The Misnamed Columbia County ‘Battle of Egremont’

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MilitiamenA small, but important part of the American Revolutionary War took place during 1777 at Livingston Manor, Albany County (now Columbia County), New York. The few historical references about this event identify the event as the Battle of Egremont, implying that it happened in Massachusetts.

While it was customary to name a battle after its location, participants or some other feature, these conventions were overlooked in this case and the involvement of Egremont, Massachusetts militiamen seems to be the primary reason for the naming of the battle. However, many participants were from New York militia units, and the battle actually took place in New York. The battle was actually a series of four skirmishes that occurred over two-days.

Livingston Manor 1777Troublesome Loyal Volunteers

During April of 1777, many patriots were convinced that almost everybody, especially men in Taghkanic, including a good number of militia officers in the Manor, pledged an oath of allegiance to the Crown. They were said to be true to the King of England and enemies of the Revolution. Many feared a Tory uprising was imminent. The lord of the Manor of Livingston, Robert R. Livingston, wrote to Governor George Clinton, “I am …convinced that something is in agitation among the tories.” He was concerned that an insurrection was in the making.

Indeed, there was “uneasiness” at Livingston Manor, because men between ages sixteen and sixty were required to perform militia service at a time when they wanted to be on their farms. It didn’t help that General Schuyler’s Northern Continental Army confiscated wagons that were desperately needed for farm work. When James Howetson, a half-pay British Lieutenant, received authority from the Crown to form a loyalist battalion, he targeted agitated farmers of Livingston Manor. Not surprisingly, hostility between local patriots and Tories flared up when Howetson’s Tories crossed Manor boundaries seeking arms and recruits.

Livingston Manor was a large tract of land in southern Albany County bounded on the west by the Hudson River, on the East by Massachusetts, on the north by the Claverack District and on the south by Dutchess County. The Manor Committee of Safety was charged by Albany officials with keeping the peace in this large territory and was empowered to enforce militia service requirements. The committee could impose penalties on those absent from routine muster; however, it seemed the committee was lax when it came to reluctant tenant farmers. There are no known extant records of fines or penalties.

In the winter of 1777 support for the war in New York was at low ebb. Many patriots were discouraged following Washington’s retreat with the main army to New Jersey; the enemy occupied New York City and the British threatened an new invasion from Canada. Immediately south of Livingston Manor, Tory activity in the Nine Partners District of Dutchess County added tension close to home. Unrest also existed further south in Westchester County. But in Livingston Manor and the Claverack District in Albany County, the atmosphere was explosive. The discovery of a widespread plot to recruit and organize a Battalion of Loyal Volunteers became the catalyst for bloody and deadly confrontations that followed.

William Smith, who was related by marriage to the commander of the Manor militia, Colonel Peter R. Livingston, reported that on April 28, the Claverack Committee of Safety became aware of a conspiracy to organize the Loyalist regiment in Albany and Dutchess Counties. According to Smith, conspirators bound themselves by “oath and secrecy & then swore Allegiance to the King to support each other and join the British Troops agt (against) all Opposers.” Smith, who once supported objectives of freedom, parted company with patriots when the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. Not willing to brand him as a Tory, New York officials instead confined him under house arrest at the Manor. Eventually he was sent behind British lines.

One of the major figures in the Tory recruitment conspiracy, Arnout Viele, said that he enlisted sixty to seventy men for the King’s Army. Colonel Livingston estimated that the count included about fifty Livingston Manor residents who were actually “attached to the crown.” Ten or twenty likely came from other districts in Albany County. During the Court Martial of Mr.Viele, it was confirmed that there was a concerted effort throughout Albany County to enlist men. In early May 1777, to the north of the Manor in Kings District, Colonel Whiting ordered Captains Bostwick and Gilbertz to arrest Elijah Owen, old Atwill and old Burr, and seize their arms, ammunition, and papers. These men were obviously suspected Tories.

Concurrently, militiamen under Captain John Strong marched from Pittsfield, Massachusetts into the northern part of Albany County to apprehend more Tories. At Viele’s Court Martial, he was formally charged with “…Inlisting many of the Subjects of said state (New York) into the Service of the King of Great Britain… & by swearing divers Persons…to bear Faith and true Allegiance to the said King…” His recruitment activity in the Manor and the threat of an invasion by the Loyalist Regiment were the primary reasons that patriots from Claverack and Egremont eventually took up arms and invaded the Manor of Livingston.

