Speaker to present on expedition

ALBANY — Robert E. Mulligan Jr. will speak on “Amateurs Talk About Tactics, but Professionals Study Logistics: Supplying the Sullivan Expedition of 1779” at 7 p.m. on May 9, in room 202 of the Roger Bacon Building at Siena College, 515 Loudon Road.

The event, which begins with socializing and networking at 6:30, will be sponsored by the American Revolutionary War Roundtable of Upstate New York and Siena College’s McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution.

In 1779 George Washington sent a quarter of the Continental Army into the unknown Iroquoian lands of central New York to destroy the towns and crops and to capture hostages to secure the good behavior of the Iroquois. More than 40 towns were destroyed, and thousands of acres of cropland laid waste before the harvest. Since no hostages were taken, the enraged Iroquois warriors were free to continue their raids upon the frontiers of New York and Pennsylvania.

To explain the expedition’s failure, a scapegoat was needed. The lack of supplies, and the lateness of their arrival, was given as the reason for the failure of the expedition. Was this in fact true? Using the papers of Commissary General of Issues Charles Stewart, held at the library of the New York State Historical Association, as well as the many other published accounts of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, this talk reviews the considerable difficulties faced by the Army in mounting and conducting the expedition.

Light refreshments will be served after the presentation. To register, provide name(s), telephone number in an email to arrthudsonmohawkvalleys@gmail.com or by phone at (518) 774-5669.


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