Hello readers, I normally write this blog in the third person but for this blog, I am writing in the first person. For those who do not know, I am Sean Kelleher, the Historian of the Town of Saratoga.
I had the opportunity to do some research at the Massachusetts Archives. My focus was Battles of Saratoga participant Hugh Maxwell from Bedford, MA. He was also a participant, according to his daughter, at the Siege of Fort William Henry. His daughter wrote, “My father was among the prisoners, and the Indians caught him, and stripped him of every article except his pantaloons, when he slipped from their hands, seized a gun, and ran for life towards Fort Edward, not daring to stop or look behind him. At length, on reaching what was called Half-way Brook, he stopped for sake his thirst but on looking back, he saw two Indians holding a white man whom they were just ready to tomahawk. His first thought was to fire on them. But before he could raise his gun they had despatched the man, and he therefore again ran for the fort, where he arrived in safety. “
So the search started on Hugh Maxwell’s service in the French and Indian War. One record that I found an 12 Oct 1756 of Maxwell in Captain Hartwell’s Company.
Here is Maxwell in the muster roll
However this entry caught my eye
As you can see David Lane is listed as dead. This past February, I was invited up to Lake George to witness the graves that were unearthed. It is believed that these were soldiers from the French and Indian War. I found myself wondering if David Lane was among those soldiers that were unearthed. That chances are slim but I still wonder if it is possible.
On this day in 1759, British General James Wolfe nears Québec with 8,500 men and a fleet of 168 ships captures river pilots to help the fleet navigate the river during the pivotal battle of the French and Indian War; in 1775, General Washington arrives in New York City; General Philip John Schuyler is named to command “New York department” by Congress. he was appointed a Major General of the Continental Army then he planned the Invasion of Canada however his poor health required him to place Richard Montgomery in command of the invasion; in 1862, the 77th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment participated the Seven Days’ Battles, near Richmond, Virginia, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from Richmond and into a retreat down the Virginia Peninsula; in 1876, George Armstrong Custer and the 265 men under his command lost their lives including first sergeant DeWitt Winney of Saratoga in the Battle of Little Big Horn, often referred to as Custer’s Last Stand; in 1950, the Korean War began and during the war, there were three residents that were killed in action, Stanley W. Harmor from Saratoga, Julius Lofren from Schuylerville, and James Marlow from Schuylerville, in 2000, a Visitors Center was dedicated at Fort Hardy Park and in 2016, the high school graduated 147 students, presented four posthumous degrees to family members of graduating seniors who served in World War II and Vietnam, as part of Operation Recognition.
On this day is a chronological timetable of events that occurred on this day in history around the Town of Saratoga. Discover what happened today in local history by following our twitter account @historysaratoga
(Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck and Town Supervisor Thomas Wood for compiling information for this timetable.)
“Burgoyne was confident of making rapid progress and seemed to view a supporting army from the south as optional, rather than essential. He would have around 10,000 men with him, although only 4,000 of those would be regular British troops and the vast majority of the redcoats would be inexperienced. With almost 4,000 hired German soldiers, known collectively as ‘Hessians’, and a smattering of Native Americans and Canadian labourers, the army was not built to sustain losses in a series of pitched battles. The key to success would be speed of movement.
Opposing Burgoyne’s march was an American army under Philip Schuyler. The makeup of this ‘Northern Army’ would change over the duration of the campaign, especially with the coming and going of militia units. Largely derided by the British (and even American commanders despaired their unreliability), militia units were well suited to the territory through which Burgoyne would be marching. Ambushes, hitand-run tactics and the destruction of roads could make life miserable for the British army.”
The excerpt is from Great Battle article on the Battles of Saratoga in the UK magazine, History of War (February, 2019).
Saratoga is known for being the turning point of the American Revolution. In 1777 −− the second year of America’s War for Independence −− the British sought to quell the rebellion with a single decisive military campaign. The article says “the plan was for two British armies to work their way along the Hudson – one marching south from Canada, the other marching north from New York.” The British plan depended on using an invading army to divide the colonies along a natural corridor of rivers and lakes stretching from Canada to New York City.
The article describes how the British were outwitted and outmaneuvered in this critical Revolutionary War clash. “An army that had envisaged little difficulty in marching to Albany had been reduced to a small scale operation in a desperate search for provisions.” The Americans’ determined resistance at Saratoga, coupled with British strategic blunders, resulted in a stunning defeat and surrender for a British army. This timely victory reversed American military fortunes, boosted patriot morale, and gained them international recognition and support, including military assistance.
The Saratoga region is fortunate to be the subject of this Great Battle article. Articles in publications like History of War get the word out internationally about our community. These articles provides creditably to the story about the importance of the Battles of Saratoga and that our community is worth visiting.
The best place to learn more about the epic Battles of Saratoga is to visit the Saratoga National Historical Park in the towns of Saratoga and Stillwater. The park website is at https://ift.tt/2cxkI82.Nine miles north of the battlefield are three sites, located in the villages of Schuylerville and Victory, which are also part of Saratoga National Historical Park. The Schuyler House is the 1777 country home of General Philip Schuyler, a businessman, politician, and entrepreneur, and father-in-law to Alexander Hamilton. Schuyler constructed this home within weeks after the retreating British burned his earlier estate on the property. Nearby is the Gothic style 155-foot tall Saratoga Monument, which hardy visitors can climb for panoramic views of numerous mountain ranges. Then there is Victory Woods, where a fully accessible boardwalk trail passes through the area where the British made their “last stand” during a siege before surrendering. While in Schuylerville you can walk along the historic Champlain Canal, visit art galleries, and dine in variety of eateries.
There are many books available to purchase at the Park’s visitors center. The Park’s museum store is operated by Eastern National with a portion of sale proceeds going to support the Park. The museum store carries many one of a kind items and we strongly encourage your patronage.
Another option to learn more about the Battles is to visit your local library. The Schuylerville Public Library https://ift.tt/2dYYY7C and all the libraries in the region have a number of books on the Battles of Saratoga. One of the more popular and well written books is Richard M Ketchum’s Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War. (1997) New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-6123-9. OCLC 41397623
The formal surrender of British General John Burgoyne and his forces to the Americans in the autumn of 1777 is depicted by artist John Trumbull in one of eight scenes memorializing America’s founding in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. The Battles of Saratoga were named in the New York Times Magazine as the “battle of the millennium” and by esteemed British historian Sir Edward Creasy as one of the 15 most decisive battles in world history. These facts may not be well known, but the powerful story of the battles and their meanings come to life when you visit the hallowed grounds of Saratoga National Historical Park and the communities that surround the park.