The Fight Begins in Earnest

Various sources record the Battle at Egremont as having occurred on May 1, 1777, however, Major Richard Esselestyn’s detailed account indicated that the battle began on May 2, ended on May 3, 1777 and took place at several locations in New York. Major Esselestyn was an officer in the 8th Albany (West Claverack Regiment) and one of the officers who recruited fighters from the Egremont militia.

This was not the first time Massachusetts men were recruited to hunt Tories in Albany County. During October 1776, Colonel Peter Van Ness, 9th Albany (East Claverack District) called on men from nearby Berkshire County to capture troublesome Tories in Kinderhook and Kings District in Albany County. Later that same month, Captain Erastus Sergeant’s Stockbridge, Massachusetts Company, was ordered out by the committee of Berkshire County to assist in quelling another insurrection in Kings District. It seemed that Berkshire Massachusetts militiamen were more reliable than many from Albany.

Battle of Egremont MapThe First Skirmish

The first skirmish in the Battle of Egremont took place on a farm in Taghkanic near the Manor’s eastern border. William Smith wrote that on May 2, the Egremont men went into “Taghkanic with some of the Claverack Militia searching for Tories.” To arrive in Taughkanic on May 2, the Egremont men must have met with the Claverack militia the day before, May 1, probably near the northern border with the Claverack District. It appeared they all entered the Manor from the Northern border with Claverack. Esselestyn reported that the first skirmish occurred near the hamlet of Taughkanic, about ten miles west of Egremont. Although two Claverack officers, Lt. Col. Stephen Hogeboom, 9th Albany and Major Esselestyn were leading the detachment, most of the men were apparently from Egremont. The detachment initially encountered Tories at Jury Wheeler’s farm in Taconic near the Manor’s eastern border. Esselestyn noted, “Scrimmige happened near Tachkanick 2 Horses killed of ours, of the Torys Nicolas Brassie Jur wounded and a few Prisoners taken.” It was alleged that Wheeler once said if called for militia duty, the first person he would shoot was his captain.

The Second Skirmish

The second skirmish took place at the house of Isaac Spoor in Taughkanic. As indicated in Esselestyn’s report, the Egremont men were engaged in the second skirmish on the same day as the first. According to the report, that evening, a party of the militia came upon more Tories. Another Tory was wounded and more prisoners were taken. Major Esselestyn said, “In the Evening … a Party of ours came up to the house of Isaac Spoor in Taghkanick where they found several Torys who opposed our men on which fireing Insued.” Mr. Spoor, a likely Tory, previously declined to serve on the Manor Committee of Safety. He was probably related to the Spoors who resided in Egremont.

The Third Skirmish

On Saturday, May 3rd, Hogeboom, who apparently split from Esselestyn’s group with a contingent of about 20 men, engaged another party of 100 Tories near Copake Lake (Great Lake). According to Esselestyn’s report, this third skirmish was, “near Tachkanic at the House of George Weler where a smart fireing happened… one John Lyck mortily Wounded.” Esselestyn also reported that after the exchange of fire, patriots were forced to retreat, one horse was killed and one Tory was wounded. Additionally, he indicated, “James Dacker wounded one (Mr.) Finkle and (they) took 15 prisoners.”

A member of Captain Diel Rockefeller’s Company in Livingston’s 10th Albany testified at Viele’s Court Marshal about being in battle near Great Lake. This places some of the Manor militia in the third skirmish. Although Esselestyn didn’t specify who reinforced Lt. Colonel Hogeboom, it was likely the men were from Rockefeller’s Company. This company came from the East Camp-Germantown District.

Supporting information about this skirmish found in Henry Dick’s pension application referred to the incident at the “Great Lake.” He collaborated that one Tory was killed another wounded and 15 prisoners were taken. Dick, a member of the Manor militia, stated that men from Captain Rockefeller’s Company joined the Egremont and Claverack militia during this skirmish.

