Category Archives: Military History

Long Island’s Austin Roe: American Spy


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Austin RoeOur story begins in late April of 1790. A former general and spymaster is traveling a dusty and remote country road through sparsely settled Long Island to a small seaside fishing village called Setauket.

The former military man and espionage leader was the highest-ranking officer in the Continental Army. He travels with a small retinue of armed soldiers and cavalry officers. As the chief magistrate of his government, President Washington is too important to his nation and his people to fall into enemy hands. Continue reading

Ruth Williams: A World War One Nurse Overseas


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The word hero is often tossed around loosely, but when it comes to wounded soldiers, no one argues that it’s fitting — so what does it say about someone else when wounded soldiers call them heroes? Consider American women during World War I. Although many wanted to, they didn’t have to serve because of their sex, and could support the troops by important actions at home. But some chose to place themselves near the front lines, and with no weapons to defend themselves. Their only protection came from nebulous agreements by both sides not to bomb hospitals and care centers.

That’s what nurses did, risking their lives to comfort, save the lives of, or ease the deaths of, soldiers. Which explains why so many wounded men referred to nurses as the real heroes. A fine example of that circumstance, with an unusual twist or two, involved Ruth Williams of Ogdensburg. Continue reading

A Common Civil War Sailor’s Life at Sackets Harbor


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Sackets HarborSackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site is set to host “A Common Sailor’s Life During the Civil War” on Saturday August 18th, from 10 am to 4 pm.

John Dellapenna, a US Navy veteran and US Navy Civil War sailor re-enactor, along “Ships Company,” the premier Civil War navy re-enactment group who serve on board the 1855 sloop-of-war USS Constellation in Baltimore will portray US soldiers and sailors from the Civil War era. Continue reading

Military Burial Practices and Battlefield Clean-Up


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The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of PrincetonSaratoga National Historical Park is set to host Of Skulls and Skeletons: Military Burial Practices and Battlefield Clean-Up along the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail, presented by Robert A. Selig, Ph. D. on August 19, 2018 at 1 pm.

Battlefield clean-up is a topic rarely covered by modern historians yet following almost any military engagement, there are corpses to dispose of. Continue reading

Culper Spies: Curse of the Black Letter


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Col Jacob Griffin portraitI was researching the biography of Dutchess County Revolutionary War Militia Colonel Jacob Griffin. I was having a hard time of it.

By sheer accident I came upon an old historical text entitled New York in the Revolution, as Colony and State: Supplement. The book was compiled and written during the years 1895-1901, by a former New York State comptroller Erastus C. Knight (and others). It’s an incredibly detailed account of the New York State Assembly’s and Militia’s legal, financial and military policies, procedures and activities from the outset of the American Revolution in 1774 through its conclusion in late 1783. Continue reading

Rev War Ethnic Diversity Talk at Mt Independence


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mount independence historic siteOn Sunday, August 12, 2018, at 2 pm, the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, Vermont, is set to host a talk on “Ethnic and Cultural Diversity at Mount Independence” by historian and site interpreter Paul Andriscin.

This talk looks at how a rag-tag force from six states and Vermont managed to maintain the Northern American Army here during the American Revolution. They faced lack of supplies, disease, starvation, bad weather conditions, and having to overcome prejudices against their fellow soldiers. Continue reading

Battle of Cobleskill: A New Look


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Mohawk military and political leader Joseph BrantThe Summer Lecture Series at the Old Stone Fort Museum is set to continue on Thursday, August 9 at 7 pm with “A New Look at the Battle of Cobleskill”, with Schoharie County Historian Ted Shuart.

Historians and local residents may be familiar with the Battle of Cobleskill on May 30, 1778. The events of that day were later recorded by at least four prominent historians of the nineteenth century: Brown, Simms, Roscoe, and Warner. Their stories, all based on the accounts of local militia, are one-sided. Continue reading

Military Reenactment Day at Boscobel, Garrison, NY


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Boscobel military reenactmentThe Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, in partnership with The Living History Education Foundation has announced a Military Reenactment Day set for Sunday, August 26 from 11 am to 4 pm.

On the grounds of Boscobel House and Gardens, directly overlooking the Hudson River and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, military reenactors will set up encampments from the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, and World Wars. They demonstrate camp life with inspections, formations, musket firings, artillery demonstrations, and drills. Continue reading