Battle of Oriskany


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Battle of Oriskany

Battle of Oriskany

Oriskany, BATTLE OF. Brant, the Mohawk chief, came from Canada in the spring of 1777, and in June was at the head of a band of Indian marauders on the upper waters of the Susquehanna. Brig. General Nicholas Herkimer was at the head of the militia of Tryon county, New York, and was instructed by General Schuyler to watch and check the movements of the Mohawk chief, whose presence had put an end to the neutrality of his tribe and of other portions of the Six Nations. Hearing of the siege of Fort Schuyler by Colonel St. Leger (August 3), Herkimer gathered a goodly number of Tryon county militia, and marched to the relief of the garrison. He and his little army were marching in fancied security on the morning of August 6 at Oriskany, a few miles west of the present city of Utica, when Tories and Indians from St. Leger's camp, lying in ambush, fell upon the patriots at all points with great fury. Herkimer's rear-guard broke and fled; the remainder bravely sustained a severe conflict for more than an hour. General Herkimer had a horse shot dead under him, and the bullet that killed the animal shattered his own leg below the knee. Sitting on his saddle at the foot of a beech-tree, he continued to give orders. A thunder-shower caused a lull in the fight, and then it was renewed with greater vigor, when the Indians, hearing the sound of firing in the direction of Fort Schuyler, fled to the deep woods in alarm, and were soon followed by the Tories and Canadians. The patriots remained masters of the field, and their brave commander was removed to his home, where he died from loss of blood, owing to unskillful surgery. See HERKIMER, NICHOLAS.



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