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The Times
  • Gelston Castle marks 235th anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany

  • The 235th anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany was observed through several re-enactments at Gelston Castle throughout the weekend.

    The largest Revolutionary War re-enactment program in the United States brought about 1,300 war re-enactors to portray several battles that occurred during the Revolutionary War, including the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, part of the Battle of Saratoga.

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  • The 235th anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany was observed through several re-enactments at Gelston Castle throughout the weekend.
    The largest Revolutionary War re-enactment program in the United States brought about 1,300 war re-enactors to portray several battles that occurred during the Revolutionary War, including the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, part of the Battle of Saratoga.
    On Saturday, spectators were able to witness a re-enactment of the 1777 Battle of Oriskany. Several hundred re-enactors portrayed the Albany and Tryon County militias.
    Clinton Historical Society President Bob Tegart said people came from all over the area and the country to learn about the Revolutionary War through the re-enactments.
    “The Mohawk Valley area was a terrible place to live during the Revolutionary war,” Tegart said. “If you lived here during that time you were either a loyalist, a rebel or a neutral. During the war the loyalists were driven into Canada by the rebel militia who fought against the crown, and the neutrals, who choose not to side, were often stuck in the middle of the battles.”
    In the Battle of Oriskany, the Albany and Tryon County militias were defeated, however, they were able to execute a plan to slow down the loyalists from taking Fort Schuyler, now Fort Stanwix.
    Fortieth Regiment of Foot Canadian Militia re-enactor Adam Hodgens said, “Rebel parities relieved Fort Schuyler by ambushing 800 Mohawk Indians and loyalists before they were able to reach the fort. The militia raided the camps and forced the loyalists to retreat without taking Fort Schuyler.”
    During the Battle of Oriskany, Gen. Nicholas Herkimer, who led the militia, was wounded.
    Although he was wounded he did what he could to help his men. “General Herkimer made it through the entire battle sitting under a tree shouting commands to his fellow officers,” said Hodgens.
    Herkimer would eventually die from his wounds. Hodgens added, “The purpose of the battle re-enactment is to go to great ends to bring the authenticity of history to life for everyone to see.”
    Other re-enactors took part in the events as a way to re-live the history with their own families. Sandy Bachar, of Philadelphia, Pa., said her husband, George, inspired her and her two daughters, seven-year-old Emma and four-year-old Abigail, to become Revolutionary War re-enactors.
    George Bachar took part in the Boys Life Fight to cross the bridge at Lexington and Concord during the bicentennial anniversary of the shot heard around the world.
    “Once I crossed the bridge, I shook hands with Gerald Ford,” said George Bachar.
    Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization President Dan Sivilich said he knows everything about battlefields. As an archaeologist, Sivilich said he has worked on several battle fields, digging up Revolutionary War era gold. “While working in a battlefield in New Jersey where the Battle of Monmouth was fought in 1778 I came across a musket ball,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - According to Sivilich, the Battle of Monmouth was the largest and longest battle of the Revolutionary War. He said he plans to execute another dig at the Battle of Saratoga site in October.
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