Categories
Historic America

Flames on the Mohawk

Tracing Revolutionary War battles in New York’s Mohawk River Valley.

During the Revolutionary War, the Mohawk Valley in central New York was the scene of brutal fighting between patriots committed to American independence and loyalists committed to remaining under the British Crown. Many settlements and homesteads were raided and burned. Stone houses became “forts” where civilians and militia would take shelter during these attacks. You can still visit the sites of these battles and skirmishes today, though several are marked only with a small sign.

Siege of Fort Stanwix

The Siege of Fort Stanwix is among the most well-known Revolutionary War battles in the Mohawk Valley. British General John Stanwix ordered construction of this fort in the summer of 1758 to guard a portage connecting the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. Colonial troops under the command of Colonel Elias Dayton occupied and repaired the fort in July 1776 and renamed it Fort Schuyler. British forces besieged it from August 2-22, 1777, but were demoralized by a colonial raid on their camp and withdrew. It burned down in 1781.

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Historic America Photography

Trenton Battle Monument

The Battle of Trenton was fought on December 26, 1776 between American forces commanded by General George Washington and British forces commanded by Col. Johann Rahl in Trenton, New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was an American victory and a much-needed boost to Patriot morale. In 1893, a 150-foot Beaux-Arts style monument was erected on a high point where George Washington stationed his artillery. The Trenton Battle Monument is located at the intersection of Warren and Broad streets and Pennington and Brunswick avenues. The interior of the monument has been closed for years due to its elevator being inoperable.

Categories
Historic America

St. Lawrence in Flames

In 1813, war raged between Great Britain and America. The Saint Lawrence River, dividing the two powers in North America, became a thoroughfare for bloody conflict.

The War of 1812, fought between the United States and Great Britain between 1812 and 1815, arose from a dispute over maritime trade and U.S. territorial ambitions on British Canada. The war went badly for the U.S., with British troops burning Washington, DC in August 1814. The St. Lawrence River, as the border between the United States and Canada, was a vital waterway that saw dozens of small naval battles as each side sought to control it. Both sides attacked vulnerable supply shipments being ferried up and down the river.

Battle of Ogdensburg

At the mouth of the Oswegatchie River on the south bank of the St. Lawrence River, Ogdensburg was originally a French trading settlement and home to more than 3,000 Iroquois Indians. By 1812, American settlers had built a small village and established trade with British Canadians across the seaway.

With the outbreak of hostilities, Brig. General Jacob Brown used Ogdensburg as a jumping-off point for raids on British shipping. The Americans began building Fort Oswegatchie between what is now Franklin and Elizabeth Streets on Riverside Drive to defend the village.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Faugh a Ballaugh!

Relief sculpture on the Irish Brigade monument, Bloody Lane, at Antietam National Battlefield. The Irish Brigade, consisting of the 63rd New York Infantry, 69th New York Infantry, 28th Massachusetts Infantry, 116th Pennsylvania Infantry, and 88th New York Infantry regiments, was first commanded by Colonel Michael Corcoran, then Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher, and finally Colonel Patrick Kelly. It experienced one of the highest casualty rates in the Civil War.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Burnside’s Bridge

Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield, 5831 Dunker Church Road, got its name on September 17, 1862 when Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s IX Corps forced an ill-fated crossing of a stone bridge over Antietam Creek. His attack briefly succeeded, despite heavy casualties, until Confederate Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill’s Light Division arrived from Harpers Ferry and drove his men back. The bridge was recently restored.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Hallowed Ground

Maryland State Monument on Antietam National Battlefield, 5831 Dunker Church Road, is dedicated to Marylanders who fought for both the North and South during the American Civil War. Several Maryland units fought at the Battle of Antietam, including the Baltimore Light Artillery (CSA) and the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Maryland Infantry Regiments (USA). It reads: “Erected by the State of Maryland to her Sons, Who on this field offered their lives in maintenance of their Principles.”

Categories
Historic America Photography

Thomas Farm

The Thomas Farm on Monocacy National Battlefield, 4632 Araby Church Road (Visitor Center) outside Frederick, Maryland. The farm was owned by Christian Keefer Thomas and is a treasure trove of Civil War history. Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock once used its brick farmhouse as a headquarters as his corps marched north to Gettysburg. On July 9, 1864, the farm was the scene of fierce fighting during the Battle of Monocacy. That fall, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant held a council of war at the house with his cavalry chief, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan.