Category Archives: Military History

Free Admission to Saratoga Battlefield Tuesday


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Saratoga Battlefield and Hudson RiverThe National Park Service is turning 99 years old on August 25, 2015 and everyone is getting a present – free admission!

Saratoga National Historical Park’s celebration on Tuesday features a Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drums concert at noon, musket firings throughout the day and discounts in the museum bookstore. Also available is free entrance to drive or bicycle the scenic tour road and hike the historic trails. Continue reading

Colonial Medicine: Treating George Washington


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1787 Portrait of George Washington by James PealeLast week, I summarized the medical issues of a military and political figure in the American colonial period: George Washington (1732 – 1799). Today, I’ll describes briefly how each of those issues was treated.

At the time of the American Revolution, the biggest menace wasn’t the enemy in red coats – it was disease. Despite a rapidly expanding urbanization in the American colonies, virtually nothing was known about food, aerosols, close contact, fleas and mosquitoes as the sources of contagion. Without any protective measures or effective treatments, any day could bring a debilitating and often fatal illness to anyone, and sometimes to a whole family. Life – in a word – was tenuous. Continue reading

Comments Sought On Historic Lake Champlain Islands, Facilities


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Bluff_Point_Light_on_Valcour_IslandThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a Draft Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex Unit Management Plan (Draft UMP) in compliance with the Adirondack State Land Master Plan. The plan includes a number of historic and recreational sites.

Public comments on the plan are being accepted through September 18, 2015. A Public Meeting on the Draft UMP will be held August 20th in Plattsburgh. Continue reading

Walking Tour of Plattsburgh’s Old Base Sunday


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Plattsburgh Old BaseThe Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) will be partnering with City of Plattsburgh Historian, John Krueger to offer walking tours of Plattsburgh Old Base.

Starting the tour with the 1609 discovery of Lake Champlain, the tour will explore Lake Champlain’s vast military history that led up to the Battle of Plattsburgh, which paved the way for what is known today as the Plattsburgh Barracks/Post or, as to most locals, the Old Base. Once housing the Army, Navy and Air Force, the Old Base is a monument to the city’s military past. Continue reading

17th Century Cannon Returned To New York


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Cape Vincent Cannon display 2A cannon dating to the mid 1600s, which had been salvaged from the St. Lawrence River at the head of Carleton Island in the Town of Cape Vincent decades ago, has been returned to New York.

Plans are in the works for a long term loan to allow for the cannon’s display at the Village of Cape Vincent’s East End Park on the shores overlooking Carleton Island, where so much of the cannon’s history played itself out. Continue reading

Sackets Harbor War of 1812 Weekend August 1-2


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SA20100731-FILM166.jpg compressedThe Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site will host the 11th Annual War of 1812 Weekend all day Saturday August 1 and Sunday morning August 2, 2015.

The weekend’s demonstrations run from 9 am to 5 pm Saturday followed by an English Country Dance from 7 pm to 9 pm; the living history demonstrations will continue Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm. Admission is free. Highlights include tactical demonstrations on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Continue reading

Marquis de Lafayette’s Visit To Fort Hunter


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220px-Gilbert_du_Motier_Marquis_de_LafayetteIf you visit Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site in Fort Hunter, you will be following in the footsteps of Marquis de Lafayette, who visited by canal boat in 1825.

A French aristocrat, Lafayette fought with George Washington’s army during the American Revolution. At some point while in America the Frenchman visited Johnstown and was entertained by the families of Jacob and Thomas Sammons, who leased the former Johnson Hall for four years after the Loyalist Johnson family fled to Canada. Lafayette played a key role in the British defeat at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Continue reading

Civil War Weekend at Robert Moses State Park


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2nd Michigan on the fieldThe St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s 14th Annual Civil War Reenactment Weekend will be held at Robert Moses State Park in Massena on Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26.

