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The Battle of Wyoming is what legends are made of. On July 03, 1778 in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, American Patriots, American Loyalists and American Indians waged a 45 minute pitched battle that reverberated around the world. It inspired patriots to endure and fight on, swayed France to come to our aid and much like what happened in Viet Nam shifted public sentiment in England against their King. It also was the beginning of the end of the American Indians influence in North America and particularly so for the Iroquis tribes.
The battle is also referred to as "the Wyoming Massacre" Colonel John Butler with more than 1,000 men at his disposal that included Iroquois warriors ambushed an overly eager and ill prepared ragtag militia made up of farmers.They numbered about 300. An inscription on the Wyoming monument describes the group as "chiefly the undisciplined, the youthful, and the aged.
Once lured into the ambush the battle lasted 45 minutes but when an order was given to reposition the patriots panicked and were quickly routed. The Iroquis were then on a hunt for survivors. 60 of the patriots managed to escape and only 5 were taken prisoner.In a report filed by Butler he stated that 227 scalps were taken. After the battle settlers told of the fleeing men being hunted down and slain and further that 30 to 40 who had surrendered were tortured till they died. These reports and rumors so infuriated the American public that in time raids were being conducted against Indian villages culminating in the Sullivan Expedition commisioned by General George Washington.This thoroughly decimated the Iroquois who never recovered from the damage done to their villages, stored corn and vegetables and left them vulnerable to winter and starvation.
A mass grave for many of the victims of the battle and massacre is the site of the Wyoming monument where each year commemorative ceremonies take place. The Scottish poet Thomas Campbell relates the story in his poem "Gertrude of Wyoming"
The reenactors are from the 24th Connecticut Militia Regiment a recreated organized militia as well as a non profit organization who's members have a love for history and desire to preserve it.
December 7th, 2012
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