Defending West Point: The Revolutionary War in the Hudson River Valley – 1777 to 1783

Wednesday, May 2 (7:00pm) – Saturday, May 5, 2018 (5:00pm)

Tour Leaders: James Kirby Martin, Lt. Col. Sean Scully and Bruce Venter

HQ: Fishkill, NY

Conference Registration: $495 

West Point was a major fortified installation during the American Revolution. Its purpose was to prevent the British from controlling the Hudson River and dividing New England from the rest of the country. Benedict Arnold’s plot to sell West Point in 1780 is undoubtedly the most famous story associated with New York’s lower Hudson River Valley region. But many other events occurred during the period 1777 thru 1783 in this area.
Our first day will be spent on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point where we will visit Fort Putnam (pictured above), a fortification built in 1778 to support Fort Clinton (formerly called Fort Arnold) on the point. We will also visit Redoubt No. 4, a key defensive position built 300 feet above Fort Putnam. “The possession of the Hill appears to me essential to the preservation of the whole post and our main effort ought to be directed to keeping the enemy off of it…” George Washington wrote in July 1779, vindicating Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s decision to place a redoubt on Rocky Hill. We will also see the remains of Fort Clinton near the river. In the afternoon we’ll board a boat to travel to Constitution Island, another link in the Patriot defenses of the Hudson River. Constitution Island was the earliest Revolutionary War fortification in the Hudson Valley. Taken briefly by the British in 1777, the island was re-occupied by American forces in 1778, serving as an integral part of the Patriot strategic position.

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Leatherstocking Tales – July 6-9, 2011

Wednesday, July 6 (7:30 PM) thru Saturday, July 9 (5 PM)
Headquartered in Albany, NY
Led by Wayne Franklin and Bruce Venter

We all remember the novels of James Fenimore Cooper from our youth either through movie versions, the “Classic” comic books series or by actually reading them in English class.

Cooper was a popular and successful writer in his own time in part because he described many actual historical places in his books. These sites were readily identified by early 19th century readers because they had learned about these same places in school. Cooper was able to vividly describe these historical sites because he had actually visited them himself. Whether it was sitting on a porch in Westchester County, sailing upon the crystal blue waters of Lake George or tramping through the woods near his boyhood home in Cooperstown, he was able to translate what he observed into stirring tales of early America.

Our tour will explore the real historic and geographic sites portrayed in several Cooper novels. It will give us a better understanding of the author’s insight into America’s frontier legacy. Explaining how the actual places and events were reflected in the New Yorker’s fiction is one of our goals. While we will concentrate on three popular novels, The Spy, The Last of the Mohicans and The Deerslayer, there will be plenty of references to places associated with lesser known works like Satanstoe and The Pioneers.

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