The Devastation of the Iroquois Lands 1779


Map Code: Ax01419

In 1778 William Butler, a Loyalist militia captain, and Joseph Brant, a mission-educated Mohawk chief, joined forces in raiding American settlements in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. Most of their forces were Indian, and enraged by previous destruction of their own villages by rebels. ‘Butler’s Rangers’ were notorious for their brutality. George Washington determined to put a stop to these activities, commanding Generals Sullivan and Clinton to march on the Iroquois lands and effect their ‘total ruinment’. And ‘total ruinment’ was effected. After rendezvous near the Seneca village of Tioga, the combined armies marched steadily through Seneca territory, winning the only pitched battle at Newtown, systematically destroying all settlements and crops. Colonel Brodhead simultaneously destroyed villages to the west along the Allegheny River. The Seneca’s British allies made no effort to help; now refugees, many starved in the harsh winter that followed.

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