The Battle of Oriskany
August 6, 1777




The Battle
external image tumblr_l39bkk1ED91qbslza.jpg


On August sixth, 1777, one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution took place in a small valley near what is now known as Oriskany New York. This battle was part of the Saratoga Campaign, a three pronged attack. The campaign was a launched by the British in hope to gain control of New York. This perticular battle was under the comand of General Johnny Burgoyne, "Gantalmen Johnny". General Nicholas Herkimer was marching his Tyron County militia toward Fort Stanawix which was about six miles away when they were ambushed by Mohawk Indians and a Loyalist force. The Americans came toa small ravine, they had no idea that the idians had hid themselvves along the sides of the ravine. Herkimer's column was taken completey by surprise. As they began to ascend the other side of the ravine after crossing the stream, the indians could not hold thier fire any longer, they began the attck sooner than planned.
In the first volley Colonel Ebenezer Cox was shot and killed, General Herkimer was shot in the leg, this shot also killed his horse. Although he was injured he continued to direct his men.
Since the battle began sooner than planed a number of the Patriots had not yet entered the valley, most of these men fled the scene, others were caught in the Loyalist's line of fire.
A thunderstorm interupted the battle, creating a break in the warfare. During this period of time John Johnson, a loyalist went back to their camp and requested reinforcements from Liuetenant Colonel Barry St. Leger, they marched back to the battle field with seventy more men. Herkimer on the other hand regrouped with his men on higher ground. He ordered his men to fight in pairs, so that when one man was reloading, the other was armed and only to fire if attacked directly.
After the storm Liuetenant Colonel Marinus Wilet brought two hundred and fifty men down from the fort. This force successfully raided the Mohawk camp and John Johnson's camp, taking his letters, which included an intercepted letter to Major General Peter Gansevoort from his Fiancee.
An Indian guarding the camp than ran to the battle field and alerted the others of the raid, they all retreated with the call of "Oonah, oonah!", a signal to retire. The Mohawks to protect their possessions and their women. The retreat of the Indians also forced the withdraw of the Loylaists, ending the battle.
external image map_get.asp?z=18&e=469982.389916957&n=4780569.05760299

Map of the Battle of Oriskany


external image oriskany.jpg
General Nicolas Herkfimer

General Nicolas Herkimer first military experieance took place during the French Indian war- the Attack on German Flatts. He became Captian in the militia in January 1758, a few months later he launched a second attack on the German Flatts. In August 1775 he was part of the Tyron County Comitee of Safety and became a Brigadier General of the Tyron County militia after the loyalist members fled to Canada. When Herkimer heard about the seige of Fort Stanwix he marched his Tyron County militia west toward the Fort. When the column was ambushed Herkimer was shot in teh leg, he ordered his men to drag him up against a tree where he sat through the rest of the battle directing and giving orders to his men, all while smoking his pipe. His men sudgested for him to retire before he is put in further danger, but Herkimer replied "I will face the enemy!". Herkimer was a brave man and did not want to give up on the battle even though he was wounded. Herkimer was a Hero to this battle. After the battle he was carried home to Little Falls, his wound had begun to fester and it needed to be amputated. But the bleeding would not stop. Herkimer read aloud from his bible until he passed on six days after teh battle of Oriskany.
240px-Marinus_Willett_by_Ralph_Earl.jpgLiuetenant Colonel Marinus Willett
In May of 1777 Liuetenant Colonel Marinus Willett became second in command at Fort Stanwix after being transfered there from Fort Constitution to join his regiment. In the battle of Oriskany he led an attack on the Indian's camp and John Johnson's camp, which they successfully raided. His force of two hundred and fifty men made it through the raid without casualities. Because of these succsseful attacks on both camps Willett was presented a sword from the Continental Congress. He also took part in other battles such as the Battle of Sharon Springs and the Battle of Johnstown