The Battles of Klock’s Field and Stone Arabia

A small museum preserves the Mohawk Valley’s Revolutionary War heritage and the memory of these two dramatic but little-known skirmishes.

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The Battles of Klock’s Field and Stone Arabia were fought on October 19, 1780 between American and Oneida forces commanded by Brig. Gen. Robert Van Rensselaer, Chief Louis Atayataronghta, and Col. John Brown and British and Iroquois forces commanded by Lt. Col. Sir John Johnson and Captain Joseph Brant along the Mohawk River east of St. Johnsville, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The Battle of Stone Arabia was a British victory, but American reinforcements turned the tide later that day at Klock’s Field.

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. On the morning of October 19, 1780, Sir John Johnson and Joseph Brant led a small army of 900 men on a raid into the Mohawk Valley.

They were met by Col. John Brown and 380 militiamen from Fort Paris near Stone Arabia east of Fort Plain. The Battle of Stone Arabia was brief. Col. Brown, having walked into an ambush, was shot from his horse and killed, alongside approximately 30 of his men. Some survivors escaped to Fort Paris, while others fled toward Fort Plain, where they met Brig. Gen. Van Rensselaer and warned him of the British approach.

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Johnstown Battlefield Historic Sites

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This little-known battle, fought after the British surrender at Yorktown, was the last engagement of the Revolutionary War in New York.

The Battle of Johnstown was fought on October 25, 1781 between American forces commanded by Col. Marinus Willett and British forces commanded by Maj. John Ross and Capt. Walter Butler in Johnstown, Fulton County, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was an American victory and ended the last Tory uprising in the Mohawk Valley. The British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia six days earlier effectively ended the war in the Continental US.

During the Revolutionary War, the Mohawk Valley in central New York was torn between Patriots who advocated for American independence and Tories who wanted to remain loyal to the British Crown. John Johnson, whose estate was in Johnstown, was a prominent Tory who fled to Canada to escape arrest. He formed the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, which participated in annual raids into the valley.

In the fall of 1781, a substantial force of approximately 700 British regulars, militia, and Iroquois warriors entered the valley in order to destroy its agricultural yield before it could be used to supply the Continental Army. On October 25, approximately 416 American militia commanded by Col. Marinus Willett caught up with them outside Johnstown. Willett violated military convention by dividing his forces in the face of a numerically superior enemy.

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Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner in Herkimer, New York

Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, 100 W Albany Street, Herkimer, Herkimer County, New York, was voted Readers’ Choice Best Upstate New York Diner. Crazy Otto’s is a 1952 Mountainview. They serve the “world’s largest omelet,” and the diner’s neon lights look great at night too.

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Minisink Battleground County Park in Sullivan County, New York

A Mohawk war chief turns the tables on his ambushers in this obscure Revolutionary War battle in the wilderness of southern New York.

The Battle of Minisink was a failed ambush carried out by colonial militia against Mohawk war chief Joseph Brant and his volunteers during the Revolutionary War. On July 22, 1779, Lt. Colonel Benjamin Tusten and his militia set up an ambush above the Delaware River at Minisink Ford, but attacked prematurely. Brant encircled the militia who didn’t flee and won a crushing victory for the British and their allies. Today, this remote location is memorialized with walking trails, interpretive signs, and a monument.

In the summer of 1779, the British sent Brant’s Volunteers to disrupt colonial preparation for the coming Sullivan Expedition, in which the colonials planned to punish Britain’s Iroquois allies with a scorched earth campaign. Brant’s Volunteers raided the Delaware Valley and headed north into New York. Local militia formed to oppose the movement, and Lt. Colonel Benjamin Tusten reluctantly took command. They were joined by Colonel John Hathorn and 120 minutemen.

Brant’s Volunteers crossed Minisink Ford on July 22. A militia captain prematurely fired on an Indian scout, alerting them to the ambush. Brant quickly surrounded the colonial force, many of whom fled. The remaining militia put up a tenacious defense, but eventually ran out of ammunition and were overwhelmed. The militia lost 48 killed and 1 captured to Brant’s 3 killed and 10 wounded.

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Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site in Oriskany, New York

An unassuming park in central New York State commemorates the bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War.

The Battle of Oriskany was fought on August 6, 1777 during the siege of Fort Stanwix, it was an attempt by Tories and British Iroquois allies to ambush a colonial relief column headed for the fort. Heavy rain and dogged defense by the colonists and their Oneida allies saved them from destruction. Today, a tall granite obelisk marks the battle’s location.

As British forces lay siege to Fort Stanwix, 800 Tryon County militia and Oneida warriors under General Nicholas Herkimer rushed to its defense. The British, however, were alerted to their approach and a force of approximately 1,200 British and Iroquois braves under Sir. John Johnson and Joseph Brant planned an ambush. Just six miles from their objective, in a marshy ravine, Seneca warriors waited for the column of Colonial militia.

Impatient, the Seneca warriors opened fire before completely entrapping the Colonial militia. General Herkimer was shot in the leg, but refused to be carried from the field. “I will face the enemy,” he said. A thunderstorm interrupted the fighting, giving the colonists time to establish a last line of defense on a hill while British reinforcements left their camps outside Fort Stanwix to join the battle. This allowed the Fort Stanwix defenders to sally forth and attack the British camps. Seneca Indians at the ambush site retreated to protect their camp, and the remaining British withdrew.

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