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Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Battle of Johnstown

The Battle of Johnstown was among the last of the major land battles in the northern theater of the Revolution, and occurring on October 25, 1781, together with the American-French victory at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, essentially ended the real military action of the war.  Here is a segment of the battlefield as marked just north of the Johnstown Hall, itself a few miles from downtown Johnstown.

Together with Major John Ross, Colonel Marinus Willett led over 400 militia against a combined enemy force of over 700 Regulars, Iroquois and Rangers under Major John Ross and Captain Walter Butler.  At this point in the war, the Mohawk Valley was the scene of raids with more of an in terrorem purpose than seizure of land or military advantage.  Although often portrayed as an American victory, it may well have been darkness that saved the Americans and caused the British to withdraw for strategic reasons.  Howard Peckham reports 13 Americans killed, 23 wounded and 5 missing, with the British side incurring 7 killed, some 40 wounded and 50 missing.  
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