Battle of Oriskany
the site of Fort Stanwix


Rome, New York stands on the site of Fort Stanwix and is the home of the Fort Stanwix National Monument. The city was originally named Lynchville. But it was renamed Rome in 1819. Some people believe that the Stars and Stripes flew there for the first time in battle in 1777, during the Battle of Oriskany in the Revolutionary War in America. Groundbreaking for the construction of the Erie Canal took place in Rome on July 4, 1817. Today, the Erie Canal Village stands on the site of the groundbreaking. The village is a reconstruction of the area in the 1800's. Rome was incorporated in 1870.

British General Burgoyne had a successful start against the Americans. On July 6, 1777, he recaptured the British post of Fort Ticonderoga in New York from the Americans without a struggle. (Fort Ticonderoga had been captured earlier by Americans led by Benedict Arnold.) A second British expedition, led by Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger, marched up the Mohawk River Valley to meet Burgoyne. In August, St. Leger ambushed militiamen outside Oriskany, N.Y. In the bloody Battle of Oriskany, the British beat back patriot forces. General Arnold stopped St. Leger soon afterward. By then, conditions favored the patriots.

As Burgoyne advanced southward, patriot forces destroyed bridges and cut down trees to block his path. Riflemen fired on British soldiers from the woods. Burgoyne ran short of food and other supplies. In August 1777, the Congress appointed Major General Horatio Gates to command the Northern Department of the Continental Army. Gates was popular with New England patriots (but unpopular with his officers and men), and they poured out to support him and his Continentals. On August 16, militiamen overwhelmed two groups of Hessians and Loyalists searching for horses and food near Bennington, Vt.

See related document Battle of Saratoga.
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