Category Archives: Military History

Arnold Or Gates: Who Was The Hero of Saratoga?


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Saratoga October 1777  - L to R Sir John Burgoyne, Benedict Arnold and Horatio GatesOn Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 2 to 3 pm, the NYS Military Museum at 61 Lake Ave in Saratoga Springs will host a debate on an old question: Horatio Gates or Benedict Arnold…who is the real hero of the Battles of Saratoga?

National Park Rangers Joe Craig and Eric Schnitzer will present this structured discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of American Generals Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold and how each helped, or hindered, the American victory in the world-changing Battles of Saratoga, called the “most important battle of the last 1,000 years.” Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute Seeks Applicants


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teacher instituteFort Ticonderoga in Essex County, NY is now accepting applications from teachers to participate in the 2015 Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute, June 28 through July 3, 2015.

The focus of this year’s institute is “The French & Indian War: Ticonderoga at the Center of a Global Conflict” and will accommodate 12 teachers for a week-long exploration of the pivotal role that Ticonderoga and the Champlain-Hudson corridor played in the global contest for empire. Continue reading

John C. Fremont: Rockland County’s Forgotten Hero


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John_Charles_FrémontIn a cemetery overlooking the Hudson River just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, lies John C. Fremont, who’s contribution to the end of slavery and the Union victory in the Civil War was tremendous, though he is little-remembered today.

Most generally associate Fremont with the State of California. He is the namesake of Fremont, California, and in 1846 was court-martialed for leading a revolt of American settlers there against the Mexican government. He lived most of the latter part of his life in New York State however, in New York City, and Westchester and Rockland counties. He also played a critical role in shifting the focus of Abraham Lincoln’s efforts in the Civil War from a sectional constitutional conflict to a crusade to abolish slavery. Continue reading

Colonial America Conference for Educators Set


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DCIM100MEDIAFort Ticonderoga will host the Seventh Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 15, 2015, in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference, while intended for educators, is open to anyone with an interest in helping connect students with history.

The conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. The conference precedes Fort Ticonderoga’s Twentieth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, a weekend-long seminar focused on the French & Indian War (1754-1763). Continue reading

Phebe Reynolds Thwarts The Tories


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phebeJames Eldridge Quinlan’s History of Sullivan County is generally regarded as one of the most thorough and entertainingly written local histories.  Published in 1873, Quinlan’s history is the undisputed bible of Sullivan County’s past, and yet it is not without its shortcomings. Some have criticized what they view as his selective exclusion of material – he does not, for instance, write much about the Civil War, and it has been said that this was because he was a Copperhead, or a southern sympathizer. And each year in March, Women’s History Month, we are reminded that he afforded minimal space in his writings to the women of the era.

That makes the few women he does write about stand out even more than they might otherwise, and no woman receives greater praise from Quinlan than Phebe Reynolds Drake. Continue reading

New Chief Ranger For Saratoga Battlefield


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1503_Dave_LaMereSaratoga National Historical Park Superintendent Joe Finan has announce the appointment of David LaMere as the Park’s new Chief Ranger. The Chief Ranger oversees visitor safety and resource protection of the park’s Battlefield and Old Saratoga units, heading up law enforcement and coordinating the structural and wildfire programs.

LaMere replaces former Chief Ranger Greg Wozniak, who has taken a position as District Ranger at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Continue reading

American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley Conference


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Fort Plain ConferenceThe Fort Plain Museum, in the heart of upstate New York, has announced a Conference on the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley.

The conference will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 1-3, 2015. Conference attendees will arrive at the Fort Plain Museum Friday evening followed by a cocktail reception and presentation on the history of Fort Plain/Fort Rensselaer. Saturday will include a full day of talks by six authors with a box lunch provided. On Sunday a bus tour will begin at the Fort Plain Museum exploring six historic colonial sites with a guided tour by Fort Plain Museum chairman, Norm Bollen. Continue reading

A Civil War Medicine Lecture At Seward Institute


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Natl_library_of_MedicineOn March 19, 2015 at 7 pm, renowned authority on Civil War medicine Carolyn Ivanoff will present a lecture entitled “Myths, Maggots, Minie Balls, Gangrene and Glory”. Ivanoff will explain, among other things, how Civil War surgeons saved lives despite horrific conditions and discuss the subjects of nineteenth century hygiene, military medical practices and surgical innovations. Continue reading

West Point’s Remarkable Class of 1914


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West Point 1915The cadets of the United States Military Academy, West Point, are intimately twined with the country’s history. The graduating class of 1915, the class the stars fell on, was particularly noteworthy. Of the 164 graduates that year, 59 (36%) attained the rank of general, the most of any class in. Michael Haskew’s West Point 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On (Zenith Press, 2014) explores the achievements of this remarkable group.