The Fourth Skirmish

The fourth skirmish occurred about twelve miles southwest of Copake Lake. Major Esselestyn reported that after Hogeboom was reinforced, he pursued Tories to “Long Laik” where another skirmish happened and patriots “took 2 more of said Party.” The Major concluded, “Our Party took several prisoners and wounded Nicolas Brasie Senijor.” Hogeboom’s contingent moved from Copake Lake to the unincorporated area around Long Lake near the Dutchess County line. It was likely that Rockefeller’s men pursued and captured Brassie Sr. with Hogeboom.

Summary and Conclusion

William Smith reported, “In the late Skirmishes 3 Men were killed – Blastree Link & Decker – 3 more wounded one of whom Minkle or Finkle will probably lose his Arm as Dr. Latham Thinks.” It was likely that Smith’s “Blastree” was actually Nicolas Brassie Jr. or Sr., “Link” was Mr. John Lyck and that one of the wounded Tories was Mr. Finkle, not Mr. Minkle.

When the Egremont Militia entered Livingston Manor on May 2nd, they must have passed the house of Captain Jacob F. Shaver. Pension files indicate that Shaver marched on May 1 in command of a company of the Livingston Militia to reinforce the Northern Army. Captain Shaver lived near the boundary between Claverack and the Manor, and a mile and a half north of Copake Lake. It was an odd coincidence that he left just before the Claverack and Egremont men arrived near his home. One possible explanation was that Shaver wished to spare his men the task of fighting their own neighbors. Stranger still, 100 additional men from the Manor militia were diverted to Dutchess County to hunt Tories at the same time as the Battle of Egremont. Pension files, Smith’s memoirs, and other documents indicate that other Albany County units were with the Northern Army as well. The absence of Albany County and Manor militiamen no doubt contributed to the need to bring in outsiders.

According to Smith, one of the residents of Taughkanic filed a claim with New York officials and complained that, “the Noble Town People took from him and his Son 12 Horses… that the Convention mean to pay the Militia for their late Visit to the Manor & that he hopes they will not countenance the Plunder of the People.” Smith referred to the Egremont Militia and the “Nobletown Militia” as outsiders. The Nobletown men were within the beat of the 9th Albany in east Claverack and were required to follow the orders of their commanders. Even though militia officers were granted confiscatory powers and exercised them during the Battle of Egremont, militiamen were not awarded Tory plunder. The Claverack Committee of Safety was ordered to turn over the proceeds of confiscated property to the Albany Committee of Correspondence.

The number of Tory casualties in the so-called “Battle at Egremont” was an exact match with the number of casualties from the four skirmishes on May 2nd, and 3rd. From the information provided in Major Esselestyn’s report and Smith’s memoirs, the Battle of Egremont and the skirmishes in Livingston Manor were one and the same. The vicinity of the first three skirmishes on May 2nd & 3rd, was five to ten miles west of the Town of Egremont, near Copake Lake and the hamlet of Taughkanic. The fourth skirmish was near Long Lake thirty miles west of Egremont and approximately twelve miles southwest of Copake Lake. Therefore, all four skirmishes occurred in New York, not Massachusetts.

When the battle ended at Long Lake on May 3, the Egremont militia returned home the next day, but the search for Tories in the Manor continued. The Manor militia and Colonel VanRensselaer’s 8th Albany carried out ongoing raids. Units from Claverack, the Manor, and Dutchess and Ulster Counties eventually joined together in a wide-ranging sweep of the entire area.

On July 4, 1777, Lieutenant Howetson and Arnot Viele were hanged at the gallows in Albany.


The paragraphs that follow were written by my former colleague Donald E. Lampson. It gives his insight into the nature of the conflict and the after effects of this battle. Mr. Lampson conducted much of the research upon which this post is based and while he suggested that the mere participation of the Egremont militia in the battle was insufficient to justify the designation “Battle of Egremont,” he did not advocate changing the title.

“There were at least two apparent consequences of the Battle of Egremont. The first is that after the skirmishes, the hunt for suspected Tories persisted through the month of May and developed elements of a rather hysterical witch-hunt. While it appears that the Egremont Militia took only about twenty prisoners during their tour, the total number of prisoners eventually reached at least 200. Ultimately, most of those arrested were released in a general pardon. There were an extraordinary number of Livingston tenants arrested. Contributing to the fury was the Livingston’s frequent accusations that Manor tenants and militia members were disaffected. There was also envy of the dominant politicians and the newly emerging leaders who were not from the established landlord aristocracy. Consequently, even those casually associated with Tories became targets. The hunt for Tories apparently snowballed on its own momentum. The wives of those who escaped to the woods eventually appealed to the Livingstons for amnesty.”

