Poor leadership leads to Cherry Valley Massacre

Poor leadership leads to Cherry Valley Massacre


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On November 11, 1778, Patriot Colonel Ichabod Alden refuses to believe intelligence about an approaching hostile force. As a result, a combined force of Loyalists and Native Americans, attacking in the snow, killed more than 40 Patriots, including Alden, and took at least an additional 70 prisoners, in what is known today as the Cherry Valley Massacre. The attack took place east of Cooperstown, New York, in what is now Otsego County.

Alden was a New Englander from Duxbury, Massachusetts, who began his military career in the Plymouth militia before serving in the 25th Continental regiment during the siege of Boston that followed the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. Alden was then sent to command the 7th Massachusetts Regiment in Cherry Valley, New York, where he was strategically out of his depth in a state deeply divided between Loyalists and Patriots and with a significant Native American military presence.

Alden ignored warnings that local natives were planning an attack and left the 200 to 300 men stationed to defend Cherry Valley ill-prepared for the eventual arrival of 600 Iroquois under the adept command of Chief Joseph Brant and 200 men, known as Butler’s Rangers, under the command of Loyalist Major Walter Butler. (The Rangers had been trained by Walter’s father, Colonel John Butler.)

Ironically, on November 11, 1775, exactly three years before this so-called massacre executed by aggrieved Iroquois, the Continental Congress had engaged the missionary Samuel Kirkland to spread the “Gospel amongst the Indians,” and confirm “their affections to the United Colonies…thereby preserving their friendship and neutrality.”


Cherry Valley Massacre, New York

CHERRY VALLEY MASSACRE, NEW YORK. 11 November 1778. In the spring of 1778 Major John Butler, who directed Loyalist activities from Niagara, planned to disrupt the northern frontier as a strategic diversion from General Sir Henry Clinton's plans to move up the Hudson River valley. Toward this end, Butler led an expedition that ended in the Wyoming Valley Massacre in Pennsylvania on 3-4 July. His son, Walter Butler, was given command of another Loyalist force that joined Joseph Brant's Indians for an attack in Cherry Valley.

In addition to distracting the Patriots, this campaign sought to secure British bases in the west. The Mohawk Valley settlements formed a salient that stretched toward Loyalist-held Fort Oswego and along the northern boundary of Iroquois territory. (See map "Mohawk Valley,") From his base at Unadilla, Joseph Brant raided settlements including German Flats on 13 September 1778. Patriots retaliated by destroying Unadilla on 8 October. A successful counterstroke now against Cherry Valley would relieve the pressure on Unadilla while setting the stage for operations against the Schoharie Valley and Canajoharie. The Loyalists might then move against Fort Stanwix (later Fort Schuyler) and regain the homes from which they had been forced to flee.

By the time Walter Butler and his Rangers reached the theater of operations, however, Patriot forces had returned to ravaged Wyoming and moved up the Susquehanna. In October, therefore, young Butler waited in his camp at Chemung, near Tioga, for this threat to subside, with plans to join forces with Brant at Oquago (later Windsor). While it is not clear why Butler delayed his attack so long, knowing that the Patriots would have more time to prepare their defenses, one reason might be that he had to make sure of his line of retreat through Tioga. It was also the case that it took time to persuade his Indian allies that it was in their interest to join the campaign.


11/11/1778 – Battles – Cherry Valley Massacre in New York

The Cherry Valley massacre was an attack by British and Iroquois forces on a fort and the village of Cherry Valley in eastern New York on November 11, 1778, during the American Revolutionary War. It has been described as one of the most horrific frontier massacres of the war.[1] A mixed force of Loyalists, British soldiers, Seneca and Mohawks descended on Cherry Valley, whose defenders, despite warnings, were unprepared for the attack. During the raid, the Seneca in particular targeted non-combatants, and reports state that 30 such individuals were slain, in addition to a number of armed defenders.

The raiders were under the overall command of Walter Butler, who exercised little authority over the Indians on the expedition. Historian Barbara Graymont describes Butler’s command of the expedition as “criminally incompetent”.[2] The Seneca were angered by accusations that they had committed atrocities at the Battle of Wyoming, and the colonists’ recent destruction of their forward bases of operation at Unadilla, Onaquaga, and Tioga. Butler’s authority with the Indians was undermined by his poor treatment of Joseph Brant, the leader of the Mohawks. Butler repeatedly maintained that he was powerless to restrain the Seneca against accusations that he permitted the atrocities to take place.

During the campaigns of 1778, Brant achieved an undeserved reputation for brutality. He was not present at Wyoming, although many thought he was, and actively sought to minimize the atrocities that took place at Cherry Valley. The massacre contributed to calls for reprisals, leading to the 1779 Sullivan Expedition which drove the Iroquois out of western New York.

With the failure of British General John Burgoyne’s campaign to the Hudson after the Battles of Saratoga in October 1777, the American Revolutionary War in upstate New York became a frontier war.[3] The Mohawk Valley was especially targeted for its fertile soil and large supply of crops farmers were supplying Patriot troops. British leaders in the Province of Quebec supported Loyalist and Native American partisan fighters with supplies and armaments.[4] During the winter of 1777–78, Joseph Brant and other British-allied Indians developed plans to attack frontier settlements in New York and Pennsylvania.[5] In February 1778 Brant established a base of operations at Onaquaga (present-day Windsor, New York). He recruited a mix of Iroquois and Loyalists estimated to number between two and three hundred by the time he began his campaign in May.[6][7][8] One of his objectives was to acquire provisions for his forces and those of John Butler, who was planning operations in the Susquehanna River valley.[9]

Brant began his campaign in late May with a raid on Cobleskill, and raided other frontier communities throughout the summer.[10] The local militia and Continental Army units defending the area were ineffective against the raiders, who typically escaped from the scene of a raid before defenders arrived in force.[11] After Brant and some of Butler’s Rangers attacked German Flatts in September, the Americans organized a punitive expedition that destroyed the villages of Unadilla and Onaquaga in early October.[12]

While Brant was active in the Mohawk valley, Butler descended with a large mixed force and raided the Wyoming Valley of northern Pennsylvania in early July.[13] This action complicated affairs, for the Senecas in Butler’s force were accused of massacring noncombatants, and a number of Patriot militia violated their parole not long afterward, participating in a reprisal expedition against Tioga. The lurid propaganda associated with the accusations against the Seneca in particular angered them, as did the destruction of Unadilla, Onaquaga, and Tioga.[14] The Wyoming Valley attack, even though Brant was not present, fueled among his opponents the view of him as a particularly brutal opponent.[15]

Brant then joined forces with Captain Walter Butler (the son of John Butler),leading two companies of Butler’s Rangers commanded by Captains John McDonell and William Caldwell for an attack on the major Schoharie Creek settlement of Cherry Valley. Butler’s forces also included 300 Senecas, probably led by either Cornplanter or Sayenqueraghta, and 50 British Army soldiers from the 8th Regiment of Foot.[16][17] As the force moved toward Cherry Valley, Butler and Brant quarreled over Brant’s recruitment of Loyalists. Butler was unhappy at Brant’s successes in this sphere, and threatened to withhold provisions from Brant’s Loyalist volunteers. Ninety of them ended up leaving the expedition, and Brant himself was on the verge of doing so when his Indian supporters convinced him to stay.[18] The dispute did not sit well with the Indian forces, and may have undermined Butler’s tenuous authority over them.[16]

Cherry Valley had a palisaded fort (constructed after Brant’s raid on Cobleskill) that surrounded the village meeting house. It was garrisoned by 300 soldiers of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army commanded by Colonel Ichabod Alden. Alden and his command staff were alerted by November 8 through Oneida spies that the Butler–Brant force was moving against Cherry Valley. However, he failed to take elementary precautions, continuing to occupy a headquarters (the house of a settler named Wells) some 400 yards (370 m) from the fort.[19]

Butler’s force arrived near Cherry Valley late on November 10, and established a cold camp to avoid detection. Reconnaissance of the town identified the weaknesses of Alden’s arrangements, and the raiders decided to send one force against Alden’s headquarters and another against the fort. Butler extracted promises from the Indians in the party that they would not harm noncombatants in a council held that night.[2]

The attack began early on the morning of November 11. Some overeager Indians spoiled the surprise by firing on settlers cutting wood nearby. One of them escaped, raising the alarm. Little Beard led some of the Senecas to surround the Wells house, while the main body surrounded the fort.[19] The attackers killed at least sixteen officers and troops of the quarters guards, including Alden, who was cut down while he was running from the Wells house to the fort.[20] Most accounts say Alden was within reach of the gates, only to stop and try to shoot his pursuer, who may have been Joseph Brant.[21] His wet pistol repeatedly misfired and he was killed by a thrown tomahawk hitting him in the forehead.[22] Lt. Col. William Stacy, second in command, also quartered at the Wells house, was taken prisoner.[20][22] Stacy’s son Benjamin and cousin Rufus Stacy ran through a hail of bullets to reach the fort from the house Stacy’s brother-in-law Gideon Day was killed.[23] Those attacking the Wells house eventually gained entry, leading to hand-to-hand combat inside. After killing most of the soldiers stationed there, the Senecas slaughtered the entire Wells household, twelve in all.[14]

The raiders’ attack on the fort was unsuccessful—lacking heavy weapons, they were unable to make any significant impressions on its stockade walls. The fort was then guarded by the Loyalists while the Indians rampaged through the rest of the settlement. Not a single house was left standing, and the Senecas, seeking revenge, were reported to slaughter anyone they encountered. Butler and Brant attempted to restrain their actions but were unsuccessful.[14] Brant in particular was dismayed to learn that a number of families who were well known to him and that he had counted as friends had borne the brunt of the Seneca rampage, including the Wells, Campbell, Dunlop, and Clyde families.[24]

Lt. William McKendry, a quartermaster in Colonel Alden’s regiment, described the attack in his journal:
Immediately came on 442 Indians from the Five Nations, 200 Tories under the command of one Col. Butler and Capt. Brant attacked headquarters killed Col. Alden took Col. Stacy prisoner attacked Fort Alden after three hours retreated without success of taking the fort.[25][26]

McKendry identified the fatalities of the massacre as Colonel Alden, thirteen other soldiers, and thirty civilian inhabitants. Most of the slain soldiers had been at the Wells house.[14]
Accounts surrounding the capture of Lt. Col. Stacy report that he was about to be killed, but Brant intervened. “[Brant] saved the life of Lieut. Col Stacy, who […] was made prisoner when Col. Alden was killed. It is said Stacy was a freemason, and as such made an appeal to Brant, and was spared.”[27]

The next morning Butler sent Brant and some rangers back into the village to complete its destruction. The raiders took 70 captives, many of them women and children. About 40 of these Butler managed to have released, but the rest were distributed among their captors’ villages until they were exchanged.[28] Lt. Col. Stacy was taken to Fort Niagara as a prisoner of the British.[29]

A Mohawk chief, in justifying the action at Cherry Valley, wrote to an American officer that “you Burned our Houses, which makes us and our Brothers, the Seneca Indians angrey, so that we destroyed, men, women and Children at Chervalle.”[30] The Seneca “declared they would no more be falsely accused, or fight the Enemy twice” (the latter being an indication that they would refuse quarter in the future).[30] Butler reported that “notwithstanding my utmost Precaution and Endeavours to save the Women and Children, I could not prevent some of them falling unhappy Victims to the Fury of the Savages,” but also that he spent most of his time guarding the fort during the raid.[31] Quebec’s Governor Frederick Haldimand was so upset at Butler’s inability to control his forces that he refused to see him, writing “such indiscriminate vengeance taken even upon the treacherous and cruel enemy they are engaged against is useless and disreputable to themselves, as it is contrary to the dispositions and maxims of the King whose cause they are fighting.”[32] Butler continued to insist in later writings that he was not at fault for the events of the day.[33]
The violent frontier war of 1778 brought calls for the Continental Army to take action. Cherry Valley, along with the accusations of murder of non-combatants at Wyoming, helped pave the way for the launch of the 1779 Sullivan Expedition, commissioned by commander-in-chief Major General George Washington and led by Major General John Sullivan. The expedition destroyed over 40 Iroquois villages in their homelands of central and western New York and drove the women and children into refugee camps at Fort Niagara. It failed, however, to stop the frontier war, which continued with renewed severity in 1780.[34]

A monument was dedicated at Cherry Valley on August 15, 1878, at the centennial anniversary of the massacre. Former New York Governor Horatio Seymour delivered a dedication address at the monument to an audience of about 10,000 persons, saying:
I am here today not only to show reverence for those dead patriots, but to offer my respects and heartfelt gratitude to the living descendants of those illustrious persons of the early settlements, who have erected this memorial stone. It is to be hoped that their example will be copied that the report of these commemorative exercises will move others to like acts of pious duty. Let every son of this soil uncover reverently as this monument is unveiled, and do reverence to their sturdy patriotism, made strong by their grand faith, their trials, and their sufferings, and show that the blood of innocent children, of wives, of sisters, of mothers, and of brave men, was not shed in vain. Let us show the world that 100 years have added to the value of that noble sacrifice. Thus we shall leave this sacred spot better men and women, with a higher and nobler purpose of life than that which animated us when we entered this domain of the dead.[35]

Years after the massacre, Benjamin Stacy’s home village of New Salem, Massachusetts celebrated the annual Old Home Day holiday with a Benjamin Stacy footrace, honoring his escape at Cherry Valley.[23]


Prelude

With the failure of Lieutenant General John Burgoyne's campaign to the Hudson Valley after the Battles of Saratoga (First and Second) in October 1777, upstate New York became a frontier war. The Mohawk Valley was especially targeted for its fertile soil and large supply of crops farmers were supplying Patriot troops.

British leaders in the Province of Quebec supported Loyalist and Native American partisan fighters with supplies and armaments. During the winter of 1777–78, Joseph Brant and other British-allied Indians developed plans to attack frontier settlements in New York and Pennsylvania.

In February 1778, Brant established a base of operations at Onaquaga (present-day Windsor, New York). He recruited a mix of Iroquois and Loyalists estimated to number between 200-300 by the time he began his campaign in May. One of his objectives was to acquire provisions for his forces and those of John Butler, who was planning operations in the Susquehanna River valley.

Brant began his campaign in late May with a raid on Cobleskill, and raided other frontier communities throughout the summer. The local militia and Continental Army units defending the area were ineffective against the raiders, who typically escaped from the scene of a raid before defenders arrived in force.

After Brant and some of Butler's Rangers attacked German Flatts in September, the Americans organized a punitive expedition that destroyed the villages of Unadilla and Onaquaga in early October.

While Brant was active in the Mohawk valley, Butler descended with a large mixed force and raided the Wyoming Valley of northern Pennsylvania in early July. This action complicated affairs, for the Senecas in Butler's force were accused of massacring noncombatants, and a number of Patriot militia violated their parole not long afterward, participating in a reprisal expedition against Tioga.

The lurid propaganda associated with the accusations against the Seneca in particular angered them, as did the destruction of Unadilla, Onaquaga, and Tioga. The Wyoming Valley attack, even though Brant was not present, fueled among his opponents the view of him as a particularly brutal opponent.

Brant then joined forces with Captain Walter Butler (the son of John Butler), leading two companies of Butler's Rangers commanded by Captains John McDonell and William Caldwell for an attack on the major Schoharie Creek settlement of Cherry Valley. Butler's forces also included 300 Senecas, probably led by either Cornplanter or Sayenqueraghta, and 50 British Army soldiers from the 8th Regiment of Foot.

As the force moved toward Cherry Valley, Butler and Brant quarreled over Brant's recruitment of Loyalists. Butler was unhappy at Brant's successes in this sphere, and threatened to withhold provisions from Brant's Loyalist volunteers. Ninety of them ended up leaving the expedition, and Brant himself was on the verge of doing so when his Indian supporters convinced him to stay. The dispute did not sit well with the Indian forces, and may have undermined Butler's tenuous authority over them.


Last battle of the American Revolution is fought

On this day in history, November 10, 1782, the last battle of the American Revolution is fought as American militiamen attacked Shawnee villages near Chillicothe, Ohio in retaliation for attacks by Loyalists and Indians against Sandusky, Ohio, Lexington, Kentucky and other places. General George Rogers Clark and over a thousand militiamen on horseback attacked and burned several Shawnee villages and defeated them decisively.

Contrary to the understanding of many Americans, the surrender of British General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia in October, 1781 did not end the Revolutionary War. It was a pivotal point, but hostilities continued for two more years and a preliminary peace treaty was not signed until November 20, 1782, more than a year after Cornwallis’ surrender.

When Cornwallis surrendered, the British still had tens of thousands of soldiers on the continent, in New York, the Carolinas, Georgia, the West Indies, Canada and on the western frontier. There were numerous conflicts with the British after Cornwallis’ surrender, but even more so with their Indian allies on the frontier and in the back country civil war between patriots and Loyalists in the south. In fact, more Americans died in the fighting after Cornwallis’ surrender than in the whole first year of the war, including the Battles of Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill and Quebec.

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

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Gains limited support, fights in bloody battles

Brant hoped that when the Revolutionary War ended, the British would declare an Indian state, possibly headed by himself, west of the Allegheny Mountains. During the early summer of 1777, Brant was part of a council at which he and his sister, Molly Brant, convinced the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga tribes to support the British, with Joseph serving as their war chief. The Oneida and Tuscarora tribes refused to join with the others, and the Iroquois union began to crumble. Also present at the council was a Seneca chief named Red Jacket, who urged the tribes to remain neutral (non-involved) and was then called a coward by Brant.

Brant and the warriors who chose to join him tried to force the American colonists out of the Mohawk Valley by raiding and burning white settlements and driving away their live-stock. Pro-British soldiers were also fighting in the area, and they may well have committed some of the violence there. But the Indians were widely blamed for causing all the trouble. To pay them back, Americans launched bloody raids on the Iroquois villages, terrorizing the inhabitants. Brant's warriors went on to fight at the battles of Oriskany (pronounced uh-RIS-kuh-nee), Minisink, and Cherry Valley in New York.


Aftermath [ edit | edit source ]

The next morning Butler sent Brant and some rangers back into the village to complete its destruction. The raiders took 70 captives, many of them women and children. About 40 of these Butler managed to have released, but the rest were distributed among their captors' villages until they were exchanged. ⎨] Lt. Col. Stacy was taken to Fort Niagara as a prisoner of the British. ⎩]

A Mohawk chief, in justifying the action at Cherry Valley, wrote to an American officer that "you Burned our Houses, which makes us and our Brothers, the Seneca Indians angrey, so that we destroyed, men, women and Children at Chervalle." ⎪] The Seneca "declared they would no more be falsely accused, or fight the Enemy twice" (the latter being an indication that they would refuse quarter in the future). ⎪] Butler reported that "notwithstanding my utmost Precaution and Endeavours to save the Women and Children, I could not prevent some of them falling unhappy Victims to the Fury of the Savages," but also that he spent most of his time guarding the fort during the raid. ⎫] Quebec's Governor Frederick Haldimand was so upset at Butler's inability to control his forces that he refused to see him, writing "such indiscriminate vengeance taken even upon the treacherous and cruel enemy they are engaged against is useless and disreputable to themselves, as it is contrary to the dispositions and maxims of the King whose cause they are fighting." ⎬] Butler continued to insist in later writings that he was not at fault for the events of the day. ⎭]

The violent frontier war of 1778 brought calls for the Continental Army to take action. Cherry Valley, along with the accusations of murder of non-combatants at Wyoming, helped pave the way for the launch of the 1779 Sullivan Expedition, commissioned by commander-in-chief Major General George Washington and led by Major General John Sullivan. The expedition destroyed over 40 Iroquois villages in their homelands of central and western New York and drove the women and children into refugee camps at Fort Niagara. It failed, however, to stop the frontier war, which continued with renewed severity in 1780. ⎮]


List of Leaders in the British Empire

includes Government officials, Secretaries at War, Commander-in-Chiefs, Lieutenant and Major Generals, Royal governors, Frontier leaders, Foreign Commanders and Native American Allies

Rank Name Service Type From
King King George III 1775–1783 Politician England
Commander-in-Chief Thomas Gage 1775 British Army England
Commander-in-Chief William Howe 1775-1778 British Army England
Commander-in-Chief Henry Clinton 1778-1782 British Army England
Commander-in-Chief Guy Carleton 1782-1783 British Army England
Lieutenant general John Burgoyne 1775-1777 British Army England
Major general John Campbell 1776-1783 British Army Scotland
Vice Admiral George Collier 1775-1781 British Navy England
General Charles Cornwallis 1775-1781 British Army England
Lieutenant general William Erskine 1776-1779 British Army England
Lieutenant general Charles Grey 1775-1778 British Army England
Admiral of the Fleet Richard Howe 1775-1782 British Navy England
Major general Alexander Leslie 1775-1782 British Army England
Captain of the Northern Confederated Indians Joseph Brant 1775-1783 Mohawk Ohio Country
Major General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel 1776-1783 British Army Germany
Lieutenant general Wilhelm von Knyphausen 1776-1782 British Army Germany

Wilhelm von Knyphausen

  • Born: November 4, 1716 Lütetsburg, East Frisia, Germany
  • Died: December 7, 1800 Kassel, Germany
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1776-1782
  • Ranks: Lieutenant general
  • Commands: Hessian mercenaries
  • Battles: Battle of White Plains, Battle of Fort Washington, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Springfield, Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Trenton

In 1776, Knyphausen came to America as second-in-command of an army of 12,000 men called “Hessians” under General Leopold Philip de Heister.

Knyphausen led the Hessian troops at White Plains, Fort Washington, Brandywine, Germantown, Springfield, and Monmouth. In 1779 and 1780, he commanded British-held New York City.

When Heister left for Germany, Knyphausen took command of the German troops serving under General William Howe. Because of Knyphausen's seniority, British officers held dormant commissions outranking him in case the British commander became disabled. Despite this, Knyphausen was trusted by his British superiors.

Knyphausen's regiment took part in the attack on Fort Washington and was in garrison at Trenton, New Jersey.

Howe gave Knyphausen responsibility for commanding the right flank at Brandywine. He also commanded the vanguard of the army withdrawing from Philadelphia at the time of the Battle of Monmouth.

For several years, the main body of Knyphausen's force occupied the upper part of Manhattan Island, and during the temporary absence of Sir Henry Clinton in 1780, he was in command of the city.

Knyphausen left the North American theater in 1782 in part because of ill health, including blindness in one eye caused by a cataract.
Wikipedia Article

Alexander Leslie

  • Born: 1731
  • Died: December 27, 1794 in Beechwood House, Newport, South Wales
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1775-1782
  • Ranks: Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: Charleston, Southern commander
  • Battles: Battle of Long Island, Landing at Kip's Bay, Battle of Harlem Heights, Battle of White Plains, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Monmouth, Siege of Charleston, Battle of Guilford Court House, Battle of the Combahee River

In 1775, before the American War of Independence broke out, he led troops to Salem, Massachusetts looking for contraband weapons. His advance was delayed by a standoff at a bridge, during which the colonists removed the weapons he was looking for. His force was eventually allowed to proceed, but found nothing of consequence, and was received with hostility during the expedition.

In 1776, Leslie was promoted to brigadier-general. He fought in the Battle of Long Island, the Landing at Kip's Bay, the Battle of White Plains and the Battle of Harlem Heights, the Battle of Princeton and the Siege of Charleston during the American War of Independence. At Princeton, his nephew, Captain William Leslie was mortally wounded.

In 1780, he was sent to the Chesapeake Bay by Sir Henry Clinton in order to "make a powerful diversion in [Earl Cornwallis's] favor by striking at the magazines then collecting by the enemy . for supplying the army they were assembling to oppose him."

He became major general in 1782 and was made Colonel of the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot the same year.
Wikipedia Article

Charles Cornwallis

  • Born: December 31, 1738 in London, England
  • Died: October 5, 1805 in Gauspur, Kingdom of Kashi-Benares (present-day Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, India)
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1776-1781
  • Ranks: Major general, Lieutenant general, General
  • Commands: Southern forces
  • Battles: #

Promoted to lieutenant general in North America, Cornwallis began his service in 1776 under General Henry Clinton with the failed Siege of Charleston. He and Clinton then sailed for New York City, where they participated in General William Howe's campaign for New York City. Cornwallis was often given a leading role during this campaign his division was in the lead at the Battle of Long Island, and he chased the retreating George Washington across New Jersey after the city fell.

