The month of August marks the anniversary of an event that has shaped our region’s history. On
August 6, 1777, the Battle of Oriskany took place, in what is now known as the town of Oriskany. This
battle was one of the bloodiest battles in the Revolutionary War, and not only effected the history of the
Central New York region, but also shaped our developing nation.

The Battle of Oriskany was started as an attempt to lay siege to British forces attacking Fort
Stanwix in nearby Rome NY. Patriot forces were led by General Herkimer. As they attempted to
intercept British soldiers, General Herkimer and his men were ambushed by enemy forces, as well as
Native Americans supporting the British soldiers. Trained to fight in open fields, the Battle of Oriskany
was fought in the middle of a forest, leading to guerilla warfare on the part of the attackers. While
General Herkimer and his men were not outnumbered, they were outclassed by the Native Americans
who were intimately familiar with the forests surrounding the battlefield. General Herkimer was
mortally wounded during this battle, and died soon after. Overall, Patriot forces lost 450 men, while the
British and Native Americans lost 150 men. This was not the decisive British victory the numbers appear
to be, because the Patriot forces at Fort Stanwix rallied and later attacked the British at their

Because of the amount of fighting that took place soon after the battle, and with the sweltering
summer weather, most of the deceased soldiers were left on the field, denied a proper burial. In 1884, a
monument was erected on the site, providing these soldiers with the only headstone they would ever
receive. In 1962, the battlefield was named a Historic Site, and is now a state park.

To approach the battlefield, it is a serene view, with open fields and wooded areas. Without
knowing the tragic history of this location, it appears to be a beautiful area to bring the family. But the
men killed in the long ago battle still roam the field. There have been reports of people seeing soldiers in
military costumes who proceed to disappear, hearing voices of men crying out. People have also
reported hearing the sounds of battle coming from the woods. On the battlefield, long-dead soldiers are
still reliving the war, and those who are there at the right time can experience this.

In October 2012, Ubisoft Games will be releasing the third game in their popular Assassin’s
Creed series. This installment will take place during the Revolutionary War, with one of the scenes in the
video game taking place during the Battle of Oriskany. This will allow modern gamers to discover more
about this influential battle in America’s history.

Oriskany Battlefield Google Maps
Oriskany Battlefield/Google Maps

[Contributed by NYS Shadowchasers]

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