A REVOLUTIONARY DAY
US Route 9 goes from Maryland to Canada, but along the Hudson River, Route 9 goes through many cities and towns that played an important role in the American Revolution. During the time of the Revolution, the Hudson River was both a major transportation route and a geographic barrier. British control of the Hudson River as well as Lake Champlain would not only divide the American colonies but it would also cut communication and eliminate a very navigable passage as an American transportation route. At the same time for the British, it would open a major supply route from New Britain (Canada) to New York City, which were both held by the British for most of war.
In the spring of 1777, British General Burgoyne planned a three-pronged invasion to divide the colonies along the Champlain and Hudson valleys. The invasion would come from Canada in the north, New York City in the south and Lake Ontario in the west. The target for all three was Albany, NY.
Unfortunately for Burgoyne, his invasion from the north stalled at Saratoga (Stillwater, NY). The invasion from the west stalled at Fort Stanwix (Rome, NY). The invasion from the south was never agreed to by General William Howe, who commanded the forces in New York City. Instead, he decided to launch an invasion up Chesapeake Bay to Philadelphia. However, Howe left the decision to move north up to General Henry Clinton, who was left in charge of the forces in New York City. His instructions were for Clinton to make a move to Albany, “if the circumstances warranted.”
Clinton’s primary mission was to defend New York City, but he was also very cautious. He would not send troops northward unless he felt he had enough manpower to carry out his defense of New York and an attack on Albany. Finally, in October of 1777, he decided to mount a “distraction” to the north; but he never intended to target Albany or rescue Burgoyne. Clinton easily moved northward up the Hudson and took the Highland Passes north of Peekskill. He also sent an advance unit under the command of Major General John Vaughan to attack areas above the Highlands, including Kingston and Clermont. None of these areas were well defended because Washington had most of the American forces near Philadelphia and Saratoga. But when General Israel Putnam, who was shadowing the northward advance, got close enough to threaten the invasion, the British forces returned to New York City. It is ironic that the most successful of the three prongs had a quick, very successful advance, but was started too late and was cautiously suspended when threatened.
A Revolutionary Day along Historical US Route 9 begins early in the morning at Kings Ferry. During the Revolutionary War, Kings Ferry was a major crossing point on the Hudson. Because the British controlled New York City, Kings Ferry was the southernmost crossing point for American personnel and supplies for most of the war.
From Kings Ferry, the road trip heads north through Peekskill, Garrison and Cold Spring to Fishkill, which was the site of a large supply depot for the northern department of the Continental Army.
From Fishkill, the road trip continues north through Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck and Red Hook to Clermont, which was the furthest north Clinton’s 1777 invasion from New York City reached.
From Clermont, the road trip continues north through Claverack and Kinderhook, where Burgoyne would be briefly kept as a prisoner/guest.
From Kinderhook, the road trip crosses the Hudson River to Albany, which was the target for the British invasions of 1777.
From Albany, the road trip continues north to the Saratoga Battlefield, where Burgoyne’s invasion from the north would be stopped.
From Saratoga, the road trip continues north to Schuylerville, where Burgoyne surrendered, and then from Schuylerville, the road trip concludes in Saratoga Springs. So, if you're ready, begin your Revolutionary Day Along Historical US Route 9.
So, if you're ready