Calling on outsiders was not the only reason the hunt escalated. The enmity between the Livingston and Van Rensselaer tenants in Livingston Manor and the Egremont militia, their relatives and friends was a result of burning, looting, destruction and battles between Berkshire residents and the New Yorkers and their landlords. This dispute ensued for 14 years over unsettled borders in the eastern Claverack District in Nobletown. The apparent enmity finally settled down in 1766, a little over a decade prior to the May 1777 skirmishes. Both sides took losses during the feuding, so there was cause for animosity.”

This is not to suggest that the Tory conspiracy was a fallacy. It was obvious there was a widespread conspiracy. The testimony and written evidence in subsequent court-martials definitely establish the existence of the plot to recruit a Tory regiment. However, the history of enmity between the New Englanders and the New Yorkers undeniably increased the seriousness of confrontations between residents in Berkshire and Albany Counties.”

The second result of the Battle of Egremont was that the repression of the Tory recruitment drive apparently put an end to such activity in Livingston Manor. Evidence of this effect was the subsequent overwhelming response to calls for militia service in the campaign to stop the British invasion from Canada during July of 1777. The unusually high enlistment of the Livingston Manor militia in and subsequent months was likely motivated by fear of being branded a Tory. Additionally, the willingness of men to serve was probably a desire to redeem their tarnished reputations.”

More evidence of the impact of the repression of the Tory conspiracy was that only five sons of Livingston Manor residents are recorded as going over to the British, with much higher numbers recorded for the Claverack Districts and for Dutchess County.”

The Claverack Committee of Safety made a strategic error in focusing on Livingston Manor to the exclusion of Tory activity in Claverack. In the months following the hunt for Tories in Livingston Manor, Claverack’s Lieutenant Henry Simmons and 45 of his men joined the British Army under General Burgoyne. On August 16, 1777, Lieutenant Simmons left Claverack with 27 men and fought for the British in the First Battle of Saratoga on September 19. On September 22, an additional 18 men from Claverack joined them. After the Second Battle of Saratoga, they all retreated to Canada.”

Because the records are so fragmentary, and the New York militia was called to serve against Burgoyne in many piecemeal detachments from the spring of 1777 until Burgoyne’s surrender, criticism of the service of the New York militia regiments was leveled without much evidence. However, it is revealing to compare and contrast the turn out of the Claverack and Livingston militia at the beginning of July 1777. These were the first units that Albany County activated to oppose Burgoyne. However, in response to this call, the two Claverack Regiments sent less that 120 men (about 16%), while over 200 (over 34%) of the Livingston Militia marched to the Army under Major Samuel Ten Broeck.”

According to the returns of the Albany County Brigade in the spring of 1778, the combined strength of the two Claverack Regiments (8th& 9th Albany) was 732, while the total strength of the Livingston Regiment was 584. While the 1778 returns included officers and men, the numbers given for those who marched in 1777 often did not include officers, therefore, the percentage of men sent from Livingston Manor to oppose Burgoyne in 1777 was likely conservative.”

Illustrations (from above): Militiamen Preparing to Hunt Tories (courtesy Alan H. Archambault); 2) Livingston Manor 1776; and 3) Map of Battle of Egremont.

A version of the post was previously published in Colombia County History and Heritage.

23 thoughts on “The Misnamed Columbia County ‘Battle of Egremont’

    1. Brian S. Barrett

      There were two districts, the East Claverack District and the West District. Both had committees but were subordinate to the Albany Committee. I found “Minutes of the Albany County Committee of Correspondence” is a wealth of information. Minutes are indexed in Vol I of two volumes but be careful; the index omits some subjects recorded in the minutes. The minutes are held in many libraries and can be found on line too.

