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Peebles Island

In 1668, Philip Pietersen Schuyler and Goosen Gerritsen von Schaick acquired Peebles and van Schaick Islands and used the rich flood plain for planting crops and other areas for grazing cattle.

Built in 1735, the van Schaick House located near the intersection of van Schaick and Delaware Avenue on van Schaick Island was probably used by Generals Haratio Gates and Philip Schuyler as headquarters for the northern department of the colonial army between August 18th and September 8th 1777. The Revolutionary War emphasized the strategic location of Peebles and van Schaick Islands. During the major British offensive of 1777 when General John Burgoyne was advancing from Montreal in an attempt to capture Albany, the islands were garrisoned by Americans who built extensive earthen fortifications along the northern edge of Peebles Island.

Peebles Island is surrounded by rivers. On the east side of the island is the Hudson River. On the north side is the fourth branch of the Mohawk River. On the west and south side is the third branch of the Mohawk River. But despite its surroundings, the old military road from Fort Ann to Albany runs right though the middle of it. At the north end of the island, the road became the ford across the water to battery park in Waterford, where you just visited. There are several markers that provide the history of Peebles Island. During the Revolution, the island was prepared for a final stand against the British if they had won a victory at Saratoga.


Erected under the direction of Thaddeus Koscuiszko in August-September 1777 to check Burgoyne's invasion.

On August 17, 1777, Americans retreated south to these islands. They prepared defenses to make a final stand against the British who intended to capture Albany. An American victory at Saratoga, however, made it unnecessary to rely upon the island's defenses. The fortifications consisted of three batteries of cannon protected by earth works all connected by entrenchments for troops. Their design has been attributed to Polish engineer, Thaddeus Koscuiszko.

Enroute to Albany, NY

Van Schaick Home.

Van Schaick Home

Home of John G. van Schaick and his wife Anna, patriot Americans. Built by Anthony van Schaick, son of Goosen Gerritsen von Schaick, original patenty. Headquarters, August 18 - September 8, 1777, Northern Department of the Continental Army. General Philip Schuyler and General Haratio Gates here planned the Saratoga campaign and here, August 19, 1777, General Gates assumed command. From this place, August 15, 1777, General Benedict Arnold and his force marched to relieve Fort Stanwix. Beneath this roof were received Governor George Clinton, General Benjamin Lincoln, General Ebenezer Learned, Colonel Peter Gansivoort, General Enoch Poor, General John Stark, Colonel Daniel Morgan, Colonel Thaddeus Koscuiszko, engineer of the fortifications on Peebles Island and at Bemis Heights. Here, also, after the surrender, were entertained General John Burgoyne and his staff.

Camp Van Schaick.

Camp Van Schaick 

Encampment of the Northern Department Continental Army, August 9 - September 8, 1777. From this place, August 9, 1777, Gen. Ebenezer Learned with his Massachusetts brigade marched to relieve Fort Stanwix. 

Erected by the Cohoes Historical Society and the State of New York, 1928. 

Watervliet Arsenal. The arsenal is the oldest, continually active manufacturing arsenal in the United States, founded in 1813. The museum contains a collection of howitzers, naval guns and artillery used throughout the history of the United States. Amongst the artillery is “George the 2nd”, a British 24 Pounder. This is one of two 24 Pounders that were surrendered by the British at the Battle of Saratoga. The museum is open to the public, Monday-Thursday, 10am-3pm.

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