Tag Archives: American Revolution

AJ Schenkman: The Hasbrouck Ledger


By on

0 Comments

One of the problems in researching the life of Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck is that there are so few primary sources written by him left to us. We are fortunate that at least one of the treasures that give us a peek into his life, one of his account ledgers, has been preserved. It is a rich source for a researcher of not only Hasbrouck, but of others from his time period as well. Continue reading

Forts Montgomery and Clinton: Twin Forts Day


By on

0 Comments

On October 6, 1777 an invading British Army assaulted Fort Montgomery and nearby Fort Clinton. Outnumbered 3 to 1, the defending Continental soldiers and militia held out as long as they could until at last the forts were overrun, the Continental ships burned by their own crews to prevent capture, and the Great Chain removed. Over half of the garrison was captured or killed.

Fort Montgomery State Historic Site in the Hudson Highlands on Saturday October 6th will commemorate the 235th anniversary of this bloody battle. Reenactors are portraying the American Continentals and militia as well as the British, their German allies, and the Loyalist Americans. There will be a reenactment of the battle on the actual battlefield of Fort Montgomery; cannon firings, including the fort’s 32-pounder “George” and military drill and living history demonstrations throughout the day.

Schedule:

10:00 AM – Camps Open. Living History Demonstrations and Military Drill throughout the Day
11:00 AM – Guided Tour of Fort Montgomery – Starting at the Museum
12:00 PM – Children’s Musket Drill – Reenactment Field
1:00 PM – Artillery Firing – Grand Battery
1:30 PM – Military Music Demonstration – Grand Battery
2:00 PM – Children’s Musket Drill – Reenactment Field
3:00 PM – “Soldiers of the Twin Forts” – Museum Terrace
4:00 PM – Battle Reenactment – Reenactment Field
5:00PM – Camps Close

Parking will be available off-site with a shuttle bus running throughout the day (follow the posted signs). Twin Forts Day is presented by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Fort Montgomery is located at 690 Route 9W, ¼ mile north of the Bear Mountain Bridge. The museum and grounds are open Wed. through Sun. 9 AM to 5 PM. Call 845-446-2134 for more information.

Hurley Burley: Ulster Co Town Celebrates 350 Years


By on

0 Comments

DuMond House, Hurley, 1690

The town of Hurley — or what’s left of it after the Ashokan Reservoir sent much of the sprawling township to a watery grave — celebrated its 350th anniversary on September 15th. Jazz, roasted corn, artichokes marinated in white wine with chunk style garlic, and merry shouts of the kids popping balloons and reenactors popping muskets filled the air with smells and sounds of festivity. Continue reading

Touring Old Mine Road: The Esopus-Minisink Trail


By on

1 Comment

The other day, driving home from Kingston, I could not help but notice the sea of New York State Education Department signs (NYSED) that lined the roadside. The blue and yellow plaques are designed to alert those passing by of significant historic events that had occurred somewhere in the vicinity of the signs. These signs made me think about when I lived in Boston and followed that city’s Freedom Trail. Continue reading

Encampment Marks Battles of Saratoga Anniversary


By on

0 Comments

This Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, Saratoga National Historical Park, located on Routes 32 and 4 in Stillwater, will present an 18th century living history encampment marking the 235th anniversary of the what’s been called the world’s “most important battle of the last 1,000 years.”  Camps will be open Saturday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on Sunday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

This two-day encampment will surround visitors with the sights, smells, and sounds of military camp life from the American Revolution.

Dozens of re-enactors portray American and British officers, soldiers, cavalry troops, and camp followers from the Battles of Saratoga.  See cavalry charge, join in a court-martial and decide the soldier’s fate, take part in a musket drill, follow along with a scouting party, or listen to stories of the revolutionary war experience.  Feel the thunderous roar of cannons, smell the acrid smoke of musket fire as well as the welcoming wisps of camp cooking fires.

On Sunday, there will be a 2:00 PM Wreath Laying Ceremony by Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution at Tour Road Stop 2.  The public is welcome to attend this commemorative wreath laying. The event is free, but the normal entrance fee to the park of $5 per car and $3 per hiker or cyclist (good for one week entry) is charged.  For more information about this or other events, please call the Visitor Center at 518-664-9821 ext.1777, check the park website at www.nps.gov/sara or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saratoganhp

Fort Ti: 1777 British Living History Weekend


By on

0 Comments

Immerse yourself in the year 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga during the British 1777 Campaign March living history weekend, September 8-9. Meet the soldiers of the Fort’s British, German, and Loyalist garrison and hear how they defended the Fort during a three-day raid led by American commander Colonel John Brown with his 1000-man force. Highlighted program offered throughout the weekend includes tours, musket demonstrations, and military patrols.

On Saturday evening return to Fort Ticonderoga as an eerie calm settles over the Champlain Valley. As darkness falls the nervous British garrison will be faced with an alarm. With the flash and roar of musketry firing into darkness you will experience first-hand the confusion of nighttime battle as the Fort’s garrison responds to an alarm after sunset.

