Forts Clinton and Montgomery Battlefield

The Hudson Highlands were once the scene of a heroic last stand at two forts in the shadow of Bear Mountain, New York, unbeknownst to thousands of families visiting the Trailside Zoo each year.

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The Battle of Forts Clinton and Montgomery (aka Battle of the Hudson Highlands) was fought on October 6, 1777 between British forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton and Maj. Gen. John Vaughan and American forces commanded by Brig. Gen. George Clinton and Brig. Gen. James Clinton at the junction of Popolopen Creek and the Hudson River during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a hollow victory for the British due to Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga later that month.

After the Battle of Freeman’s Farm (or First Saratoga), the British and American armies sat licking their wounds. British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s 5,000 supply-starved men hugged the Hudson River near Saratoga, New York. In late September, Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton moved his 3,100-man army north to relieve Burgoyne and open the Hudson River to British ships. Standing in his way was New York Governor George Clinton with 600 men and 20 artillery pieces at Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery, plus the warships Montgomery and Congress and three smaller vessels.

British Maj. Gen. Clinton split his army in two in order to assault both forts simultaneously by land. Nine hundred men under Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell were to attack Fort Montgomery and 1,200 men under Clinton and Maj. Gen. John Vaughan would attack Fort Clinton. They would be supported by seven ships on the Hudson.

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Gnome Chomsky

Gnome Chomsky
Gnome Chomsky,” formerly the world’s largest garden gnome, greets visitors to Kelder’s Farm at 5755 U.S. Route 209 outside the small hamlet of Kerhonkson. Kerhonkson is located in Ulster County, New York along Rondout Creek, which straddles the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley. John Hutchison and Maria Reidelbach created the statue in 2006.

Left Unspoken

Left Unspoken
Monument to Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Carr in Oakwood Cemetery, 50 101st Street, Troy, Rensselaer County, New York. During the Civil War, Carr commanded a brigade in the Union Army of the Potomac at the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.

He was wounded near the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg and went on to command a division in the Union Army of the James. He was promoted to major general in March 1865, just before the end of the war. He also served as Secretary of State of New York for five years.

This 300-acre cemetery was established in 1848 and designed in rural style. It offers a beautiful view of the Hudson Valley and contains the remains of over 16,000 people, including Samuel “Uncle Sam” Wilson.

New Poughkeepsie Diner in Poughkeepsie, New York

New Poughkeepsie Diner (aka Cy’s Deli) at 59 Market Street, off U.S. Highway 44, in Poughkeepsie, New York. “But wait, that’s not a diner!” You yell self-righteously. I was as surprised as you to learn this used to be a 1960 Kullman model diner. Apparently it was also known as the Pok Diner at some point, but it closed in November 2014. Chalk up a win for deli enthusiasts and a loss for diner fans in the Hudson Valley.

Diner Resources

Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, New York

The ruins of a colonial-era fort on the Hudson tell the tale of a daring raid by an American general who earned the nickname “Mad Anthony.”

The Battle of Stony Point was a daring nighttime attack on July 16, 1779 by Brig. General “Mad Anthony” Wayne and 1,350 picked colonial troops on the British garrison at Stony Point during the Revolutionary War. Stony Point was not a true fort, but had been fortified with entrenched firing positions, redans, and abatis. Much of these works can still be seen today, albeit covered with grass. A lighthouse was built at the location in 1828 to guide ships along the Hudson River.

Under cover of darkness, Lt. George Knox led a “Forlorn Hope” of 20 men who volunteered to lead the attack. They knew they probably wouldn’t survive, but someone had to do the job. The men advanced across a chest-deep swamp to reach the British works. Their orders threatened death for any man who spoke, fired his musket, or retreated. Aside from a diversionary formation of two companies, most men only carried muskets with fixed bayonets and no ammunition. They were expected to overwhelm the British in hand-to-hand combat.

Though Brig. Gen. Wayne himself was wounded in the head, the attacked succeeded brilliantly. The Americans moved too swiftly up the hill for the British cannons to depress in time to be used effectively. Only 15 were killed and 83 wounded. They captured 546 British prisoners. Though the colonists carried off cannons and supplies, they abandoned Stony Point, as it had debatable strategic value.

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Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, New York

Built in 1895 and rumored to have been a brothel and speakeasy during Prohibition, the Shanley Hotel on Main Street in Napanoch, New York has gained a reputation for the unusual. Napanoch is a hamlet in Ulster County along Rondout Creek, which straddles the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley. James and Beatrice Shanley bought the hotel in 1906 and welcomed many prominent guests, including Thomas Edison and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Tragedy followed, however. All three Shanley children died as infants, as well as the hotel barber’s daughter and Beatrice’s sister, who died of influenza. James Shanley died in 1937. Sal Nicosia owned the hotel from 2005 to 2016, and his son Sal, Jr., has picked up the mantel. Since appearing on shows like Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters, the Shanley Hotel has capitalized on the paranormal tourism market, offering special rates for paranormal investigations and marketing itself as a “haunted hotel.”

The hotel doesn’t have a website and appeared to be closed when I visited.

Further reading:

Gnome Mountain in High Falls, New York

Ellenville-based artist Sam Tufnell created this colorful display of illuminating garden gnomes in April 2017. He told Hudson Valley One, “I wanted to do something satirical on some level, but a little more playful. The gnomes and the still-lifes are pretty much my reaction to public art, figurative art, high-end art in general; sort of taking things down a notch, ‘de-elevating’ it.”

There are 13, 32-inch tall resin gnomes on the mountain. Each lights up at night in a different color. The gnomes are located on a bluff at the intersection of Highway 213 and Old NY Highway 213, in High Falls, New York along Rondout Creek.