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.
Fort Stanwix National Monument is a reconstruction of a historic fort occupying approximately 16 acres in downtown Rome, New York. Originally built by the British, it was captured and used by American colonists during the Revolutionary War. It was also the setting for two treaties with American Indians. Reconstruction finished in 1978.
British General John Stanwix ordered construction of the fort in the summer of 1758 to guard a portage connecting the Mohawk River and Wood Creek during the French and Indian War. It finished in 1762. The 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix between the British and the Iroquois attempted to solidify the frontier boundary and reduce hostility there. The fort was then abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin.
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 the fort in August 1777, but were demoralized by a colonial raid on their camp and withdrew. It burned down in 1781. A treaty between the United States and the Iroquois League was signed at the site in 1784.
Along a rural stretch of Route 30 south of Amsterdam in Montgomery County, New York, the South 30 Diner appears at the roadside like a tiny farm smokehouse. It is a rustic, country-style diner with a capital “C”. The owners want you to feel like you’re in grandma’s kitchen. Anita (presumably the owner) left a special message on the menu: “As a food artiste, I see the beauty in all from a carrot to a cracker. To create a meal, is to create a work of art, it is not only nourishing but an expression of love.”
On my visit, I ordered a Bird ‘n’ Nest, which is a fried egg cooked in a piece of bread over corn-beef hash and two bacon strips for $6.95. The corn-beef hash is just home fries with pieces of meat sprinkled in. Somehow they managed to come out soft in some places and overcooked in others. I like corn-beef hash you’d get at the grocery store, but dislike potato chunks.
Their menu is simple and printed on two sides of an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper folded in thirds. Breakfast is served all day. In addition to the Bird ‘n’ Nest, they offer several other custom dishes, including the Mykenny, Crazy Papa’s, and Dickie Do. The Mykenny is just 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, 2 eggs, potatoes, and toast for $8.95. They serve homemade sausage.
The South 30 Diner has a 4.5/5 average out of 47 Google reviews and 4.0/5 average on Yelp. Reviews are generally favorable. Google-user Michael Carbone wrote, “This place is everything you want out of a town diner. The owner is always there working tables, happy to talk about her work. You can tell she’s there for the love of cooking food for people. The food itself is delicious, I’ve never gotten the same thing twice and nothing has ever been ‘just okay’. Highly recommend trying it out.”