In the previous post, I talked about the formation of the 14th Albany County Militia, Schaghticoke’s regiment in the Revolutionary War. Like soldiers in today’s National Guard, the soldiers lived at home and were called out to serve as needed. I have found that from 1775 to 1782 or 1783 some soldiers in Schaghticoke served at least one or two months every year, quite disruptive for anyone.
Local men had differing experiences in the 14th Albany, depending on when they volunteered or were drafted and which company they were in. One example is Jacob Yates. Yates was born in 1754. He married Elizabeth Vandenberg in 1776 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Schaghticoke. He entered the militia the same year. John Knickerbocker was his Colonel. Yates rose through the ranks to be a Captain by 1780. He served to the end of the war, travelling many times to Fort Edward, Ballstown, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point, and twice to Montreal. His children applied for his pension after his death at age 77 in 1831 in Schaghticoke.
Solomon Acker left a more detailed account. Acker was born in Dutchess County in 1753. He entered militia service in May 1775 in Captain Hicks Company of the 14th in Schaghticoke. During that year he was “employed in watching .. hostiles and Tories at Schaghticoke.” This confirms the account of Beth Kloppott in her History of Schaghticoke, that at the start of the war, the 14th Albany County militia men were called out to guard the district from loyalist activity.
Early in 1776, Acker was ordered to Albany, and served there and in Johnstown, but he returned to Schaghticoke and a new company in the 14th in June. At the time of the battle of Saratoga in 1777, Acker states he and his company guarded provisions on the east side of the Hudson at Stillwater. Another soldier, Cornelius Francisco of Pittstown, reported the same. On the other hand, Wynant Vandenburgh, in the Company of Captain Jacob Yates (mentioned above), worked all the summer of 1777 moving artillery of the army from Fort Edward to Stillwater, and then to Half Moon, ahead of the advancing British General Burgoyne and his army. That must have been very difficult work indeed. Vandenburgh was home briefly, but then in early October was in the “first battle and the capture of Burgoyne.” His timing is a bit off, as the first battle was in August. Apparently, Colonel Knickerbocker was wounded or injured at this time, with Colonel Peter Yates, also of Schaghticoke, taking his place.
Some men of the 14th Albany County Militia were present at the surrender of Burgoyne - at least they said they were!
In the next post, I will report on the experiences of several other local soldiers, and continue the story of Solomon Acker, who played a major role in a dramatic episode in Schaghticoke at the time of the battle of Saratoga.
Bibliography: Fitch, Dr. Asa, Their Own Voices, reprinted 1983.
Kloppott, Beth, History of the Town of Schaghticoke, 1980
Roberts, James, NY in the Revolution as Colony and State, 1898.
Various pension papers in Heritagequest.com