October 16 This day during the American Revolution

October 16, 1780 – at Schoharie Valley, New York – On October 15 , Col. Sir John Johnson, son of Tory leader Sir William Johnson, led a force of 800-1,500 British regulars, Tories, and Indians to the Susquehanna River, in the Schoharie Valley. The Schoharie scouts reported to the settlers that Johnson and Chief Joseph Brant were leading a force against the Schoharie Valley. That night, Johnson bypassed the Upper Fort and headed to the Middle Fort. Along the way, they burned all of the local farms as they passed them. On October 16, they encamped for the night by Panther Mountain. Johnson expected to pass the Upper Fort before daylight and thus be able to attack the Middle Fort before it was prepared. Peter Feeck, going for his cows in the early morning, discovered the British force. After reporting this, the cannon boomed forth from the Upper Fort, warning the Middle Fort, which in turn gave the signal to the Lower Fort. Records indicate that a strong northeast wind and snow squalls swept up the Valley that day. This aided the torch when the British set fire to all the buildings and crops. Cattle were either killed or driven away, and the best horses were appropriated by the British. Johnson had given orders to spare all the churches of the Schoharie settlements, but a Tory named Chrysler, who held a grudge against some of its members, set the fire which destroyed the Low Dutch Church that stood in Weiser’s Dorf. By evening, ruin and destruction was wrought throughout the Valley.

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