Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Bronx Militia


Two-hundred and thirty-three years ago, on August 31, 1778, British troops killed 40 Indians in the Bronx in what became known as the Stockbridge Indian Massacre during the American Revolution.
When the revolution began, members of the Stockbridge Indian tribe met at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to pledge their loyalty to the Americans, stating “Wherever your armies go, there will we go; you shall always find us by your side. Nor shall peace ever be made between our nation and the Redcoats until our brothers the white people lead the way.”
They formed a militia that served in the siege of Boston and the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. Then, the militia disbanded, with some Indians returning home and others serving as scouts.
In 1777, a new Stockbridge Militia was formed from the 8th Massachusetts Regiment and other units under the command of Major General Horatio Gates. The loosely organized militia was led by Jehoiaikim Mtohksin and became part of the Continental Army.Abraham Nimham, son of Daniel Nimham, a Wappinger sachem who moved his people to Stockbridge during the French and Indian War, was second-in-command. By 1778, they served in many campaigns, from the Battle of Saratoga to the Battle of Monmouth.
In July 1778, a group of Stockbridge Indians under Daniel Nimham joined the American army at White Plains, N.Y. Abraham Nimham, seeking to fight alongside his father, asked that all the Stockbridge Indians from several units be allowed to serve together.
In August, the Stockbridge Militia was stationed at an outpost in what is now Yonkers, N.Y. Their enemy were the Queen's Rangers, an outgrowth of Rogers' Rangers, in which many Stockbridge Indians served during the French and Indian War.
The scene of the action was Van Cortlandt Manor, a large estate between Broadway and the Bronx River. Midway between the river and the manor house was Mile Square Road, connecting the Albany Post Road with the hamlet of Mile Square in Westchester County.
On August 31, about 40 Indians, including Abraham Nimham, his father Daniel, and 12 other Stockbridge natives, were killed in an ambush by the Rangers in the area that is now Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
The American forces were outnumbered nearly five to one. During the action, Daniel Nimham wounded a British officer. With enemy troops at the front and rear, the old chief called out to his men to retreat, but then shouted “I am old and can die here."
The Indians fled through the fields, where they were chased down. Overwhelmed, they refused to surrender and fought fiercely, leaping onto horses and dragging off the riders. They used their knives and tomahawks because there was no time to reload their muskets.
The British soldiers called out for the fugitives to surrender, promising them their lives. Three Indians gave themselves up, but the British killed them. The site of this atrocity is known as Indian Bridge.
The British reported a total of 40 Indians and a small number of rebel soldiers killed or wounded, and 10 prisoners taken. Four British soldiers were killed and three wounded. The two Nimhams were dead, as were 12 more young Stockbridge braves from their mission village.
British Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe led the attack and, though he was wounded, the skirmish was a victory for the Redcoats. The bodies of the Indians were left on the battlefield. When local residents discovered the corpses scavenged by dogs, they buried them in a mass grave.
After the massacre, Hessian Captain Johann Von Ewald described the Indian casualties: “Their costume was a shirt of coarse linen down to the knees, long trousers also of linen down to the feet, on which they wore shoes of deerskin, and the head was covered with a hat made of bast.
“Their weapons were a rifle or musket, a quiver with some twenty arrows, and a short battle-axe, which they know how to throw very skillfully. Through the nose and in the ears they wore rings, and on their heads only the hair of the crown remained standing in a circle the size of a dollar-piece, the remainder being shaved off bare. They pull out with pincers all the hairs of the beard, as well as those on all other parts of the body.”
This battle, known as the Battle of Kingsbridge, was the last of the war for the Stockbridge Militia because their casualties represented a significant loss to the tribe. Most of the survivors settled in Oneida County, N.Y., and later moved to Wisconsin, forming the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe.
When they asked to return home to help the families of the dead, the Stockbridge Militia was paid $1,000 for its service and discharged by the order of General George Washington in September 1778.

 “Wild Bill” Donovan commanded the 1st Battalion, 165th Infantry and later was appointed to command the 165th Regiment.CT2026 79th New York Infantry Dress tunic
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 After the war he visited Europe, Siberia, and Japan, served as assistant attorney general in the Coolidge administration (briefly supervising a young J. Edgar Hoover and his new Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI]), Mounted Shell Jacket M1858Mounted Shell Jacket M1858Features twenty small eagle buttons and wool worsted braid in branch of service colour (Artillery Red, Cavalry Yellow; Dragoons Orange and Mounted Rifles Green). Sleeve buttons can be undone to allow the sleeve to be rolled up. Fitted inside pocket. Two bolsters fitted to the rear of jacket to support sword belt.
practiced antitrust law in New York City, and lost the 1932 election as the Republican candidate for Governor of New York. His interest in world affairs never diminished. Nor did his zest for being where the action was; he even toured the Italian battle lines in Ethiopia in 1935. Donovan also made wide contacts in government and among public-spirited financial and legal figures in New York City: men like Frank Knox, David Bruce, and the Dulles brothers, Allen and John Foster. When Frank Knox became FDR’s new Secretary of the Navy in 1940, he brought William Donovan to Roosevelt’s attention (FDR and Donovan had been classmates—although not companions—at Columbia Law School). Federal Trousers General InformationThat summer, Roosevelt confidentially asked Donovan to visit Britain and report on London’s resolve and its staying power against Hitler. Donovan’s British hosts understood his mission. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, hoping to win American support for Britain’s desperate war effort, ensured that Donovan saw Zouave Uniformseverything he wanted, granting him extraordinary access to defense and intelligence secrets. Donovan also toured the Balkans and British outposts in the Mediterranean in early 1941. Roosevelt was impressed with Donovan’s reports and with his ideas on intelligence and its place in modern war. When the President decided to force the military and civilian services to cooperate on intelligence matters in the summer of 1941, Donovan was the man he tapped to perform this mission. William J. Donovan happily accepted the challenge and set to work with typical charisma and zeal. When the war came to America at Pearl Harbor, however, Donovan wanted to command troops on the battlefield again and hoped to gain a commission in the US Army. His hopes were soon dashed. An automobile accident in the spring of 1942 aggravated an old war wound, and Donovan realized that he would never again hold a field command. Nevertheless, he eventually wore a general’s stars. As the Director of OSS and a representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Donovan commanded thousands of service personnel, and it was deemed helpful to recommission him for the duration of the war. He was placed on active duty and promoted to Brigadier General in March 1943 and won promotion to Major General in November 1944.

