Friday, July 4, 2014

The Battle of Wyoming (Wilkes-Barre)

The Battle of Wyoming on July 3, 1778  exemplified the brutality of the war and the involvement of Native Americans in the conflict.  A string of American forts along the Susquehanna River served the settlers in the Wyoming Valley, but became the subject of bitter action following the British defeats at Oriskany and Fort Stanwix in 1777.  Loyalists, British regulars and Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Tuscarora and Seneca warriors, in a 700-man force led by Connecticut native Colonel John Butler raided the valley. Colonel Nathan Denison and Colonel Zebulon Butler commanded the Americans.   A combined British and Native American force defeated the Americans.

On July 4, the British demanded surrender of Forty Fort.  Initially signing terms of surrender, Denison later violated them and returned to fighting, only to lose.  Among the legacies of the battle was the rage that helped fuel General John Sullivan's campaign of devastation of Indian villages in the region in 1779.  Here is the scene today, of Forty Fort, lost on this day.

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