For forty-three years the remains of those who fell in the Battle of Minisink laid, scattered over the country, without a burial and "their bones suffered to whiten among the rocks of the mountain, after their flesh had been devoured by wild beasts, of some, perhaps before they were dead!" [Stone]
In 1822, the bones of the slain patriots were recovered from the battle field. A special committee availed themselves of every means to ascertain the number and names of the dead, appealed in public notices to the friends of the slain to communicate their names, and suggested that much care be taken in the accuracy of spelling them. The remains were interred in two walnut coffins and buried in a mass grave in the church yard of the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen.
A monument was unveiled at the site and a ceremony, attended by over 15,000 people, was held to honor the fallen. The monument had the following inscription on the east side:
Erected by the Inhabitants of Orange County,
July 22, 1822
Sacred to the memory of Forty-four of their
Fellow Citizens, who fell at
The Battle of Minisink, July 22, 1779
Despite enumerating 44, the other sides contained the names of 45 fallen patriots. The discrepancy is noted by Dawson.
In 1862, the original memorial was replaced with the current, more formal memorial designed and executed by John Vanderoot. This memorial was a gift from Dr Merritt H Cash whose father (Reuben Cash) survived the Wyoming Massacre (1778).
The NY Times published an article about the event and included a list of the 42 names inscribed on the monument.
Ruttenber and Clark list 43 names saying "Engraved on the monument to their memory at Goshen are the names, so far as known, of those who perished in the action."
Stickney notes "Of those actually engaged in the battle, forty-four were killed, according to Dr Wilson's account, while Dawson says that of the one hundred and forty-nine men who went out, only thirty returned."
Dawson writes "Of those who were in the battle, forty-five fell--some on the field, others in retreat; while many who had been wounded suffered a more terrible death, in the torments which their solitary and helpless condition produced. Of those who were cut off, before the fight began, there is no other account than that they, too, were "missing;" and as it is generally acknowledged that, of the one hundred and forty-nine who went out, only thirty returned, there is no doubt that they, too, fell a sacrifice to their own rashness."
It's worth noting:
- Not all the names listed on the first monument are identical on the second monument. Some differences are in spelling (Ferguson/Forgerson, Masten/Mastin) while others are wholly different. Listed on the first but not on the second: Nathaniel Terwilliger, Jonathan Shepherd; On the second but not on the first: Timothy Barber, Joseph Rider. Some of these discrepancies may be attributed careless transcriptions.
- At some time after the dedication, additional names were added and the monument today lists 46 fallen patriots. The names of the other fallen have been long lost to history.
- Life of Joseph Brant-Thayendanege by William Leete Stone (1838)
- An Outline History of Orange County By Samuel W Eager (1846-7) p498-499
- History of Delaware County: And Border Wars of New York By Jay Gould (1856) p101
- Battles of the United States: By Sea and Land, Volume 1 By Henry Barton Dawson (1858)
- NYTimes "THE BATTLE OF MINISINK. The Eighty-Third Anniversary of the Battle Celebrated. Another Monument Erected in Goshen" 23 July 1862
- A History of the Minisink Region By Charles E. Stickney (1867)
- History of Orange County, NY By Ruttenber and Clark (1881) p60
GPS Coordinates: 41.40242, -74.3217
- Added: 15 May 2009
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2305530
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