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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Revolution

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American Revolution 1763-1789 The birth of a new nation - to commence at the Proclaimation of 1763 to the end of the Articles of Confederation.

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Old 11 Nov 09, 19:16
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Originally Posted by Elijah View Post
I wish he had some work out on Creek or Cherokee actions in the southern colonies.
The power of suggestion. Contact his publisher with that thought!
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Battle of Newtown - Summarized from 'The Wilderness War' by Allan Eckert. His version is way better.

Early on the morning of august 27th, 1779 Joseph Brant set his ambush in place. He knew General Sullivan would be advancing to Newtown that day and was anxious to try and stop him. Brant commanded about 1,000 mostly Seneca warriors and Butlerís Rangers added another 250 men to the force. Facing an army 3 times their size the Indian/Tory group would rely upon surprise and a commanding position to defeat Sullivanís forces.

Sullivan had been 3 months moving from the Wyoming Valley to the upper areas of the Susquehanna. Newtown was deep into the Seneca regions of the Iroquois territory. His orders from a very frustrated Washington were to move up thru the five nations and burn the villages defeating whatever armies they could catch. Plagued by supply problems from the very start, Sullivanís army had been very edgy throughout the campaign forcing him into some fairly severe disciplinary actions. One man had been given 100 lashes and another sentenced to run a series of gauntlets just to stave off large desertions. They were extremely nervous about invading the wilderness areas that were home to the Iroquois. Especially when the 1778 battles in northern PAís Wyoming Valley had such disastrous outcomes.

On the other hand, Joseph Brant had faced large scale problems of his own. The Seneca showed continuing nervousness at the size and capability of Sullivanís army. Indians never used artillery and were basically terrified of its killing capabilities. Particularly in the past couple of weeks most of the population moved out toward Niagara leaving Brant to defend empty villages and the crops that werenít quite ready for harvest.

About a week before, Sullivan had joined forces with General Clintonís wing of the army which had moved down the Susquehanna to the rendezvous at Tioga. Now with about 5,000 men and 10 artillery pieces he would move up the Chemung to Newtown and then take the Seneca capital of Kanawaholla a few miles further at the fork to Newtown Creek.

Sullivan began moving the army north toward the Indians. He kept a close watch on any movements as the Indian forces had been eerily quiet to this point. Just before noon, a treetop scout reported movements above the army to the front. A close examination showed Brantís fortifications. Even though hidden behind some bushes, Sullivanís eagle eyed scout spotted red warpaint and reported the positions.

About 3 in the afternoon certain units began to move along each flank. Sullivan had correctly noted the terrain left Butler and Brant a narrow path of retreat that, if cut-off, could spell death or capture for the entire Indian force.

The Artillery barrage began and Brant immediately knew his position was given away. He hesitated to retreat with his personal Mohawk group even though the Seneca warriors started to melt away almost as soon as the cannon opened fire. Joseph noted the flanking moves by Col Poorís regiment and led his group to meet them on the back right side of his lines. Meanwhile, Col Odgen led his regiment to the left side in a flanking maneuver that threatened immediate encirclement.

Brantís Mohawks and what others he could get to stop leaving engaged Col Poor in a few minutes of hard fighting at fairly close ranges. Some of the very first volleys dropped 4 chiefs including two key Senecas. The Continentals were starting to move up the slope when Brant noted the movements of Ogden to the left. He shouted out a call to retreat just in time for the Tory militia and Mohawks to slip out before the noose tightened. The short but fairly vicious clash with Poor left 12 Iroquois and 5 Tories dead. Sullivanís army suffered a dozen deaths and 32 wounded. The battle for Newtown was over.

While the battle was short with few casualties, the impact was enormous. The Seneca (and all the Iroquois except the small Oneida tribe who sided with the Americans) quickly decided not to fight again and left their villages and crops to the Americans. They all went into Canada for the winter which turned out to be incredibly harsh. The tribes never regained their former strength and prestige. While Joseph Brant did not surrender and continued resistance, the Iroquois part of the American Revolution was largely over.

General Sullivan continued his campaign. According to Eckert, even he found the task of burning crops and villages a shameful undertaking. Warfare against the civilian population instead of armies in the field was a new concept. The campaign won George Washington a new nickname: ĎBurner of Villagesí.
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