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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Oriskany in Oneida County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Ambush: August 6, 1777

 
 
The Ambush: August 6, 1777 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 29, 2011
1. The Ambush: August 6, 1777 Marker
Inscription. Sir John Johnson and Joseph Brant prepared an ambush along the military road to Fort Stanwix where it passed through this ravine. When most of the militia had entered their trap, the hidden Mohawk and Seneca warriors attacked. Johnson's Royal Greens blocked the road to the fort, while Mohawk and Seneca fired a sudden volley, killing hundreds in an instant, and then charged with tomahawks and knives. The fighting was close, savage, and personal.

Survivors of the initial strike regrouped on higher ground west of the ravine and waged a more organized defense by fighting in pairs, one man reloading his musket while the other fired. The battle at Oriskany lasted over four hours. As the afternoon wore on, the Mohawk and Seneca grew discouraged and eventually left. Johnson's Royal Greens ultimately retired as well, leaving the militia badly damaged, but not destroyed.

After the battle, the few devastated militiamen and the Oneida left standing could only care for a few wounded. According to oral tradition, the Oneida saved many of the wounded militiamen by hiding them until they could be removed under the cover of darkness. Most of the dead were left on the battlefield - Loyalist, rebel colonist, Native American warrior - tangled together. Early historians suggest that some of the bodies were buried in a series of mass
The Ambush: August 6, 1777 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 29, 2011
2. The Ambush: August 6, 1777 Marker
View of the historic marker situated on the western slope above the ravine, where General Herkimer's troops made their desperate stand after the initial British-Native American attack.
graves, some as early as 1795. Today, the entire battlefield is recognized as hallowed ground.

Who Won?That depends on your point of view. Although the Tryon County militia held the battlefield at day's end, they failed to relieve Fort Stanwix, suffered 500+ casualties, and lost most of their commanders, including General Nicholas Herkimer. The British failed to regain the valley or move on to support General Burgoyne's army at Saratoga. Sir John Johnson and the other Loyalists became refugees, never recovering their homes in New York. The Mohawk, Seneca, and Oneida not only lost lives and property, but also suffered from a lasting rift in the Iroquois Confederacy of the Six Nations.
 
Location. 43° 10.546′ N, 75° 22.137′ W. Marker is near Oriskany, New York, in Oneida County. Marker can be reached from Rome Oriskany Road 0.4 miles east of Monument Road. Click for map. This historic marker is located at the Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site park and can only be reached by walking. Marker is in this post office area: Oriskany NY 13424, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Aftermath of a Tragedy (a few steps from this marker); I Will Face The Enemy (a few steps from this marker but has been reported
The Ambush: August 6, 1777 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 29, 2011
3. The Ambush: August 6, 1777 Marker
View of the historic marker, looking south towards where the ravine trail reaches the top of the western slope, above the site of the original battlefield contact.
missing); Near This Spot (within shouting distance of this marker); The Military Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Ambush Started Here (within shouting distance of this marker); The Ambush (within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing); The military road and the ravine (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line but has been reported missing); A Final Attempt (about 500 feet away but has been reported missing). Click for a list of all markers in Oriskany.
 
Categories. Colonial EraNative AmericansWar, US Revolutionary
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 331 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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