“With the bulk of General Burgoyne’s Army at Saratoga, a small garrison of British, German, and Loyalist soldiers, kept watch at Fort Ticonderoga in early September 1777,” said Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation. “This living history weekend highlights the mixed garrison at the Fort in the aftermath of John Brown’s Raid as they await news from Saratoga or Canada at what would become the turning point of the American Revolution.”

On September 13, 1777 a mission was launched against Ticonderoga whereby two American detachments of about 500 men each under the command of Brigadier General Jonathan Warner and Colonel John Brown were sent to Ticonderoga with the goal of securing the release of American prisoners, destroy British provisions, and if possible to attack the Fort. On the morning of September 18, the forces converged on Ticonderoga. Over the next few days Colonel John Brown’s force captured the British blockhouse at the top of Mount Defiance, secured the release of 118 American prisoners and captured nearly 300 British soldiers.

 Brown’s men also burned several of the Fort’s outbuildings and destroyed about 150 batteaux. However the American forces soon realized that without reinforcements and additional supplies, a direct attack on the Fort would not be successful. On September 22 Colonel Brown’s force called off the attack. Less than a month later, the British army capitulated at Saratoga and by early November, the small British garrison remaining at Ticonderoga burned the Fort’s remaining structures and retreated to Canada.

Admission to this living history weekend is included with Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission ticket. Fort Ticonderoga is open from 9:30 am until 5 pm daily. For a complete event schedule visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/learn/re-enactors/1777_march/visitor or call 518-585-2821. Advanced reservations are required for the Saturday evening program. Tickets are $35 each and space is limited. Call 518-585-2821 for details.

American Revolution Magazine Ceases Publishing


By on

2 Comments

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce our decision to cease publishing American Revolution Magazine, due to a variety of factors,” the publishers of the popularly oriented magazine of the Revolution have announced.  The last issue of the magazine published was the September/October 2012 issue and mailed in August.

The magazine’s Editor David Reuwer, President of the American Revolution Association (ARA), helped found the periodical in January 2009 as a bi-monthly. About 5,000 copies were distributed in over 40 states and in England, according to ARA’s website. The magazine also used the name Patriots of the American Revolution.

Reuwar has said he plans on continuing to promote Revolutionary history and content on the website www.amrevmag.com and through the American Revolution Association.

Back issues can still be purchased for $4 each by calling 800.767.5828.

New York’s NPS Battlefield Grants Announced


By on

0 Comments

New York State battlefield will benefit from some of the more than $1.3 million in National Park Service grants recently awarded to help preserve, protect, document, and interpret America’s significant battlefield lands. The funding from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) will support 27 projects at more than 75 battlefields nationwide.

This year’s grants provide funding for projects at endangered battlefields from the Pequot War, King William’s War, the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War II and various Indian Wars. Awards were given to projects in 17 states or territories entailing archeology, mapping, cultural resource survey work, documentation, planning, education and interpretation.

The Park Service also announced the award of an additional $1.3 million in grants to help with land acquisition at four Civil War battlefields. Grant projects include fee simple purchases at Averasborough, North Carolina ($103,380); Bentonville, North Carolina ($60, 380); Cool Springs, Virginia ($800,000) and Ware Bottom Church, Virginia ($367,263). The grant funds were made available under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-74), which appropriated $8,985,600 for the Civil War battlefield land acquisition grants program.

Federal, state, local and Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible for the battlefield grants, which are awarded annually. Since 1996, the ABPP has awarded more than $13 million to help preserve significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. More information is available online at www.nps.gov/hps/abpp.

New York State Grantees

Natural Heritage Trust (New York) $80,000
Long before the American Revolution, the colonies fought with the British in a series of colonial wars,
including King William’s War and King George’s War. These conflicts, though changing little of the
political landscapes of the time, would have a significant impact on future French and English
relations and the position of American Indians in those relations. Working with its partner, Saratoga
National Historical Park, the Natural Heritage Trust intends to develop a cultural resource inventory
for the overlapping battlefields of these two wars that are near Saratoga. This information is crucial
to developing an archeological research design for each of the battlefields.

The Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, Inc. (New York) $67,744
In conjunction with the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, Public Broadcasting Council of Central New
York hopes to raise awareness about New York’s unique role in the conflict with a series of
documentaries about the state’s battlefields. The broadcasts will not only be looking at the well
known battlefields of New York, but also several of the lesser known battlefields. It is hoped that
these documentaries will not only educate but also help spur preservation for the War of 1812
battlefields of New York.

The Research Foundation of State University of New York (New York) $56,194
One of only two major engagements of the Revolutionary War’s Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, the
Battle of Chemung was fought two weeks before the better known Battle of Newtown. This ambush
on Continental forces would produce more casualties than Newtown, while the burning of New
Chemung would become an example of how Continental forces would deal with American Indians in
the future. An archeological survey will be used to help better determine the battlefields defining
features as well as assess their condition. This information will be compiled into a GIS map for
support of a future National Register nomination.

Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature (New York) $21,425
The Battles of Saratoga culminated in the fall of 1777 with the surrender of British forces under
General John Burgoyne. This American victory reinvigorated the war effort and is seen as a turning
point in the Revolution. The Saratoga P.L.A.N. looks to interpret the fighting at one of the Saratoga
campaign battles, that of Fish Creek, and wishes to do this with a number of interpretive kiosks.
Working with the National Park Service, the interpretive trail would also integrate with other
interpretive trails in the area.

For a full list of the grantees, click here.

Invasion of Canada Living History Weekend Sept 1-2


By on

0 Comments

Visitors can explore the Continental Army’s first major initiative during the Revolutionary War at Fort Ticonderoga’s upcoming living history weekend “Onward to Canada: Reinforcements Head North to Join the Attack on St. John.” The September 1-2 event will recreate how the American army prepared to invade Canada in the fall of 1775.

Special programming offered throughout the weekend will recreate a unique and busy moment in Fort Ticonderoga’s history when the “Old French Fort” served as hub of activity for the fledging American Army and a launching point for an invasion into Canada. Programs will highlight close-order marching; the issuing of muskets, supplies, and clothing to the troops; special tours, weapons demonstrations; and regimental training exercises.

The objective of the invasion of Canada was to gain military control of the British province of Québec, and convince the French-speaking Canadians to join the Revolution on the side of the thirteen American colonies. In the fall of 1775 two invasion forces were launched with the goal of meeting in Québec. One expedition under the command of Brigadier-General Richard Montgomery set out from Fort Ticonderoga, besieged and captured Fort St. John, and very nearly captured British General Guy Carleton when taking Montreal. The other expedition left Cambridge, Massachusetts, under Colonel Benedict Arnold, and traveled with great difficulty through the wilderness of Maine to Québec City. The two forces joined there, but were defeated at the Battle of Québec in December 1775.

“Visitors can watch as Colonel Seth Warner’s Green Mountain Boys are transformed from recruits into a regiment to join Brigadier-General Richard Montgomery’s invasion of Canada. Learn about the practical concerns of getting soldiers and supplies to the front lines during a military campaign in a land of expansive lakes and dense woods. See bateaux in action as they move men and materiel to and from Fort Ticonderoga as we celebrate 1775 and Vermont’s military history,” said Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Interpretation. “The event will explore how new soldiers learned to move, think, and fight together as a team as they evolved into disciplined soldiers committed to defending the fledgling cause of liberty.”

Admission to “Onward to Canada” is included with Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission ticket. Fort Ticonderoga is open from 9:30 am until 5 pm daily. A complete event schedule is available online.

Local Artist Donates Painting to Saratoga NHP


By on

0 Comments

Local folk artist Richard Salls of Schuylerville has donated the original oil painting “225” to Saratoga National Park in Stillwater. “225” was originally unveiled in 2002 to commemorate the 225th anniversary year of the Battles of Saratoga and the 125th year of the Saratoga Monument.

This work of art commemorates the surrender of British General John Burgoyne to American General Horatio Gates after the 1777 Battles of Saratoga – an event known as the Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War. The village of Schuylerville, formerly Saratoga, is the site of the surrender. Salls, a long-time resident of Schuylerville, is no stranger to the rich history in the area. The painting features the historic sites of the Schuyler House, Saratoga Monument and Neilson House, very familiar places to Salls.

The original painting will be on display at the park’s visitor center through September. Prints of the painting are available in the park’s gift store which features books, glassware, souvenirs, and other quality items about the Battles of Saratoga and the Revolutionary War. Further information about the artist is available at: www.saratogafolkart.com.

For more information about this or upcoming events at Saratoga National Historical Park, the National Park in your backyard, call the Visitor Center at 518-664-9821 ext. 1777 or check the park website at www.nps.gov/sara or Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/saratoganhp.

John L. Dunlap: A Jefferson County Eccentric


By on

0 Comments

Eccentricsthey’re part of virtually every community, and, in fact, are usually the people we remember best. The definition of eccentricbehavior that is odd, or non-customarycertainly fit Watertown’s John L. Dunlap. 

Historians noted his “peculiar kinks of mind,” and referred to him as “a person of comic interest,” but they knew little of the man before he reached the age of 50. His peculiarities overshadowed an entertaining life filled with plenty of substance. And he just may have been pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes.

