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Encyclopedia > Wyoming Valley Massacre
Wyoming Valley Massacre
Part of the American Revolutionary War

Date July 3, 1778
Location Pennsylvania
Result British victory
Combatants
Britain United States
Commanders
Colonel John Butler Colonel Zebulon Butler
Strength
900 regulars and Native American warriors 360 milita
Casualties
three killed, eight wounded over 300 killed and captured (164+6 known dead)
Northern theater after Saratoga, 1778–1781
Rhode IslandWyoming ValleyCarleton's RaidCherry ValleyStony PointPenobscot expeditionSullivan expeditionNewtownSpringfieldGroton Heights

The Wyoming "massacre" was an encounter during the American Revolutionary War between American Patriots and Loyalists accompanied by Iroquois raiders that took place in Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1778. More than three hundred Patriots were killed in what was branded a "massacre", although historians now generally believe it was primarily a battle. The aftermath, however, in which the Iroquois raiders hunted and killed fleeing Patriots before torturing to death the thirty to forty who had surrendered, is considered a massacre. Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, The Netherlands, Spain, American Indians Great Britain, German mercenaries, Loyalists, American Indians Canadian Indians Commanders George Washington, Comte de Rochambeau, Nathanael Greene, Bernardo de Gálvez William Howe, Henry Clinton, Charles Cornwallis (more commanders) The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War... Download high resolution version (760x601, 142 KB) 19th century engraving. ... July 3 is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 181 days remaining. ... 1778 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Official language(s) None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 160 miles (255 km)  - Length 280 miles (455 km)  - % water 2. ... John Butler (1728-1796) was a Tory (Loyalist) who led an irregular unit known as Butlers Rangers on the northern frontier in the American Revolutionary War. ... Zebulon Butler (1731-1795) was an American leader during the colonial period. ... Combatants British United States Commanders Robert Pigot John Sullivan Strength 7,139 10,100 Casualties at least 260 at least 211 The Battle of Rhode Island was a battle fought on August 29, 1778 when units of the Continental Army under the command of John Sullivan attempted to recapture Aquidneck... Combatants United States and Vermont Republic British Commanders Seth Warner Christopher Carleton Strength unknown number of local militia 454 soldiers plus sailors on the ships Casualties 79 captured, unknown killed and wounded 1 killed, 17 missing and 1 wounded On October 24, 1778 with snow already on the ground but... Incident in Cherry Valley - fate of Jane Wells from the original picture by Alonzo Chappel by Thomas Phillibrown, engraver. ... Combatants United States British Commanders Anthony Wayne Henry Johnson Strength 1,350 700 Casualties 95 killed, wounded and missing 63 killed 70 wounded 543 prisoners The Battle of Stony Point was a battle of the American Revolutionary War. ... Largest American naval expedition of the American Revolutionary War. ... The Sullivan Expedition, also known as the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, was a campaign led by Major General John Sullivan and General James Clinton against Loyalists (Tories) and the four nations of the Iroquois who had sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War. ... The Battle of Newtown (29 August 1779) was the only major battle of the Sullivan Expedition, an armed offensive led by Gen. ... Combatants United States Great Britain Hessians Commanders Nathanael Greene Wilhelm von Knyphausen Strength 2,050 6,000 Casualties 15 killed, 40 wounded 25–50 or more killed {Note the appendix to The Hessians gives possible casualites estimates as being 25 killed, 75 wounded} The Battle of Springfield was a battle... The Battle of Groton Heights was a battle of the American Revolutionary War. ... Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, The Netherlands, Spain, American Indians Great Britain, German mercenaries, Loyalists, American Indians Canadian Indians Commanders George Washington, Comte de Rochambeau, Nathanael Greene, Bernardo de Gálvez William Howe, Henry Clinton, Charles Cornwallis (more commanders) The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War... Patriots (also known as Partisans, or Rebels) were British North American colonists who rebelled against the British monarchy during the American Revolution and established the independent states that became the United States of America. ... Britannia gives a heros welcome to returning American Loyalists. ... The Confederacy (Haudenosaunee, also known as the League of Peace and Power, Five Nations, or Six Nations) is a group of First Nations/Native Americans. ... A lesser-known Wyoming Valley exists in western New York in Wyoming County, where the valley of Oatka Creek is commonly known as the Wyoming Valley and includes the villages of Wyoming and Warsaw. ... Official language(s) None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq mi (119,283 km²)  - Width 160 miles (255 km)  - Length 280 miles (455 km)  - % water 2. ... July 3 is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 181 days remaining. ... 1778 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... The word massacre has a number of meanings, but most commonly refers to individual events of deliberate and direct mass killing, especially of noncombatant civilians or other innocents, that would often qualify as war crimes or atrocities. ...

