Battle Road at Minuteman National Park

Walk in the footsteps of British soldiers fleeing relentless attacks by colonial militia in this carefully-preserved National Park dedicated to the opening salvo of the Revolutionary War.

Click to expand photos

The road from Concord to Boston, Massachusetts was the scene of heavy skirmishing on April 19, 1775 between British soldiers and American Colonial militia in the opening salvos of the Revolutionary War. The day had monumental significance in American history, as the Battles of Lexington and Concord represented the spark that led to the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America.

Early that fateful morning, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and 700 British regulars departed Boston to capture and destroy Colonial militia supplies in Concord. The night before the raid, Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott departed from Boston to warn the militia of British plans. Paul Revere was captured along the Battle Road but later released. Later that morning, several hundred British soldiers arrived in Lexington and were met by approximately 70-77 militiamen. It’s unclear who fired the first shot, but when the smoke cleared, seven colonists lay dead and eight wounded.

The British continued to Concord, where they set fire to the supplies. At 9:30 am at North Bridge, 400 militiamen confronted 100 British regulars, resulting in approximately two militia killed and four wounded, and three British regulars killed and eight wounded. The engagement shocked both sides. His mission completed, Lt. Col. Smith and his men headed back to Boston. By then, the call had reverberated around Massachusetts and militiamen poured in from the countryside.

Continue reading “Battle Road at Minuteman National Park”
Advertisements

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.

Click to expand photos

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.

Continue reading “The Battles of Klock’s Field and Stone Arabia”

Johnstown Battlefield Historic Sites

Click to expand photos

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.

Continue reading “Johnstown Battlefield Historic Sites”

Bennett Park and Fort Washington, New York City

Click to expand photos

Over 240 years ago, this unassuming park in Manhattan was the scene of one of the patriot’s worst defeats during the Revolutionary War.

The Battle of Fort Washington was fought on November 16, 1776 between American forces commanded by Col. Robert Magaw and British and Hessian forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Hugh Percy and Wilhelm von Knyphausen in present-day Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a complete British victory, with all American defenders killed, wounded, or captured.

In the fall of 1776, American aspirations of independence were at a low point. British General Sir William Howe had overwhelmed and driven the Continental Army commanded by Gen. George Washington out of New York City and Long Island. Washington aspired to escape north to White Plains to avoid being surrounded in Manhattan. He left several thousand men at Fort Washington under Col. Robert Magaw and a brigade commanded by Col. John Glover at Pell’s Point to contest any British landing.

Though Col. Glover delayed the British advance at Pell’s Point on October 18, he was forced to retreat. With General Washington’s defeat at White Plains ten days later, the path was clear for Howe’s army to march on Fort Washington. Col. Robert Magaw stubbornly held on despite Washington’s discretionary order that the fort be abandoned.

Continue reading “Bennett Park and Fort Washington, New York City”

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.

Continue reading “Minisink Battleground County Park in Sullivan County, New York”

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.

Continue reading “Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site in Oriskany, New York”

Battle of White Plains Historic Site in White Plains, New York

The hustle and bustle of city life obscures the grounds over which two armies fought one of the largest battles of the Revolutionary War.

The Battle of White Plains was fought on October 28, 1776 during George Washington’s retreat from New York City during the Revolutionary War. Washington positioned his depleted Continental Army on hills near White Plains, New York. British General William Howe, with 13,000 men, drove the Continental Army off strategic high ground, but poor weather allowed them to escape. Today, the battle is memorialized by several small monuments and interpretive signs at a park.

In late October 1776, following the battles at Harlem Heights and Pell’s Point, General Washington withdrew northward to counter an attempted encirclement by General Howe. He established 3-mile long defensive positions, including two lines of earthworks, anchored by swampy land near the Bronx River on one flank and Chatterton’s Hill on the other.

The British plan was to attack the Continental’s right flank at Chatterton’s Hill. Hessians under the command of Colonel Johann Rahl crossed the Bronx River and occupied a hill on the extreme right while British cannon pounded the defenders on the hill. After fierce fighting, the Hessians outflanked Continental positions, and a charge by cavalry dragoons drove them off the hill. Heavy rain delayed further attack, and by the time General Howe advanced on November 1, Washington’s army was gone.

Continue reading “Battle of White Plains Historic Site in White Plains, New York”