Dunlap’s story began more than 200 years ago, rooted in the American Revolution. In 1774, his father (John) and grandfather emigrated from Scotland to Washington County, N.Y. In 177778 they fought in the War of Independence and saw plenty of action. According to a payroll attachment from his regiment, Dunlap served at Ticonderoga.
 Years later, he became a Presbyterian pastor in Cambridge, New York, and in 1791 married Catherine Courtenius. It took time for the reverend to see the light about the rights of manrecords indicate that he freed Nell, his slave, in September 1814, not long after several of his parishioners had liberated their own slaves.
Among the children born to John and Catherine Dunlap was John L., who arrived in the late 1790s. He was reared on stories of his dad and grand-dad battling for America’s freedom. While his father ministered to the spiritual needs of several Washington County communities for many decades, John L. became a doctor in 1826 and likewise tended to their physical needs for more than 20 years, serving in Cambridge, Salem, and Shushan.
Dunlap focused on two passions in life: his line of self-developed remedies for all sorts of illnesses, and a consuming interest in politics on both the state and national level.  He pursued both with great vigor and developed a reputation as an orator in the Albany-Troy area.
On July 4, 1848, John delivered a stirring oration at the courthouse in Troy, an event so popular that reportedly “thousands were unable to find admission.” Repeat performances were so in demand that for the next two years he gave the same speech in Troy, Utica, and elsewhere, at the same time marketing and selling his various medicines. Dunlap’s Syrup was claimed to cure Consumption, Dyspepsia, Scrofula, Liver Complaints, and other ills.
Just as his father had left Washington County decades earlier to help establish churches in several central New York towns, Dunlap took his speech on the road to Schenectady, Utica, and other locales. Crowds gathered to hear his famous lecture and purchase his line of medicines.
He had sought public office in the past, but his increasingly high profile and passion for politics presented new opportunities. At the 1850 state Democratic Convention in Syracuse, Dunlap’s name was among those submitted as the party candidate for governor. Horatio Seymour eventually won the nomination.
Shortly after, Dunlap settled in Watertown and announced his Independent candidacy as a Jefferson County representative. He was as outspoken as alwayssome viewed him as eccentric, while others saw in him a free thinker. Fearless in taking a stand, he called for the annexation of Cuba and Canada, and was a proponent of women’s rights.
Viewed from more recent times, those stances might sound a little off-the-wall, but there was actually nothing eccentric about the annexation issues. The Cuban idea was a prominent topic in 1850, and the annexation of Canada was based in America’s Articles of Confederation, which contained a specific clause allowing Canada to join the United States. And as far as women’s rights are concerned, he proved to be a man far ahead of his time.

In late 1851, Dunlap went on a speaking tour, including stops in Syracuse and Rochester, and announced his candidacy for President. The Syracuse Star said, “We suspect he is just as fit a man for president as Zachary Taylor was.”
From that point on, Dunlap was a perennial candidate for office, always running but never winning. In 185556, he announced for the US Senate; not gaining the nomination, he announced for the Presidency (he was promoted as the “Second Old Hickory of America”); and not winning that nomination, he announced for the governorship of New York. And he did all of that within a 12-month span.
All the while, Dunlap continued selling his medicines and seeing patients in his office at Watertown’s Hungerford Block. An 1856 advertisement noted: “His justly celebrated Cough and Lung Syrup, to cure asthma and bleeding of the lungs, surpasses all the preparations now in use in the United States.”
Another of his concoctions was advertised in verse:
“Let me advise you ’ere it be too late,
And the grim foe, Consumption, seals your fate,
To get that remedy most sure and calm,
A bottle of Dr. Dunlap’s Healing Balm.”
His vegetable compounds were claimed as cures for dozens of ailments ranging from general weakness to eruptions of the skin to heart palpitations. There was no restraint in his advertisements, one of which placed him in particularly high company.
It read: “Christopher Columbus was raised up to discover a new world. Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, captivated by her charms two Roman Generals, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony. Napoleon Bonaparte was raised up to conquer nearly all of Europe and put down the Inquisition in Spain. George Washington was raised up to be the deliverer of his country. Dr. John L. Dunlap of Watertown, N.Y. was raised up to make great and important discoveries in medicine, and to alleviate the sufferings and prolong the lives of thousands of human beings.”
Next week: Part 2Dunlap gains a national reputation.
Photo: Official handbill of the People’s Convention promoting the candidacy of Dunlap and Grant (1864).
Lawrence Gooley has authored eleven books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 23 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.

The Oneida Nation: People of the Standing Stone


By on

0 Comments

Karim M. Tiro’s The People of the Standing Stone: The Oneida Nation From Revolution Through the Era of Removal (Univ. of Mass. Press, 2011) traces the history of the Oneida’s experiences from the American Revolution to the mid-nineteenth century.

Between 1765 and 1845, the Oneida Indian Nation weathered a trio of traumas: war, dispossession, and division. During the American War of Independence, the Oneidas became the revolutionaries most important Indian allies. They undertook a difficult balancing act, helping the patriots while trying to avoid harming their Iroquois brethren.

Despite the Oneidas wartime service, they were dispossessed of nearly all their lands through treaties with the state of New York. In eighty years the Oneidas had gone from being an autonomous, powerful people in their ancestral homeland to being residents of disparate, politically exclusive reservation communities separated by up to nine hundred miles and completely surrounded by non-Indians.

The Oneidas physical, political, and emotional division persists to this day. Even for those who stayed put, their world changed more in cultural, ecological, and demographic terms than at any time before or since. Oneidas of the post-Revolutionary decades were reluctant pioneers, undertaking more of the adaptations to colonized life than any other generation. Amid such wrenching change, maintaining continuity was itself a creative challenge. The story of that extraordinary endurance lies at the heart of this book. Additional materials, including teaching resources, are available online.