Although Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, both five-star generals, are the most recognizable, other class members contributed significantly to the Allied victory in World War I, World War II and played key roles either in the post-war U.S. military establishment or in business and industry after World War II, especially in the Korean War and the formation of NATO. Continue reading

Slavery and the War of 1812


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ben_franklins_worldThe United States claimed victory in the War of 1812, but did you know that the British nearly won the war by promising freedom to escaped slaves in Virginia and Maryland?

In this episode of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast, Alan Taylor, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize in United States history and author of The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 (W.W. Norton, 2014), will reveal how Virginia’s “internal enemy” almost cost the United States the War of 1812. You can listen to this podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/016

Continue reading

Beer in the American Revolution Event


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wirtshausszeneThe Delaware Company, a non-profit whose mission is to promote and support the history and historic landmarks of the Upper Delaware River Valley, will host “American Walks Into a Bar: The Role of Beer in the American Revolution” at Henning’s restaurant (formerly The Eldred Preserve) on route 55 outside Eldred, in Sullivan County, NY.

George Washington, as portrayed by Colonial re-enactor Paul Brennan, will host a celebration with beer tastings from several local breweries, 18th century tavern fare, dancing to period music, and a history trivia contest. Colonial attire is optional but encouraged. Continue reading

Washington’s Birthday: Guide To Hudson Valley Events


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FSHSHH_2015GWBCschedule_GraphicDepending on where you are or who you talk to, the third Monday in February represents either Presidents’ Day or Washington’s Birthday. At three Revolutionary War historic sites in the Hudson Valley, the day is part of a three-day celebration of George Washington.

The Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands (FSHSHH) have created an inclusive schedule to the array of activities taking place at Washington’s Headquarters, Knox’s Headquarters, and the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Sites on February 14th, 15th, and 16th. Each day offers something new. Continue reading

Conference: American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley


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mohawk_river_valley_1775The Fort Plain Museum will host an American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley Conference, May 1 through 3, 2015 at the Museum. Almost 100 battles of the American Revolution were fought in New York State, including, in the Mohawk Vally, the Battle of Oriskany and defense of Fort Stanwix.

A series of raids against valley residents took place during the war. Led by John Johnson, they are collectively known as the “Burning of the Valleys”. Presenters for this conference that are confirmed so far include: Continue reading

World War One Documentaries Being Screened


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Eastman Kodak Company adRecently rediscovered and digitally converted, The Oyster Bay Historical Society will have another viewing of the World War One documentaries found in it’s collection.

Originally distributed in 1919, these five short documentaries (total run time approximately 60 minutes) include scenes from battles in “No Man’s Land”, the U.S.S. Leviathan, the sinking of battleships by U-Boats, as well as the capture of German prisoners and Armistice Day celebrations. Continue reading

Talk, Exhibit Features General Newton Curtis


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NMC postcard statueAn Ogdensburg statue stands in honor of General Newton Martin Curtis, a DePeyster native, who distinguished himself during the Civil War and won a Congressional Medal of Honor 150 years ago this week.

On January 15, 1865, General Curtis successfully led the Union forces at the Battle of Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  Find out more about the life and accomplishments of this true American hero at a special lecture and exhibit this Saturday, January 17th, from 11 am to 4 pm at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s Silas Wright House in Canton, NY.  Continue reading

1939: Nazi Saboteurs In Sullivan County


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NarrowsburgNazis[1]There have long been stories – most of them unsubstantiated – about the activities of the German American Bund in Sullivan County in the years leading up to World War II.

While the activities of that particular pro-Nazi organization in the region may be debatable, there is no question that a small group of men charged with plotting to overthrow the U.S. government and replacing it with a Nazi style dictatorship spent much of the summer of 1939 in Sullivan County. Continue reading