  1. Tonya Frickey

    Mr. Barrett,
    I am a teacher at Taconic Hills HS in Craryville, NY. My class & I are working on a project (of sorts) with the AP US History teacher–we are specifically looking at The Battle of Egremont and the history of Bloody Hill Road and Tory Hill Road. I was hoping you might be able to help us in our search. We have heard that the names of the roads I mentioned were from the Battle of Egremont. Do you have any information on this?

  2. Brian BarrettBrian Barrett

    Sorry for delay.
    Please note my new email address.
    I’m familiar with Tory Hill Rd near Hillsdale Rd, NY near my ancestor’s farm in Alford, MA. I believe the road was named so because Tories lived there during 1776-83. It was probably not associated with the Battle of Egremont.
    On the other hand, Bloody Hill Rd may have been associated with the Battle of Egremont. It would take more research to pinpoint the skirmishes of the 10th Albany. Certainly the vague locations described by Major Esselstyne and William Smith puts militiamen in the vicinity of Bloody Hill Rd. Some of the militiamen who fought in the Battles of Egremont may have survived until 1830 to pass along the legend. Town officials or highway commissioners may have honored them for their service. A couple places for you to look are the census records of 1790, 1820 and 1830 to correlate 10 Albany Militia names with census names. Militia names can be found in “NY in the Revolution.” Another place to search, perhaps a better source, is town minutes (ask the town clerk). I think that town officials began to assign names to roads and turnpikes about 1810-1820. A good place to ask about the origin of Bloody Hill Rd is your town highway department or town clerk.
    Good luck with your project.
    Feel free to contact me with further comments or questions.
    Brian S. Barrett

    1. Tonya Frickey

      Thank you! I will let you know what we find out! I appreciate your taking the time to reply to my comment/questions!!

  3. Dinah S. Deck

    Can anyone tell me where to find the Oath Of Allegiance for the men from Pittsfield, MA I’m looking for something that would show that the Jacob Ensign who was born in 1724 was in the war at the same time that his son Jacob also served.

    1. Brian BarrettBrian S. Barrett

      You should first look at Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War. I believe it’s digitized but most respectable libraries have the hard copy. It is a 17 volume set of names of men who served for Massachusetts and often lists Sr and Jr for father/son relationship. Be careful, back then those suffixes sometime didn’t prove relationships, ie, a man with the same name and town but unrelated could be designated Jr in terms of age alone.
      If you want info on the loyalty oath itself see The history of Pittsfield, (Berkshire County,) Massachusetts …
      Author: Smith, Joseph Edward Adams, 1822-1896, Chapt XI.

  4. Garry Finkell

    This is a fascinating article! Thank you for putting it together.

    I am related to the Finkle who was injured in the Third Skirmish. This might have been George Finkle Jr. George Finkle Sr. worked with Arnout Viele in recruiting Loyalists. Henry Finkle, another son of George Sr. fought along with Lieutenant Henry Simmons at Saratoga. Henry traveled with Lt. Simmons’ group in their retreat to Canada. Eventually most of the family moved to Canada at the end of the war. Henry became a very prominent person in Bath and in Kingston, Ontario.

    George Sr. was my 5th great grandfather. He had a third son, John who remained in New York. John was my 4th great grandfather. John and his wife moved to Brunswick, now in Rensselaer County after the war.

    There is another factor that I want to mention. Many of the people involved in this were Palatine Germans. George Sr. was christened Johann Georg Finckel. He was the second son of Johann Philipp and Anna Catharina Finckel, who had landed at East Camp (Germantown) and West Camp in 1710 along with 3,000 other Palatines. Lt. Henry Simmons and most of his unit were Palatine descendants as well.

    Again, thank you for this valuable story!

    1. Brian BarrettBrian

      Thanks for comments and glad you enjoyed my article.
      In my book Burgoyne’s Nemesis: New England Militia, I discuss Simmons and his men and their participation at Saratoga. He apparently slipped through General Fellow’s, Berkshire County Militia security near the Hoosick R. near Schgaticoke, NY to get into Burgoyne’s camp.
      My book is available from Amazon or I can ship a copy if interested.