On January 2, 1777, Cornwallis advanced on Trenton, to the Assunpink Creek. He was unable to dislodge General George Washington in the battle that followed. Cornwallis spent the winter in New York and New Jersey, where the forces under his command were engaged in ongoing skirmishes with the Americans.

Cornwallis continued to serve under Howe on his campaign for control of Philadelphia. Cornwallis led the flanking maneuver at the Battle of Brandywine, and played key roles at Germantown and Fort Mercer. In 1778, Cornwallis was made second in command. When Philadelphia was abandoned. Cornwallis commanded the rearguard during the overland withdrawal to New York City and played an important role in the Battle of Monmouth. In November 1778, Cornwallis returned to England.

Cornwallis returned to America in July 1779, where he was to play a central role as the lead commander of the British "Southern strategy". At the end of 1779, Clinton and Cornwallis transported a large force south and initiated the second siege of Charleston during the spring of 1780, which resulted in the surrender of the Continental forces under Benjamin Lincoln. After the siege of Charleston and the battle at Waxhaw, Clinton returned to New York, leaving Cornwallis in command in the south.

In August 1780, Cornwallis' forces routed the Americans at Camden. This served to keep South Carolina clear of Continental forces, and was a blow to rebel morale.

Cornwallis optimistically began to advance north into North Carolina while militia activity continued to harass the troops he left in South Carolina. He then clashed with the rebuilt Continental army at Guilford Court House.

Believing that North Carolina could not be subdued unless its supply lines from Virginia were cut, he decided to join forces with General William Phillips in Virginia. Under orders, Cornwallis eventually moved his forces to Yorktown. During the siege of Yorktown, he surrendered after about three weeks to Washington. Cornwallis, apparently not wanting to face Washington, claimed to be ill on the day of the surrender, and sent Brigadier General Charles O'Hara in his place to surrender his sword formally. Washington had his second-in-command, General Benjamin Lincoln, accept Cornwallis' sword.

Cornwallis returned to Britain with Benedict Arnold and they landed in Britain on January 21, 1782. Because he was released on parole, Cornwallis refused to serve again until the war came to an end in 1783.
Wikipedia Article

Charles Grey

  • Born: October 23, 1729 in Northumberland, Great Britain
  • Died: November 14, 1807
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1776-1783
  • Ranks: Major general, Lieutenant general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Paoli, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth

Grey was one of the more successful British army leaders in the war. He was rapidly promoted, becoming a Major General in 1777 and commanded the 3rd Brigade at the Battle of Brandywine. He earned the nickname "No-flint Grey" after the Battle of Paoli in 1777 when, to ensure surprise in a night attack on an American encampment, he ordered the infantry of his command to remove the flints from their muskets and use only their bayonets. He commanded the 3rd Brigade again at the Battle of Germantown and the Battle of Monmouth.

In 1778, he led raids at New Bedford on September 5-6 and Martha's Vineyard, where between September 10-15. On September 27, 1778, Grey used the same methods as he had at the Battle of Paoli in a controversial night attack at Old Tappan, New Jersey, which came to be known as the Baylor Massacre. He was recalled to England and became a knight of the Order of the Bath and a lieutenant general. He later was appointed commander-in-chief of the British troops in America, but hostilities ended before he could take command.
Wikipedia Article

Friedrich Adolf Riedesel

  • Born: June 3, 1738 in Lauterbach, Hesse, Germany
  • Died: January 6, 1800 in Braunschweig, Germany
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1776-1783
  • Ranks: Major general
  • Commands: Hessian commander
  • Battles: Quebec campaign, Saratoga campaign, Battle of Hubbardton

In 1776, the British government began to sign treaties to with various German princes to supply units to aid in the American War of Independence. The Duke of Brunswick signed a treaty to provide 4,000 foot soldiers and 350 heavy dragoons. On March 18, they sailed from Stade with the newly promoted Major General Riedesel as their commander. After a stop over in England, they arrived in Quebec City on June 1. They supported the final expulsion from Canada of the American forces during the invasion of Canada. They were then distributed for the winter through various posts in Canada.

Riedesel was put in command of all German and American Indian forces during the Saratoga campaign of 1777. His letters to the Duke of Brunswick reveal discontent with British Generals John Burgoyne and William Howe.

Riedesel was captured when General John Burgoyne surrendered after the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He was imprisoned with the Convention Army in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was transferred to New York, where he spent a year on parole, before being exchanged for American General William Thompson. The Baron commanded troops on Long Island in Winter 1780-81.

In 1781, Quebec governor Frederick Haldimand named Riedesel officer in charge of the Sorel District, where he and his family stayed until his departure from North America at the end of Summer 1784.
Wikipedia Article

George Collier

  • Born: May 11, 1738 in London, England
  • Died: April 6, 1795 in London, England
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1776-1781
  • Ranks: Vice Admiral
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Battle of Machias, Chesapeake raid, Penobscot Expedition, Relief of Gibraltar

With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Collier was dispatched to the North American station, where he performed a number of successful services that led to the conferring of a knighthood in 1775. He was then appointed commander of the 44-gun 4th-Rate Ship HMS Rainbow and sailed for North America in May 1776. Upon his return to the American colonies, Collier provided support for General William Howe's landing at Long Island, New York on August 22, 1776.

Sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia as a senior officer by Admiral Richard Howe, Collier captured the American 32-Gun Frigate USS Hancock on July 8, 1777 after a long chase. Collier followed up on his success the following month by destroying supplies at Machias, Maine, thereby ruining American plans for an invasion of Nova Scotia.

Collier remained at Halifax until called upon to succeed the departing Admiral James Gambier as commodore and acting commander-in-chief of the North American Station on April 4, 1779. Collier duly moved to New York City and hoisted his flag aboard the 64-gun HMS Raisonnable. The strength of his squadron had been drastically reduced by the departure of many of the ships to join the fleets of John Byron and William Hotham in the West Indies.

Nevertheless, Collier organised and carried out he highly successful Chesapeake raid on the Virginia coast with General Edward Mathew commanding the army contingent. Anchoring his ships in Hampton Roads on May 9, he landed 2,000 British troops and spent the next fortnight destroying ships and supplies for the Colonial army. They encountered no serious opposition, and returned to New York having destroyed over $1 million worth of supplies.

On May 30, Collier joined the British assault on Stony Point, New York providing support for Sir Henry Clinton, sinking an American ship. One of the few naval commanders able to get along with Clinton, Collier also provided naval support for William Tryon's raid of Connecticut ports in July before returning to New York in late-August. During this time, he learnt that the Americans had carried out a combined land and sea assault on a recently established British outpost on Penobscot Bay.

Collier gathered his forces and rushed to the scene in his flagship, supported by four frigates. He was unable to attack as soon as he arrived, being forced to wait for daylight to advance up the river. By the time he moved into the harbour, the Americans had re-embarked men and stores and withdrawn up the river. Collier gave chase, eventually forcing the Americans to burn their ships and flee into the woods. Four armed vessels nevertheless fell into Collier's hands, while the American fleet of 19 armed and 24 provision and transport vessels was destroyed. This decisively defeated the largest rebel naval force of the war.

Replaced as commander-in-chief by Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot while at sea, Collier was recalled to Great Britain. He sailed home aboard HMS Daphne, and arrived in Portsmouth on November 29, 1779. He assumed command of the 74-gun HMS Canada early in 1780. He commanded her in the English Channel, and participated in the relief of Gibraltar on April 12, 1781 with Vice-Admiral George Darby's force.

While returning to England, Collier fell in with and after a short engagement captured the 44-gun Spanish frigate Leocadia. On his return, he resigned his commission, having had some falling out or disagreement with the government, or the First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Sandwich.
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Guy Carleton

  • Born: September 3, 1724 in Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland
  • Died: November 10, 1808 in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England
  • Buried: St Swithun's in Nately Scures, England
  • Service: 1775-1783
  • Ranks: Major general
  • Commands: America, Quebec, The Canadas
  • Battles: Invasion of Canada, Saratoga campaign

Carleton received notice of the start of the rebellion in May 1775, soon followed by the news of the rebel capture of Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Crown Point, and the raid on Fort Saint-Jean. As he had previously sent two of his regiments to Boston, he had only about 800 regular soldiers left in Quebec. His attempts to raise a militia met with limited success at first, as neither the ethnic French nor the English residents were willing to join.

During the summer of 1775, Carleton directed the preparation of provincial defences, which were focused on Fort Saint-Jean. In September, the Continental Army began its invasion and besieged the fort. When it fell in November, Carleton was forced to flee from Montreal to Quebec City, escaping capture by disguising himself as a commoner.

In December 1775, he directed the city's defenses in the Battle of Quebec and the ensuing siege, which was broken by the arrival of British troops in May 1776 under command of John Burgoyne, who was appointed Second-in-Command.

Carleton launched a counteroffensive against the rebels, which included repelling an attempted attack on Trois-Rivières. In June 1776, he was appointed a Knight of the Bath.

The next month Carleton commanded British naval forces on the Richelieu River, culminating in the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in October 1776 against a rebel fleet led by General Benedict Arnold. The British, with a significantly superior fleet, won a decisive victory, destroying or capturing most of the rebel fleet, but the delay prevented Carleton from continuing on to capture Fort Ticonderoga that year. His brother Thomas and nephew Christopher both served on his staff during the campaign. The morning following the battle, a small island in Lake Champlain was named Carleton's Prize, perhaps to Carleton's embarrassment at the time.

In 1777, command of the major northern expedition to divide the rebel colonies was given to General John Burgoyne. Upset that he had not been given its command, Carleton asked to be recalled. He was replaced as governor and military commander of Quebec in 1778 by Frederick Haldimand, and returned to England.

In 1780, he was appointed by Prime Minister Lord North to a commission investigating public finances. This post he held until 1782, when General Sir Henry Clinton was recalled in the aftermath of the 1781 surrender at Yorktown. Carleton was appointed to replace Clinton as a military commander-in-chief of the war effort.

In August 1783, Carleton was informed that Great Britain would grant the United States its independence. With his exit from New York imminent, Carleton asked to be relieved of his command. With this news, Loyalists began an exodus from the Thirteen Colonies and Carleton did his best to have them resettled outside the United States.
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Henry Clinton

  • Born: April 16, 1730
  • Died: December 23, 1795 in London, England
  • Buried: St George's Chapel, Windsor, England
  • Service: 1775-1782
  • Ranks: General
  • Commands: Commander-in-Chief, North America
  • Battles: Battle of Bunker Hill, Siege of Boston, Battle of Sullivan's Island, New York and New Jersey campaign, Philadelphia campaign, Saratoga campaign, Siege of Charleston

Clinton was sent with British reinforcements to strengthen their position in Boston. He arrived on May 25, having learned en route that the American War of Independence had broken out, and that Boston was under siege. After the victory at the battle of Bunker Hill, Clinton famously wrote of the battle that it was "A dear bought victory, another such would have ruined us."

In January 1776, Clinton sailed south with a small fleet and 1,500 men to assess military opportunities in the Carolinas. Clinton's troops were landed on an island near Sullivan's Island. The attack was reduced to a naval bombardment, which failed.

Clinton rejoined the main fleet to participate in General William Howe's August 1776 assault on New York City. Clinton participated in the battles at Kip's Bay, Long Island, and White Plains. In November, he occupied Newport, Rhode Island.

In July 1777, Clinton was left to hold New York during the campaign season.

Clinton was formally appointed to the post of Commander-in-Chief for North America on February 4, 1778. Word of this did not arrive until April, and Clinton assumed command in Philadelphia in May 1778. France had by this time formally entered the war on the American side. Clinton was consequently ordered to withdraw from Philadelphia and send 5,000 of his troops to the economically important Caribbean. For the rest of the war, Clinton received few reinforcements as a consequence of the globalization of the conflict. His orders were to strengthen areas of North America that were firmly under British control, and do no more than conduct raiding expeditions in the Patriot-controlled areas.

