Friday, October 10, 2014

Traveling West: New York

Our first stop is the Robert Frost Stone House Museum just outside Bennington, Vermont. When I had read his children's names on the tombstone yesterday I thought he had all girls, but Carol was a boy. I never heard of Carol as a boy's name, but the use of names do change. I remember buying the children an illustrated book long ago of “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

We pass the actual site of the Bennington Battle August of 1777 in New York. Vermont was not a separate state until 1791. They were the New Hampshire Territories partially claimed by New York. The negotiations to split from New Hampshire went pretty easily. The border was the Connecticut River and New Hampshire got the river. The negotiations with New York took longer as there was no easy boundary.

I spot the Hoosick Vet Clinic and have to chuckle. Who's sick? The cat? The dog? The town of Hoosick, New York is on the Hoosic River. Grandma Moses grew up here.

The Hudson is a huge wide river. We stop at the Saratoga National Historic Park up above the river. This is the site of the battle that essentially decided the Revolutionary War.

Burgoyne retreated to the Hudson. We are on a bluff overlooking the river.
British General John Burgoyne had sold London on an idea to win the war against the revolutionary colonists. He would sweep down from Canada on Lake Champlain and cut off the head of the serpent by taking the Forts along Lake George and the Hudson River. His plan included having General Howe come up from New York and Colonel St. Leger was to cut over from Lake Ontario along the Mohawk. Burgoyne's troops included British regulars, Germans, Canadians, Loyalists and Iroquois and Algonquian warriors. The Germans were not mercenaries. They were German troops who had been ordered to join the English.

The first problem was that supplies got thin. There was an American supply depot at Bennington, so Burgoyne sent 1,000 troops to obtain those supplies. But they lost their battle and none returned. They were all killed or captured.

Howe seems to not have wanted to leave New York very much. But he never did get a direct order to march north. St. Leger was stopped at Fort Stanwix and turned back.

The first Saratoga battle was in September. The Americans drove the British back to their line, but were then told to break and return to camp for the night, so the battle counted as a British win as they held their line.

Burgoyne's reinforcements never arrived, but the American General Gates was reinforced by the Green Mountain Boys. In October Burgoyne attacked, since he despaired of any reinforcements. The British were driven back to the Hudson River and retreated north to Saratoga where they surrendered. It was a decisive victory. Burgoyne went back to London and was not heard of in the Revolutionary War again.

Our back lane route takes us along Spook Hollow Road and then to Lake George.
Lake George

on Fort Ticonderoga
Fort Ticonderoga was the first fort Burgoyne took on his sweep down to Saratoga. After Burgoyne's defeat the Americans took it back. But it had been abandoned to time and decay when it was rebuilt as a private nonprofit educational center. The entire fort was rebuilt quite authentically and is filled with displays of colonial soldiers equipment. There are docents giving demonstrations of various aspects of the soldiers lives. We watched the musket firing demonstration.

It has been cold, wet and windy. Not exactly the weather that was predicted. The Hungarian goose down comforter has been useful, since I don't want the heater on at night and I do like the window open, at least on my side.

We are in the Adirondack Mountains. From what I have seen they are very softly rolling mountains covered with trees, conifers and hardwoods turning color. Some new reds show up.
Adirondack comes from the Mohawk word meaning bark-eater which they used to refer to porcupines and the native Algonquians who often had to resort to eating bark and tree buds in poor times.

We spend a full afternoon in the Adirondack Museum. Residents of the New York City were looking for places to go to recreate away from the smog and crowds of the city. People came up to spend time in Hotels or camps. The very rich who already had summer “cottages” on the shore, came to the Adirondack Mountains in private rail cars to private personal “camps.” The only time the Adirondacks are not great is in the spring when there is plenty of mud, rain and black flies that bite.
railroad engineer


I want an island on Blue Mountain Lake.

More New York to come. Lots of adventures here.

No comments: