Saturday, January 12, 2013

WAR/CONFLICTS CONTINUING WITH THE NORTHERN THEATER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

- The Northern Theater which was part of the American Revolutionary War --From 1778 to 1782, there were a number of battles that occurred between the American revolutionists and the British.  The areas of battle were New York City, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New England. 

The British held quarters of operation in New York City and therefore there were skirmishes that occurred in that area.  The other location of battles was seen on the frontier of Upstate New York and the northern end of rural Pennsylvania.  The second area being fought by militia of each state involved and Indian allies against the Loyalist troops, Indians, British Indian Agents and British troops. 

In New England the French allied with American's against the British, trying to force them out of Newport, Rhode Island.

After the Saratoga Campaign, the frontier war began.  Recognizing the United States, France entered as an alliance.  The French sent a fleet and an army to America, as well as the Caribbean and East Indies, and tried to encourage Spain to join also.  This meant that the British had to split forces from North America to their hold in the West Indies, as well as other land holdings that were being threatened with invasion.  They also had to be concerned about French invading Great Britain.  So they left Philadelphia in 1778, making New York City their main location of operation for the Northern Theater of the war.  But, they also had a plan to take over colonies in North and South Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia.  It became the main focus for the remainder of the war, but there were still battles happening in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Rhode Island and New York. 

The British were using American Loyalists and Native Indian allies, and these were the troops that were sent out on raiding expeditions.  These raids were against colonial settlements on the northern and western frontier lands, as well as using British naval maneuvers raiding the New England coastline.

So while British were leaving Philadelphia by 1778, French fleets were arriving by July helping to increase the colonists actions against the British.  While the continental army was engaged in these larger battles, the state militia and settlers of the north and west frontier lands in both Pennsylvania and New York were dealing with the raids that the British were strategically planning from their Quebec headquarters.  The settlers themselves had to organize their own militia, supported by few Continental Army Regiments at first.  These Regiments were from Cherry Valley (a village in Otsego County, NY), Fort Schuyler ( which was originally Fort Stanwix, in present-day Rome, NY) and Wyoming Valley (which was originally considered part of Connecticut, but is now Luzerne County, PA.).  Although the colonists were alerted by the friendly Oneida Indians to oncoming raids, the attacks were devastating.

Battle of Wyoming Marker


British forces aided by the Seneca Indians attacked Wyoming Valley on July 3, 1778, at the Battle of Wyoming (also known as the Wyoming Massacre), killing more than 300 Patriots, out of 360 24th Regiment Connecticut militia, a small detachment of Continentals and Wyoming riflemen.  Colonel Butler claimed they took 227 scalps, burned 1000 houses, and drove off livestock.  Only 60 men escaped.  Some of the Loyalists and Iroquois killed and tortured prisoners, committing atrocious acts.  One hundred and seventy-eight names of those known Patriots killed at this battle are listed on the Wyoming Monument which was erected in honor of those brave souls who fought so valiantly.   It is believed that up to 200 colonists on that day ran into the swamps rather than surrender to Colonel Butler, dying of exposure to the elements.  This swamp became known as the 'Shades of Death.'

Depiction of the battle by Alonzo Chappel, 1858



Mohawk Leader Joseph Brant and his tribe, attacked Cobleskill, NY while the colonists were being massacred in Wyoming Valley.

Of the Six Indian Nations, only the Oneida and the Tuscarora were Patriot Allies.

The frontier wars, namely in the Mohawk, Susquehanna, Delaware and upper Hudson River Valleys, and at times into what is now Vermont (at the time, part of New York),  became so brutual, that the Continental Congress called the army to action.  As a result of the call by the Continental Congress and in retaliation of the Wyoming Massacre,  the Sullivan expedition of 1779, was ordered by George Washington, sending General John Sullivan to subdue Indian Attacks.  He and his forces destroyed 40 Iroquois villages, as well as a huge amount of stored food supplies in upstate New York. They drove the Iroquois northern into Quebec by attacking their villages, and defeated Mohawk leader Joseph Brant and John Butler's troops at the Battle of Newtown.  Brant had attacked other American allied tribal villages such as the Oneida, so that between Sullivan's raids and Brant's forces, much of the Iroquois territory was reduced to sporadic refugees.  Despite the ravaging destruction, Sullivan's expedition did not stop the Indians from continuing the raids.  However, the Iroquois never recovered from Sullivan's destruction to their food supplies and villages.  Many died of starvation that winter.

Although peace was initially agreed to in 1782, Mohawk leader Joseph Brant still tried to continue fighting.  When the British no longer supplied him, his efforts ended.


THE WYOMING MASSACRE


The Battle of Wyoming, also known as the Wyoming Massacre, is memorialized by the Wyoming Monument and the anniversary of the occurrence on July 3, 1778.  It is observed annually by the 24th Connecticut Militia Revolutionary War re-enactors who volley tribute.The Wyoming Commemorative Association represents some of the leading families of the greater Wilkes-Barre area as well as descendents of those who fought in the battle.  The battle was fought in what is present day Exeter, Pennsylvania.  The original fort was located at Forty Fort, Pa.





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Thursday, January 10, 2013

WAR/CONFLICTS CONTINUING WITH THE WESTERN THEATER OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR

- Western Theater which was part of the American Revolutionary War -- occurred west of the Appalachian Mountains, 1775 to 1783.  This area of the war was mainly fought by the British Allies in Detroit and the American Indians against the settlers south and east of the Ohio River.  The British Crown Proclamation of 1763 forbid British Colonists from settling west of the Appalachians.  It was meant to keep conflicts from occurring with the Indians and colonists. 
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However, two treaties, The Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labour, were negotiated by British officials and the American Indians in 1768.  This meant that land could be settled on south of the Ohio River.  But, there were tribes that were not part of the consultation and these tribes were not happy with the Iroquois for selling lands without permission.  The Shawnees tried to organize the Wyandots, Delawares and Mingos  against the treaties.

From 1775 to 1776, settlers and hunters in Kentucky were attacked by these disgruntled tribes, forcing them to head back East.  In 1777, The British used this tension and began recruiting and arming Indian war parties to raid American settlements, launching the plan from Canada, via Detroit.  Settlers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky were killed, the amounts of loss never accounted.

In 1778- 1778, American Militiamen knew they had to initiate offensive tactics to secure the western border as the Indians forces were too strong along the Ohio River.

1780 to 1781 The British and Indian continued raiding settlements, killing hundreds  in Kentucky alone.  Thomas Jefferson, then governor of Virgina, planned for George Rogers Clark to head 2,000 men to capture Detroit.  Clark was a Virginia soldier who was the highest ranking military officer on the northwestern frontier during the Revolutionary War.  However, he never was able to amass the number of men he needed and left Fort Pitt August 1781 with only 400 men. But one hundred of his men were attacked by Indians as they closed in on the Ohio River.  The plan was defeated.

Joseph Brant's attack on Col. Lochry (1781) ended George Rogers Clark's plans to attack Detroit.


March of 1782 began the 'Year of Blood.'  Pennsylvania militiamen were led by Lieutenant Colonel David Williamson into the Ohio Country.  Their intent was to find the Indians who were attacking Pennsylvania settlers.  They killed 100 Christian Indians, most of whom were women and children, after Indians had murdered a white woman and her baby.  Then Colonel William Crawford led Pennsylvania militiamen into American Indian territory.They were forced to retreat back to Pennsylvania.  However, during the retreat, Colonel Crawford and some of his men were captured and executed in retaliation for the earlier murder of the 100 Christian Indian women and children.

Oil on canvas painting depicting the Wyoming Massacre, July 3, 1778


 More raids would occur, but neither side could maintain the territory it raided.  The Shawnees lost their main hunting ground as the settlements grew in Kentucky.  The Indians would continue without the British in the Northwest Indian War, despite the final treaty when Great Britain signed over the Ohio Country to the United States.  However, due to continual threats of Indian Raids, Americans did not settle north of the Ohio River.  In the end, the Indians were not consulted in the treaty, nor were they mentioned.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WAR/CONFLICTS CONTINUE WITH THE PHILADELPHIA CAMPAIGN

- THE PHILADELPHIA CAMPAIGN was also a  part of the American Revolutionary War --The British started the campaign in the Spring of 1777, after pulling out of northern New Jersey,  in order to gain control over America's Capital City --- Philadelphia--- seat of the Second Continental Congress.
The Assembly Room in Philadelphia's Independence Hall where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776.  At the time, it was called the Pennsylvania State House. 



Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.  Photo courtesy of The National Park Service

Carrying 15, 000 troops, British General William Howe transported his fleet via the Atlantic, entering Chesapeake Bay, landing at the head of Elk River August 25, 1777.


