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National Park Unit Road Trip Part 1 – NY, MA, CT

November 15, 2020

11/5 Th – 9hrs to Rest Area on I-84 in PA outside Port Jervis NY

11/6 F – Hawks Nest Overlook was my first stop on the Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River

Cowen Farm, NPS Ranger Station

Proof I was IN this National Park Unit

Eagle Observation Area

Roebling Aqueduct for canal boats crossing the Delaware River.  John A. Roebling was also the engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge

It was part of the canal that linked the Delaware and Hudson Rivers

Hiked the Towpath Trail

Zane Grey Museum

Minisink Battleground, after raiding Minisink (Port Jervis), Loyalists and Mohawk Indians decimated NY and NJ militias on this hill

The Delaware NSRR is 70 river miles long and is the border between NY and PA

No Survivors – 1763

Ten Mile River

Fort Delaware (1775-1785) – typical American settlement fortification

Skinners Falls Rapids

 

2.5hrs to Kate Mullany House National Historic Site (Affiliated) in Troy NY and a personal tour by Paul F. Cole, Executive Director of the American Labor Studies Center

At age 19 she founded the first all-female union in the U.S. – The Collar Laundry Union

Detachable collars were very popular, you did not have to clean the entire shirt, you could just clean and iron the collar!

In 1864, at age 25, Kate led a strike “Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot.”

It resulted in a 25% increase in wages and improved collar worker’s conditions

After her father died, her mother purchased land and built this brick duplex with three units in each side of the row house. The family lived in the top right unit and rented out the other five for income. Kate lived in the apartment with her mother, three sisters, and brother. There are four tiny “bedrooms,” a parlor, a kitchen, and a small back porch. The outhouse and water were outside.

Kate married (John Fogarty) and moved to Buffalo, and later returned to Troy, dying in this apartment in 1906. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery under a Celtic Cross.

Kate Mullany was the first woman appointed to a national labor position. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY in 2000. In 2016, she was entered in the Labor’s International Hall of Fame.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton dedicated the Kate Mullany House as a National Historic Landmark in 1998. It was designated a National Historic Site in 2005. The house is owned and operated by the American Labor Studies Center. They hope to “officially” open the house for visitors in 2021.

 

It took me 40min to drive N to “Saratoga” now Schuylerville NY, a village in Saratoga County. The village is in the northeast part of the Town of Saratoga, east of Saratoga Springs. This is where British Gen. Burgoyne surrendered to American Gen. Horatio Gates on October 17, 1777, ten days after the second Battle at Saratoga Battlefield. The Village of Victory is adjacent to Schuylerville to the southwest and the Hudson River forms the village’s eastern border. I toured monuments and the Schuyler House in the evening and then slept in the SUV on Church St.

 

11/7 Sat – Drove 10 miles S to Saratoga National Historical Park, the location of the “Battles of Saratoga.” I arrived at the NPS Visitor Center as the sun was rising in the east.

I took this photo through the window of the Visitor Center, which was closed due to the pandemic

In 1777, British Gen. John Burgoyne moved down from Canada through Lake Champlain and the Hudson River Valley with a force of 4,000 British regulars, 3,200 Germans, 400 Iroquois, and 250 Canadian loyalists. At the same time, Col. Barry St. Leger moved east from Lake Ontario into the Mohawk Valley with his British troops. They were to meet in Albany and then join forces with Sir William Howe’s large army in New York City and destroy the rebellion.

At the beginning of American offensive action against the British in 1775, a small force of “Green Mountain Boys” had captured a small British garrison at Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain. They were led by Ethan Allan and Benedict Arnold.

On July 6, 1777, after a four-day siege, Fort Ticonderoga fell to Gen. Burgoyne’s forces. American Gen. Philip Schuyler used delaying tactics to slow the British advance as they continued toward Saratoga. In mid-September, Burgoyne crossed the Hudson River at Saratoga (now Schuylerville) and continued south where he met a force of 8,000 Americans dug in at Bemus Heights on the Hudson River. The Americans were led by Gen. Horatio Gates, who had replaced Schuyler. The first “Battle of Saratoga” took place here on September 19th.

The ten-mile tour road did not open until 9am, so I took a 4-mile hike across major sections of the battlefield. For clarity, the following photos are presented as though I was driving on the ten-mile, ten stop, tour road.

Stop 1 Freeman Farm Overlook, the first battle at Freeman Farm took place on September 19, 1777.

Stop 2 – Neilson Farm, American defensive positions were located here, and the Patriots returned here after the first battle at Freeman Farm.

Stop 3 – American River Fortifications (Bemus Heights) on the Hudson River. Col. Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish military engineer, directed the construction of these fortifications. They overlooked the Hudson River and controlled the road to Albany.

 

Stop 4 – Chatfield Farm, an American outpost position that noted the start of the second British attack on October 7, 1777.

The Ravine

Stop 5 – Barber Wheatfield, British Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser was mortally wounded here at the start of the October 7th battle.

