In the last post, I wrote about the formation of the 14th Albany County Militia, our local regiment in the Revolution. Several men left fascinating reports on their service in their pension papers. I talked of a couple last week, and will continue with more now, plus go on to discuss more about our local experience in the Revolutionary War.
Returning to Solomon Acker, of whom I wrote last in the last post, in 1778 he joined the Company of Jacob Yates and went with a scouting party to Fort Edward. Acker doesn’t report any other service in the war, but Cornelius Francisco of Pittsdown does. He volunteered in both 1778 and 1779, travelling to Fort Edward, guarding the frontier. In June of 1780 he marched to Fort George with Colonel Yate’s regiment. Governor George Clinton was there, ready to lead an expedition in pursuit of Tory leader Sir John Johnson. Francisco volunteered to go, and the expedition crossed Lake George in bateaux. He was “out on this tour one month.” Another 14th Albany veteran, John Palmer of Hoosick, reported ending up in the “life guard of Governor Clinton” at the time, serving for six weeks. He gave the year as 1782. Cornelius Francisco also volunteered for a couple of weeks in 1781 and 1782, going to Ft. Edward, Ft. Miller, Saratoga, Sandy Hill, and Skenesborough. Another soldier, John Palmer of Hoosick, participated in the battle of Bennington, then went on to guard the provisions at the time of the battle of Saratoga. The long Revolutionary War period was certainly one of danger and upset for many local families.
I found the idea of the Governor of New York, George Clinton, leading expeditions against the Tories astounding. Imagine Andrew Cuomo putting on a uniform and leading the National Guard on an expedition against an enemy. John K. Lee, in George Clinton, reports that Sir John Johnson commanded a force of Tories and Indians on raiding expeditions from Montreal to the Mohawk River just west of Schenectady in 1780 and on Lake Ontario to Oswego to Schoharie in 1781. Governor Clinton, who began his public career as a commander of militia units south of Albany on the Hudson River in 1775, personally commanded the militia which pursued Johnson both times. The reports of the veterans of the 14th Albany are probably true, even if their timing may be a bit off.
The militia men also had to support the Continental Army, “the regulars.” Below is an image of the list I have in my archives from August 6, 1779 of about twenty men from the Schaghticoke area who were required to provide either a pair of stockings or shoes to the Army. Though the list is a rare survival, this was a common method used to outfit the troops. Another rare survival is the “class list” above of 26 local militia men. The whole US militia was divided into classes, which would be required to outfit one of their own to go into the regular army. As the top illustration of the list states, the men in this Schaghticoke list from 1782 were required by their Colonel, Peter Yates, to provide an “ablebodied man equipt for the field…to be delivered at Saratoga where he will be mustered without delay.” The 26 men. as listed in the lower image, would provide money and/or equipment for the one among them who would go to serve.
In the next column, I will describe the effects of the events of summer 1777 on the home front of Schaghticoke.
Bibliography: Fitch, Dr. Asa, Their Own Voices, reprinted 1983.
Kloppott, Beth, History of the Town of Schaghticoke, 1980
Lee, John K., George Clinton, Syracuse U. Press, 2010.
1779 list of shoes and stockings, Town of Schaghticoke archives
1782 Class list, Town of Schaghticoke archives
various pension papers, on Heritagequest.com
Roberts, James, NY in the Revolution as Colony and State, 1898.