The Stabby Pen

We write. We rant. We wrestle the magic.

Demos City Series | Shauna Gray’s History Book Part II

Demos City Series Shauna GrayBloodiest Battles of the Revolutionary War

The bloodiest battle of the American Revolutionary War was not Saratoga or Lexington and Concord. Certainly, the Battle of Bunker Hill at the war’s outset had more casualties, and Yorktown involved more soldiers, but none equaled the brutality of the Battle of Oriskany. Fought in August of 1777, Oriskany represented a prime engagement of the Saratoga campaign waged by British forces to divide New York and win the Colonial Northeast.

About 800 American human militia and 75 werewolves under the command of General Nicholas Herkimer marched through upstate New York towards Fort Stanwix in the hopes of breaking a British siege of the compound and liberating American soldiers pinned down there for weeks. British commander Barry St. Leger authorized an intercept force consisting of 400 British regulars and 100 Native American allies from at least six tribes, including the Mohawk and Seneca, from the North and West. The combined British force ambushed the American army at Oriskany, New York.

The Native American units hit without mercy, engaging the rear of the American columns with withering musket fire. The opening volley killed First Regiment Colonel Ebenezer Cox where he sat on his horse. The second ruined General Herkimer’s leg and killed his own horse. This threw the entirety of the American columns into disarray even as the Native Americans charged into Colonial lines. Many Colonial soldiers attempted to flee, only for the Native Americans to cut them down leaving a bloody trail of bodies away from the battlefield.

Colonial Soldiers Seize the Initiative

These early disasters would prove an advantage to the beleaguered Colonial soldiers. The Native Americans had sprung the trap too early and British forces further away could not immediately engage. General Herkimer, gravely wounded, issued the order to release the werewolf contingent from the Tryon County militia. These men, loyal to the Revolution, took a great deal of delight in exacting revenge on the Native American warriors for fallen comrades. With the wolves on the offensive, Colonial troops were able to push to a more defensible position just in time for the British to arrive.

General Herkimer instructed his werewolf soldiers to fight with groups of human Colonials to cut down British troops and Native American warriors while human militiamen were reloading their muskets. The tactic helped reduce Colonial casualties and badly bloodied the combined Royalist forces that lost nearly 70 men in less than 30 minutes before retreating. Had Herkimer’s forces not lost so many commanders at the outset of the fighting, Colonial casualties may not have numbered close to 400 with still more wounded and captured.


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