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"Loyalist and Iroquois numbers at Oriskany" Topic

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398 hits since 27 Jun 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

BayreuthvonSeybothen27 Jun 2018 6:19 a.m. PST

Does anyone have a good idea of the number and makeup of the ambush force lead by Butler at Oriskany? I see numbers all over the place. The National Park Service lists the force as 100 Yorkers 100 Indian Department Rangers and 500 Natives (Seneca and Mohawk).
The numbers listed for the Yorkers and Indian Department Rangers seem way too high especially for the Rangers.

A more conservative count from a description of Butler lists 80 in his command (presumably these are the rangers) and they are accompanied by a light company of the Yorkers.
PDF link

I have also seen the 80 'Rangers' listed in the Papers and Records – Ontario Historical Society, Volume 6 which they say comes from St. Leger's reports of the makeup of his force.

Another commentary I have found has Sir John Johnson leading the Yorkers himself (other sources say Johnston stayed behind with St. Leger "Howard Swigget, War out of Niagara-Walter Butler and the Tory Rangers, 1933, p. 85". This source also doesn't mention any Rangers and seems to suggest Butler was the leader of a party of Natives.

The another source says St. Leger authorized some of his Hanau Jäger to be part of the ambush.

With all the conflicting numbers and makeups I am not really sure how to build a force to play this battle.

Red Jacket Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 6:58 a.m. PST

There is a Troiani painting of the battle that shows what appears to be a jager. He is usually pretty good at research but I know nothing on the subject other than that.

Redblack28 Jun 2018 10:24 a.m. PST

The Battle of Oriskany was part of the Siege of Ft Stanwix. St Leger's command consisted of the following elements when they left Oswego on July 25

King's Royal Regiment of New York 133 (Sir John Johnson)
Rangers from the Indian Deartment 67, ( Col John Butler)
Canadians 50 (Capt Rene de rouville0
8th regiment 100 ( lt harry bird )
34th Regiment 100 (Capt Richard Lernoult)
Hesse Hanau jaegers 50 ( 1st lt Jacob hildebrand
2 Six Pouners 2 Coehorns

Indian dept Officers 15(Col Daniel Claus, Capt Wm Johnson)
Senecas 200
Cayugas 200
Mississaugas 150
Mohawks 400 ( Capt Joseh Brant)
Delewares ?

Total approximately 1,000

When Leger heard about the advance of Herkimer's column he sent the following force that actually fought Oriskanay

The light Company of the Royal Yorkers John Butler and 30 rangers, 200 Seneca Warriors under Sayenquerahta and 100 Mohawks under Brant.

During the battle a sorties of about 300 Rebels sortied from Ft Stanxix and weresuccessful in destroying the camps of those fighting at the battle. This left the Insdians with prectically nothing as they lost ther blankets and food.Coupled with the fact that the artillery was not capable of damaging the fort led to the abandonment of the siege Leger later claimed that one proper howitzer or naval mortar would have made a big difference

Source "Kings Men the Soldier Founders of Ontario" by Mary Beacock Fryer
"Sir John Johnson Loyalist Baronet" by Earle Thomas

historygamer28 Jun 2018 12:04 p.m. PST

Interesting as the two coehorns are mortars, but I guess they were too small to make a difference. The lob something the size of a hand grenade. While the sixes would have done some damage to the posts, they would not have made much of a dent in the earthworks. When I was visiting Fort Stanwix a few years ago I asked the NPS Ranger if the fort was rebuilt to the F&I fort or the Rev War version. He said the F&I one. I'm not sure how much it varied by 1777 from its original design. I do know that a Continental Army Engineer upgrades its defenses, so I guess he did a pretty good job.

Redblack28 Jun 2018 12:20 p.m. PST

Correct Coehorns were man portable


Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2018 2:04 p.m. PST

I think I just went by the BG Scenario Book.


You won't see Butler's Rangers because they forgot to bring them on the battlefield. Need more trees.

historygamer28 Jun 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

Looks good. I like your wagons. That game needs a few hills if its Oriskany.

BayreuthvonSeybothen30 Jun 2018 6:55 p.m. PST

In the endnotes of Gavin K. Watt's "Rebellion in the Mohawk Valley: The St. Leger Expedition of 1777" he notes that while jagers from Lt Col von Kreutzbourg's detachment were sent to the ambush at Oriskany it is not known at what time this took place. It is possible that the loyalists didn't make much mention of them as they wanted credit for themselves or St. Leger dispatched them but didn't record it. Apparently Kreutzbourg believed St. Leger to have anti-German sentiments. In the regiments records two jagers are listed as missing on August 6, 1777. Willet makes no mention of killing, capturing, or engaging any Hanau jagers in his reports. The two jagers as Wattt concludes were likely lost at Oriskany. Who commanded them is not known but it could have been the leader of the Vacant Company Lt. Hildebrand.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Jun 2018 7:33 p.m. PST

Rally, I thought you were a 15 mm guy?

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