The Battle of Young’s House, Feb. 1780

A roadside marker, quietly removed from its original location, is all that remains to mark the location of this Revolutionary War skirmish.

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The Battle of Young’s House was fought on February 3, 1780 between American patriot forces commanded by Lt. Col. Joseph Thompson and British and Hessian forces commanded by Lt. Col. Chapple Norton in Westchester County, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a disaster for the Americans: their outpost was destroyed and nearly every combatant was killed, wounded, or captured.

This area of New York was considered a “no man’s land” between British occupied New York City and Long Island and Patriot forces in Upstate New York. Joseph Young’s stone house and barn became a fortified camp for the opposing sides. It was occupied by Continental Army forces in 1776, the British in 1778, and the Continental Army again in 1779. The winter of 1779-1780 was brutally cold, and frozen waterways left New York City vulnerable to attack. The British decided to harass Patriot outposts to deter any offensive.

Lt. Col. Joseph Thompson and a contingent of 250 men from Massachusetts regiments garrisoned Young’s property, waiting in the harsh snow to be relieved by another unit. Unfortunately, a mixed British force of approximately 550 men, including 100 cavalry, led by Lt. Col. Chapple Norton marched north to seize their outpost.

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Yorktown Battlefield in Colonial National Historical Park

In this decisive Revolutionary War battle, George Washington triumphed over British General Charles Cornwallis, effectively ending the war in North America.

The Siege of Yorktown was fought from September 28 to October 19, 1781 between American and French forces commanded by General George Washington and Marshal Comte de Rochambeau, and British forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a complete American and French victory, with Cornwallis and his army surrendering. Approximately 1,200 soldiers from either side were killed or wounded.

In July 1781, American forces commanded by George Washington met French forces commanded by Comte de Rochambeau north of New York City, where they faced a decision. They could either use their combined force to besiege British controlled New York City, or move south to confront a British army under Charles Cornwallis, which had won a costly victory in North Carolina at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse before marching north into Virginia. They chose to move south.

Cornwallis, commanding approximately 7,000 British and 3,000 Hessian troops, had been ordered to build a deep water port at Yorktown on the Virginia Peninsula. On September 26, Washington and De Rochambeau consolidated a force of 18,900 men in nearby Williamsburg. With help from François Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse’s fleet, they bottled up Cornwallis’ men and settled in for a siege.

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The Battle of Sag Harbor, May 1777

A daring raid on Long Island loyalists results in a bloodless victory for colonial rebels during the Revolutionary War.

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The Battle of Sag Harbor (aka Meigs’ Raid) was fought on May 24, 1777 between American patriot forces led by Col. Return Jonathan Meigs and British loyalist forces commanded by Cpt. James Raymond near Sag Harbor on Long Island, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The raid was a stunning success, with the Americans capturing British fortifications at bayonet point without a single casualty.

During the Revolutionary War, Sag Harbor was an important port on Long Island used to resupply British troops and launch raids across Long Island Sound on states like Connecticut. In May 1777, one such raiding party docked at Sag Harbor to join the 70-man Loyalist battalion stationed in a palisade on Meeting House Hill. Patriot Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs assembled a force of 234 men to attack the garrison and spoil their plans, although only 170 made it to Long Island.

Meigs’ small force landed in the early morning hours and divided into two parties. The first headed to the harbor to destroy British boats, and the second, with bayonets fixed, aimed to take the garrison on Meeting House Hill. The attacks took the Loyalists by surprise and only one shot was fired. The Patriots killed six men, captured 90, and destroyed a dozen boats before returning triumphantly to Connecticut.

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Fort Anne and Battle Hill

Efforts by the American Battlefield Trust have recently preserved the scene of this obscure Revolutionary War battle in New York’s Hudson Valley.

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The Battle of Fort Anne was fought on July 8, 1777 between American forces commanded by Col. Pierse Long and Henry van Rensselaer and British forces commanded by Lt. Col. John Hill near present-day Fort Ann, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a tactical draw: both sides withdrew after running low on ammunition, although American forces abandoned Fort Anne shortly after.

In early summer 1777, British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne began his campaign to control Lake Champlain and the Hudson Valley in order to sever New England from the rest of the colonies. He seized Fort Ticonderoga on July 5, and American forces retreated south. On July 7, British forces defeated an American rear guard at the Battle of Hubbardton. Lt. Col. John Hill’s 9th Regiment of Foot, numbering about 200 British regulars, pursued a small American force south of Lake Champlain toward Fort Anne.

When the Americans arrived at Fort Anne, they fortuitously met Col. Henry Van Rensselaer and an additional 400 militiamen. On the morning of July 8, they turned on their pursuers, aided by information gathered from a spy who posed as a deserter. The British retreated to a wooded hill north of the fort. For several hours, American militia took cover behind trees and angled to surround the beleaguered British.