Owing to a shortage of transports for all of the Loyalists fleeing Philadelphia, Clinton acted against his direct orders and decided to move the army to New York by land instead of by sea. He conducted a skillful march to New York and fought a standoff battle at Monmouth Court House.

With the 1778 campaign season closed, Clinton considered options for action in 1779. Clinton ordered two major raiding expeditions, one against Connecticut, the other against Chesapeake Bay, while Washington detached troops to deal with the increasing frontier war, which was primarily orchestrated from Quebec.

After the Chesapeake raid Clinton drove the Americans from a key crossing of the Hudson River at Stony Point, New York. Stony Point was retaken by the Americans after Clinton weakened its garrison to supply men for the Connecticut raids.

On June 30, 1779, Clinton issued what has become known as the Philipsburg Proclamation. This institutionalized in the British Army an offer of freedom to enlisted runaway slaves. He justified this offer by citing the fact that the Continental Army was also actively recruiting African Americans. The proclamation led to a flood of fugitive slaves making their way to British lines, and the issue of slave repatriation would complicate Anglo-American relations as the war was ending.

The French besieged Savannah, Georgia with American assistance, and failed disastrously in the attempt. This convinced Clinton that an expedition against South Carolina held promise. He began to assemble a force an expedition to take Charleston, withdrawing the forces from Newport for the purpose. He took personal command of this campaign, and the task force with 14,000 men sailed south from New York at the end of the year. By early 1780, Clinton had brought Charleston under siege, forcing it's surrender in May. From New York, he oversaw the campaign in the South.

In 1782, after fighting in the North American theater ended with the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Clinton was replaced as Commander-in-Chief by General Guy Carleton, and he returned to England.
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John Burgoyne

  • Born: February 24, 1722 in Sutton, Bedfordshire, England
  • Died: August 4, 1792 in Mayfair, London, England
  • Buried: Westminster Abbey in London, England
  • Service: 1775-1777
  • Ranks: Major general, Lieutenant general
  • Commands: Saratoga force
  • Battles: Siege of Boston, Invasion of Quebec, Battle of Valcour Island, Saratoga campaign

On the outbreak of the American war, he was appointed to a command, and arrived in Boston in May 1775, a few weeks after the first shots of the war had been fired. He participated as part of the garrison during the Siege of Boston, although he did not see action at Bunker Hill. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities, he returned to England.

In 1776, he was at the head of the British reinforcements that sailed up the Saint Lawrence River and relieved Quebec City, which was under siege by the Continental Army. He led forces under General Guy Carleton in the drive that chased the Continental Army from the province of Quebec. Carleton then led the British forces onto Lake Champlain, where he failed to attempt the capture of Fort Ticonderoga after winning the naval Battle of Valcour Island.

In 1777, Burgoyne was given command of the British forces charged with gaining control of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River valley. The plan would divide New England from the southern colonies, and, it was believed, make it easier to end the rebellion.

As a result of miscommunication, Burgoyne ended up conducting the campaign single-handedly. He was not yet aware that he would not be gaining additional support, and was still reasonably confident of success. Burgoyne was also led to believe by reports that he could rely on the support of large numbers of Native Americans and American Loyalists who would rally to the flag once the British came south.

The campaign was initially successful. Burgoyne gained possession of the vital outposts of Fort Ticonderoga (for which he was made a lieutenant-general) and Fort Edward, but, pushing on, decided to break his communications with Quebec, and was eventually hemmed in by a superior force led by American Major General Horatio Gates. Several attempts to break through the enemy lines were repulsed at Saratoga in September and October 1777.

On October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrendered his entire army. This was the greatest victory the colonists had yet gained, and it proved to be the turning point in the war.

Following Saratoga, the indignation in Britain against Burgoyne was great. He returned to England at once to defend his conduct and demanded but never obtained a trial. Following the defeat, France recognized the United States and entered the war on February 6, 1778, transforming it into a global conflict.
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John Campbell

  • Born: 1727 in Argyll, Scotland
  • Died: August 28, 1806 in Argyll, Scotland
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1776-1783
  • Ranks: Lieutenant colonel, Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: West Middlesex 57th Regiment of Foot
  • Battles: Battle of Sullivan's Island

The expedition from Cork, Ireland, with Campbell and his force, arrived off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina in April and May 1776. It then moved to attack Charleston, South Carolina from the sea. He was involved at Sullivan's Island, although his unit avoided direct action. He was then redeployed to Staten Island, New York on July 21.

Next, he was at the battles at Long Island, Paulus Hook, Fort Montgomery, and the raid on Egg Harbor. Shortly after the 57th's return to New York City, Campbell was promoted to Brigadier General and transferred to a staff command.

In October 1778, Campbell received a communication from Lord George Germain to proceed to Pensacola in the Province of West Florida and take command of the British troops there. On February 19, 1779, Campbell was promoted Major General, and on March 22, he was given complete authority over all troops in the Province of West Florida.

On June 21, 1779, Spain declared war on Britain. Unfortunately for Campbell, Bernardo de Gálvez, the governor of Spanish Louisiana, also received an intercepted copy of the secret letter to organize an attack on New Orleans. On September 11, 1779, Gálvez led a Spanish force and their Indian allies marched against British forts on the lower Mississippi, capturing Fort Bute and Fort New Richmond at Baton Rouge. Because they successfully interfered with British communications, Gálvez secured the surrender of most of western West Florida before Campbell was aware of it.

On March 14, 1780, Fort Charlotte and Mobile capitulated to Spanish forces. When Campbell's scouts reported the display of Spanish colors over the fort, Campbell turned back to Pensacola, returning on March 18, 1780. With the surrender of Mobile, West Florida was reduced to the District of Pensacola alone.

Early in March 1781, the long-awaited Spanish attack on Pensacola began. On March 21, Campbell made a humane proposal to Gálvez that the town and garrison of Pensacola should be spared.

Campbell inspired his troops to defend Fort George. However, without naval protection nor adequate artillery to engage a counter assault, the Spanish artillery fire breached the ramparts on May 8, and struck a powder magazine. A powerful flotilla of warships neutralized outer British defenses and began an amphibious siege of the town on May 9. Campbell surrendered Fort George the next day. Under generous terms, Gálvez allowed the British troops, including Campbell, to return to New York.

Campbell remained in British-held New York City until the British left under the Treaty of Paris on Evacuation Day, November 25, 1783. In 1783, he replaced General Guy Carleton as Commander-in-Chief, North America, a post he held until 1787.
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Joseph Brant

  • Born: March 1743 in Ohio Country somewhere along the Cuyahoga River
  • Died: November 24, 1807 in Upper Canada (now Montpelier, Vermont)
  • Buried: Her Majesty's Chapel of the Mohawks in Brantford, Ontario
  • Service: 1775-1783
  • Ranks: Captain
  • Commands: Superintendent's Mohawk warriors
  • Battles: #

In 1775, Brant was appointed departmental secretary with the rank of Captain for the new British Superintendent's Mohawk warriors from Canajoharie. In April, he moved to the Province of Quebec, arriving in Montreal on July 17. On November 11, General Guy Johnson took Brant with him to London to solicit more support from the British government.

Brant returned to Staten Island, New York in July 1776. Although the details of his service that summer and fall were not officially recorded, Brant was said to have been at the Battle of Long Island.

In July 1777, the Six Nations council decided to abandon neutrality and enter the war on the British side. Brant was involved the the Siege of Fort Stanwix and played a major role in the Battle of Oriskany.

In April 1778, Brant returned to Onoquaga. He became one of the most active partisan leaders in the frontier war. He and his Volunteers raided rebel settlements throughout the Mohawk Valley. On May 30, he led an attack on Cobleskill and in September, he led a mixed force of Indians and Loyalists in a raid on German Flatts.

Brant's fame grew as a guerilla leader. In the Battle of Wyoming in July, the Seneca were accused of slaughtering noncombatant civilians. Although Brant was suspected of being involved, he did not participate in that battle, which nonetheless gave him the unflattering epithet of "Monster Brant".

In October 1778, Continental soldiers and local militia attacked Brant's home base at Onaquaga while his Volunteers were away on a raid. In November, Brant joined his Mohawk forces in the Cherry Valley massacre. The Patriot Americans believed that Brant had commanded the Wyoming Valley massacre of 1778, and also considered him responsible for the Cherry Valley massacre.

In February 1779, Brant traveled to Montreal to meet with Frederick Haldimand, the military commander and Governor of Quebec. Haldimand commissioned Brant as Captain of the Northern Confederated Indians. Over the course of a year, Brant and his Loyalist forces had reduced much of New York and Pennsylvania to ruins. As Brant's activities were depriving the Continental Army of food, General George Washington ordered General John Sullivan in June 1779 to invade Kanienkeh and destroy all of the Haudenosaunee villages.

In early July 1779, the British learned of plans for a major American expedition into Iroquois Seneca country. To disrupt the Americans' plans, John Butler sent Brant and his Volunteers on a quest for provisions and to gather intelligence in the upper Delaware River valley near Minisink, New York. Brant attacked and defeated American militia at the Battle of Minisink on July 22.

In the Sullivan Expedition, the Continental Army sent a large force deep into Iroquois territory to attack the warriors and, as importantly, destroy their villages, crops and food stores. Brant's Volunteers harassed, but were unable to stop Sullivan who destroyed everything in his path, burning down 40 villages and 160, 000 bushels of corn. Brant and the Iroquois were defeated on August 29, 1779 at the Battle of Newtown, the only major conflict of the expedition.

In early 1780, Brant resumed small-scale attacks on American troops and white settlers the Mohawk and Susquehanna river valleys. In February 1780, he and his party set out, and in April attacked Harpersfield. In mid-July 1780, Brant attacked the Oneida village of Kanonwalohale.

On Brant's and his raiders' return up the valley, they divided into smaller parties, attacking Schoharie, Cherry Valley, and German Flatts. Joining with Butler's Rangers and the King's Royal Regiment of New York, Brant's forces were part of a third major raid on the Mohawk Valley, where they destroyed settlers' homes and crops. In August 1780, during a raid with the King's Royal Regiment of New York in the Mohawk valley, about 150, 000 bushels of wheat were burned. Brant was wounded in the heel at the Battle of Klock's Field.

In April 1781, Brant was sent west to Fort Detroit to help defend against George Rogers Clark's expedition into the Ohio Country. In August 1781, Brant soundly defeated a detachment of Clark's force, ending the American threat to Detroit. He was wounded in the leg and spent the winter 1781–82 at the fort. During 1781 and 1782, Brant tried to keep the disaffected western Iroquois nations loyal to the Crown before and after the British surrendered at Yorktown in October 1781.

In June 1782, Brant and his Indians went to Fort Oswego, where they helped rebuild the fort. In July 1782, he and 460 Iroquois raided Fort Herkimer and Fort Dayton, but they did not cause much serious damage. By 1782, there was not much left to destroy in New York and during the raid Brant's forces killed 9 men and captured some cattle.

Sometime during the raid, he received a letter from Governor Haldimand, announcing peace negotiations, recalling the war party and ordering a cessation of hostilities. Brant denounced the British "no offensive war" policy as a betrayal of the Iroquois and urged the Indians to continue the war, but they were unable to do so without British supplies. In May 1783, a bitter Brant when he learned about the treaty of Paris wrote "England had sold the Indians to Congress".
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King George III

  • Born: June 4, 1738 in Norfolk House, St. James's Square, London, England
  • Died: January 29, 1820 in Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England
  • Buried: St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, England
  • Service: 1775-1783
  • Ranks: King
  • Commands: British forces
  • Battles: N/A

The American War of Independence was the culmination of the civil and political American Revolution resulting from the American Enlightenment. Brought to a head over the lack of American representation in Parliament, which was seen as a denial of their rights as Englishmen and often popularly focused on direct taxes levied by Parliament on the colonies without their consent, the colonists resisted the imposition of direct rule after the Boston Tea Party. Creating self-governing provinces, they circumvented the British ruling apparatus in each colony by 1774.

