The 37th Annual Reunion of Descendants of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry (aka, “The Hardtack Regiment”) is set for Saturday, August 5th, at the Delevan Fire Fighters Memorial Training Center in Delevan, northeastern Cattaraugus County, NY. [Read more…] about Battle of Pine Knob Focus of 154th NY Descendants Reunion
NY’s Air National Guard in the Vietnam War
The Air National Guard began flights regularly in 1966 to support Military Airlift Command operations to Japan and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Other Air Guard elements supported aeromedical evacuation flights across the country to free up active duty Air Force resources for similar missions in Southeast Asia between 1965 and 1969. [Read more…] about NY’s Air National Guard in the Vietnam War
Newburgh Conspiracy: Showdown at the New Windsor Cantonment
In 1783, in the stronghold of the Hudson Highlands during the latter years of the American Revolution, General George Washington kept a wary eye on the British force in the city of New York, 60 miles away. His army, owed months of back pay, and his officers frustrated by the negotiations over their promised pension, chafed under martial authority.
A nationalist faction in Congress seized upon this discontent to instigate the Newburgh Conspiracy, a plot by Continental Army officers to menace civil officials who opposed the Impost, a 5% tax on imports to be collected by the central government, to satisfy the nation’s debts. The army – by this time a formidable force of seasoned veterans – was provoked into threatening the very liberties it had fought to defend. [Read more…] about Newburgh Conspiracy: Showdown at the New Windsor Cantonment
Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World
The book The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World (Liveright, 2021) by Linda Colley traces the global history of written constitutions from the 1750s to the twentieth century, modifying accepted narratives and uncovering the close connections between the making of constitutions and the making of war. In the process, Linda Colley both reappraises famous constitutions and recovers those that have been marginalized but were central to the rise of a modern world. [Read more…] about Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World
Helicopter Heroine: French General Valerie Andre
Valérie André is one of the great military aviators of the twentieth century. She was the first woman to fly a helicopter in combat and one of the first three helicopter medevac pilots. Flying more than 150 helicopter rescue missions during the French war in Indochina (including at Dien Bien Phu), and parachuting into the field twice, André was a trailblazer, a pioneer of flying helicopters in combat and an innovator of battlefield medicine, who risked her life to treat the wounded, whether they were French or Vietnamese, whether they were friend, civilian, or foe. [Read more…] about Helicopter Heroine: French General Valerie Andre
Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution
Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution (Liveright, 2022) by Eric Jay Dolin is the story of the founding of the U.S. Navy during the American Revolution. The story has been told before, yet missing from most maritime histories of America’s first war is the ragtag fleet of private vessels, from 20-foot whaleboats to 40-cannon men-of-war. [Read more…] about Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution
Freedom in New York: Chenango County, the Underground RR & US Colored Troops
During Black History Month 2023, I received an email from Jill Mirabito, a longtime resident of Norwich, Chenango County, NY, and Associate Vice President for University Advancement at SUNY Oneonta. The note pertained to the Chenango County Historical Society having honored Benjamin J. Tillett, an African American resident of Norwich during and after the Civil War. He had been a slave in Northeast North Carolina before arriving in Norwich.
In November 1863, Tillett enlisted in the 11th United States Colored Heavy Artillery (also known as the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery). He returned to Norwich after the war and died there in 1902. Before his death, he had a membership with the E.B. Smith Post, GAR, A Knight Templar of Palestine Commandery, and attended religious services frequently at the local AME Zion Church. The admiration that Tillett received from his adopted residence caught my attention. I was intrigued. [Read more…] about Freedom in New York: Chenango County, the Underground RR & US Colored Troops
Mary Walker: Civil War Heroine, Medal of Honor Winner
In the latest episode of the A New York Minute in History podcast, Devin Lander and Lauren Roberts tell the story of Dr. Mary Walker: physician, heroine of the Civil War, and the only woman in history ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Born to progressive parents in Western New York, Walker would defy the odds to become a surgeon, spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and go toe-to-toe with prominent suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. [Read more…] about Mary Walker: Civil War Heroine, Medal of Honor Winner
Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War
The book Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War (Oxford University Press, 2022) by Friederike Baer takes a look at the thirty thousand German soldiers that Great Britain hired to fight in its war against the American rebels between 1776 and 1783.
Collectively known as Hessians, the soldiers and accompanying civilians, including hundreds of women and children, spent extended periods of time in locations as dispersed and varied as Canada in the North and West Florida in the South. [Read more…] about Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War
Dr. John Swinburne’s Life in Crime, War & Politics
John Swinburne was born May 30, 1820 in Denmark, Lewis County, New York. He attended school in the communities of Lowville and Denmark, and in Fairfield, Herkimer County, all in New York. He was an excellent student and upon completion of his studies, he took a job as a teacher.
In 1841, at the age of 21, he began the study of medicine and in 1843 entered Albany Medical College where he was a student under the tutelage of Dr. James H. Armsby, a founder of the college. He eventually went to work for Dr. Armsby and upon his graduation in 1846, started his own practice. [Read more…] about Dr. John Swinburne’s Life in Crime, War & Politics