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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Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia’s Historic Triangle

Step back in time and explore the former capital of Colonial Virginia, where Founding Fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and more walked the streets.

Both an actual town and open air museum, Colonial Williamsburg allows visitors to walk the same streets as legendary figures from the past and explore authentic and reconstructed Colonial-Era buildings. You need a ticket to enter the buildings and museums, but you can walk the streets and enter the shops and restaurants for free. Historical and haunted tours are plentiful, including carriage rides!

You can also visit the College of William & Mary, second-oldest college in the United States, and Eastern State Hospital, oldest mental asylum in the U.S. and now an art museum.

In many ways, Colonial Williamsburg reminds me of Tombstone, Arizona, another attempt by a living community to reconstruct history. Like Tombstone, Williamsburg got left behind when its moment in the sun passed. Its historic buildings were modified and fell into disrepair over the decades after Virginia’s capitol was moved to Richmond in 1780.

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Battle of Valcour Island

A roadside sign marks this little-known naval battle on Lake Champlain, which delayed the British advance for months and allowed American colonists time to rebuild their forces and eventually win the Battle of Saratoga.

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The Battle of Valcour Island was fought on October 11, 1776 between American naval forces commanded by Benedict Arnold and British naval forces commanded by General Guy Carleton in Lake Champlain near Valcour Island, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a tactical British victory, but delayed their overall military campaign until spring.

Roads in Northern New York were too primitive in the eighteenth century to move large numbers of troops and supplies by land, so control of Lake Champlain was key to gaining access to the Hudson Valley. Controlling this corridor was key to the British plan for linking their forces in Canada with those in New York City, severing New England from the rest of the colonies.

The Americans cobbled together 16 vessels to oppose a naval invasion. Benedict Arnold had experience as a ship captain, so he was put in charge of the American fleet. In August 1776, he sailed to the northern end of the lake, where he encountered a much larger British fleet. On September 30, he retreated to Valcour Island with 15 ships, while one left to be resupplied. On October 11, a British fleet of 5 ships and 22 gunboats appeared north of the island and sailed south to cut off the American’s retreat.

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