Armed conflict between British regulars and colonial militiamen broke out at the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775. After petitions to the Crown for intervention with Parliament were ignored, the rebel leaders were declared traitors by the Crown and a year of fighting ensued. The colonies declared their independence in July 1776, listing grievances against the British king and legislature while asking the support of the populace. Among George's other offences, the Declaration charged, "He has abdicated Government here . He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people." The gilded equestrian statue of George III in New York was pulled down. The British captured the city in 1776, but lost Boston, and the grand strategic plan of invading from Canada and cutting off New England failed with the surrender of the British Lieutenant General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga.

George III is often accused of obstinately trying to keep Great Britain at war with the revolutionaries in America, despite the opinions of his own ministers. In the words of the Victorian author George Trevelyan, the King was determined "never to acknowledge the independence of the Americans, and to punish their contumacy by the indefinite prolongation of a war which promised to be eternal." The King wanted to "keep the rebels harassed, anxious, and poor, until the day when, by a natural and inevitable process, discontent and disappointment were converted into penitence and remorse". However, more recent historians defend George by saying in the context of the times no king would willingly surrender such a large territory, and his conduct was far less ruthless than contemporary monarchs in Europe.

After Saratoga, both Parliament and the British people were in favor of the war recruitment ran at high levels and although political opponents were vocal, they remained a small minority. With the setbacks in America, Prime Minister Lord North asked to transfer power to Lord Chatham, whom he thought more capable, but George refused to do so he suggested instead that Chatham serve as a subordinate minister in Lord North's administration, but Chatham refused to co-operate. He died later in the same year.

In early 1778, France signed a treaty of alliance with the United States and the conflict escalated. The United States and France were soon joined by Spain and the Dutch Republic, while Britain had no major allies of its own. Lord Gower and Lord Weymouth both resigned from the government. Lord North again requested that he also be allowed to resign, but he stayed in office at George III's insistence. Opposition to the costly war was increasing, and in June 1780 contributed to disturbances in London known as the Gordon riots.

As late as the Siege of Charleston in 1780, Loyalists could still believe in their eventual victory, as British troops inflicted heavy defeats on the Continental forces at the Battle of Camden and the Battle of Guilford Court House. In late 1781, the news of Lord Cornwallis's surrender at the Siege of Yorktown reached London Lord North's parliamentary support ebbed away and he resigned the following year. The King drafted an abdication notice, which was never delivered, finally accepted the defeat in North America, and authorised peace negotiations. The Treaties of Paris, by which Britain recognized the independence of the American states and returned Florida to Spain, were signed in 1782 and 1783.

When John Adams was appointed American Minister to London in 1785, George had become resigned to the new relationship between his country and the former colonies. He told Adams, "I was the last to consent to the separation but the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power."
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Richard Howe

  • Born: April 8, 1726 in London, England
  • Died: August 5, 1799 in London, England
  • Buried: St Andrew's Church in Langar, Nottinghamshire, England
  • Service: 1775-1783
  • Ranks: Vice Admiral, Admiral
  • Commands: Channel Fleet
  • Battles: New York and New Jersey campaign, Battle of Fort Mifflin, Battle of Fort Mercer, Battle of Rhode Island, Battle of of Gibraltar, Battle of Cape Spartel

Howe was ordered to institute a naval blockade of the American coastline, but this proved to be ineffective. Howe claimed to have too few ships to successfully accomplish this, particularly as a number had to be detached to support operations by the British Army. As a result, large amounts of covert French supplies and munitions were smuggled to America.

The strategy of the British in North America was to deploy a combination of operations aimed at capturing major cities and a blockade of the coast. The British took Long Island in August 1776 and captured New York City in September 1776 in combined operations involving the army and the navy during the New York and New Jersey campaign.

In 1777 Howe provided support to his brother's operation to capture Philadelphia, ferrying General Howe's army to a landing point from which they successfully marched and took the city. Howe spent much of the remainder of the year concentrating on capturing Forts Mifflin and Mercer which controlled entry to the Delaware River without which ships could not reach Philadelphia.

Three of Howe's ships, the sixth-rate HMS Sphynx, the converted merchantman HMS Vigilant and the row galley HMS Spitfire Galley, bombarded the American troops during the Battle of Rhode Island. Howe then chased the remaining ships of the French fleet to Boston.

Not until the fall of Lord North's government in March 1782 did Howe once again accept a command. Despite the suspension of hostilities in America, the war in Europe continued with the same force and the Royal Navy was severely stretched in having to deal with the French, Spanish and Dutch fleets. Howe received instructions from Augustus Keppel, the new First Lord of the Admiralty to proceed to Portsmouth and take command of the Channel Fleet which he did in April 1782. He was promoted to full admiral on April 8, 1782.

In September 1782, Howe carried out the relief of Gibraltar. He successfully relieved Gibraltar and then fought an indecisive action at the Battle of Cape Spartel in October 1782, after which he was able to bring his fleet safely back to Britain, bringing an effective end to the naval campaign.

Howe became First Lord of the Admiralty in January 1783.
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Thomas Gage

  • Born: 1719 or early 1720 in Firle, Sussex, England
  • Died: 2 April 1787 in Portland Place, London, England
  • Buried: #
  • Service: 1775, 1781-1782
  • Ranks: General
  • Commands: Commander-in-Chief, North America
  • Battles: Siege of Boston, Battle of Bunker Hill

On June 12, Gage issued a proclamation, believed to have been written by Burgoyne but distributed in Gage's name, granting a general pardon to all who would demonstrate loyalty to the crown—with the notable exceptions of John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Gage also worked with the newly arrived generals on a plan to break the grip of the besieging forces. They would use an amphibious assault to take control of the unoccupied Dorchester Heights, which would be followed up by an attack on the rebel camp at Roxbury.

They would then seize the heights on the Charlestown peninsula, including Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill. This would allow the British to eventually take the colonial headquarters at Cambridge. The colonists were warned of these plans, and seized the initiative. On the night of June 16-17, they fortified Breed's Hill, threatening the British position in Boston. On June 17, British forces under General Howe seized the Charlestown Peninsula at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

On June 25, Gage wrote a dispatch to Great Britain, notifying Lord Dartmouth of the results of the battle on June 17. Three days after his report arrived in England, Dartmouth issued the order recalling Gage and replacing him with General William Howe. The rapidity of this action is likely attributable to the fact that people within the government were already arguing for Gage's removal, and the battle was just the final straw. Gage received the order in Boston on September 26, and set sail for England on October 11.
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William Erskine

  • Born: 1719 in England
  • Died: March 19, 1795
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1777-1779
  • Ranks: Lieutenant general
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: #

Erskine was posted to America in 1776 as a Brigadier staff officer under Clinton, seeing action in the New York campaign and commanding the 7th Brigade at Long Island. In 1777, he was Quartermaster-General to Lord Cornwallis. Erskine is credited with advising Cornwallis on the occasion of the Battle of the Assunpink Creek not to put off attacking the Continental Army on the night of January 2, 1777. The Continental forces moved away by night, fighting the Battle of Princeton.

Erskine was made Colonel of the 80th Foot on 4 March 1777. Now a Brigadier-General, Erskine accompanied British forces as second in command under General William Tryon with the assistance of General James Agnew on an inland raid against Patriot supply depots in Danbury, Connecticut. After successfully destroying Patriot supplies, the British forces engaged and defeated Continental Army Generals David Wooster, Benedict Arnold, and Gold S. Silliman and Patriot militiamen in the Battle of Ridgefield. Erskine served in the Philadelphia campaign and then, following Sir William Howe's resignation in 1778, continued as Quartermaster-General under Henry Clinton. Erskine went on to lead troops at the Battle of Monmouth and after that campaign was given command of the eastern district of Long Island. Erskine's last active duty in North America was commanding five infantry battalions and a cavalry squadron in pursuit of the Continental Army which was thought to be moving to Virginia in November 1778. Promoted Major-General on 19 February 1779, Erskine sailed for London the same year.
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William Howe

  • Born: August 10, 1729
  • Died: July 12, 1814 in Twickenham, United Kingdom
  • Buried: Twickenham, United Kingdom
  • Service: 1775-1783
  • Ranks: General
  • Commands: Commander in Chief, North America
  • Battles: Boston campaign, New York and New Jersey campaign, Philadelphia campaign

Howe was sent to North America in March 1775. He arrived at Boston aboard the HMS Cerberus on May 25, 1775, having learned en route that war had broken out.

Howe led British troops to a costly victory in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He personally leading the right wing of the British attack, with the first two assaults being firmly repulsed by the Patriot defenders. his third assault gained the objective. Howe opted to remain in Boston for the winter and to begin the next campaign in 1776. As a result, the remainder of the Siege of Boston was largely a stalemate. Howe never attempted a major engagement with the Continental Army. He eventually decided to withdraw from Boston and on March 17, British troops and Loyalists evacuated the city.

On October 11, 1775, General Thomas Gage sailed for England, and Howe took over as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America.

On August 27, 1776, Howe attacked the American positions at the Battle of Long Island, starting his New York campaign. After Long Island, they pursued an attempt at reconciliation, sending the captured General John Sullivan to Philadelphia with a proposal for a peace conference. The meeting that resulted, conducted by Admiral Richard Howe, was unsuccessful, and Howe then continued the campaign. He battled at Throg's Neck, Pell's Point, White Plains, and Fort Washington. This ensured that the British took control of New York. Washington then retreated across New Jersey, followed by Howe's advance forces. He recalled the army to positions much closer to New York for the winter. Howe has been criticized by contemporaries and historians for failing to decisively defeat the Continental Army during the New York campaign.

When the campaign season opened in May 1777, Howe's underlying campaign goal for the season was the capture of Philadelphia. On September 26, After two weeks of maneuver and engagements (including battles at Short Hills, Cooch's Bridge, Brandywine, the Clouds, and the Paoli Massacre), Howe triumphantly entered the city of Philadelphia.

One week after Howe entered Philadelphia, on October 4, General George Washington attacked Germantown. This forced Howe to withdraw his troops a little closer to the city, where they were also needed to help clear the American Delaware River defenses, which were preventing the navy from resupplying the army. It was late November before this task was accomplished, which included an attack on Fort Mercer by a division of Hessians.

Howe's poor campaign planning contributed to the failure of General John Burgoyne's Saratoga campaign. Burgoyne's surrender, coupled with Howe's near defeat at Germantown, dramatically altered the strategic balance of the conflict, and the victory encouraged France to enter the war against Britain.

In October 1777 Howe sent his letter of resignation to London, complaining that he had been inadequately supported in that year's campaigns. He was finally notified in April 1778 that his resignation was accepted and he resigned his post as Commander in Chief, North America. On May 24, Howe sailed for England.

Back at England, Howe was at times active in the defense of the British Isles. He sat in the House of Commons from 1758 to 1780. In 1780, Howe lost in his bid to be re-elected to the House of Commons. In 1782, he was named lieutenant general of the ordnance.
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The Massacre at Ft Mims

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY years ago this month there occurred one of. the worst, perhaps the worst . in point of numbers slain . . . Indian massacres In American history. That was the slaughter at Fort Mims, Ala., on August 30, 1813, when a thousand Creek warriors under the leadership of Chief Red Eagle, or William Weatherford, overwhelmed the garrison of more than 500 whites, half-breeds and negroes and left more than half of them dead.

The number of killed at Fort Mims has never been accurately determined. Different authorities give varying figures, ranging from 250 to 450 with the preponderance of reliable evidence placing the number at 250. But even taking this lowest figure, it gives the tragedy at Fort Mims the doubtful distinction of being much worse than any of the other Indian massacres whose stories are familiar to most Americans.

Before discussing tbe affair at Fort Mims and some of the factors which make it unique in our history, it might be well to consider first the word "massacre"* and how inaccurately that word Is used by most Americans. For Instance they refer to tho annihilation of CapL W. J. Fetterman and his command on December 21, 1806, asthe "Fetterman Massacre" or the "Fort Phil Kearney Massacre" and to the Battle of the tit- tle Big Horn, fought June 25, 1870, as the "Custer Massacre."

Tbe late Cyrus Townsend Brady In his "Indian Fights and Fighters" in commenting on this says: "Fetterman and Custer attacked the Indians and fought desperately until they and their men were all killed. I call that a 'battle,' not a 'massacre.' When an Indian war party raided a settlement or overwhelmed a train or murdered children and women, that I think, was a 'masssacre but these two instances were not."

