures.

The letters are contrasted with Kittleman’s journal, which recounts the gritty details of battle that he shielded from his family in their correspondence. Schaeper provides detailed annotations of the journal and letters, which, together with a number of illustrations, paint a picture of the experiences of a private in WWI, his opinion on America’s participation in the final, bloody campaigns of the war, and the psychological and physical effects that the war had on him. Continue reading

25th Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend June 9-11, 2017


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12th-us-infantry-reenacting-drill-2016The Smithfield Community Association’s Civil War Weekend Committee is preparing for the 25th annual Peterboro event June 9 to 11, 2017. The event began a quarter century ago to raise funds to repair the Smithfield Community Center and to bring attention to Peterboro’s history.

Thanks to volunteers and sponsors, the event has raised money to continue to upgrade community buildings and acquire the Gerrit Smith Estate, as well as promote the history of Peterboro. Continue reading

Disease & The Seven Years’ War


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ben_franklins_worldWhen we think of the French and Indian, or Seven Years’ War, we often think of battles: The Monongahela, Ticonderoga, Québec. Yet, wars aren’t just about battles. They’re about people and governments too.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, we explore a very different aspect of the French and Indian or Seven Years’ War. We explore the war through the lens of disease and medicine and how disease prompted the British government to take steps to keep its soldiers healthy.

Our guide for this investigation is Erica Charters, an Associate Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford and author of Disease, War, and the Imperial State: The Welfare of British Armed Forces during the Seven Years’ War (University of Chicago Press, 2014). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/116

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Why New York Fought the Civil War


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recruitsWe will celebrate Presidents’ Day next month, on February 20. But we don’t celebrate Governors’ Day or anything similar. If we did, we might note the contributions of New York’s three Civil War governors — Edwin Morgan (R, 1859-1863) Horatio Seymour (D, 1863-1865) and Reuben Fenton (R, 1865-1869). All three were nationally known leaders at the time. Seymour was a critic of the wartime draft and other Lincoln administration domestic policies. Morgan and Fenton both went on to become United States Senators from our state, where they also played leadership roles. Seymour ran for president in 1868, losing to Ulysses S. Grant. Continue reading

Redcoats, Hessians, and Americans in the Battles of Saratoga


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redcoats-hessians-and-americansThe American Revolution Round Table (ARRT) of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys will present Redcoats, Hessians, and Americans fought in the 1777 Battles of Saratoga on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm, at the Schuylerville Town Hall, 12 Spring St. (corner of Route 29 & 4, the old High School), Schuylerville.

This is the second session held by the ARRT where time will be allocated to networking, socializing and to discuss prior topics. Continue reading

State Library Exhibit Marks 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor


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fran-mccawThe New York State Library commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with an exhibit on the 7th floor, the centerpiece of which is a small but interesting collection of papers left by one Private First Class/later Sergeant Archibald Francis McCaw, who preferred to be known as Fran.

From the memo section of Private McCaw’s small five-year diary, it is learned that after basic training he left Brooklyn Army Base for Honolulu, Hawaii aboard the troop transport Republic, arriving on 9/13/1939. He was assigned to Company C of the 35th US Infantry, Schofield Barracks. “It was sure great to begin my time and get it over in a hurry.” Little did he know. Continue reading