Stop 6 – Balcarres Redoubt, the first battle at Freeman Farm (9/19/1777) was considered a British victory because the Americans withdrew to their defensive positions. After the battle, the British built defensive positions of their own, including the Breymann and Balcarres Redoubts, on the Freeman Farm.

 

The British attacked the Americans on October 7th. The American counterattack at the Barber Farm caused the British to withdraw to these defensive positions.

The Canadian Cabins were taken in the American assault

Stop 7 – Breymann Redoubt

Gen. Benedict Arnold, though relieved of his command by Gen. Gates, led one of the attack columns. He then participated in the successful attack on the Breymann Redoubt. He suffered a leg wound as he entered the redoubt.

The Boot Monument commemorates Arnold’s service in the Continental Army BUT does not name him! After Saratoga, Arnold felt he was slighted and insulted by the Continental Congress. He was in command of the American fortifications at West Point NY in 1780 when he changed sides (turncoat) and attempted to give his command to the British. He was rewarded with the British rank of Brig. Gen and 6,000 pounds! He led British raiding parties for the rest of the war.

Stop 8 – Burgoyne’s Headquarters (September 19 through October 7, 1777)

 

Stop 9 – The Great Redoubt and British Hospital

Stop 10 – Fraser Burial Site

Burgoyne’s Retreat to Saratoga

As mentioned above, I visited the following sites the previous evening – surrender at the Village of Saratoga (now Schuylerville) on October 17, 1777.

The British had established a supply depot here – Fort Hardy

The 155-foot Saratoga Monument is located about one mile away in the town of Victory.

The stone obelisk was completed in 1883

 

I also stopped at the nearby Schuyler House

4hr drive (200mi) to Lexington Common National Historic Site.

Paul Revere and rode from Boston toward Concord to warn Colonials that the British were coming! He warned John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Lexington and continued his ride west. The Lexington militia, led by Captain Parker, took positions on the Lexington Green and met the British at 5am on April 19, 1775. No one knows who fired the first shot but afterward 8 militia were dead and 10 wounded. The British had one wounded and continued toward Concord.

Captain Parker Statue

Lexington Green

Entering Minute Man National Historical Park

Did Paul Revere warn the militia in Concord that the British were coming?

Paul Revere and William Dawes left Boston and took different routes to warn the Colonials in Concord (militia armory) that the British were coming. They joined in Lexington and met Dr. Samuel Prescott who was returning to Concord. The three then continue the ride west. Paul Revere was captured at 1am on April 19, 1775 at this location on the Old Concord Road. William Dawes escaped and returned to Lexington. Dr. Prescott also escaped and was able to continue to Concord. So, it is he who warned the Colonials in Concord that the British were coming! We must be aware that “History” can be re-interpreted and re-written and be careful to check the authenticity of our sources.

Samuel Whitney, muster master of the Concord militia, lived in this house along the battle road in 1775. It was purchased by writers Louisa May Alcott and then Nathaniel Hawthorne, it was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

British reach Concord and burn the armory. Militia think their homes are burning and several hundred come out of the hills to the North Bridge. British soldiers fire and kill two-colonials. Militia return fire – this would become known as the “shot heard round the world.” Monument on the “British side” of the North Bridge –

The Minute Man statue is located on the “Colonist side” of the North Bridge

The British retreated and were harassed all the way back to Charlestown. At the end of the day, the British had 73 dead and 174 wounded. Colonials lost 49 men with 41 wounded – the Revolutionary War had begun!

Old Manse

 

1.6hr (100mi) drive to Hartford CT and Coltsville National Historical Park on the banks of the Connecticut River (Authorized NP Unit – 2014).

When the historic brownstone buildings 8 & 10 (Forge and Foundry) are transferred to the National Park Service, it will become an official NHP! A van now serves as the “Visitor Center.”

The main Armory factory has an iconic blue dome with stars, topped by a rearing colt statue.

Samuel Colt started his Hartford factory in 1847. There were years of mismanagement and failure before demand for Colt’s revolver would result in a successful Colt Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company. After Samuel Colt died in 1862 (age 47), his wife Elizabeth ensured that the industrial empire flourished for over 40 years.

The area is an urban renewal zone. For example, the Thomas Hooker micro-brewery is in a building of the armory complex.

An industrial village evolved that provided practical, spiritual, and recreational opportunities for armory workers. The armory worker housing has been converted into apartments.

There are also apartments in the Samuel and Elizabeth Colt’s mansion – Armsmear

Carriage House

James B. Colt House (1855), Samuel’s brother lived just down the street. He served as Treasurer of Colt’s Manufacturing Company.

The Historical Park includes the Church of the Good Shepherd

What is now Colt Park, was part of the Samuel and Elizabeth Colt estate

Slept in the SUV at a Service Area on the NJ Turnpike, I used an eye shade to block out the lights

 

See Part 2 – DC, VA, and WV; posted December 2020

 

 

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