Researching the American Revolution

Your source for information on the American War of Independence

New York State


The American Revolution in Upper New York State played a significant role in the struggle for independence from British rule. Situated in a strategic location between New England and Canada, Upper New York State became a battleground where pivotal events unfolded. The region witnessed several key military campaigns and battles that ultimately influenced the outcome of the revolution.

The largest conflict took place as a result of the 1777 British campaign to capture the Hudson Valley, cutting off New England from the other colonies. The British planned a two-prong attack. First, a smaller contingent under British Brig. Gen. (by Brevet) Barry St. Leger invaded from Lake Ontario with the intention to invest Ft. Stanwix and then attack the Mohawk Valley. Second, Gen. John Burgoyne led a larger invasion force into the Champlain Valley which would meet up with St. Leger’s force at Albany.

While a solid pincher plan on paper, St. Leger’s force never reached the Mohawk Valley. After winning a Battle at Oriskany, the British laid siege to Fort Stanwix. However, upon hearing of a nearing Rebel relief force, most of St. Leger’s Native American allies fled, and St. Leger decided to retreat back to Quebec via Lake Ontario.

After initial victories at Fort Ticonderoga, and Hubbardton, the British invasion staffed near Saratoga, New Yokr. The Battle of Saratoga in 1777, considered a turning point in the war. American forces, under the command of General Horatio Gates and with crucial assistance from the local militia and Native American allies, successfully halted Burgoyne’s advance. The decisive American victory at Saratoga not only boosted morale but also convinced France to openly support the American cause, providing critical military and financial aid.

While the Rebels defeated the 1777 British invasions, the Revolutionary War continued in upper New York. Maj. Gen. John Sullivan led a Rebel expedition to way waste to Native American home sites in Central and Western New York. The combatants fought a brief battle at Newtown, after which the Native Americans retreated to British-held positions around Fort Niagara. The Sullivan raid did little to quell the violence which lasted through the end of the Revolutionary War.

Diaries and Memoirs

OtherPrimary Sources

Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 with Records of Centenial Celebrations. Auburn, NY: State of New York, 1887.

For a list of primary and secondary sources on the military expedition against the Six Nations see:

University of Rochester Library Bulletin The Sullivan Campaign, A Bibliography

Secondary Sources – Rebels

Campbell, William W. The Border Warfare of New York, during the Revolution: Or, The Annals of Tryon County. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1992.

———. The Border Warfare of New York, during the Revolution: Or, The Annals of Tryon County. Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2006.

Darley, Stephen. The Battle of Valcour Island: The Participants and Vessels of Benedict Arnold’s 1776 Defense of Lake Champlain, 2013.

Daughan, George C. Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence. First edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.

Johnston, Henry P. The Storming of Stony Point on the Hudson Midnight July 15, 1779. First. New York: James T. White & Co., 1900.

———. The Storming of Stony Point on the Hudson, Midnight, July 15, 1779. Reprint of 1900 version. New York: Da Capo Press, 1971.

Jones, Thomas. History of New York during the Revolutionary War and the Leading Events in the Other Colonies at That Period. Edited by Edward Floyd De Lancey. 2 vols. New York: Printed for the New York Historical Society, 1879.

Jones, Thomas, and Edward Floyd DeLancy. History of New York during the Revolutionary War and of the Leading Events in the Other Colonies at That Period. New York: New York Historical Society, 1879.

Logusz, Michael O. With Musket and Tomahawk – The Mohawk Valley Campaign in the Wilderness War of 1777. Philadelphia: Casemate, 2010.

———. With Musket and Tomahawk -The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777. Philadelphia: Casemate, 2010.

RICHMOND, JAMES E. WAR ON THE MIDDLELINE: The Founding of a Community in the Kayaderosseras Patent in the Midst Of… the American Revolution. S.l.: LULU PUBLISHING SERVICES, 2016.

Richmond, James E. War on the Middleline: The Founding of a Community In the Kayaderosseras Patent In the Midst of the American Revolution. Middletown, DE: Lulu Publishing, 2016.

Watt, Gavin K., and James F. Morrison. The Burning of the Valleys: Daring Raids from Canada against the New York Frontier in the Fall of 1780. Toronto ; Buffalo, NY: Dundurn Press, 1997.

Watt, Gavin K., James F. Morrison, and William A. Smy. A Dirty, Trifling, Piece of Business. Toronto ; Tonawanda, NY: Dundurn Press, 2009.

———. I Am Heartily Ashamed: The Revolutionary War’s Final Campaign as Waged from Canada in 1782. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2010.

Williams, Glenn F. Year of the Hangman: George Washington’s Campaign against the Iroquois. Yardley, Penn: Westholme, 2006.

Secondary Sources – Native American

Kelsay, Isabel Thompson. Joseph Brant, 1743-1807, Man of Two Worlds. 1st ed. An Iroquois Book. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 1984.

Stone, William L. The Life of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) Including the Border Wars of the American Revolution and Sketches of the Indian Campaign of Generals Harmar, St. Clair and Wayne and Other Matters Connected with the Indian Relations of the United States and Great Britain from the Peace of 1783 to the Indian Peace of 1795. 2 vols. Albany: J. Munsell, 1865.

Images of the Oriskany Battlefield

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: