Battle Of Johnstown

The Battle of Johnstown was fought in Johnstown, New York.

It was one of the last battles in the American theatre of the American Revolutionary War, with approximately 1400 engaged at Johnstown on October 25, 1781. Local Continental forces, led by Colonel Marinus Willett of Johnstown, ultimately put the British forces under the command of Major John Ross of the King's Royal Regiment of New York and Captain Walter Butler of Butler's Rangers to flight. This was the first time so many British regular army troops participated in a border raid in this area. The British retreated northwards and Marinus Willett marched to German Flatts to cut them off.

On October 11, 1781, Major John Ross and Captain Walter Butler with twenty-five men from the 8th Regiment, one hundred men from the 34th Regiment, thirty men from the 84th Regiment, 120 men from the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, 150 men from Butler’s Rangers, forty men from Captain Leake’s Corps., twelve Chasseurs and 130 Indians totaling a force of 607 men left Oswego on their way to the Mohawk Valley.

Major Ross and his men arrived in the Mohawk valley on October 24th, and they attacked and plundered Currytown and took several inhabitants prisoner. Major Ross and his men afterwards headed for Warrensbush (now Town of Florida).

Late that afternoon Colonel Marinus Willett who was in command at Fort Rensselaer on arriving word of this invasion from some of the Currytown settlers, sent messengers to Forts Clyde, Paris and Plank for additional troops while he gathered troops and supplies at Fort Rensselaer.

Major Ross with his detachment arrived a few hours before daylight on October 25th at Warrensbush. At the first ray of sunshine the enemy attacked and burned Warrensbush. About one o’clock Ross and his men with great difficulty crossed the Mohawk River which was swollen from the recent heavy rains.

A scouting party from Fort Johnstown under Lieutenant Isaac Saulkill was sent out to find the enemy’s whereabouts and strength. Saulkill and his men fell in with a party of Ross men near Tribes Hill and Saulkill was killed and the rest dispersed. Ross now headed for Johnstown.