Military and civilian re-enactors from New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Ontario and Quebec, Canada are expected to attend, including President Lincoln, as well as sutlers, vendors of period goods and clothing. Continue reading

Chenango County African American Civil War Veterans


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Hannibal Molson“Thursday was a gala day for the colored people of [Norwich] and surrounding towns,” the Chenango Semi-Weekly Telegram reported on September 27, 1879. “The occasion being the reunion of the colored soldiers of the late war, under the auspices of the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company of this village.”

The African American fire company had been organized earlier that year and elected Civil War veteran Hannibal C. Molson its Foreman. The day’s program called for a dinner, a parade, and speeches in recognition of their honoree’s service followed in the evening by a meal at the Spaulding House, musical selections, and a ball at Concert Hall. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution Planned


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Registration is now open for the Twelfth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution September 25-27, 2015. This annual seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the War for American Independence (1775-1783), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The Seminar takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. Continue reading

New Evidence About Cannon Found In Adirondacks


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Johnsburg Revolutionary War CannonThe story goes that, in the summer of 1970, a Town of Johnsburg highway crew was straightening a Garnet Lake Road near Crane Mountain in Northern Warren County in the Adirondacks. While removing some of the ancient corduroy logs that once carried the road across a swampy section, they discovered what appeared to be an old cannon.

Vincent Schaefer had the cannon dated at the Watervliet Arsenal and it was determined that it was a swivel gun of the type probably used by Benedict Arnold’s troops during the battle of Valcour Island. Continue reading

Civil War Albany Rises To Action


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Shipment of Guns and Ammunition from the Watervliet ArsenalAs had happened during the French and Indian War and later the Revolutionary War, from the first days of the Civil War Albany was converted into a military camp. Lincoln’s original request for troops designated Albany, New York City and Elmira as military marshaling points. Troops from the entire northeast, including upstate New York as far west as Buffalo, east to Vermont, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts reported to Albany. Continue reading

Unique World War Poster Collection Being Auctioned


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image005On July 8-9, New York City-based auction house Guernsey’s will be conducting an unreserved auction of an extraordinary collection of patriotic posters relating to World War I, believed to be the largest such collection known to exist.

The collection is that of Brooklyn-born Edward H. McCrahon, who joined the French Army two years before the United States entered the war. Once the U.S. became involved, McCrahon returned home, joined the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of Colonel. During his stint in France he became interested by war poster art. At the end of the war, McCrahon began assembling his collection and by the mid-1930s his collection was widely exhibited. Continue reading

The First Days of the Civil War in Albany


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Fort Sumter Newspaper HeadlineEarly Sunday morning on April 14, 1861, barely two months after Lincoln left Albany, news arrived there that Fort Sumter had been fired on and surrendered. Fort Sumter was not far from Washington, and this news hit Albany like a shock wave.

New York State Governor Edwin D. Morgan called an emergency meeting of his staff and leaders of the Senate and Assembly that afternoon in the Executive Chamber in Albany. A bill was drafted calling for New York to appropriate $3 million to provision and provide 30,000 New York Militia to support the preservation of the Union. Continue reading

The Battle of Diamond Island on Lake George


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General Lincoln by Charles Wilson PealeToday it’s a State-owned island – a day use area for picnics – but Diamond Island witnessed a horrific bombardment by gun boats manned by Patriots during the American Revolution. The fight occurred during British Lieutenant General John Burgoyne’s 1777 campaign to capture Albany. Initially, Burgoyne’s 9,000 man army had successfully captured Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence in July.

When Burgoyne’s progress stalled near Skenesborough (present-day Whitehall, NY), his supplies were quickly eaten up by his extended campaign. Since his large army could not easily live off the land, except for shooting an occasional deer or bear, or boiling up a captured rattlesnake or turtle, the 54-year old general established a long supply line back to Canada. It was anchored by Fort George at the southern end of Lake George and by Fort Ticonderoga at the northern end. Between the two forts, a supply depot, guarded by two companies of the 47th Regiment of Foot under Captain Thomas Aubrey was fixed on Diamond Island. Continue reading