An historical researcher studying the pension files of Revolutionary War veterans has identified a Maryland officer who died at the Fishkill Supply Depot and was buried in a long-abandoned Revolutionary War cemetery threatened by development.
In late 2007, an archaeological team rediscovered the cemetery on privately-owned land just south of the Van Wyck Homestead along U.S. Route 9. The Van Wyck Homestead served as the headquarters for what was George Washington’s principal supply depot during the Revolutionary War and is the site’s only remaining structure.
Shortly after the rediscovery of the cemetery, the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot formed to advocate for the preservation of the entire historic site. In the years since, volunteer researchers have spent countless hours reviewing muster rolls, hospital records, and other primary source documents in an effort to identify the men buried there. Despite the mounting historical evidence of the size and scope of the unmarked burial ground, the site continues to be held by a private owner intent on developing a commercial center featuring a hotel, restaurant, and retail shopping.
The most recent identification is that of Captain Joseph Burgess of the 4th Maryland Regiment, who was born January 20, 1753 in Anne Arundel as the son of Joseph Burgess and Elizabeth Dorsey. He enlisted December 10, 1776 and was later brought to Fishkill where he died on November 17, 1778. Burgess now becomes the 14th Marylander and the 87th soldier (and/or officer) overall to be identified. Among these 87 men are 4 Canadians, 2 African-Americans, and 1 Frenchman.
The 4th Maryland Regiment was organized on March 27, 1776 with eight companies from Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Somerset counties in the colony of Maryland. It was authorized on September 16, 1776 for service with the Continental Army and assigned to the main on December 27, 1776, just weeks after Burgess’ commissioning. During his time in the regiment, Burgess may have seen action at the Battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.
Adding to the international scope of the Fishkill site, historical research has also uncovered, for the very first time, the deaths of two soldiers who served with Crown forces in the Regiment of von Riedesel.
Andreas Keunberg, born in Jerxheim, Germany in 1744, was a member of Captain Julius Ludwig von Pöllnitz’ company in the regiment von Riedesel commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ludwig von Speth. Taken prisoner at the Battle of Saratoga, he fell sick as he marched with his regiment to Virginia. Following his arrival at Fishkill on November 28, 1778, he was treated in the American hospital at Fishkill. He was left behind in the hospital when his regiment continued its march on December 1, 1778; he later perished on December 31, 1778.
Conrad Roth, born in Schoppenstedt, Germany in 1757, was also a member of Lieutenant Colonel von Speth’s (“the colonel’s”) company in the Regiment von Riedesel commanded by von Speth (himself). Like Keunberg, Roth was taken prisoner at the Battle of Saratoga, fell sick on the march to Virginia, and was treated in the American hospital at Fishkill. He was left behind in the hospital when his regiment continued its march on December 1, 1778; he later died on December 14, 1778
To learn more about the Fishkill Supply Depot visit www.fishkillsupplydepot.org.
Photos provided: Above, the location of the abandoned cemetery from the American Revolution; and below, the nearby the Van Wyck Homestead.