Friday, November 26, 2021

Military Service of Israel Alden


American Musket from the Revolutionary War

In the Spring when I was researching the life of Israel Alden (my maternal 6th great grandfather) I learned he also served in the Revolutionary War.  Israel Alden is the great-great grandson of John & Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower.   (See post The Life of Israel Alden)  This led me to wonder what I could find out about his Revolutionary War service?

From the Massachusetts, U.S. , Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War page 108:

From these records of Israel's service I know that he was a Private and served from 19 September 1777 until 16 October 1777.  Israel served for a total of 28 days.   What happened during this time period of the War?  What was Stillwater?  Hmm, he served for only a month.  

First, I looked for information on Paterson's brigade:

  • Patterson’s Brigade was organized in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April 1775.  The Regiment became part of the Continental Army in June 1775 then after several changes was also designated as the 15th Continental Regiment and the 1st Massachusetts Regiment in 1777.
Next, I wanted to learn about "Stillwater" and the War:

  • “Stillwater” is a village southwest of Saratoga and part of the Battle of Saratoga occurred here.  So, Israel was a soldier at the Battle of Saratoga.
Being a little rusty on my Revolutionary War battles I needed to learn more about the Battle of Saratoga:

  • The Campaign of Saratoga (14 June – 17 October 1777) was an attempt by the British to gain military control of the strategically important Hudson River valley.  The campaign ended with the surrender of the British army and was an enormous morale boost for the Colony and convinced France to enter the war in alliance with America.  WOW, Israel was part of a very important battle during the Revolutionary War.  Now I want to visit the battlefield to experience and learn more about the battle.
This Summer I had the opportunity to visit the battlefield which is now maintained as part of the Saratoga National Historical Park:

Listening to the Ranger talks and reviewing the displays I was surprised to learn how much of the land had been cleared of trees by the early settlers. It was also interesting to find out that frequently men served for short periods such as Israel did because they had farms to get back to, etc.  These soldiers brought whatever weapons they owned and used them in battle.  I also learned that there is Battle Historian for the Saratoga Battle.  I contacted him to ask questions about the battle and to see if there is any additional information about Israel.  As of this time, I have not received a reply.

Did Israel receive a pension for his service?  I’ve heard that some soldiers received land grants as payment.  Could that have been why Israel decided to move to Windsor, NY as other soldiers did?

  • In the book Binghampton It’s Settlement, Growth and Development Lawyer states, ”Under a law of congress passed March 18, 1818, pensions were provided to be paid to those soldiers of the Revolution who had served in the regular or United States army, and they alone were entitled to its benefits, to the exclusion of the militia or state troops, whose service in many cases was fully as meritorious and hazardous as that of their more favored fellows.  The injustice or at least the discriminating provisions of the act were so manifest that the whole body of troops, both regulars and militiamen, were loud in their denunciation of them, yet more than twelve years passed before congress remedied the wrong.” 

Since Israel served for such a short time and after searching and searching for records, I was unable to find a record for a pension or a land grant.

What an interesting journey this was!  I was able to learn more about an important battle in our Country's history and learn that my ancestor was a farmer who became part of this important battle.  I was able to stand and view the areas Israel may have looked over and fought on.  Being able to actually "be" where your ancestor was 244 years ago is just amazing.  I always learn more when I can be at the location and talk to others who have done such extensive research about an event my ancestor was part of.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,

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