MINISINK FORD, NY – Historians will mark the 230th anniversary of the American Revolution’s Battle of Minisink with a July 18 ceremony and a weekend encampment by military re-enactors at Sullivan County’s Minisink Battlefield Park.
The observances will honor the 46 militiamen from New York and New Jersey who gave their lives during the July 22, 1779 Battle of Minisink. The park in Minisink Ford offers a self-guided tour highlighting significant sites in the militia’s bloody skirmish with the British Tories and Mohawks led by Colonel Joseph Brant. Starting Friday evening, July 17, members of the Navasing Long Rifles and Third Ulster Militia will arrive to demonstrate the 18th century frontier lifestyle. The public is welcome to visit their encampment.
Saturday’s itinerary begins with a 12-2 p.m. program by the re-enactors, who will take up various positions throughout the park to describe the battle developments. At 2:30 p.m. under the park pavilion, a presentation on “Pension Records from the Battle” will be given by Peter Osborne, executive director of the Minisink Valley Historical Society, and Livingston Manor native Mark Hendrickson, who are co-authoring a book on that subject to be published in early 2010.
The observance moves up to the memorial field for a 4 p.m. traditional ceremony which will include placement of memorial wreaths, a gun salute, a reading of the names of the battle dead by family descendants and others, and remarks by local dignitaries.
Sullivan County Historian John Conway will serve as keynote speaker. A special attraction this year will be the display of nearly 40 battle flags by the New Jersey Chapter of The Sons of the Revolution.
At the program’s conclusion, participants are welcome to bring food and beverages to enjoy the park’s picnic facilities, which include grills and tables.
The July 17-18 Battle of Minisink commemoration is sponsored by the Sullivan County Historical Society (SCHS), the Minisink Valley Historical Society, local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Navasing Long Rifles. For more information, call SCHS at (845) 434-8044 or organizer Allan Dampman at (845) 807-8469. On the actual Battle anniversary date of July 22, Pike County Historian George J. Fluhr will host his 35th consecutive commemoration ceremony across the Upper Delaware River in Lackawaxen, PA.
The Wednesday program begins at 2 p.m. at The Grave of the Unknown Soldier monument on River Road. The gravesite holds the remains of a militiaman killed in the 1779 Battle of Minisink but not discovered until 1847.
The approximately half-hour service will include presentation of the colors, an invocation, greetings by dignitaries, the reading of the Rowland Account of the Battle, a rifle volley, playing of “Taps”, and a benediction. For more information on the Pike County ceremony, call (570) 559-7444.