On this day in 1691, Colonel Pieter Schuyler was in Saratoga leading an invasion of Canada in the King William’s war.
Schuyler was among Saratoga patentees in 1685. Schuyler recorded “We continued at Saraghtoga ; foul weather, where we were joined by 15 Mohawks commanded by one Schayavanhoendere.” These Mohawks came over by the Saratoga trail from Schenectady and were from a party of ninety-five or more, which later joined the expedition at Ticonderoga.
During the summer of 1691 a force led by Major Pieter Schuyler invaded the French settlements along the Richelieu River south of Montreal. Callières, the local French governor, responded by massing 700-800 French and allies at the fort at La Prairie, on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River. Schuyler surprised the much larger French force in a rainstorm just before dawn on 11 August 1691, inflicting severe casualties before withdrawing towards the Richelieu River. Schuyler’s force might have remained intact, but instead was intercepted by the force of 160 men led by Valrennes that had been detached to block the road to Chambly. The two sides fought in vicious hand-to-hand combat for approximately an hour, before Schuyler’s force broke through and escaped. The French had suffered the most casualties during Schuyler’s initial ambush, but the casualties Schuyler’s force suffered after the French Valrennes’ counterattack meant that they had incurred the greater proportion of the loss. Instead of continuing his raids, Schuyler was forced to retreat back to Albany.
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. The Schuyler family help defined this community. The village of Schuylerville in the Town of Saratoga is named after the Schuyler family. It is the determination of our forefathers, including Governor Schuyler in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is helpful in the understanding of the condition of being human.