Much the same reasoning applies to the so- called "Dade Massacre" during the Seminole war. On December 28, 1836, Maj. Francis L. Dade of the Fourth lntantry, who had set out from Fort Brook In Florida with a force of 110 oflicers and men to co-operate with another detachment from Fort King in a punitive expedition against Osceola's Seminoles, was ambushed near the Withlacooehee river and fought bravely until all but four were killed. In this case all of the slain were soldiers bearing arms so it seems hardly fair to call it a "massacre."

Somewhat different are the cases of the "Cherry Valley Massacre" and the "Wyoming Valley Massacre" during the Revolution. At Cherry Valley 32 non-combatants, men, women and children, were slain by the Indians and Tories who also killed 16 Continental soldiers of the garrison at Fort Alden and their commander. Col. Icbabod Alden, whose negligence and incompetence was mainly responsible for the tragedy there. At Wyoming Valley ut was a case of an armed force, about 50 Continentals and some 250 soldiers enrolled as militia, taking the field against the enemy, Tories and Indians, being defeated and suffering a loss of approximately 160 killed in action or slaughtered by the Indians after being taken prisoners and disarmed. In that respect (the killing of prisoners) it was a "massacre." But despite the exaggerations and myth-ranking of the early historians of the Wyoming Valley affair who painted It as a "diabolical slaughter of both sexes and every age," modern historical research has established the fact that only one man, a British deserter, was put to death after the surrender of Forty Fort and that there was no "massacre" of non-combatants.

To three other historic affairs, the term "massacre" may be justly applied. One of them was tbe "Fort William Henry Massacre" In 1757 when some 50 soldiers, women and children of the English garrison were slaughtered by the Indians after the surrender of the fort to the French before Montcalm, the French commander, could restrain the ferocity of the savages. Another was the "Fort Dearborn Massacre" in 1812 when the Pottawatomies, after Capt. Nathan Heald had evacuated the fort, attacked the retreating Americans among the sand hills of Lake Michigan and killed 20 regular soldiers, 32 militia, a frontiersman, two women and 12 children, a total of 53. The third was the "River Raisin Massacre" In 1812 when after the Battlie of Frenchtown the British commander, Proctor, by failing to provide adequate protection for some 30 wounded American prisoners allowed them to fall victims to the scalping knives of his Indian allies.

But lest It be thought that the slaughter of whites by Indians were the only "Indian massacres," let us remember, what took placte at Gnaddenhutten In Ohio In 1782 at Sand Creek in Colorado in 1864 and at Wounded Knee creek in South Dakota In 1890. Those were cases of an "Indian massacre" in which the white men were the murderers and Indian men, women and children were the victims.

To return now to the massacre at Fort Mims- —It will be seen from the foregoing that the toll of death there was greater than that at any other "massacre" of whites by the Indians, especially if that term Is limited to the killing of non-combatabts. Another factor which makes the tragedy at Fort Mims unique is the fact that the "Indian leader" in this massacre had more white blood In his veins than did the two "white leaders" in command of the defenders of the fort! That Indian leader was William Weatherford, son of Charles Weatherford, a Scotch trader, who had married a half-sister of Alexander McGillivray, the principal chief of the Creeks who had been a British colonel during the Revolution and later became a brigadier general in the United States army. This Alexander McGiIIivray was the son of Lachlan McGillivray, another Scotch trader, who had married Sehoy Marchand, who in turn was the daughter of a French captain named Marchand and a Creek Indian woman. So in the veins of William Weatherford ran Scotch, French and Creek Indian blood and geneologlcal experts have figured out that be was seven-eighths white and one-eighth Indian.

But that one-eighth was enough to give him the name of "Red Eagle" or "Red Warrior among the Creeks, whose war chief he became when the "Red Sticks," or war party among tbe Creeks, cast their fortunes with the confederacy of the great Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, and rallied to the cause of the British at the outbreak of the War of 1812. For many years there had lived near Lake Tensaw in Alabama a wealthy man named Samuel Mims, half-Creek and half-white. His house was a large and substantial wooden building of one story with several outbuildings. Around these was built a stockade enclosing about an acre. On the southwest corner a block-house was begun but never completed and there were two large gates in the center of the east and the west sides of the stockade.

Such was Fort Mims into which settlers from the surrounding country began to gather when the Creeks, under Weatherford, went on the warpath early in 1813. At first Fort Mims had a garrison of 16 soldiers, commanded by Lieutenant osborne, and some 70 militia commanded by Capt. Dixon Bailey, a half breed. To aid in their defense Gen. F. L. Claiborne, the United States military commander of the territory, send 175 volunteers, commanded by Maj. Daniel Beasley, another half-breed, who assumed the position of commandant.

Soon afterwards General Claiborne visited tbe post and ordered Beasley to complete the block-house and strengthen the defenses of the fort as much as possible. Beasley was a brave man but a poor commander and he allowed the work on tho fort to lag after many-rumors of the ap- proach of the enemy turned out to be false alarms, so the block-house was never completed and except at night no sentries were posted. The people in the fort, some 550 in number, were soon to pay a bitter price for the negligence of their commander.

On August 20, 1813, two negroes who had been herding cattle in the woods came rushing back to the fort with tbe news that they had seen a large body of Indians approaching. The foolish commander not only refused to heed the warning but, worse still, ordered the two negroes flogged for causing so much alarm among the people in the fort. The owner of one of the negroes refused to allow this to be done, whereupon Beasley gave him the alternative of allowing the punishment to be meted out or leaving the fort. So the next day, August 30, the owner acceded to Beasley's demand and the unfortunate black was tied to a post.

But before the whipping could take place, the presence of a force of more than 1,000 creek warriors surrounding the fort was discovered. Beasley is said to have seen them first and, shouting "Indians! Indians I" he dashed toward the east gate which had been carelessly left open with no one on guard. The commander made a desperate effort to close the huge gate before tbe yelling savages reached it but the wind had drifted sand against It and kept It open just long enough for the first of the attackers to push it back, hurl themselves upon Beasley, cut him down with their tomahawks and rush Into the fort.

The next moment a savage torrent poured in through the open gate and dashed toward the startled soldiers who came tumbling out of their tents in which they hud been lounging for protection against the hot midday sun. Many of them were killed in the outer enclosure but the others retreated through the inner gate, slammed it shut and mounted the walls to defend the inner In closure.

For a short time there was a desperate fight at such close quarters that sometimes an Indian and a soldier firing their guns through the same porthole would kill each other simultaneously. But under the leadership of Bailey, upon whom the command devolved after Beasley's death, the defenders of the fort put up such a stern resistance that after three hours of fierce fighting the Indians began to draw off and plunder the house soutside the stockade.

At this point Weatherford, riding a magnificent black horse, appeared to lead his men forward in another attack. This time there was no holding in check the savage tide. The Indians cut their way through the west gate. They forced the east gate and poured over the south wall. The defenders fought desperately from house to house while the roofs were burning over their head. Mims' house, in which a large number of women and children had taken refuge, was set on fire and there they perished miserably.

In a short time the whole enclosure except the north bastion was in the hands of the enemy who killed every person on whom they could lay their hands. Weatherford, appalled by the murderous frenzy of his followers, tried in vain to restrain them. But he had unleashed a tempest of savagery which neither he nor any other chief conld have controlled that day. The Creeks swept forward against tbe bastion and captured it. About a dozen soldiers tore openings through the pallasade and managed to escape. But the rest were slaughtered, fighting desperately to the last. The only ones who were spared were some negroes who were carried away as slaves by the Creeks. Afterwards the fort was burned to the ground and the bodies of all the slain were left lying unburied on the ground. "For desperation in defense, persistency in attack and absolute courage on the part of both parties, the affair was, and remains, almost without parallel," writes one historian.

The usual "wave of horror and indignation'" which throughout the course of our history "swept the country" after every major calamity In Indian warfare, from St. Clair's defeat to the Custer battle, resulted in a stern determination to punish the Creeks. So Gen. Andrew Jackson took the field end began the campaign which, after several hard-fought battles, resulted In the breaking of the power of the Creeks on the bloody field of Tokoneka or the "Great Horseshoe Bend" of the Alabama river.

A short time later Jackson raised his flag over Fort Toulouse which was rechristened Fort Jackson. There one day a tall, tight-colored Indian walked Into Jackson's headquarters. "General Jackson?" he inquired. "Yes." "I am Bill Weatherford."

Then, In the words of an eyewitness the following conversation took place. Said the Indian leader: "I am come to give myself up. I can op- pose you no longer. I have done you much injury. I should have done you more but my warriors are killed. I am in your power. Dispose of me as you please."

"You are not," said the general, "in my power. I had ordered you brought to me In chains. But you have come of your own accord. You see my camp, you see my army, you know my object I would gladly save you and your nation, but you do not even ask to be saved. If you think you can contend against me in battle go and head your warriors."

"Ah" said Weatherford, "well may such language be addressed to me now. There was a time when I could have answered you. I could animate my warriors to battle: but I cannot animate the dead, General Jackson. I have nothing to request for myself. But I beg you to send for the women and children of the war party, who have been driven to the woods without an ear of corn. They never did any harm. But kill me,if the white people want it done."

Whereupon Jackson gave his promise to help the women and children and William Weatherford, the Indian lender who was seven-eighths white man, strode from the tent "vanishing from the view of the astonishedsoldiery, and from history, a not entirely graceless figure.*

The plan of Fort Mims, shown at the left was found among the manuscripts of General Clai-borne and first published by Pickett in his "History of Alabama." The reference figures are as follows:
1. Blockhouse
2. Pickets cut sway by the Indians
3. Guards' station
4. Guardhouse
5. Western gate, but net up
6. Western gate, shut when attacked by the Indians who cut a hoe through it to enter
7. Captain Bailey's house
8. Steadham's house
9. Mrs. Dyer's house
10. Kitchen
11. Captain Mims' house
12. Randon's house
13. Old gateway, open
14, 15, 16 and 17. Officers' tents
18. Captain Jack's house
19, 20 and 21. Portholes taken by Indians
22. Major Beasley/a cabin
23. Captain Jack's company
24. Captain Middleton's company
25. Where Beasley fell
26. Eastern gate, where the Indians entered.


Joseph Brant

Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant (March 1743 – November 24, 1807) was a Mohawk military and political leader, based in present-day New York, who was closely associated with Great Britain during and after the American Revolution. Perhaps the American Indian of his generation best known to the Americans and British, he met many of the most significant Anglo-American people of the age, including both George Washington and King George III.

While not born into a hereditary leadership role within the Iroquois League, Brant rose to prominence due to his education, abilities and his connections to British officials. Through his sister, Molly Brant, and his later leadership, he was associated with Sir William Johnson, the influential British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the province of New York. During the American Revolutionary War, Brant led Mohawk and colonial Loyalists against the rebels in a bitter partisan war on the New York frontier. He was accused by the Americans of committing atrocities and given the name “Monster Brant”, but the charges were later found to be false. After the war, he relocated with most of his people to Canada to the Six Nations Reserve, where he remained a prominent leader.

Brant was born in 1743, probably in April, in the Ohio Country somewhere along the Cuyahoga River. This was during the hunting season when the Mohawk traveled to the area. He was named Thayendanegea, which in the Mohawk language can mean “two wagers (sticks) bound together for strength”, or possibly “he who places two bets.” As the Mohawk were a matrilineal culture, he was born into his mother’s Wolf Clan. Anglican Church records at Fort Hunter, New York, noted that his parents were Christians and their names were Peter and Margaret Tehonwaghkwangearahkwa. His father died before 1753.

After his father’s death, his mother Margaret (Owandah), the niece of Tiaogeara, a Caughnawaga sachem, returned to the province of New York from Ohio with Joseph and his older sister Mary (also known as Molly). They settled in Canajoharie, a Mohawk village on the Mohawk River, where they had lived before.

