Category Archives: Military History

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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Crown Point’s Overlooked Role in Freeing Boston, 1776


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A few weeks ago in this space appeared the story of Gershom Beach’s remarkable 24-hour recruiting hike in Vermont, rounding up Green Mountain Boys to join their leader, Ethan Allen, in capturing Fort Ticonderoga on the New York side of Lake Champlain. In the end, their combined efforts played a critical role in George Washington’s American troops driving the British from Boston, for the armaments he used came from Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Men serving under Colonel Henry Knox completed the delivery, carrying them south to Albany and east to Boston.

Typically shortchanged in that famous story is the fort at Crown Point, which was captured two days after Ticonderoga fell. Seth Warner, a name very familiar to historians in connection with other military campaigns, commanded the troops that executed the takeover, which met with little resistance. Continue reading

Revolution: The Men Who Lost America


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ben_franklins_worldDid the Americans win the War for Independence? Or did the British simply lose the war?

The history of the American War for Independence is complicated. And history books tell many different versions of the event, which is why we need an expert to guide us through the intricacies of whether we should look at the war as an American victory, a British defeat, or in some other light.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Andrew O’Shaughnessy, author of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (Yale University Press, 2013) joins us to explore British viewpoints of the American War for Independence. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/122

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