Alfred Joyce Kilmer is remembered today for the poem "Trees" published in 1914. Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1886. He was educated at Columbia University and worked for the "The New York Times." He joined the 165th Infantry, (Fighting 69th) and in quickly attained the rank of Sergeant attached to the newly organized Regimental Intelligence Staff. He was encouraged to go to Officer Candidate School and accept a commission but he said he would rather be a Sergeant in the 69th than an officer in any other unit in the Army. On July 30th 1918, while gathering intelligence for the Regiment during the battle of the Ourcq he was shot in the head. He was 31 years old. Camp Kilmer in New Jersey was named after him. On the New Jersey Turnpike at exit seven, there is a rest stop named after him. He wrote many poems including about the 69th including "Memorial Day," "Rouge Bouquet" and "When the Sixty-Ninth Comes Back." "When the Sixty-Ninth Comes Back" was set to music by Victor Herbert, (writer of "Babes in Toyland") and was played by the Regimental Band during the 165th's triumphal march up 5th Ave after World War I.

The most celebrated U.S. Army chaplain in the Great War, Father Francis Patrick Duffy, a Roman Catholic priest, was born in Cobourg, Canada, and was ordained in 1896. He attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and then was appointed professor of psychology and ethics at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York.CT040 Infantry Trousers Father Duffy’s career as an Army chaplain began with a brief tour of duty during the Spanish-American War when he was stationed at Montauk Point,CT040M US Mounted Troops Trousers Long Island. In 1912 he became pastor of Our Savior parish in the Bronx, and in 1914 he was appointed chaplain of the 69th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard. The "Fighting Sixty-Ninth," a basically Irish regiment, although containing members of other ethnic groups, had served with distinction during the Civil War. It was called up briefly during the Spanish-American War, and also in 1916, when it served on the Mexican border during General Pershing’s Punitive expedition. When the United CT5678 Zouave Jacket, Vest and Pants (Set)States entered World War I, the regiment was renumbered the 165th Infantry and assembled at Camp Mills, New York. Assigned to be part of the new Rainbow (42nd) Division, its members continued to refer to the regiment by its traditional sobriquet. Chaplain Duffy, by now a major and the senior chaplain of the 42nd Division, became an inspirational focus for the division and later for the A.E.F. The poet Joyce Kilmer writing about the voyage of the division across the Atlantic, observed that every day there could be seen a line of soldiers, "as long as the mess-line," waiting their turn to have Duffy hear their confessions. Every morning, Kilmer noted, a large crowd of soldiers would gather amidships on the transport where Chaplain Duffy would say Mass at an altar made from a long board resting on two nail kegs. Arriving in France in November 1917, the division spent the winter training and in late February 1918, took over front-line trenches from French forces at Luneville in the Lorraine sector.CT309S Fireman's Front Shirt At dawn on March 20, Duffy and the men of the 42nd received their first serious baptism of fire when a barrage of mustard gas shells burst among them. The bombardment lasted two days and there were over 400 casualties, the majority of them blinded. For Chaplain Duffy, the next few months were to be filled with such scenes. CT309  Tombstone Shield Front ShirtHe was most often found along the front lines hearing confessions and saying Mass, as well as visiting and counseling the soldiers. It was by his ‘ministry of presence’ that he had his greatest influence and became an almost a legendary figure. Once the fighting began, he often traveled with a unit first-aid station, providing physical and spiritual care to the wounded and the dying. His presence on the battlefield was inspirational. CT040 Type 2F  Federal Staff Officers TrousersDuffy was always near the heaviest fighting, exposing himself to constant danger as he moved from unit to unit. His decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal. After the war, Duffy returned to a new parish in New York City. As pastor of the Holy Cross Church on 42nd Street, just off Broadway, the "actor’s Church,’ Father Duffy added to his already great popularity. In 1919, he published a best selling book, Father Duffy’s Story, chronicling his experience in the Great War. He died on 26 June 1932. Conclusion In Chaplain Duffy, the chaplaincy produced probably the best known field chaplain in its long history. BIBLIOGRAPHY Coffman, Edward M., The War To End All Wars, Oxford University Press, New York, 1968. Duffy, Francis P., Father Duffy’s Story, G.H. Doran Company, New York, 1919. Honeywell, Roy J., Chaplains of The United States Army, Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, Washington, DC, 1958.

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