American Victory at Oriskany 

U.S. #1722 – The site of the battle, in Oriskany, New York, is just 25 miles from Mystic’s home in Camden!

In the summer of 1777, British troops under Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger traveled down New York’s Mohawk River Valley. When they encountered the American-held Fort Stanwix on August 2 the British began a 20-day siege.

Militia General Nicholas Herkimer (pictured seated on this stamp) was in the area and marched toward the fort to provide relief. However, St. Leger learned of Herkimer’s movements and planned a surprise attack. On the morning of August 6, Herkimer led his men through a nearby valley (in present-day Oriskany) where they were ambushed by a band of Loyalists and British-allied Indians. Early in the fighting, Herkimer was struck by a musketball that shattered his leg. His men carried him to a nearby beech tree and urged him to be removed from the battlefield. But Herkimer insisted “I will face the enemy” and sat calmy under the tree smoking his pipe, giving orders, and delivering words of encouragement.

Many of the untrained men in the rear of Herkimer’s column fled and were chased by the Native American fighters. Eventually, the American troops rallied and fought their way out of the valley. Around the same time, troops from Fort Stanwix raided nearby Indian camps for supplies. One of the camp’s guards set out for the Oriskany battlefield and informed his fellow warriors, who immediately left to protect their camp. With the larger Indian force leaving the battle, the Loyalist troops left as well, ending the Battle of Oriskany.

St. Leger considered Oriskany a victory because he prevented the American relief column from reaching Fort Stanwix. However, the American troops retained control of the battlefield. And the British-allied Indians – upset that their camps had been raided and possessions stolen – soon abandoned the siege of Fort Stanwix.  Additionally, the battle sparked a civil war between factions of the Iroquois, who had fought on both sides at Oriskany. This was a major blow to the British forces.

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  1. Being a Native New Yorker, I learned in grammar school that the American troops, led by Herkimer, were largely German speakers. Can anybody confirm that most of the Americans were German-speaking settlers??

  2. This also prevented LTC St. Leger from getting to Saratoga to join up with
    Johnny Burgoyne coming from New England in time and Gen. Howe coming up the
    Hudson, who also was held up, giving the Continental Army a victory at Saratoga
    that led to France joining the Colonies fight against England.

  3. How very careful of Mystic not to mention what else happened in US History on an August 6–the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945! That would show how proud the US was of having that weapon and how glad most people in US government were that the US dropped that bomb on a city where mostly civilians were present. It may have showed how powerful our country was but it also showed how we had the means of getting even with Japan for the Pearl Harbor attack which killed fewer than 2,500 mostly military Americans. Compared to the 75,000 Japanese civilians killed at Hiroshima that seemed an overkill.

    1. You’re joking right?? You actually believe that Hiroshima and Nagasaki was retribution for Pearl?? These people were responsible for the death, torture, including beheadings of unarmed POW’s, rape and the murder and subjugation of entire countries including the Philippines, Korea and countless island nations like Guam. Even after dropping the first bomb they refused to surrender and would have cost possibly one million more deaths. By the way, the Tokyo fire bombings killed more people than the nukes. This was a country as evil as Nazi Germany and saving allied lives with those bombs was not only rightit was necessary to show the world that it should never happen again. So far, no thanks to morons like you, it hasn’t happened. Go to school you idiot or just use that phone to look up: The Rape of Nanking for starters. Then look up Korea during WWII.

      1. Totally unacceptable response, shows no respect for another opinion even if one does not agree, they do not have to be this rude, shows
        a lack of respect.

  4. I think that Mr. Graff is a little wrong on the amount of casualties, between 90,000 and 166,000 people died either in the attack or within four months of it. The bomb utterly razed some 48,000 structures, only 6000 of Hiroshima’s 70,000 building remained intact. The city had ceased to exist at the time.

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