Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 2014: New York, Delaware River Hike #2: Minisink Battleground Park Trail

Minisink Battleground Park Trails

This was the shortest of the six hikes.  The Minisink Battleground Park Trail is more of an interpretive trail and a leisurely stroll through the woods.  Every so often there is a sign that indicates what happened at or near the spot.  The trail was between a quarter and a half mile in length with no significant elevation gain.

The Battle
The Battle of Minisink took place on July 22nd, 1779 and is the only Revolutionary War battle that took place on the upper Delaware River.  After a raid on a settlement by Iroquois and loyalist troops under the command of Joseph Brant, a chief of the Mohawk tribe and also a captain in the British army, the militia of Orange County attempted to ambush Brant's troops as he crossed the Delaware River.

One of the militiamen took a shot at one of the native guides before the ambush was set, which alerted Brant who then outflanked the militia and pursued them to Minisink.  After a running battle, the militia dug in on Rocky Hill which is now the Minisink Battleground Park.  Ammunition ran low on both sides after a couple of hours and the battle devolved to hand to hand fighting which the Iroquois excelled at.  In all 48 militiamen were killed and only 7 of Brant's men.

The Trail
The Minisink Battleground Park Trail is a peaceful, contemplative trail through the woods of Rocky Hill.  At the top of the hill there is a monument built to the battle.  From the monument the trail meanders through the forest and reaches Hospital Rock which is where the battle was finally ended with the death of Lt. Col. Benjamin Tusten and the seventeen wounded militiamen under his command.  The rest of the militia had broken and run, returning to their homes.

While this battle wasn't decisive in any way during the Revolutionary War, there was still a solemn reverence at this site.  We were treading on ground that patriot blood had been spilled on.

The Trailhead

What the majority of the trail looked like

The memorial at the top of the hill

Large boulder.  This rock probably sheltered militia or enemy troops during the battle

Trail marker for the Last Stand on Rocky Hill


Trail marker for Hospital Rock

Hospital Rock

Red mushroom

Lichen covered boulders were all over this hill

Legend has it that Joseph Brant set this rock in place to memorialize his fallen troops
This wasn't a rigorous hike in any way, but it was well worth it for the historical significance.

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