The New York State WWI Centennial Commission website now contains links to oral histories with WWI soldiers and free access on Ancestry.com, through a partnership with the New York State Archives, to information compiled from federal WWI military service records for Army officers, enlisted men, sailors, Marines, and nurses who enlisted or were drafted in New York.
This service information is particularly valuable because most World War I Army service records were destroyed in a 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. New York’s information, however, exists for exploration only because, shortly after World War I, New York’s adjutant general gathered the military records for New Yorkers. Continue reading
Before Memorial Day there was Decoration Day, every May 30, the graves of Civil War soldiers were decorated with fresh flowers. The Old Stone Fort Museum continues the tradition on Tuesday, May 30 at 6 pm, in collaboration with local chapters of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the American Legion. Continue reading
Lakes to Locks Passage has completed the third in the series of Waterways of War guidebooks. Waterways of War: The Turning Point of the American Revolution focuses on the 1777 northern campaign of British General John Burgoyne. The book is also the centerpiece of a broader initiative to develop the Turning Point Trail, a narrated driving tour from Plattsburgh to Albany. Continue reading
The 12th Regiment U.S. Infantry Co. A (reenacting) and the Civil War Heritage Foundation will host the 25th Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend from June 9 to 11. The 12th was first organized in 1798 and disbanded in 1800, raised again in 1812 and for the Mexican War. The regiment portrayed by the reenacting unit was organized by direction of President Lincoln on May 4, 1861. The 12th Infantry is still active.
As in many years past, “The 12th” (reenacting) will be encamped on the western half acre of the Peterboro Green and will be joined by several other military re-enacting units. The field is under the command of Captain Neil MacMillan. “The 12th ” participates in both local and national events as members of the U.S. Continue reading
“These are mere deserts on both sides of the river St. Lawrence, uninhabited by beast or bird on account of the severe colds which reign there.”—Samuel de Champlain.
“One cannot see a more savage country, and no part of the earth is more uninhabitable.” —Pierre Charlevoix, 1756. And about winters in the north: “It is then a melancholy thing not to be able to go out of doors, unless you are muffled up with furs like the bears…. What can anyone think, where the very bears dare not show their face to the weather for six months in the year!”
The last quotation (1767) is from John Mitchell, who cited the above comments by Charlevoix and Champlain in assessing New England, New York, and Quebec during discussions about the future of the American colonies. His writings at that time supported a solution Mitchell had proposed a decade earlier, one that would have drastically altered today’s map of the Americas and seriously revised the history of the Adirondack region. Continue reading
Following 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
This week on The Historians Podcast, former CIA historian Nicholas Reynolds discusses author Ernest Hemingway’s involvement with American and Soviet spy agencies in the 1940s. Reynolds is author of Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy.
Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
The USS Slater has opened to the public for the ship’s 20th season. Since she first arrived in Albany, the USS Slater has been described as one of the best restored, most historically accurate World War II ships in the world. A National Historic Landmark, USS Slater is the only remaining World War II Destroyer Escort afloat in America. Continue reading
The 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
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