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Public Archaeology Facility (Research Foundation for Binghamton University)
THE SENECA AND DELAWARE URGED
BRITISH ALLIES TO HELP BLOCK
CONTINENTAL TROOPS ADVANCE
RESULTING IN BATTLE OF
NEWTOWN ON AUGUST 29, 1779.
WILLIAM G. POMEROY FOUNDATION 2019
Following the victory of the Continental Army against the British forces at Saratoga, it appeared as though the tide of the American Revolution was turning in favor of the American colonists. Despite this victory, Loyalists and Native American tribes allied with the British were wreaking havoc in New York. In 1779, Major General John Sullivan was tasked by General George Washington, to rendezvous with General James Clinton and his forces, and unleash a campaign of destruction against the hostile Native American tribes of New York. During this expedition, Generals Sullivan and Clinton, worked their way through Native American territory, destroying Cayuga, Seneca, Mohawk and Delaware communities along with their food stores.
Few full scale battles occurred during the Sullivan and Clinton Campaign, however, on August 29, 1779 one of the last major battles during the Sullivan Clinton Campaign took place. British soldiers, along with their Seneca and Delaware allies, fought to defend Newtown from advancing Continental troops. In a August 31, 1779 letter to fellow British Commander, Col. John Butler recognized the odds that they were against:
“Finding that with our numbers, which did not exceed 600 men, we could not engage the Enemy with a probability of success & aware of the bad consequences of a Defeat, I endeavored to persuade the Indians to a more advantageous situation.”
Despite the warning, the Seneca and Delaware tribes were adamant about defending Newtown. As combat ensued, they initially mounted a strong defense were but vastly outnumbered and outgunned, forcing the British and their Native American allies to retreat.