Patriotism remembered at the Battle of Minisink memorial

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 7/28/21

BARRYVILLE, NY — Name after name was read aloud. A bell tolled after each one, solemn and small. A volley of shots from flintlock rifles rang through the forest. And the fallen of the Battle of Minisink were remembered.

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Patriotism remembered at the Battle of Minisink memorial

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BARRYVILLE, NY — Name after name was read aloud. A bell tolled after each one, solemn and small. A volley of shots from flintlock rifles rang through the forest. And the fallen of the Battle of Minisink were remembered.

The commemoration of the Battle of Minisink occurred this past Saturday, July 24, two days after the 242nd anniversary of the battle. Organized by The Delaware Company, and by the company’s president and Sullivan County’s official historian John Conway, the event brought together reenactors, local dignitaries and historic-minded citizens to remember the fallen.

The Battle of Minisink was “one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War,” as described by Conway on the Sullivan Retrospect Facebook page.

Prior to the battle, a British military leader, Joseph Brant, had led a band of Tory sympathizers and Iroquois allies in a raid on Minisink, a small settlement near modern-day Port Jervis. A colonial militia, led by Dr. Benjamin Tusten, went in pursuit, following the retreating raiders for two days.

On July 22, 1779, the two forces met on a hilltop near present-day Barryville. While the colonial militia approached the battle with good hopes, they were routed, suffering 46 killed (including Dr. Tusten) and inflicting only six casualties on Brant’s force.

The site of the battle has been consecrated as Minisink Battleground Park. The names of the dead are engraved on a plaque; the story of the battle is told by interpretive signs, spread throughout the park.

On July 24, the names of the dead were remembered and spoken aloud, with members of the Navasing Long Rifles listing off those who had fallen. A number of groups gathered to do them honor through the presentation of colors, the pledge of allegiance and a military salute; members of the Navasing Long Rifles, the Fifth NY Infantry, the 143rd NYS Volunteer Infantry, the Sullivan County Historical Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution participated in the ceremony.

The keynote speech, given by Bold Gold Media Group President Vince Benedetto, highlighted the importance of the commemoration and of the work of remembrance, which it accomplished.  “If a great civilization is to be preserved, it must... hold very close its past. It must hold even closer its heroes,” he said.

The American Revolution was the first time in history that soldiers fought to establish an entirely new form of government, said Benedetto, rather than simply fighting for home and country or as pawns in an authoritarian struggle for power. On July 3, 1776, every person on Earth lived under some form of dictatorship; the ratification of the Declaration of Independence the next day changed everything, establishing God-given rights for all people in all times, he said.

It was up to the present generation to preserve that declaration and those rights, he said. The call to defend the cause of liberty could come at any moment: “When it does, you will know in your heart and in your soul what you are to do.”

For more photos from the event, visit www.riverreporter.com.

Edit: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified members of the Veterens of Foreign Wars and the American Legion as being present at the ceremony. This was incorrect, and references to their presence have been corrected as of 1 p.m., August 13.

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