Rowing Upstream: revised

A few weeks ago I discussed my realization that Gideon Hawke and cohorts would travel by water, up the Hudson River, to join the effort to check the British north of Albany. It is amazing what a little research will do to clarify things!

More detailed research revealed that Morgan’s Rifle Corps was not at Hackensack, as I had thought they were, when Dan Morgan received the order to move north. They had if fact been marching up and down New Jersey as Washington tried to guess what the main British army, under Howe, was up to. Until it became clear Howe was sailing away from the Hudson, Morgan and his men were sent hither and yon based on perceived threats. Based on correspondence between Washington and Morgan it appears the Rifle Corps was in the Trenton-Princeton area when Washington ordered them to join the Northern Department.

In the summer of 1777 the Royal Navy controlled New York Harbor and the nearby waters; it could also make incursions up the Hudson, so Morgan’s men would have had to embark some distance upriver. In fact, Washington specified they march to Peekskill, where transportation would await.

In the 1700s the Hudson was easily navigable as far north as Albany, so Morgan’s troops likely sailed on Hudson River sloops for much of the journey. Beyond Albany river traffic would have relied on bateaux. David Manthey, captain of the replica bateau DeSager, made me aware of the details of the military supply chain on the upper Hudson, consisting of relays of bateaux.

Now I can much better visualize the mechanics of the Provisional Rifle Corps’ journey to its meeting with destiny. What’s more, with a little additional research, I can bring that journey to life for my readers.

David Manthey’s Bateux Journey page: http://www.thebigrow.com

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