Observing the 236th Anniversary of the Battle of Minisink

| 22 Jul 2015 | 12:27

Lackawaxen Union Cemetery witnessed the ceremony in honor of those who fought, fell, or survived in the bloody Battle of the Minisink in the Revolutionary War in 1779, just across the river in New York.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier marks the spot where the remains of a soldier are buried. His remains were found in 1847 by “a man searching for his cows behind a rock near the battlefield. His equipment and uniform buttons indicated that this was the body of an American soldier killed at the battle,” Pike County Historian George Fluhr said in his address.

Canal workers of the then active D&H Canal brought the remains across the river to Lackawaxen, and they were buried at the site, and it was designated as the Grave of an Unknown Soldier of the Revolutionary War by United States Government.

He was among the many who lost their lives on the day whose bones remained unburied for decades due to the general, wild conditions of the times, Fluhr explained. Many remains were taken to Goshen, N.Y. for burial in 1822, and in 1842, some bones were found near the battlefield, and were taken for burial to the Old Congregational Church in Barryville.

A crowd of about one hundred witnessed the ceremony that was emceed by Pete Bassani of the WPF Post Eckerhaupt, who provided the honor guard, among them Pike County Commissioner Richard Caridi.

“Although we don’t know his name, we all know what this Unknown Soldier, and all those who served along with over two centuries ago, accomplished,” Wayne Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution’s Doreen Bensen said in her presentation.

The Battle of Minisink took place on July 22, 1779 after the militia that was called together chased the Mohawks and Tories along the river. They came in response to the raid at the present site of Port Jervis, where 20 buildings, including the church were burned — a very large number for the times.

An advance party of the militia caught up with the Tories and Mohawks at the mouth of the Lackawaxen River while crossing the Delaware, and the battle moved up the hill in New York side.

A bloody battle and what many describe as a massacre ensued.

Commander Col. John Hathorn described in his letter to New York State Governor, “During the whole time one blaze without intermission was kept up on both sides,” and, “Our people not being able to support the lines, retreated down the hill… toward the river. The enemy kept up under constant fire on our right, which was returned… every man made choice of his own way.”

Gun salute and Ashokan Farewell concluded the ceremony.