With Musket & Tomahawk Vol II: The Mohawk Valley Campaign in the Wilderness War of 1777, Michael O. Logusz

With Musket & Tomahawk Vol II: The Mohawk Valley Campaign in the Wilderness War of 1777, Michael O. Logusz

The main focus of this book is on St. Leger's advance into the Mohawk Valley, which came to a grinding halt outside Fort Stanwix. The author also looks at a British and Loyalist raid into the Schoharie Valley, one of the nastier campaigns of the war, and one that ended with a crushing British defeat. St. Leger's expedition was part of the wider British plan for 1777. Burgoyne, with the main army, was to move south from Lake Champlain heading for the Hudson River. Clinton was to advance north up the Hudson from New York. The two armies were to meet somewhere on the river and split the rebelling states in half. St. Leger was to come from the west, starting on Lake Ontario, cross the watershed to the upper reaches of the Mohawk Valley and then advance down that river towards its junction with the Hudson. Burgoyne's failure is more famous - his advance stalled at Saratoga, and after two battles he was forced to surrender, but in some respects St. Leger did even worse, failing to overcome the first serious obstacle in his way - Fort Stanwix in the upper Mohawk valley. By the end of August 1777 St. Leger was in full retreat. By then the Schoharie raid had also failed, so when Burgoyne's own army began to suffer defeats in September and October he knew that no help was coming from the west.

The British reader may defect a certain bias in the text - the British leaders aren’t quite portrayed as dastardly villains (other than in the Schoharie Valley, where this appears to have been deserved), but there is a tendency to portray the loyalists as mistaken or misguided, the rebels as freedom loving patriots. This doesn't appear to affect the quality of the work, although I can't agree with the author's condemnation of the Indian leader Joseph Brant given the appalling way in which the independent United States treated the Native Americans.

The author makes extensive use of contemporary accounts of the fighting, which helps to get across the atmosphere of this conflict, fought in an area that was still largely a forested wilderness with only a scattering of Indian and colonial settlements. We also get a feel for the often rather adventurous life of the combatants on both sides. The course of this campaign also demonstrates one of the key British problems throughout the American Revolution - the British could only maintain control of areas that were close to their armies, and once the troops moved on that control was almost always lost. As a result St. Leger was always aware that he was potentially dangerously isolated in hostile territory, a feeling that probably played a part in the eventual collapse of his army and the failure of the siege. This is an atmospheric account of a desperate campaign fought in one of the wilder theatres of the American War of Independence.

1 - St. Leger's Preparations in Canada
2 - General Herkimer Meets with Chief Joseph Brant
3 - St. Leger Moves Into the Western Wilderness
4 - The Patriots Advance Into the Western Theatre
5 - St. Leger Assembles His Army
6 - General Herkimer's Preparations for War
7 - St. Leger's Advance to Fort Stanwix
8 - The Siege Begins
9 - General Herkimer's March to Fort Stanwix
10 - The Battle of Oriskany
11 - The Patriots Raid St. Leger's Camp
12 - Retreat from Oriskany
13 - The Siege Continues
14 - General Herkimer Returns to the Mohawk Valley
15 - Continuing Actions at Fort Stanwix
16 - Loyalist Raids and Probes into the Mohawk Valley
17 - Cushetunk's Resistance
18 - The Battle for the Schoharie Valley
19 - Patriot Plans to Relieve Fort Stanwix
20 - The British Abandon the Siege
21 - The End of St. Leger's Army

Author: Michael O. Logusz
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Publisher: Casemate
Year: 2012

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