RSS Feed

Category Archives: Oriskany

Book about a Bloody Battle

Previously I blogged about going to Weller Library in Mohawk and looking for books on local history. Then I blogged about renewing the book I found. I am so glad I renewed that book! I finished it today. What a good book! Liberty March: The Battle of Oriskany by Allan D. Foote with James Morrison, Joseph Robertaccio and Alan Sterling, illustrations and maps by David Yahnke.

After a prologue about the centennial of the battle, Foote gives us background on all the battle participants: The Iroquois, the Loyalists and the Patriots (not to be confused with the ball team) (sorry, couldn’t help saying that). I was absorbed by the story of the Palatines. I could hardly believe all the crap they went through getting here from their native Germany, and all the crap they went through once they got here. Of course, Foote uses more scholarly terms than crap and goes into a lot more detail. Hey, I’m just trying to get you to read the book.

It’s always interesting to read about the background and beginnings of the American Revolution. Sometimes we get the impression that the pilgrims came over and a few weeks later Sam Adams was dumping tea into the Boston Harbor. It was a whole lot more complicated than “No taxation without representation.” The American Revolution, Foote says, was really our first civil war. We rightly feel stirrings of patriotic pride when we hear of the heroic actions of the founders of our nation, but the story is in many ways a sad one. Neighbor fought neighbor, and families were often divided.

It is a brutal story as well. The Battle of Oriskany was the bloodiest battle of the American Revolution as well as one of the bloodiest battles ever. As a percentage of all participants, more were killed or wounded at Oriskany than at Custer’s Last Stand at Little Big Horn. Even more brutal was the treatment of many of those captured.

I noticed when reading “About the Author” on the last page that the book has one of those old fashioned check out cards. The librarian would write the patron’s card number in a column marked “Borrower’s Name” and stamp in the due date. I was pleased to see this book has been checked out a lot. I encourage you to check it out as well.