The author specializes in North America from the 16th through the mid-­19th centuries. He is also the author of Along the Hudson and Mohawk: The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006). Tiro is an Associate Professor of History at Xavier University and is currently researching the history of the United States sugar industry.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Recent Fort Ti Acquisition Reveals New Rev War Details


By on

0 Comments

“The Care of the Fortresses of Tyonderoga and Mount Independence being committed to you as commanding Officer…” begins a letter written by General Philip Schyler as he turns over command of Ticonderoga to Colonel Anthony Wayne in the fall of 1776 was recently acquired by Fort Ticonderoga through generous donor support.

This letter provides unique documentation of the minute details Ticonderoga’s officer’s had to be concerned with in order to protect the post from attack and properly care for its troops. “Letters like these are amazing resources that enable historians to better understand how people lived at Ticonderoga during the American Revolution,” said Christopher D. Fox, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. “The information contained within this letter will help museum staff develop accurate and engaging programs for the public.”

Written November 23, 1776, this important letter relays orders to Wayne regarding the security and maintenance of Ticonderoga through the winter. Colonel Wayne is given specific instructions to “continually keep scouting parties on the Lake as long as the Season will permit it to be navigated” and to “pay the strictest Attention to your Guards & Centinels and punish severely the least Remissness in Duty” in order to keep the fortresses secure through the winter. In making sure that the forts can be properly defended in case of attack, Schuyler orders that “All Huts & Buildings that may in the least obstruct the Defense of your posts must be levelled.”

Keeping the winter garrison healthy is also a chief concern on which General Schuyler instructs Colonel Wayne. He writes that a considerable quantity of provisions, livestock, and vegetables are being forwarded to supply the men for three months stating that “You will know of what Importance it is that the greatest attention should be paid to the Health of the Men” and that “having their Victuals properly dressed are capital points and greatly tend to the preservation of the Men.” In addition to provisions being forwarded for the troops, Colonel Wayne is also notified that to help keep the men healthy through the winter “Bedding… will be sent as soon as possible together with a Number of Iron Stoves… to be put up in your Barracks for the greater Conveniencey of the Men” and instructs that barracks chimneys be swept every two weeks.

Fort Ticonderoga’s archival collections consist of thousands of manuscripts, diaries, orderly books, maps, and photographs. The manuscript collections include correspondence of both officers and common soldiers who served at Fort Ticonderoga in the 18th century. Found within the collection are the letters, reports, and returns of Ethan Allen, George Washington, Benedict Arnold, James Abercromby, the Marquis de Montcalm, Robert Rogers, John Burgoyne, Philip Skene, and Jonathan Potts, surgeon to the Northern Department of the Continental Army. Thirty journals and orderly books contain first-hand accounts and day-to-day orders of an army at Fort Ticonderoga and the Lake George / Champlain Valleys during the Seven Years’ War and War for American Independence.

The Fort Ticonderoga Association is a not-for-profit historic site and museum whose mission is to ensure that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices, and victories that shaped the nations of North America and changed world history. Serving the public since 1909, Fort Ticonderoga engages more than 70,000 visitors annually and is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Fort Ticonderoga’s history. The historic site and museum includes the restored fort, museum galleries, Thompson PellResearch Center, and approximately two-thousand acres of land including the King’s Garden, Carillon Battlefield, Mount Defiance, Mount Hope and the northern end of Mount Independence. Fort Ticonderoga is home to one of America’s largest collections of 18th-century military material culture and its research library contains nearly 14,000 published works focusing on the military history of northeastern North America and New France during the 18th century. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of Fort Ticonderoga.

Photo:  General Philip Schyler letter to Colonel Anthony Wayne, 1776, acquired by Fort Ticonderoga.

Revolutionary War Camp at Night Event


By on

0 Comments

Saturday, August 11 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the re-created huts, administered by the Last Encampment of the Continental Army, on the west side of Route 300 and on the north side of Causeway Road, at the New Windsor Cantonment & Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Sites in Vails Gate, NY (Orange County), interact with soldiers and their family members as they prepare, in the late spring of 1783, for the end of the encampment.

After 8 years of war, most of the army was finally be allowed to go home, but some soldiers had to remain under arms until the British evacuated New York City. There was tension in the air. Knowing that their time was short, soldiers lashed out at their officers. One, they hung in effigy. Causing further resentment, the soldiers would not receive their long overdue pay, only certificates for three months pay, redeemable in six months.

Tour the encampment grounds by the glow of tin lanterns. See military drills and musket firings, maybe even join-in a demonstration with wooden muskets. Following the capture of British forces by the allied armies of France and America, at Yorktown, Virginia, in the fall of 1781, the northern Continental Army returned to the Hudson Highlands. The destruction of the principal British field army in the south broke England’s will to continue the struggle. In the fall of 1782, near New Windsor, 7,500 Continental Army soldiers built a city of 600 log huts near New Windsor. Along with some of their family members, they braved the winter and kept a wary eye on the 12,000 British troops in New York City, just 60 miles away.

The event is co-sponsored by the National Temple Hill Association and New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site. The National Temple Hill Association administers the Last Encampment of the Continental Army for the Town of New Windsor and owns the historic Edmonston House. New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.

Schuylerville Area Gets Battlefield Preservation Grants


By on

0 Comments

The National Park Service has announced the award of two American Battlefield Preservation Program grants totaling over $100,000 to Saratoga P.L.A.N. and National Heritage Trust, for projects in the Schuylerville area. Both organizations are members of the Hudson-Hoosick Partnership and will partner with Saratoga National Historical Park in these projects.

Saratoga PLAN was awarded $21,425 for planning and designing interpretive signs for the Fish Creek Trail, a one-mile trail along the south side of Fish Creek that is part of a six-mile historic loop linking Schuyler House with Victory Woods, the Saratoga Monument and the 71-mile Champlain Canalway Trail slated for completion in 2013. 

“With the funds, we intend to hire an artist to help us tell the stories of Fish Creek,” said Maria Trabka, Executive Director of Saratoga P.L.A.N., a conservation organization serving Saratoga County. “The site has a long history for fishing, travel, hydropower, and as an American stronghold during the Revolutionary War, when the British were forced to surrender.”
Natural Heritage Trust was awarded $80,000 for a study of two colonial era battlefields at Saratoga (present day Schuylerville). As European and Native nations vied for dominance in North America a series of wars were fought between Great Britain, France and their Native allies. During these wars in the 1690s and again in the 1740s a number of battles were fought at Saratoga. This research will shed new light on the significant formative history of Canada and America and the important role of the Schuyler family.

The grants are part of over $4 million that the Partnership has generated for communities along the Hudson River since 2006. The Partnership, founded by Senator Roy McDonald and Assemblyman Steve Englebright, is a legislatively designated public-benefit corporation whose mission is to preserve, enhance and develop the historic, agricultural, scenic, natural and recreational resources and the significant waterways within the Partnership region. The Partnership fosters collaborative projects with
non-profit and governmental entities emphasizing both agricultural and open space protection, economic and tourism development, and the protection and interpretation of the region’s natural and cultural heritage.

Photo: Town of Saratoga Historical Marker, Schuylerville. Photo by Bill Coughlin, courtesy the Historical Marker Database

Defiance & Independence Battle Re-enactment at Ticonderoga


By on

0 Comments

Fort Ticonderoga will hold a two-day battle re-enactment highlighting the climatic summer of 1777 as the Fort’s American garrison was outflanked by a British invasion force descending from Canada. The event takes place this Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22, 9:30 am to 5 pm.

Highlighted programming featured throughout the weekend is planned to bring to life the surprising American retreat and British capture of Fort Ticonderoga in early July 1777.  American and British armies will maneuver across Fort Ticonderoga’s historic landscape at 1:30 pm each day. This two-day battle re-enactment will dramatically show how General Arthur St. Clair’s decision to evacuate Ticonderoga set the stage for British General John Burgoyne’s advance towards Albany.
“‘Defiance and Independence’ will take place on the actual ground where the events of early July 1777 took place,” said Stuart Lilie,Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Interpretation. “British artillery officer, General William Phillips’, brilliant decision to place cannon atop Mount Defiance will be recreated in historic downtown Ticonderoga Saturday evening as Fort Ticonderoga staff and volunteers haul artillery up Montcalm and Defiance Streets on their way to the mount’s summit.” Sunday morning visitors and re-enactors will experience shock and chaos as General Phillips’ heavy guns break the dawn over Ticonderoga.

“Visitors will experience the excitement as mounted command staff gallop into the Fort announcing its imminent capture,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga’s Executive Director. “They will be immersed in the moment when American Continental command staff assess their dire situation and debate whether or not to abandon America’s critical stronghold on Lake Champlain. Meanwhile in the British camp, visitors can explore General Burgoyne’s battle-hardened army of British, German, and Loyalist troops and discover the sights and sounds of an army on campaign as soldiers cook their rations, clean their muskets, and enjoy the humble comforts of a bed of straw and canvas tent.”

Schedule for “Defiance & Independence” Battle Re-enactment, July 21-22

Saturday, July 21

9:30 am: Fort Opens to Visitors

10 am: Inspection (British Army in the King’s Garden, Continental Army on the Fort’s Parade)

See General Arthur St. Clair’s Continental soldiers and militia muster together to defend Fort Ticonderoga and the vital waterways it guards. Meanwhile General John Burgoyne’s Army parades before maneuvering to surround the American fortifications.

10:30 am -1 pm: British & American Guards and Pickets Posted (Along the Recreated French Lines)

Watch the scouts skirmishes that happened along the front lines, as advanced scouts of two armies worked to lift the fog of war that could cloud each general’s battle plan.

11 am: Mapping Ticonderoga, Surveying the Northern Army (Inside Fort Ticonderoga)

11:30 am: Artillery Demonstration (Adjacent to the British Camp)

1 pm: Alarm, Assembly & Inspection (British Army in the King’s Garden, Continental Army on the Fort’s Parade)

With a few quick shots in an expected place along the front lines messages rush back to the headquarters of each Army. Staff officers and generals alike take this message from the front lines and a slew of others to make a decision. Alarm! The orders go out; soldiers assemble and are inspected before marching off to their place in the battle line.

