ORISKANY — The Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site held a “Solemn Commemoration Ceremony” Tuesday, Aug. 6, which was the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany.
The event took place under overcast skies while thunder rolled in the distance. This only added to the drama and solemnity of the occasion which commemorates a battle in which “the creek ran red with blood.”
The evening began with a “March of the Militia,” in which historically uniformed participants marched up the hill, carrying 18th century weapons and playing the fife and drums. They got into formation at the base of the monument and fired their rifles into the air. This was immediately followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Michael Roets, Historic Site Manager for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, introduced the first speaker, Dr. Marianne Buttenschon, who represents the 119th State Assembly district, Utica.
“It was a devastating battle courageously fought,” Assemblywoman Buttenschon said.
The Battle of Oriskany was significant because it thwarted the British attempts to divide the colonists by taking control of New York, beginning at Fort Stanwix. The sacrifices made at Oriskany were pivotal to the Patriots winning independence.
“This battle was so significant in the Revolution,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., who attends the event each year.
Theresa McFadden, of the Westmoreland Historical Society and a member of the Oneida County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), was also at the event.
“I was impressed with the program, the speeches and the attendance considering the weather,” McFadden said.
The Oriskany Monument was dedicated on Aug. 6, 1884, as a “memorial to those who fought so bravely and tenaciously to preserve their land and freedom.”
Ron Klopfanstein is the president of the Westmoreland Historical Society. They are online at: Facebook.com/WestmorelandHistoricalSociety.