Contents


Background

In 1777, after a British army surrendered at Saratoga in upstate New York, Loyalists and their Iroquois allies in the region turned to hit-and-run tactics, raiding American Patriot settlements as well as the villages of American-allied Iroquois. Based at Fort Niagara, these raids were led by commanders, such as British Colonel John Butler, the Mohawk captain Joseph Brant and the Seneca chief Cornplanter Combatants British 9th/Hill, 20th/Lynd, 21st/ Hamilton, 62nd/Ansthruter, Simon Fraser Brunswick Major Generals V. Riedesel, 1st Brigade (Brunswickers) Brig. ... Upstate New York is the region of New York State outside of the core of the New York metropolitan area. ... Hit and run is the act of hitting an object with a vehicle and leaving the location of the incident. ... Historical recreation actors at Old Fort Niagara Fort Niagara is a three hundred-year-old fortification originally built to protect the interests of New France in northern North America. ... John Butler (1728-1796) was a Tory (Loyalist) who led an irregular unit known as Butlers Rangers on the northern frontier in the American Revolutionary War. ... The Mohawk (Kanienkeh or Kanienkehaka meaning People of the Flint) are an indigenous people of North America who live around Lake Ontario and the St. ... Joseph Brant, painted in London by leading court painter George Romney in 1776 Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant (sometimes spelled Brandt or Brand) (c. ... The Seneca are a Native American people, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League. ... Chief Cornplanter portrait by F. Bertoli, 1796 Gaiäntwakê (c. ...


Encounter

The Wyoming Valley battle occurred when Colonel Butler, leading his Rangers accompanied by a force of Cayugas and Senecas led by Cornplanter, made a surprise attack on the three hundred and sixty armed Patriot defenders of Forty Fort beside the Susquehanna River (near present-day Wilkes-Barre). The Patriots were virtually annihilated and around 1,000 homes in the area were burned. Butlers Rangers (1777–1784) was a Loyalist (or Tory) irregular militia regiment in the British Army during the American Revolutionary War. ... The Cayuga nation (Guyohkohnyo or the People of the Great Swamp) was one of the five original constituents of the Iroquois, a confederacy of Indians in New York. ... Forty Fort is a borough located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. ... The Susquehanna River is a river in the northeastern United States. ... Wilkes-Barre (pronounced wilkes-berry or wilkes-bear, and most often by non-natives as wilkes-bar) is a city located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. ...


After the battle, some of the victorious Loyalists and Indians began to harass prisoners and fleeing settlers, killing and torturing an unknown number. All of the Patriots who had been captured while fighting were executed. Butler reported that 227 American scalps had been taken [1]. He also insisted that no non-combatants had been killed, despite widespread accounts to the contrary. Native American Big Mouth Spring with decorated scalp lock on right shoulder. ... Non-combatant is a military and legal term describing civilians not engaged in combat. ...


Survivors' accounts indicate that the moment of contact was followed by a sharp battle lasting about forty-five minutes. An order to reposition the Patriot line turned into a frantic rout when the inexperienced Patriot militia panicked. This ended the battle and triggered the Iroquois hunt for survivors.


Reports of the massacre of the prisoners enraged the American public and they demanded retribution. In 1779, the Sullivan Expedition methodically destroyed at least forty Iroquois villages throughout what is now upstate New York. The Sullivan Expedition, also known as the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, was a campaign led by Major General John Sullivan and General James Clinton against Loyalists (Tories) and the four nations of the Iroquois who had sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War. ...


The massacre was famously depicted by the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell in his 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming. Because of the atrocities involved, Campbell described Joseph Brant as a "monster" in the poem, though it was later determined that Brant had not actually been present. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


The massacre is commemorated each year by the Wyoming Commemorative Association, a local non-profit organization, which holds a ceremony on the grounds of the Wyoming Monument. The Monument is a mass grave containing the bones of the many of the victims of the massacre. The commemorative ceremonies began in 1878, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Massacre. The principal speaker at the event was President Rutherford B. Hayes. The annual program has continued each year since then on the grounds of the Wyoming Monument. The Wyoming Commemorative Association was founded in 1878 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famed Battle and Massacre of Wyoming (also known as the Wyoming Valley Massacre) This Revolutionary War battle was fought on July 3, 1778, near Wilkes-Barre in present day Exeter, PA. The Association was informally... The Wyoming Monument is a Revolutionary War Monument and gravesite, located in the Borough of Wyoming, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. ... Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was an American politician, lawyer, military leader and the 19th President of the United States (1877-1881). ...


Trivia

  • The western state of Wyoming received its name from Congress when it joined the Union in 1890, much to the puzzlement of its residents. An Ohio Congressman suggested the name because he so liked the poem, Gertrude of Wyoming.

References

  • Boatner, Mark Mayo. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York: McKay, 1966.
  • Graymont, Barbara. The Iroquois in the American Revolution. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1972.
  • Williams, Glenn F. Year of the Hangman: George Washington's Campaign Against the Iroquois. Yardley: Westholme Publishing, 2005.

Further reading

  • Altsheler, Joseph A. "The Scouts of the Valley" (Historical Novel). Champaign, Ill. (P.O. Box 2782, Champaign 61825) Project Gutenberg.
Pennsylvania in the American Revolutionary War
1774 - First Continental Congress - Articles of Association - 1775 - Independence Hall - Second Continental Congress - 1776 - Betsy Ross Flag - United States Declaration of Independence - Pennsylvania Constitution 1777 - Articles of Confederation- Philadelphia campaign - Battle of Brandywine - Battle of the Clouds - Liberty Bell Moved to Allentown - Paoli massacre - Battle of Germantown - Siege of Fort Mifflin - Battle of White Marsh - Battle of Matson's Ford - Valley Forge - 1778 - Battle of Crooked Billet - Battle of Barren Hill - Philadelphia Recaptured - Wyoming Valley massacre - 1781 - Congress of the Confederation

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