The other day, driving home from Kingston, I could not help but notice the sea of New York State Education Department signs (NYSED) that lined the roadside. The blue and yellow plaques are designed to alert those passing by of significant historic events that had occurred somewhere in the vicinity of the signs. These signs made me think about when I lived in Boston and followed that city’s Freedom Trail. Read more
New York State battlefield will benefit from some of the more than $1.3 million in National Park Service grants recently awarded to help preserve, protect, document, and interpret America’s significant battlefield lands. The funding from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) will support 27 projects at more than 75 battlefields nationwide.
This year’s grants provide funding for projects at endangered battlefields from the Pequot War, King William’s War, the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War II and various Indian Wars. Awards were given to projects in 17 states or territories entailing archeology, mapping, cultural resource survey work, documentation, planning, education and interpretation.
The Park Service also announced the award of an additional $1.3 million in grants to help with land acquisition at four Civil War battlefields. Grant projects include fee simple purchases at Averasborough, North Carolina ($103,380)- Bentonville, North Carolina ($60, 380)- Cool Springs, Virginia ($800,000) and Ware Bottom Church, Virginia ($367,263). The grant funds were made available under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-74), which appropriated $8,985,600 for the Civil War battlefield land acquisition grants program.
Federal, state, local and Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible for the battlefield grants, which are awarded annually. Since 1996, the ABPP has awarded more than $13 million to help preserve significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. More information is available online at www.nps.gov/hps/abpp.
New York State Grantees
Natural Heritage Trust (New York) $80,000
Long before the American Revolution, the colonies fought with the British in a series of colonial wars,
including King William’s War and King George’s War. These conflicts, though changing little of the
political landscapes of the time, would have a significant impact on future French and English
relations and the position of American Indians in those relations. Working with its partner, Saratoga
National Historical Park, the Natural Heritage Trust intends to develop a cultural resource inventory
for the overlapping battlefields of these two wars that are near Saratoga. This information is crucial
to developing an archeological research design for each of the battlefields.
The Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, Inc. (New York) $67,744
In conjunction with the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, Public Broadcasting Council of Central New
York hopes to raise awareness about New York’s unique role in the conflict with a series of
documentaries about the state’s battlefields. The broadcasts will not only be looking at the well
known battlefields of New York, but also several of the lesser known battlefields. It is hoped that
these documentaries will not only educate but also help spur preservation for the War of 1812
battlefields of New York.
The Research Foundation of State University of New York (New York) $56,194
One of only two major engagements of the Revolutionary War’s Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, the
Battle of Chemung was fought two weeks before the better known Battle of Newtown. This ambush
on Continental forces would produce more casualties than Newtown, while the burning of New
Chemung would become an example of how Continental forces would deal with American Indians in
the future. An archeological survey will be used to help better determine the battlefields defining
features as well as assess their condition. This information will be compiled into a GIS map for
support of a future National Register nomination.
Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature (New York) $21,425
The Battles of Saratoga culminated in the fall of 1777 with the surrender of British forces under
General John Burgoyne. This American victory reinvigorated the war effort and is seen as a turning
point in the Revolution. The Saratoga P.L.A.N. looks to interpret the fighting at one of the Saratoga
campaign battles, that of Fish Creek, and wishes to do this with a number of interpretive kiosks.
Working with the National Park Service, the interpretive trail would also integrate with other
interpretive trails in the area.
Regular readers know that I am a strong advocate of the role of the county historian as a promoter of historical education, community heritage, and cultural tourism. Although the position is a required by state law, the actual job requirements and benefits are left up to the individual counties. Read more
After the 1779 Continental Army Sullivan-Clinton Expedition devastated the land of the Iroquois, the people of the Six Nations would forever remember its author, General George Washington, as the “Town Destroyer.” Sunday September 20, at 1:30 PM, the New Windsor Cantonment on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill) in the Town of New Windsor, will host a multi-media presentation “New York’s Missing Link: The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, Then and Now.” The lecture by Dr. Robert Spiegelman is free.
From 3:30 – 5:00 PM, visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors portraying the people involved in this historical event and see them fire muskets and a cannon. Admission is free. For more information please call (845) 561-1765. New Windsor Cantonment is located on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill Road) in the Town of New Windsor, four miles east of Stewart Airport. It is three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, New York.
In June and July 1779, General George Washington, from his New Windsor, New York Headquarters, gave final orders to General John Sullivan, at Easton, Pennsylvania, and General James Clinton, in the Mohawk Valley, to launch the biggest operation, to date, against Native Peoples in North American history. Because of this expedition and subsequent punitive treaties, most of the Iroquois were uprooted from their homelands, which cleared the way for the Erie Canal and Westward Expansion. Strikingly, though Sullivan/Clinton has the most historical markers in New York, it has been nearly forgotten. Spiegelman’s tour-de-force combines fresh research, dramatic visuals and unique animated maps to answer why. It introduces the Campaign’s dark origins, key players, main events, tragic and victorious aftermaths, and lasting results. Beyond the military operation, he shows its impact on native culture, the land and today’s environment. Back from the “memory hole,” Sullivan/Clinton becomes an essential lens on New York and American history. Agreeing with David McCullough that making history boring is a “crime,” Spiegelman unveils Sullivan/Clinton as high drama with present-day impact. For more, please visit www.sullivanclinton.com
Dr. Robert Spiegelman is the president of Real-View Media. As a sociologist, multimedia artist and writer, Spiegelman presents widely on New York, Iroquois, Irish and environmental themes. The founder of SullivanClinton.com and Derryveagh.com, Spiegelman revisits hidden histories that link past and present, and fosters indigenous values of peace, democracy and nature-in-balance. A college teacher for 12 years, he holds a Doctorate in Sociology from CUNY Graduate Center.
The event is co-sponsored by the recreated, Continental Army, 3rd New York Regiment which served in Clinton’s Brigade during the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition. The living historians are members of the Brigade of the American Revolution, an international organization dedicated to recreating the life and times of the common soldier of the War for Independence, 1775-1783. The remarkable variety of dress worn by participants provides a living window to the past. Green-coated Loyalists and British regulars in red. Among the Patriot forces, you will find both Continentals and militia, dressed in coats that were blue, gray, brown or whatever color happened to be available at the time. Some had no recognizable uniform at all.
In addition to the special programs and activities, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and the New Windsor Cantonment Visitor Center will be open. These buildings feature the story of the Purple Heart, the history of the New Windsor Cantonment, Revolutionary War artifacts and the exhibit The Last Argument of Kings, Revolutionary War Artillery. A picnic grove is available and there is plenty of free parking. Just one mile from the Cantonment is Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site. Elegantly furnished by John and Catherine Ellison, the 1754 mansion served as headquarters for Revolutionary War Generals Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and Horatio Gates. Also be sure to visit Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, a short drive from the New Windsor Cantonment.