Oct 17, 1780 Sir John Johnson’s second raid on the Mohawk Valley.
Sir John Johnson began his raid down Schoharie Creek. His army of close to 900 Loyalists, Indians and British Regulars had camped the night of the 16th where Kennanagara Creek flowed into the Schoharie Kill (Creek).
Johnson’s main force started out from Carleton Island and sailed across Lake Ontario to Oswego. From there, they used bateaux down the Oswego River to Onondaga Lake. They stored their boats and supplies by the lake and marched southeast to reach Schoharie Kill on October 16th.
Johnson bypassed the Upper Fort, just north of Bouck Farms Island, and marched up the east shore of the Schoharie Kill. They burned houses, barns, and crops as they went. When they reached the Middle Fort (Fort Defyance) just north of Middleburgh, NY Johnson attempted to gain the surrender of the fort’s defenders. The fort did not surrender and they continued their destructive march north. After firing several cannon shots into it, Johnson bypassed the Lower Fort, just north of the village of Schoharie, and camped the night of the 17th where Fly Creek empties into the Schoharie.
On October 18th, Johnson ordered Joseph Brant and a small party to burn the settlement around Fort Hunter while the main force continued up the west side of the Schoharie to the confluence with the Mohawk River. Arriving at the Mohawk River, Sir John split his force and marched west on both sides of the Mohawk, looting and burning as they went.
Following the Battles of Stone Arabia and Klock’s Field, Sir John and his force returned by several routes to Onondaga Lake and arrived back in Oswego on October 26th. In his report to Sir Frederick Haldimand, Sir John claimed to have destroyed six hundred thousand bushels of grain. Governor George Clinton put the destruction at one hundred fifty thousand bushels and 200 dwellings burned. So devastating was the raid, that Clinton stated Schenectady should now be considered the western frontier of New York State.
Sources: Public Papers of George Clinton.
Barbara Graymont, The Iroquois in the American Revolution.
Isabel Kelsay, Joseph Brant: Man of Two Worlds.
Gavin K. Watt, The Burning of the Valleys.