Capital District Council for the Social Studies (Albany, NY)
Amateurs Talk About Tactics, but Professionals Study Logistics: Supplying the Sullivan Expedition of 1779
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. Over 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.
Robert E. Mulligan, Jr. graduated from SUNY Albany, and the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies. He began his career as Curator of Fort Ticonderoga, and then for a quarter century was Associate Curator of Military History at the New York State Museum.
Light refreshments will be served after the presentation. There will also be a book sale – cash, check or credit cards are accepted.
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