1:30 pm: Skirmish at Recreated French Lines

Watch as General Burgoyne’s advanced guard of soldiers probe the American Fortifications rebuilt from the famous French Lines of 1758. Unlikely to assault these Fortifications, British soldiers keep up a hot fire as they probe around these lines, finding out where to flank them, and valuable information about the American soldiers facing them 100 yards away.

2:30 pm: Program: The Northern Army of 1777: The Northern Department General Staff (Inside Fort Ticonderoga)

General Arthur St. Clair and the senior officers of his staff, discuss the British attack, their situation, and even evacuating Fort Ticonderoga, the great American bulwark to protect Albany and certain British victory.

3:30 pm: Program: People of the Brigade – Soldiers and Citizens in July of 1777. (Adjacent the Fort)

Meet some of the average people and soldiers you would have met in the Armies of the Northern Campaign in 1777.

4 pm: Program: British Engineers Discuss and Demonstrate the Science of their Trade. (Inside the British Camp)

4:30 pm: Program: Sutlers for the Army – Phil Dunning explains the role of sutlers within the Continental and British Armies. (Inside the British Camp)

5 pm: Fort Closes to Visitors

6:30 pm: Royal Artillery Gun crews haul their cannons through downtown Ticonderoga, on their way to the summit of MountDefiance. (Downtown Ticonderoga)

Sunday, July 22

9:30 am: Fort Opens to Visitors

9:30 am: Guns on Mount Defiance Open Fire

Discovered by an errant shot, General Burgoyne’s cannons atop Mount Defiance announce their presence to a baffled Continental Army.

10 am: Continental Musick Beats the “General”

General Arthur St. Clair prepares his Army for what he hopes will be an orderly retreat. American soldiers break camp. They prepare for what will at best be a fighting withdrawal, at worst a panicked retreat. Veterans and green soldiers alike ready themselves to live on the march.

10:30 am: Guards and Pickets Posted (Along the Recreated French Lines)

Watch the scouts skirmishes that happened along the front lines, as advanced scouts of two armies worked to lift the fog of war that could cloud each general’s battle plan.

11:00 am-12:00 pm: Program: Joel Anderson, Fort Ticonderoga Artificer Superviser, describes the flight of the Continental Army from the Fort.

Learn about the brave actions and misadventures of General Arthur St. Clair’s army as it began its retreat south from FortTiconderoga to fight another day.

11:30 am: Artillery Demonstration (Adjacent to the British Camp)

1 pm: Alarm, Assembly & Inspection (British Army in the King’s Garden, Continental Army on the Fort’s Parade)

With a few quick shots in an expected place along the front lines messages rushes back to the headquarters of each Army. Staff officers and generals alike, take this information and a slough of others to make a decision. Alarm! The orders go out; soldiers assemble and are inspected before marching off to their place in the battle line.

1:30 pm: Skirmish at Recreated French Lines

Hemmed in from the north, east and west, the Continental Army holds their lines against the advances of the British army, emboldened by its advantageous position.

2:30 pm: Program: The Northern Army of 1777- The Northern Department General Staff (Inside Fort Ticonderoga)

General Arthur St. Clair and his senior officers discuss their desperate situation and attempt to bring some order to what no doubt will be a rushed evacuation of the Army. With supplies to salvage, wounded to transport and a bridge across the lake to destroy behind them, these officers attempt to make the best preparations to fight another day.

3 pm: Continental Army Evacuation

See the Continental Army packing up tents, supplies, loading up their wagons to save what they can for what will be another long campaign.

5 pm: Site Closes to Visitors

Admission to “Defiance & Independence” is included with Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission ticket. A complete highlighted event schedule can be found online, or call 518-585-2821 for more information.

Photo provided. 

‘Who Do These People Think They Are?’ at Knox’s Headquarters


By on

0 Comments

General George Washington knew exactly what he was about, in the summer of 1781, by trying to convince the British and his own soldiers that he would attack New York City. Unbeknownst to all, but trusted officials, he had agreed to move with the French Army south to Virginia. In Virginia, a French naval force from the Caribbean would join them to complete the encirclement of the British Army at Yorktown.

The soldiers of the 2nd and 3rd Continental Artillery Regiments, encamped at New Windsor, since the previous November, spent their time assembling and training on heavy siege artillery. Without the heavy guns to batter down the fortifications of British General Cornwallis’ Army at Yorktown, the decisive victory achieved there would not have been possible. On Saturday July 28 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM costumed historians will think and act like they were the actual participants, at Knox’s Headquarters, in New Windsor, in July 1781, making the final arrangements for the movement of the artillery to the south.

As the evening progresses, the masking darkness gives the grounds a surreal experience, adding significantly to the authenticity of the setting. The residents will beguile visitors with tales of past glories, suffering, and share their hopes and aspirations for an uncertain future. Tour the grounds and mansion by the glow of tin lanterns and experience the tense days before Yorktown with the soldiers and civilians, who once made their homes in the area. 