On September 9, 1753 his mother married again, to a widower named Brant (Canagaraduncka), a Mohawk sachem. Her new husband’s family had ties with the British his grandfather Sagayendwarahton (Old Smoke) was one of the Four Mohawk Kings to visit England in 1710. The marriage bettered Margaret’s fortunes, and the family lived in the best house in Canajoharie. Her new alliance conferred little status on her children as Mohawk titles and leadership positions descended through the female line.

Canagaraduncka was a friend of William Johnson, the influential and wealthy British Superintendent for Northern Indian Affairs, who had been knighted for his service. During Johnson’s frequent visits to the Mohawk, he always stayed at the Brants’ house. Brant’s half-sister Molly established a relationship with Johnson, who was a highly successful trader and landowner. His mansion Johnson Hall impressed the young Brant so much that he decided to stay with Molly and Johnson. Johnson took an interest in the youth and supported his English-style education, as well as introducing him to influential leaders in the New York colony.

==Seven Years War and education==

Starting at about age 18 during the French and Indian War (part of the Seven Years War), Brant took part with Mohawk and other Iroquois allies in a number of British actions against the French in Canada: James Abercrombie’s 1758 expedition via Lake George that ended in utter defeat at Fort Carillon Johnson’s 1759 Battle of Fort Niagara and Jeffery Amherst’s 1760 expedition to Montreal via the St. Lawrence River. He was one of 182 Native American warriors awarded a silver medal from the British for his service.

In 1761, Johnson arranged for three Mohawk, including Brant, to be educated at Eleazar Wheelock’s “Moor’s Indian Charity School” in Connecticut. This was the forerunner of Dartmouth College, which was later established in New Hampshire. Brant studied under the guidance of Wheelock, who wrote that the youth was “of a sprightly genius, a manly and gentle deportment, and of a modest, courteous and benevolent temper.” Brant learned to speak, read, and write English, as well as studying other academic subjects. He met Samuel Kirkland at the school, later a missionary to Indians in western New York. In 1763, Johnson prepared for Brant to attend King’s College in New York City. The outbreak of Pontiac’s Rebellion upset his plans, and Brant returned home to avoid hostility to Native Americans. After Pontiac’s rebellion, Johnson did not think it safe for Brant to return to King’s College.

In March 1764, Brant participated in one of the Iroquois war parties that attacked Lenape villages in the Susquehanna and Chemung valleys. They destroyed three good-sized towns, burning 130 houses and killing the cattle. No enemy warriors were seen. The Algonquian-speaking Lenape and Iroquois belonged to two different language families they were traditional competitors and often warred at their frontiers.

On July 22, 1765, in Canajoharie, Brant married Peggie (also known as Margaret). Said to be the daughter of Virginia planters, Peggie had been taken captive when young by Native Americans. After becoming assimilated with midwestern Indians, she was sent to the Mohawk. They lived with his parents, who passed the house on to Brant after his stepfather’s death. He also owned a large and fertile farm of near the village of Canajoharie on the south shore of the Mohawk River. Peggie and Brant had two children together, Isaac and Christine, but Peggie died from tuberculosis in March 1771. After attacking his father in a fight, Isaac died as a young man of a wound.

Brant married a second wife, Susanna, but she died near the end of 1777 during the American Revolutionary War, when they were staying at Fort Niagara.

While still based at Fort Niagara, Brant started living with Catherine Adonwentishon Croghan, whom he married in the winter of 1780. She was the daughter of George Croghan, the prominent Scots-American colonist and Indian agent, and Catharine Tekarihoga, a Mohawk. Through her mother, Adonwentishon was head of the Turtle clan, the first in rank in the Mohawk Nation. As the clan matriarch, her birthright was to name the Tekarihoga, the principal sachem of the Mohawk nation. Through his marriage to Catherine, Brant also became connected to John Smoke Johnson, a grandson of Sir William Johnson and relative of Chief Hendrick.

With Catherine Croghan, Brant had seven children: Joseph, Jacob (1786–1847), John (selected by Catherine as Tekarihoga at the appropriate time he never married), Margaret, Catherine, Mary, and Elizabeth (who married William Johnson Kerr, grandson of William Johnson and Molly Brant their son later became a chief among the Mohawk).

Brant and Peggie raised corn, and kept cattle, sheep, horses, and hogs. He also kept a small store. Brant dressed in “the English mode” wearing “a suit of blue broad cloth.”

With Johnson’s encouragement, the Mohawk named Brant as a war chief and their primary spokesman. In the spring of 1772, Brant moved to Fort Hunter to stay with the Reverend John Stuart. He became Stuart’s interpreter and teacher of Mohawk, collaborating with him to translate the Anglican catechism and the Gospel of Mark into the Mohawk language. His interest in translating Christian texts had begun during his early education. At Moor’s Charity School for Indians, he did many translations. Brant became Anglican, a faith he held for the remainder of his life.

Aside from being fluent in English, Brant spoke at least three, and possibly all, of the Six Nations’ Iroquoian languages. From 1766 on, he worked as an interpreter for the British Indian Department.

In 1775, he was appointed departmental secretary with the rank of Captain for the new British Superintendent’s Mohawk warriors from Canajoharie. When Loyalists were threatened after the war broke out in April 1775, Brant moved to the Province of Quebec, arriving in Montreal on July 17. His wife and children went to Onoquaga in south central New York, a Tuscarora Iroquois village along the Susquehanna River, the site of present-day Windsor.

On November 11, 1775, Guy Johnson took Brant with him to London to solicit more support from the government. Brant hoped to persuade the Crown to address past Mohawk land grievances in exchange for their participation as allies in the impending war. The British government promised the Iroquois people land in Quebec if the Iroquois nations would fight on the British side in what was shaping up as open rebellion by the American colonists. In London, Brant was treated as a celebrity and was interviewed for publication by James Boswell. He was received by King George III at St. James’s Palace. While in public, he dressed in traditional Mohawk attire. He was accepted as a Mason and received his ritual apron personally from King George.

Brant returned to Staten Island, New York in July 1776. He participated with Howe’s forces as they prepared to retake New York. Although the details of his service that summer and fall were not officially recorded, Brant was said to have distinguished himself for bravery. He was thought to be with Clinton, Cornwallis, and Percy in the flanking movement at Jamaica Pass in the Battle of Long Island in August 1776. He became lifelong friends with Lord Percy, later Duke of Northumberland, in what was his only lasting friendship with a white man.

In November, Brant left New York City and traveled northwest through Patriot-held territory. Disguised, traveling at night and sleeping during the day, he reached Onoquaga, where he rejoined his family. At the end of December, he was at Fort Niagara. He traveled from village to village in the confederacy, urging the Iroquois to enter the war as British allies. Many Iroquois balked at Brant’s plans. Joseph Louis Cook, a Mohawk leader who supported the rebel American colonists, became a lifelong enemy of Brant’s.

The full council of the Six Nations had previously decided on a policy of neutrality at Albany in 1775. They considered Brant a minor war chief and the Mohawk a relatively weak people.

Frustrated, Brant returned to Onoquaga in the spring to recruit independent warriors. Few Onoquaga villagers joined him, but in May he was successful in recruiting Loyalists who wished to retaliate against the rebels. This group became known as Brant’s Volunteers. In June, he led them to Unadilla to obtain supplies. There he was confronted by 380 men of the Tryon County militia led by Nicholas Herkimer. Herkimer requested that the Iroquois remain neutral but Brant responded that the Indians owed their loyalty to the King. They hoped to evict the European settlers from their territory.

====Service as war leader, 1777–78 and “Monster Brant”====

In July 1777 the Six Nations council decided to abandon neutrality and enter the war on the British side. Four of the six nations chose this route, and some members of the Oneida and Tuscarora, who otherwise allied with the rebels. Brant was not present. Sayenqueraghta and Cornplanter were named as the war chiefs of the confederacy. The Mohawk had earlier made Brant one of their war chiefs they also selected John Deseronto.

In July, Brant led his Volunteers north to link up with Barry St. Leger at Fort Oswego. St. Leger’s plan was to travel downriver, east in the Mohawk River valley, to Albany, where he would meet the army of John Burgoyne, who was coming from Lake Champlain and the upper Hudson River. St. Leger’s expedition ground to a halt with the Siege of Fort Stanwix. Brant played a major role in the Battle of Oriskany, where a Patriot relief expedition was stopped. St. Leger was eventually forced to lift the siege, and Brant traveled to Burgoyne’s main army to inform him. Burgoyne restricted participation by native warriors, so Brant departed for Fort Niagara, where his family joined him and he spent the winter planning the next year’s campaign. His wife Susanna likely died at Fort Niagara that winter. (Burgoyne’s campaign ended with his surrender to the Patriots after the Battles of Saratoga.)

In April 1778, Brant returned to Onoquaga. He became one the most active partisan leaders in the frontier war. He and his Volunteers raided rebel settlements throughout the Mohawk Valley, stealing their cattle, burning their houses, and killing many. On May 30, he led an attack on Cobleskill and in September, along with Captain William Caldwell, he led a mixed force of Indians and Loyalists in a raid on German Flatts. In the Battle of Wyoming in July, the Seneca were accused of slaughtering noncombatant civilians. Although Brant was suspected of being involved, he did not participate in that battle.

In October 1778, Continental soldiers and local militia attacked Brant’s home base at Onaquaga while his Volunteers were away on a raid. The soldiers burned the houses, killed the cattle, chopped down the apple trees, spoiled the growing corn crop, and killed some native children found in the corn fields. The American commander later described Onaquaga as “the finest Indian town I ever saw on both sides [of] the river there was about 40 good houses, square logs, shingles & stone chimneys, good floors, glass windows.” In November 1778, Brant joined his Mohawk forces with those led by Walter Butler in the Cherry Valley massacre

Butler’s forces were composed primarily of Seneca angered by the rebel raids on Onaquaga, Unadilla, and Tioga, and by accusations of atrocities during the Battle of Wyoming. The force rampaged through Cherry Valley, a community in which Brant knew several people. He tried to restrain the attack, but more than 30 noncombatants were reported to be slain in the attack.

The Patriot Americans believed that Brant had commanded the Wyoming Valley massacre of 1778, and also considered him responsible for the Cherry Valley massacre. At the time, frontier rebels called him “the Monster Brant”, and stories of his massacres and atrocities were widely propagated. The violence of the frontier warfare added to the rebel Americans’ hatred of the Iroquois and soured relations for 50 years. While the colonists called the Indian killings “massacres”, they considered their own forces’ widespread destruction of Indian villages and populations simply as part of the partisan war, but the Iroquois equally grieved their losses. Long after the war, hostility to Brant remained high in the Mohawk Valley in 1797, the governor of New York provided a bodyguard for Brant’s travels through the state because of threats against him.

Some historians have argued that Brant had been a force for restraint during the campaign in the Mohawk Valley. They have discovered occasions when he displayed compassion, especially towards women, children, and non-combatants. Colonel Ichabod Alden said that he “should much rather fall into the hands of Brant than either of them [Loyalists and Tories].” But, Allan W. Eckert asserts that Brant pursued and killed Alden as the colonel fled to the Continental stockade during the Cherry Valley attack.

Lt. Col. William Stacy of the Continental Army was the highest-ranking officer captured by Brant and his allies during the Cherry Valley massacre. Several contemporary accounts tell of the Iroquois stripping Stacy and tying him to a stake, in preparation for what was ritual torture and execution of enemy warriors by Iroquois custom. Brant intervened and spared him. Some accounts say that Stacy was a Freemason and appealed to Brant on that basis, gaining his intervention for a fellow Mason. Eckert, a historian and historical novelist, speculates that the Stacy incident is “more romance than fact”, though he provides no documentary evidence.

====Commissioned as officer, 1779====

In February 1779, Brant traveled to Montreal to meet with Frederick Haldimand, the military commander and Governor of Quebec. Haldimand commissioned Brant as Captain of the Northern Confederated Indians. He also promised provisions, but no pay, for his Volunteers. Assuming victory, Haldimand pledged that after the war ended, the British government would restore the Mohawk to their lands as stated before the conflict started. Those conditions were included in the Proclamation of 1763, the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, and the Quebec Act in June 1774.

