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Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Battle of Minisink

Today, July 22, is the anniversary of the conclusion of Battle of Minisink where in 1779 a combined force of 60 Indians and 27 Tories, led by Joseph Brant, prevailed over and killed some 48 American militiamen out of a force of 149.

Here is the memorial to the slain, on the plateau on a hill in Barryville, New York, to the northwest of Port Jervis along the upper Delaware River.  Brant first attacked Fort Decker, in present day Port Jervis.   A force of milita led by Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Tusten and Colonel John Hathorn, sought to engage Brant.  Brant managed to separate about 50 of the militia from the main body, who formed a square on the hill where the battlefield park is.  The outnumbered militia gave way; Brant's men killed Tusten and 17 of wounded for whom he was caring at "hospital rock," marked on the site.

The battle was a particularly brutal element of the parallel plotline of the Revolution, involving the war between American colonists seeking to expand their landholdings, and Native Americans seeking to preserve their way of life on land they had occupied.

On this hot July day, I happened to visit this battlefield and realized it coincided with the day of the actual events on this soil.  The battlefield is remarkably legible and preserved.  The geography of the area along the Upper Delaware River also gives a keen sense of what must have seemed isolated territory at the time.  
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