Wednesday, July 09, 2003

This time of year has a special meaning for people from NE Pennsylvania.
This year marks the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Wyoming and the infamous Wyoming Massacre during the Revolutionary War. On July 3, 1778 a contingent of about 300 American militia met a much larger invading army of British regulars, Tories and Indians in the Wyoming Valley near modern Exeter south of Scranton. The Americans were overwhelmed and driven into a panicked retreat, with the Indians scalping every soldier they could lay hands on. Warriors held down sixteen men, one by one, on a large boulder while a part French, part Indian “queen” smashed their skulls with a tomahawk. The exact number of men killed that night is uncertain, but Major Butler reported that 227 scalps and only 5 prisoners were taken. The several American forts in the Valley were surrendered or abandoned; the invaders killed many civilians and destroyed houses, crops, and cattle. Shortly after the Wyoming Massacre, General George Washington writes to General John Sullivan; "The immediate objects are total destruction and devastation of their settlements....[The Indian country] is not to be merely over run, but destroyed." This sparked off Sullivan's famed march from Easton, PA to up state NY in which he sought retribution for the Indian and Tori attacks on Americans. This story demonstrates what this Nation endured in its founding and places some of the stories emanating out of Iraq in perspective and helps some who take for granted their fortune of living in this Great Country by helping them understand that freedom and liberty are achieved at a cost, and that cost is often great.