Category Archives: Military History

Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War


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ben_franklins_worldIntelligence gathering plays an important role in the foreign policies of many modern-day nation states, including the United States. Which raises the questions: How and when did the United States establish its foreign intelligence service?

To answer those questions, in this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History we’ll journey back to the American Revolution.

Our guide is Kenneth Daigler, an intelligence professional with 33 years experience managing human sources and collection and the author of Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War (Georgetown university Press, 2014)will facilitate our mental time travel and exploration of this topic. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/172

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War of 1812 Battle of Cranberry Creek Mini Doc


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still shot from Battle of Cranberry Creek youtube videoThe Battle of Cranberry Creek, fought just north of Alexandria Bay in July of 1813, was a small but dramatic part of the War of 1812 in Upstate New York. In late July 1813, the American Navy learned that several British bateaux loaded with supplies were bound up the St. Lawrence River for Fort Henry at Kingston, Ontario. Major Dimoch of the Forsyth Rifles caught up with the flotilla in Goose Bay on July 20 and sized 15 ships and their cargo. Continue reading

Soldiers of Color at Fort Ticonderoga Feb 11th


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fort ticonderoga reenactmentFort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” continues on Sunday, February 11, at 2 pm with a program on “Soldiers of Color at Ticonderoga” presented by Stuart Lilie, Vice President of Public History and Operations.

This program will focus on the diversity of soldiers who fought at Ticonderoga and examine how attitudes about soldiers of color varied dramatically within the numerous armies and empires that held Ticonderoga. The program is part of the National Black History Month celebration.

The great campaigns of the French & Indian War and Revolutionary War have frequently been envisioned with long battle lines of soldiers as equally white as they were uniform. However, small, but significant numbers of African or African-American soldiers appear in nearly every army that came to Ticonderoga. Continue reading

African Americans in Times of War, Utica Feb 3rd


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John Hilton Recieves Soldiers MetalThe Oneida County History Center has announced “African Americans in Times of War,” a program celebrating Black History Month, is set for Saturday, February 3rd from 1 to 3 pm.

The Oneida County History Center will join the Utica/Oneida County Branch NAACP to celebrate and honor African American Veterans. Guest Speakers will include Ms. Pauline Bright, Mr. John Harrison, and Mr. Edward Jackson all of Utica, and Mr. Herbert Thorpe of Rome. These individuals will present a brief summary of their experiences in the military and its relationship to the theme “African Americans in Times of War. In addition, there will be a tribute to African American Veterans, performances, and light refreshments. Continue reading

Army War Brides At Sackets Harbor


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ww1 ambulanceSackets Harbor’s military story spans two centuries. After the War of 1812, the Army set up their post Madison Barracks, so since then, US military conflicts through World War II had some connection to Sackets Harbor.

Thousands of soldiers called Madison Barracks home during its 130-year history. But what do we know of the soldier’s spouses?

One of the most well-known brides, Julia Dent Grant, joined her young husband Ulysses S., taking up residence in the Stone Row quarters shortly after their marriage in 1848. She wrote fondly of her time at the Northern New York army post. Continue reading

Edmond Genet: World War One Pilot, KIA


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Genet as a Legionnaire Everyday several thousand cars traveling north and south on Ossining’s Rt. 9 pass a white frame two-story building that is the home of American Legion Post 506 that also bears the name, Edmond C.C. Genet.

It’s a safe bet to say that most of the drivers and even the pedestrians who pass the building ever give a second thought to this modest structure. Even fewer know of the wartime exploits of Edmund Charles Clinton Genet and his ancestors, whose service to the United States goes back for five generations.

Genet was the great great grandson of Edmond-Charles Genet, also known as Citizen Genet, the French Ambassador to the United States shortly before the French Revolution. He is historically remembered for being the cause of an international incident known as the Citizen Genet Affair. Continue reading

Some Hudson Valley Casualties of World War One


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World War One causalityThis past year marked the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I, on April 6, 1917. What was hoped to be the “war to end all wars” turned out to be nothing of the sort, and stands instead as one of the great disasters of the 20th century, remembered mostly for the senseless and utter wasting of millions of young lives and the high idealism of those so wasted.

Prominent families in the Hudson Valley were not spared. Before the days of college deferments, smoking but not inhaling, and that sanctuary known as the Texas Air National Guard, the sons and daughters of elite families didn’t just talk the talk but actually walked the walk of service to higher ideals by responding to the twin calls of patriotism and the fight against tyranny. Sons drove ambulances, fought with the French, and, when the time came, enlisted in our own armed forces. Daughters went to France to act as nurses or work in relief organizations. Being away from the fighting, the daughters returned. But not all the sons. Continue reading

Niagara County ‘Tuscarora Heroes’ Commemoration Dec 19th


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Tuscarora HeroesDecember 19, 2017 marks the 204th Anniversary of the “Tuscarora Heroes.” Near Niagara Falls, in retaliation for the American forces burning the British held Canadian town of Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) and Fort George ) during the War of 1812, British-Canadian forces and their First Nations allies captured Fort Niagara and attacked the poorly defended Town of Lewiston.

Though a number of civilians were killed during the burning of Lewiston, many more were saved by the actions of warriors from the nearby Tuscarora village who rushed to their aid. Creating a diversion long enough for many civilians to escape, the actions of the “Tuscarora Heroes” has become an important part of Lewiston’s history and shared memory. Continue reading

Columbia Students Discover the Power of Protest


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Canon John Collins of St. Paul's Cathedral, speaking for nuclear disarmament at protest in London's Trafalgar Square on April 3, 1961The reckless threats of nuclear war flung back and forth between the North Korean and U.S. governments remind me of an event in which I participated back in the fall of 1961, when I was a senior at Columbia College.

At the end of August 1961, the Soviet government had announced that it was withdrawing from the U.S.-Soviet-British moratorium on nuclear weapons testing that had halted such tests for the previous three years while the three governments tried to agree on a test ban treaty. The resumption of Soviet government’s nuclear weapons testing that followed was topped off that October by its explosion in the atmosphere of a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. Meanwhile, the Kennedy administration, determined not to be outdone in a display of national “strength,” quickly resumed U.S. nuclear testing underground and began to discuss the U.S. resumption of nuclear testing in the atmosphere. Continue reading