This map is an excellent tool to understand the naval route during the Philadelphia Campaign. Description: A map of the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. The map shows the territorial claims west of the Allegheny Mountains, and includes inset maps detailing the vicinity of Philadelphia, the vicinity of Boston, and the vicinity of New York. The map also shows the general areas of the Native Americans.  Source: A. S. Barnes, A Brief History of the United States (New York, NY: American Book Company, 1885)   Map Credit: Courtesy the private collection of Roy Winkelman.  For a link to a .pdf of the map click here



Thereafter, he moved toward Philadephia where he was met by Washington's forces at the Battle of Brandywine Creek, September 11, 1777. Washington's troops were forced to retreat, suffering over 1,000 casualties.


You can watch a reenactment from 2010 of the Battle of Brandywine Creek at this link on utube.

 The 16th of September, 1777, Washington was ready to hold against the British who were behind him.  However, this battle is called the Battle of the Clouds because of a rainstorm that halted the armies and Washington had to retreat to Reading, PA.  On the 19th of September, 1777, Continental Congress ran from Philadelphia to Lancaster, PA , but moved again at the end of the month to York, PA.  September 21, 1777, without warning, the British attacked and defeated General Anthony Wayne's troops and September 26, 1777, British General Howe captured Philadelphia.  With the unsuccessful battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777, where British General Howe had stationed, and the loss of Fort Mercer and Fort Mifflin, October to November, 1777, Washington was not able to prevent the British from taking over Philadelphia.  However, he was able to lead his troops into quarters for the winter at Valley Forge, PA by the middle of December.  British General Howe resigned during his occupation of Philadelphia.






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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

WAR/CONFLICTS CONTINUE WITH THE SARATOGA CAMPAIGN

- SARATOGA CAMPAIGN OCCURRING IN 1777 WAS PART OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR.  Initiated by the British Command, namely General John Burgoyne,  in North America in order to gain military control of the Hudson River Valley. The plan involved moving 8,000 troops in June of 1777 from Quebec via Lake Champlain to central New York and then by land through the Hudson Valley to Saratoga.  Battle ensued with American Troops and culminated in the Battles of Saratoga which was a month-long series of strategic maneuvers beginning in September of 1777.  However, the official dates of the Saratoga Campaign are noted as beginning June 14, 1777 and ending October 17, 1777.  British forces surrendered to American General Horatio Gates.  This victory resulted in France's decision to support the United States by sending soldiers, money and naval services.

A great majority of the historic sites where the Saratoga Campaign played out are now preserved as state or national parks.  Your will find monuments listed under National Historic Landmarks or on the National Register of Historic Places.  Battles are regularly reenacted. 

Note to my readers;  I will be placing ads on my blog that I feel will help beginning researchers in their quest.  For example, cameras are a very important piece of equipment for anyone researching their family tree.  Therefore, I will place ads that I feel are appropriate to the content of my site and offers possible venues to aid you in your research.


Monday, January 7, 2013

CONTINUING THE LIST OF WARS/CONFLICTS

  Continuing the list of wars/conflicts...


- New York and New Jersey Campaign which was part of the American Revolutionary War .  The battles ensued over who would control New York City and the state of New Jersey.  The British were led by General Sir William How, while the Continental Army was led by General George Washington!  Howe drove Washington's troops out of New York City by adding Hessian troops to his British forces.  If you remember your history lessons in school, Hessian soldiers were mercenaries--guns for hire and were from German principalities.


When we think of Washington, we generally picture him as he crossed the Delaware in the dead of winter. This occurred during one of these campaigns.

 On July 3, 1776, Howe's forces landed on Staten Island and defeated Washington's troops in what would be the biggest battle of the Revolutionary War.  Washington's troops consisted of soldiers from New England and regiments that came from as far as Virginia.They retreated to Manhatten and were eventually forced to White Plains, NY. The morale of Washington's troops was plummeting as they made their way across the Hudson River into New Jersey, then crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.


Howe had his troops in winter quarters during the month of December, from New York to New Jersey.  That is when Washington struck at the Trenton quarters, by crossing the Delaware River, and pushed Howe's army back.  It was Washington's strategy of crossing the Delaware, Christmas Night with 2,400 men, that raised the morale of the troops.

Washington sent troops to Princeton as the second part of his plan, pushing the British out as they lost more than one quarter of their men in that battle.  Washington set up winter camp for his army at Morristown, New Jersey.  Even during the winter, both sides fought each other as they searched for provisions.


As a result of Washington's victories, Washington and his army boosted American morale.  New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut would continue to see battles until the war ended in 1783.

Wars/conflicts to continue...




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