  5. Garry Finkell

    Hi Brian,
    Thank you for letting me know about your book and about the section on Henry Simmons and his men! I just ordered the book on Amazon!
    I am the President of the New York Chapter of Palatines to America, a national German genealogy society. Our national conference will be in Buffalo in June. I will be giving a talk on the Palatine Loyalists in the Hudson Valley. I cover their unique history and perspective in terms of the American Revolution. I also mention their part in founding the Province of Ontario. Your book will definitely add to the information that I can provide!
    As an aside, this subject is not as well known as the bloody fighting between the Palatine Patriots and the Palatine Loyalists in the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys.

    1. Brian BarrettBrian

      Good luck on your presentation.
      I’m sure you already mined the minutes of the Albany County Committee of Correspondence and the Commission for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies for info on the Palatines.
      In my book, I also discuss Hessian prisoners from the Battle of Bennington. General Fellows marched them to Springfield but a few escaped in Berkshire County near the Manor of Livingston. I wonder if they went to the Palatines?

      1. Garry Finkell

        Hi Brian,
        Actually I wasn’t aware of those sources, so thank you so much for telling me about them!
        I am very much a newbie with all of this. I first did a presentation starting from scratch a few years ago for a small group of Palatine descendants at Gilead Lutheran Church in Brunswick, New York. I decided to flesh it out more for our conference in Buffalo. My information has come from many random sources, as opposed to a methodical analysis because I am not familiar with many of the best sources. The talk also covers the experiences of the Palatine Loyalists in Upper Canada (now Ontario). So a good part of my time and energy has gone to that as well.
        I mentioned Gilead Lutheran Church. Almost the entire congregation were Loyalists greatly influenced by their German-born and trained pastor. They may have tried to assist the Hessians who hoped to get supplies in Bennington. I have never seen any reference to Hessians joining the Palatine community, but I would not be surprised if they did.
        There were a couple of unique reasons for Palatine Loyalism. One was the principle that Lutherans should not particiapte in a civil war, which is how the pastor perceived it. Another factor was that many of Palatines lived in the quasi-feudal system of Livingston Manor and Renssealerwyck. The Livingstons and the van Renssealaers were a local nobility who maintainded their almost royal role until the Anti-Rent Wars of the mid-1800’s. Loyalism was partly a rebellion against an aristocracy closer to home than George III.

        1. Brian BarrettBrian

          I think that The Manor has an historical society, otherwise, The Columbia County Historical Society in Kinderhook has good resources. Also the library in Poughkeepsie is a good place to research the Nine Partners Tories.
          Good luck,

  6. Michael Mauro DeBonis

    This was an excellent article for so many different reasons. Firstly, you did a first-rate job detailing the social/cultural conditions that predated this battle, as well as properly delineating the complicated connections and relations between Tories and Patriots. These are tasks not easily done. You also described the entirety of this particular campaign with incredible thoroughness and accuracy.
    The aftermath of the Battle of Egremont is as elaborate as the prior history that spawned it. Your essay amply explains the social psychology that acted as its catalyst, splendidly. I specifically was impressed at how you related it to the Battles of Saratoga, which both ensued Egremont, subsequently. Your labor here was certainly not wasted nor was it unnoticed. I do not agree with Lampson’s choice, to oppose re-naming this battle. Your argument for re-naming it is factually substantiated and cogently expressed. Because of Egremont’s complex history, its story is not an easy one to tell…but you did it, none-the-less. You did make sufficient mention of the military and legal issues that pervaded here…but I would like to know if this individual battle is in any way connected to the Clinton-Sullivan Expedition, and (possibly) why and how.
    You did a great job here, Mr. Barrett.

    Michael M. DeBonis,
    poet and historian,
    Long Island, NY.

    1. Brian BarrettBrian

      I’m humbled and inspired by your comments.
      I haven’t connected my research on this article with the Sullivan Expedition. Do you have any further information.
      I’m currently writing a book, Wooster’s Invisible Enemies, in which I discuss Connecticut Provincials on Long Island during July-August 1775. I would be interested in your insights if any.