The “residents” have no knowledge of the fact that Washington wants to take them south instead of to New York. Visitors will meet few, if any, names that they recognize from history, but instead humble souls whose efforts combined with thousands of others, helped forge a nation. This type of presentation, called “first-person living history,” has developed into a very exciting way to make history more meaningful to visitors. This technique is used at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts and Colonial Williamsburg, in Virginia. 
For more information please call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22. Knox’s Headquarters is at 289 Forge Hill Road, in Vails Gate, New York at the intersection of Route 94 and Forge Hill Road, four miles east of Stewart Airport and three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84.
Photo: New Windsor Cantonment Staff in Front of Knox’s Headquarters, the John Ellison House (provided).

18th Century Artificers’ Encampment at Saratoga Battlefield


By on

0 Comments

From 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday and Sunday, July 14 – 15, 2012, learn “how it’s made” 18th century style at a special Artificers’ Weekend at Saratoga National Historical Park, located between Routes 4 and 32 in Stillwater, NY.

What’s an artificer? Eighteenth century artificers were professional tradesmen working with armies to provide or repair supplies needed by the troops. Blacksmiths made and repaired iron and steel implements. Tailors sewed uniforms for soldiers. Woodworkers built or fixed wooden items like boxes, benches, or tool handles. Tinsmiths made or fixed canteens, cups, bowls, or lanterns.

If you’d like to see how common items were manufactured in early America, well before the age of industrialization, this free weekend event is a perfect opportunity.

For more information about this or other events, call the Visitor Center at 518-664-9821 ext. 1777 or check our website at www.nps.gov/sara or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/saratoganhp

Peter Feinman: Saratoga and the Eurozone Crisis


By on

2 Comments

Everyone has heard of the ongoing troubles in Greece and the Eurozone but nobody has realized the importance of Saratoga to understanding this crisis until now.

Let me explain. It seems that Greece lied in its application to join the Eurozone. Then as might be expected it failed to perform adequately and was only able to cover up its shortcomings as a third world country trying to pass as a first world country for so long. After the Greek elections when a new government took office, the truth was revealed and all hell broke loose. Continue reading

Fourth of July: Celebrating Independence in 1812


By on

0 Comments

What follows is a description of the Richmond County Celebration of Independence from The Columbian newspaper in 1812:

In the very interesting situation of our country, it was expected that 4th of July, the 36th anniversary of our Independence, would be celebrated in a masterly manner. We are highly gratified to say, that the public expectation was not disappointed. We have never witnessed greater order, harmony, sobriety, patriotism, and becoming zeal.

The concourse of people was great, not only from the different quarters of the island, but also from the neighboring places. Republicans and federalist seemed to forget their party differences, and like brothers, rallied round the common cause of liberty and the rights and laws of our country…where, after being further entertained with the firing of national salutes and feu de joies, singing, &c. the company sat down at their respective tables, richly and plentifully furnished, and drank the following toast, with the firing of guns:

1 The 4th July, 1776 – the day we celebrate- May it ever be remembered with gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. 3 cheers.

2. The armies that achieved our Independence-Our thanks and our honors are an “offering meet.” 6 cheers.

3 Bunker-Hill – Where the world was convinced that the lovers of Liberty dared to fight British veteran troops 3 cheers.

4 Saratoga – Where Burgoyne and high-toned royalist were convinced, that republicans could conquer. 3 cheers.

5 Yorktown – Where the thunder of our republican ordnance compelled the haughty Cornwallis to cry Enough! and made his impious head hide low in his cave of sand! 6 cheers.

6 The Constitution of the United States of America – the bond of our union, and grand charter of our rights – May it stand coeval with time. 17 cheers.

7 The Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled – We will stand by our country and obey her laws 12 cheers.

8 The President of the United States – at this eventful crisis, may Prudence be his advanced guard, and Determination his rear. 6 cheers.

9 The memory of George Clinton, late Vice President – The able defender of Liberty, and the people’s confident friend (Drank standing.)

10 The memory of George Washington – the illustrious Commander in Chief of the armies of America (Drank standing.)

11 The sentiments of Washington – perpetual union of the states – Our safeguard in war, as well as security in peace, and pledge of increasing glory. 9 cheers.

12 Confusion to the councils and plots of the enemies of our country – “We hold all nations enemies in war, in peace friends.” 6 cheers.

13 War with England – with France – and with the world- if peace cannot be enjoyed without paying tributes of subjection, losing our liberties, and our independence. 13 cheers.

14 The defence of our rights “with our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honors” – The militia and soldiers of Freedom may be depended on. 17 cheers.

15 The memorable conduct of our gallant sons at Tripoli – It augurs well for the infant navy of our country. 9 cheers.

16 Our trusty and well-beloved Daniel D. Tompkins, and the important state of New York over which he presides – Second to none in the Union 9 cheers.

Source: The Columbian, New York, New York. July 10, 1812 accessed through NewsBank/Readex, Database: America’s Historical Newspapers

Image: The Tammany Society Celebrating the 4th of July, 1812 done in 1869 by William P. Chappel owned by the New York Historical Society

Sean Kelleher is the Historian for the Town of Saratoga