In May, Brant returned to Fort Niagara where, with his new salary and plunder from his raids, he acquired a farm on the Niagara River, six miles (10 km) from the fort. To work the farm and to serve the household, he used slaves captured during his raids. Brant also bought a slave, a seven-year-old African-American girl named Sophia Burthen Pooley. She served him and his family for many years before he sold her to an Englishman for $100. He built a small chapel for the Indians who started living nearby. There he also married for a third time.

Brant’s honors and gifts caused jealousy among rival chiefs, in particular the Seneca war chief Sayenqueraghta. A British general said that Brant “would be much happier and would have more weight with the Indians, which he in some measure forfeits by their knowing that he receives pay.” In late 1779, after receiving a colonel’s commission for Brant from Lord Germain, Haldimand decided to hold it without informing Brant.

In early July 1779, the British learned of plans for a major American expedition into Iroquois Seneca country. To disrupt the Americans’ plans, John Butler sent Brant and his Volunteers on a quest for provisions and to gather intelligence in the upper Delaware River valley near Minisink, New York. After stopping at Onaquaga, Brant attacked and defeated American militia at the Battle of Minisink on July 22, 1779. Brant’s raid failed to disrupt the Continental Army’s plans, however.

In the Sullivan Expedition, the Continental Army sent a large force deep into Iroquois territory to attack the warriors and, as importantly, destroy their villages, crops and food stores. Brant and the Iroquois were defeated on August 29, 1779 at the Battle of Newtown, the only major conflict of the expedition. Sullivan’s Continentals swept away all Iroquois resistance in New York, burned their villages, and forced the Iroquois to fall back to Fort Niagara. Brant wintered at Fort Niagara in 1779–80.

====Wounded and service in Detroit area, 1780–83====

Brant resumed small-scale attacks on the Mohawk Valley. In February 1780, he and his party set out and in April attacked Harpersfield. In mid-July 1780 Brant attacked the Oneida village of Kanonwalohale, as the nation was an ally of the American colonists. Brant’s raiders destroyed the Oneida houses, horses, and crops. Some of the Oneida surrendered, but most took refuge at Fort Stanwix.

Traveling east, they attacked towns on both sides of the Mohawk River: Canajoharie and Fort Plank. He burned his former hometown of Canajoharie because it had been re-occupied by American settlers. On their return up the valley, they divided into smaller parties, attacking Schoharie, Cherry Valley, and German Flatts. Joining with Butler’s Rangers and the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Brant’s forces were part of a third major raid on the Mohawk Valley, where they destroyed settlers’ homes and crops. Brant was wounded in the heel at the Battle of Klock’s Field.

In April 1781 Brant was sent west to Fort Detroit to help defend against Virginian George Rogers Clark’s expedition into the Ohio Country. In August 1781, Brant soundly defeated a detachment of Clark’s force, ending the American threat to Detroit. He was wounded in the leg and spent the winter 1781–82 at the fort. During 1781 and 1782, Brant tried to keep the disaffected western Iroquois nations loyal to the Crown before and after the British surrendered at Yorktown in October 1781.

In June 1782 Brant and his Indians went to Fort Oswego, where they helped rebuild the fort. In July 1782, he and 460 Iroquois raided forts Herkimer and Dayton, but they did not cause much serious damage. Sometime during the raid, he received a letter from Governor Haldimand, announcing peace negotiations, recalling the war party and ordering a cessation of hostilities. Brant denounced the British “no offensive war” policy as a betrayal of the Iroquois and urged the Indians to continue the war, but they were unable to do so without British supplies.

Other events in the New World and Europe as well as changes in the British government had brought reconsideration of British national interest on the American continent. The new governments recognized their priority to get Britain out of its four interconnected wars, and time might be short. Through a long and involved process between March and the end of November 1782, the preliminary peace treaty between Great Britain and America would be made it would become public knowledge following its approval by the Congress of the Confederation on April 15, 1783. Nearly another year would pass before the other foreign parties to the conflict signed treaties on September 3, 1783, with that being ratified by Congress on January 14, 1784, and formally ending the American Revolutionary War.

In ending the conflict with the Treaty of Paris (1783), both Britain and the United States ignored the sovereignty of the Indians. Britain had accepted the American demand that the boundary with British Canada should revert to its location after the Seven Years’ War with France in 1763, and not the revisions of the Quebec Act as war with the colonists approached. The difference between the two lines was the whole area south of the Great lakes, north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi, in which the Six Nations and western Indian tribes were previously accepted as sovereign. For the Americans, the area would become the Northwest Territory from which six-and-a-half new States would later emerge. While British promises of protection of the Iroquois domain had been an important factor in the Six Nations’ decision to ally with the British, they were bitterly disappointed when Britain ceded it and regarded it as territory of the new United States. Just weeks after the final treaty signing, the American Congress on September 22, stated its vision of these Indian lands with the Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783 it prohibited the extinguishment of aboriginal title in the United States without the consent of the federal government, and was derived from the policy of the British Proclamation of 1763.

In 1783, Brant consulted with Governor Haldimand on Indian land issues and in late summer of 1783, Brant traveled west and helped initiate the formation of the Western Confederacy. In August and September he was present at unity meetings in the Detroit area, and on September 7 at Lower Sandusky, Ohio, was a principal speaker at an Indian council attended by Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnees, Cherokees, Ojibwas, Ottawas, and Mingos. The Iroquois and 29 other Indian nations agreed to defend the 1768 Fort Stanwix Treaty boundary line with European settlers by denying any Indian nation the ability to cede any land without common consent of all.

Brant was at Fort Stanwix from late August into September for initial peace negotiations between the Six Nations and New York State officials, but he did not attend later treaty negotiations held there with the commissioners of the Continental Congress in October. Brant expressed extreme indignation on learning that the commissioners had detained as hostages several prominent Six Nations leaders and delayed his intended trip to England attempting to secure their release. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784) was signed on October 22, to serve as a peace treaty between the Americans and the Iroquois, but it forced the cession of most Iroquois land, as well as greater lands of other tribes to the west and south. Some reservations were established for the Oneida and Onondaga, who had been allies of the American rebels.

With Brant’s urging and three days later, Haldimand proclaimed a grant of land for a Mohawk reserve on the Grand River in present-day Ontario on October 25, 1784. Later in the fall, at a council at Buffalo Creek, the clan matrons decided that the Six Nations should divide, with half going to the Haldimand grant and the other half staying in New York. Brant built his own house at Brant’s Town which was described as “a handsome two story house, built after the manner of the white people. Compared with the other houses, it may be called a palace.” He had about twenty white and black servants and slaves. Brant thought the government made too much over the keeping of slaves, as captives were used for servants in Indian practice. He had a good farm of mixed crops and also kept cattle, sheep, and hogs.

In November 1785, Brant traveled to London to ask King George III for assistance in defending the Indian confederacy from attack by the Americans. The government granted Brant a generous pension and agreed to fully compensate the Mohawk for their losses, but they did not promise to support the confederacy. (In contrast to the settlement which the Mohawk received, Loyalists were compensated for only a fraction of their property losses.) He also took a trip to Paris, returning to Quebec in June 1786. In December 1786 Brant, along with leaders of the Shawnee, Delaware, Miami, Wyandot, Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi nations, met at the Wyandot village of Brownstown and renewed the wartime confederacy in the West by issuing a statement to the American government declaring the Ohio River as the boundary between them and the whites. Nevertheless, despite Brant’s efforts to produce an agreement favorable to the Brownstown confederacy and to British interests, he also would be willing to compromise later with the United States.

In 1790, after Americans attacked the Western Confederacy in the Northwest Indian War, member tribes asked Brant and the Six Nations to enter the war on their side. Brant refused he instead asked Lord Dorchester, the new governor of Quebec, for British assistance. Dorchester also refused, but later in 1794, he did provide the Indians with arms and provisions.

In 1792, the American government invited Brant to Philadelphia, then capital of the United States, where he met President George Washington and his cabinet. The Americans offered him a large pension, and a reservation in upstate New York for the Mohawks to try to lure them back. Brant refused, but Pickering said that Brant did take some cash payments. George Washington told Henry Knox in 1794 “to buy Captain Brant off at almost any price.” Brant attempted a compromise peace settlement between the Western Confederacy and the Americans, but he failed. The war continued, and the Indians were defeated in 1794 at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The unity of the Western Confederacy was broken with the peace Treaty of Greenville in 1795.

In early 1797, Brant traveled again to Philadelphia to meet the British diplomat Robert Liston and United States government officials. He assured the Americans that he “would never again take up the tomahawk against the United States.” At this time the British were at war with France and Spain. While Brant was meeting with the French diplomat Pierre August Adet, Brant stated: “[H]e would offer his services to the French Minister Adet, and march his Mohawks to assist in effecting a revolution & overturning the British government in the province.” When he returned home, there were fears of a French attack. Russell wrote: “the present alarming aspect of affairs — when we are threatened with an invasion by the French and Spaniards from the Mississippi, and the information we have received of emissaries being dispersed among the Indian tribes to incite them to take up the hatchet against the King’s subjects.” He also wrote that Brant “only seeks a feasible excuse for joining the French, should they invade this province.” London ordered Russell to prohibit the Indians from alienating their land. With the prospects of war to appease Brant, Russell confirmed Brant’s land sales. Brant then declared: “[T]hey would now all fight for the King to the last drop of their blood.”

In late 1800 and early 1801 Brant wrote to New York Governor George Clinton to secure a large tract of land near Sandusky, Ohio which could serve as a refuge. He planned its use for the Grand River Indians if they suffered defeat. In September 1801 Brant was reported as saying: “He says he will go away, yet the Grand River Lands will [still] be in his hands, that no man shall meddle with it amongst us. He says the British Government shall not get it, but the Americans shall and will have it, the Grand River Lands, because the war is very close to break out.” In January 1802, the Executive Council of Upper Canada learned of this plot, led by Aaron Burr and George Clinton, to overthrow British rule and to create a republican state to join the United States. September 1802, the planned date of invasion, passed uneventfully and the plot evaporated.

Brant bought about from the Mississauga Indians at the head of Burlington Bay. Upper Canada’s Lieutenant Governor, John Graves Simcoe, would not allow such a sale between Indians, so he bought this tract of land from the Mississauga and gave it to Brant. Around 1802, Brant moved there and built a mansion that was intended to be a half-scale version of Johnson Hall. He had a prosperous farm in the colonial style with of crops.

Joseph Brant died in his house at the head of Lake Ontario (site of what would become the city of Burlington, Ontario) on November 24, 1807 at age 64 after a short illness. His last words, spoken to his adopted nephew John Norton, reflect his lifelong commitment to his people: “Have pity on the poor Indians. If you have any influence with the great, endeavor to use it for their good.”

In 1850, his remains were carried 34 miles (55 km) in relays on the shoulders of young men of Grand River to a tomb at Her Majesty’s Chapel of the Mohawks in Brantford.

Brant acted as a tireless negotiator for the Six Nations to control their land without Crown oversight or control. He used British fears of his dealings with the Americans and the French to extract concessions. His conflicts with British administrators in Canada regarding tribal land claims were exacerbated by his relations with the American leaders.

Brant was a war chief, and not a hereditary Mohawk sachem. His decisions could and were sometimes overruled by the sachems and clan matrons. However, his natural ability, his early education, and the connections he was able to form made him one of the great leaders of his people and of his time.

The situation of the Six Nations on the Grand River was better than that of the Iroquois who remained in New York. His lifelong mission was to help the Indian to survive the transition from one culture to another, transcending the political, social and economic challenges of one the most volatile, dynamic periods of American history. He put his loyalty to the Six Nations before loyalty to the British. His life cannot be summed up in terms of success or failure, although he had known both. More than anything, Brant’s life was marked by frustration and struggle.

His attempt to create pan-tribal unity proved unsuccessful, though his efforts would be taken up a generation later by the Shawnee leader Tecumseh.

During his lifetime, Brant was the subject of many portrait artists. Two in particular signify his place in American, Canadian, and British history:

* George Romney’s portrait, painted during Brant’s first trip to England in 1775–76, hangs in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
* The Charles Willson Peale portrait was painted during his visit to Philadelphia in 1797 it hangs in the art gallery in the former Second Bank of the United States building at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Brant chose to dress in traditional Mohawk style for the formal portraits.


Watch the video: A Search for Peace - A History of Cherry Valley NY


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