|The Oneidas at the Battle of Oriskany - August 6, 1777 by Don Troiani|
During the British siege of Fort Stanwix, occupied by Continental Army forces, Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer assembled 800 militiamen, supported by 60 allied Oneida warriors, and marched from Fort Dayton to aid against the siege. Upon hearing of Herkimer's advance, British and Loyalist troops under Sir John Johnson and Col. John Butler, and Indian forces led by Mohawk Joseph Brant, set a trap in a boggy ravine west of Oriskany Creek. As the unsuspecting American troops crossed the swampy bottom and marched up the ravine, the British attacked. The patriots fought in brutal hand-to-hand combat, and in spite of heavy losses, caused the Seneca and the Mohawks, followed by the British and Loyalists to retreat.
It was in this battle that General Herkimer received the wound to his leg which led to his death ten days later.
The battle cost the Patriots approximately 450 casualties, while the Loyalists and Indians lost approximately 150 dead and wounded. The result of the battle remains ambiguous because the apparent Loyalist victory was significantly affected by a sortie from Fort Stanwix in which the Loyalist camps were sacked, spoiling morale among the allied Indians.For the Iroquois, the battle marked the beginning of a civil war, as it pitted Oneida warriors against Mohawk and Seneca, all members of the Iroquois nations. There were also internal divisions among the Oneida, some of whom went to Canada as allies of the British.
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