  7. Michael Mauro DeBonis

    You should research the Culper Spy Ring. 2 of its principal members were Long Island refugees, who both took up residence in the state of Connecticut, in the early to mid-1770s. Their names are Major Benjamin Tallmadge (Washington’s head of military intelligence) and Capt. Caleb Brewster. Both men were natives of Setauket, Long Island (on Suffolk County’s north shore). Connecticut Yankees made frequent raids on Long Island during the War for Independence (via Culper intervention) to disrupt and to undermine British military operations in the tri-state area. Many Long Island patriot families (such as the Smiths and the Floyds, from Mastic, NY) fled to upstate NY and to Conn. to avoid capture at the hands of the British (Army). That idiot Governor of NY (William Tryon) created much havoc and destruction by his raids in Connecticut, Fairfield specifically, by way of Fort Franklin, at Lloyd’s Neck, near Huntington, LI.
    Tallmadge and Brewster were both very disturbed by Gov. Tryon’s savage and inhumane conduct. General Clinton (of the British high command) was not pleased with Tryon’s barbarism either (scorched earth policy). The patriot Raid at the British Fort Saint George in Nov., 1780, at Mastic and at Coram, Long Island, greatly hurt the British on Long Island. In fact, the Raid captured numerous transplanted Connecticut Tories, who came to Suffolk County, LI, and were re-settled on Patriot lands (the Smith Manor) by the British. It was in the early 1770’s that Capt. Nathan Hale became best friends with his college roommate Colonel Ben Tallmadge, at Yale. Hale’s untimely death in 1776 (autumn) was greatly mourned by Washington, Tallmadge and Brewster. In fact (boy I sound redundant here) Washington and the Culpers never forgave the British for their brutal treatment of Hale…Hale’s death would be an American rallying cry for the remainder of the Revolution.
    Yet the redcoat military machine was filled with brutal and uncivilized “war practitioners.” William Tryon, Banastre Tarleton, Simcoe and the lot…among some others. Alexander Rose’s book “Washington’s Spies” contains valuable on your subject matter. I’m sure it could be of some valid assistance to your writing and research. It was published in 2006. I will keep my ear to the ground for you. If anything surfaces…I’ll send it your way.

    Good luck with everything…
    MM DeBonis.

  8. Michael Mauro DeBonis

    PS-Both Culper Spies (Tallmadge and Brewster) both permanently relocated to the State of Connecticut after the War. Long Island native Tory (and, ironically, cousin of Declaration of Indep. signer William Floyd) Richard Floyd was a high-ranking British field officer, of a very dubious and ominous character bend. I believe he fled to Canada, after the War’s conclusion…Richard Floyd’s conflict with his own cousin William Floyd just goes to show us how personal and vitally combustable the American Revolution was in the Colonies. It literally was an “English civil war, fought on foreign soil.” It broke up families nearly as much as our own Civil War did, in the 19th century.
    Everywhere in the 13 colonies, Loyalists and bluecoats were at each other’s throats. The Loyalists fought for money and power—I think—and also out of an absurd sense of “duty” to their (King) George III. Patriots fought for freedom and liberty—the natural (civil) rights not to be treated as 2nd-class citizens, on their own turf, by their “King.” Considering the very meager resources the Patriots had at their disposal, I think they did alright for themselves…(French help did not hurt us, either).
    Your own terrific article clearly demonstrates that the American War for Independence was a very multi-dimensional conflict, which had many, many shaded sides to it. As a result, its lines were easily blurred. Friends and neighbors, who had peaceful and amicable relations at the War’s beginning, probably did not have any at the War’s end…so these ties were permanently fractured…and everyone involved swallowed bitter feelings and moved on with their lives…War and history don’t necessarily move as smoothly-flowing rivers. It seems to me both are oftentimes causes of great seas of social and political turbulence. But Wars, on occasion, help to resolve these things too. Everything is in one’s own perspective.

  9. Michael Mauro DeBonis

    Mr. Barrett,

    Also, check out an article in the Long History Journal by Matthew Monteleone entitled, “Richard IV: Long Island Loyalist.” It contains a good deal of information about Tories on Long Island during and prior to the British occupation of Long Island in the Autumn of 1776. The Personal Memoirs of Benj. Tallmadge contains abundant info. of the Tory presence on Long Island during the War years and just after. It may/may not be of some value to you as well.


  10. Michael Mauro DeBonis

    James Shepard’s article “The Tories of Connecticut,” in the Connecticut Quarterly (published in 1895) in 2 parts, is listed on the Internet. It has a great deal of info. on Conn. Tories during our War for Independence. I think it may be of some research value to you.

    Michael DeBonis.


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