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Moores Creek National Battlefield in Pender County, North Carolina

This quick and stunning patriot victory turned back British hopes of holding onto North Carolina during the Revolutionary War.

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The Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge was fought on February 27, 1776 between American patriot forces led by Col. James Moore and British loyalists led by Lt. Col. Donald MacLeod near Wilmington, North Carolina during the American Revolutionary War. The short battle was a resounding Patriot victory, which led to North Carolina voting in favor of independence.

In 1775, Royal Governor Josiah Martin fled North Carolina after his house was attacked by rebellious colonists, and the British Army sailed from Ireland and New England to stamp out the insurrection. Martin raised a force of approximately 1,500 Loyalists in North Carolina, principally consisting of Scotch Highlanders, to arm and join with the British regulars. The Patriots moved to prevent the two forces from joining.

Two units of Patriot militia, led by Col. James Moore and Richard Caswell, tried to intercept the Loyalists before they reached the coast. Caswell reached Widow Moore’s Creek Bridge first and threw up fortifications to block their approach. The Patriot troops were bolstered by a cannon and a swivel gun they called “old Mother Covington and her daughter.”

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Sharon Springs Battlefield

New York’s Mohawk Valley was the scene of brutal fighting during the American Revolution. This obscure battle ended a particularly nasty raid that began with one settlement in ruins.

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The Battle of Sharon Springs was fought on July 10, 1781 between British and American Indian raiders commanded by Capt. John Doxtader and American forces commanded by Col. Marinus Willet east of Sharon Springs in Schoharie County, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was an American victory and many of the British loyalist forces and their Native American allies were killed and the rest scattered.

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 July 9, 1781, John Doxtader and approximately 300 Iroquois Indians and Loyalists attacked the frontier settlement of Currytown, killing a number of people and taking nine prisoner.

That night, they retired to a camp in Sharon Springs Swamp. The next day, Col. Marinus Willett sallied forth from Fort Plain and attacked their camp with a force of approximately 150 men. Despite being outnumbered 2-to-1, the Patriots used the dense terrain to their advantage and lured the raiders into a trap.

The Patriots lost five killed and nine wounded, and the Loyalists suffered approximately 40 casualties. Unfortunately, they were too late to rescue the nine prisoners from Currytown. When the battle began, the raiders beat them with tomahawks and dumped them in shallow graves. One man survived his injuries and crawled to safety.

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Heritage Park and the Battle of Rhode Island

A mixed-unit of African Americans, American Indians, and white colonists fended off wave after wave of British infantry in this little-known Revolutionary War battle.

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The Battle of Rhode Island was fought on August 29, 1778 between American and French forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene and Brig. Gen. John Glover, and British and Hessian forces commanded by Sir Robert Pigot, Maj. Gen. Francis Smith, and Friedrich Wilhelm von Lossberg on Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a tactical draw, but ultimately ended in British victory when the Americans withdrew, failing to retake the island

In the winter of 1776, British troops seized control of the strategic town of Newport, Rhode Island and fortified Aquidneck Island. In the spring of 1778, as France entered the war on the American side, Maj. Gen. John Sullivan was appointed overall command of American troops in Rhode Island. He hatched a plan for a joint Franco-American land and sea invasion to retake Newport.

While American militia were mustering and organizing for the fight, Sir Robert Pigot withdrew his men from their fort on Butts Hill into the island’s interior. As the Americans moved into position, French commander Comte d’Estaing informed them his fleet would be unable to assist due to damage from storms and skirmishing. Without French support, hundreds of American militiamen went home. The remaining units arrayed themselves across the island to block the British from retaking the high ground.

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Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site

This unassuming state park at the New York-Vermont border was the scene of an American military victory that contributed to the surrender of a British army and eventual American Independence.

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The Battle of Bennington was fought on August 16, 1777 between American forces commanded by Colonel John Stark and British and Hessian forces commanded by Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum west of Bennington, Vermont (in what would become New York State) during the American Revolutionary War. The battle ended in American victory when all British and Hessian forces fled the field.

In June 1777, British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne desperately needed supplies to continue moving south in his bid to control the Hudson Valley and sever New England from the rest of the colonies. He sent Hessian Col. Friedrich Baum and 375 Hessian dragoons, 50 British infantry, and 375 Iroquois and Loyalist militia to gather supplies in nearby farming communities.

Baum learned there was a force of militiamen camped in nearby Bennington, Vermont and moved to investigate. After a brief skirmish around Sancoick Mill, Col. Baum sent for reinforcements and decided to fortify a hill and wait for their arrival.

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