The 3rd New York Regiments
A Brief Service History
The following material was authored by Marvin Rasch, who reenacts in
the 3rd New York Regiment.
28 June-August 1775: |
The regiment is authorized under Colonel James Clinton
for five month's service Canadian service; ten companies, 760 men strong.
Officer commissions are issued and recruiting begins. Companies are
raised within each county, and the regiment is composed of a mixture of
southern New York counties. Th regiment is assigned to Major General Philip
Schuyler's Northern Army.
7/10ths of the regiment participates in the invasion of
Canada and the siege of Fort St Johns in the Lake Champlain region. The fort
is captured, as is the city of Montreal. the remaining 3/10ths of the troops serve as Long
Island coastline guards; they later assist in the construction of Fort
Constitution adjacent to West Point, and in manning Fort George. At least
2/3rds of the New York troops with Brigadier General Richard Montgomery
at Montreal reenlist to serve until mid-April 1776.
November 1775 - May 1776:
Winter siege of Quebec. A two-pronged storming
assault on city by General Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold's
forces during a blizzard on 31 December fails, but the siege is maintained
February 1776 - May 1776:
The 3rd Regiment is re-raised, re-officered and
rearmed by New York Province for nine month's service; it contains eight
companies, 807 men strong, and is commanded by Colonel Rudolphus Ritzema (who had commanded the First New York in Canada in McDougall's absence).
This version of the 3rd Regiment, composed of companies raised in the New
York city area and to the northward, is intended to spend its existence
in barracks in New York City area. Officers and soldiers of the original
3rd Regiment, isolated in winter duty in the Lake Champlain/Canada
region, are forgotten during the shuffle, and are discharged after 15
April, and allowed to enlist in any of the six Continental regiments
raised by New York. Some enlist with other states.
The 3rd Regiment continues garrison and guard duties with
Brigadier General Alexander McDougall's brigade, in General George
Washington's Main Army in New York City. Shortages of muskets plague all
four New York regiments, and many companies are detached to fort and
barrack construction duties in the Hudson Highlands. The regiment misses
the battle on Long Island. The British soon control New York City and Long
Island, "orphaning" some soldiers and creating many Patriot refugees.
28 October 1776:
Battles of White Plains, NY. The 3rd New York Regiment,
Smallwood's Maryland Regiment, and Charles Webb's 19th Continental
Regiment from Connecticut (all of McDougall's Brigade) -stationed on
Chatterton's Hill, repel the main British and Hessian assault, but are
outflanked and forced to retreat. This is the 3rd New York's first real
A small detachment of the 3rd New York remains with the
Main Army and fights at Trenton, 26 December. The remainder are either
discharged or recruited for the third (and final time); this term to
extend for three years, or the duration of the war. This third version of
the 3rd New York is commanded by Colonel Peter Gansevoort; Marinus Willett is his second in command. Still eight companies, 807 men strong.
22-23 March 1777:
A British detachment raids the Continental supply depot
at Peekskill, NY. Part of the 3rd New York Regiment under Willett aids in repulsing the
invaders, but not before some serious damage is inflicted.
The 3rd New York Regiment mans the western New York State frontier
post of Fort Schuyler (formerly Stanwix).
With the assistance of Colonel James Wesson's 9th
Massachusetts Regiment, the 3rd New York turns back an enemy invasion by
holding out through August during a 21-day siege against British,
Loyalist, Brunswick, and Indian forces. The nearby Battle of Oriskany
provides the 3rd New York with an opportunity to raid the enemy camp and
steal supplies. Relief force of General Benedict Arnold finally drive
off the invaders, and the regiment remains at the fort through the end of the
Continued garrison duty at Fort Schuyler and in scattered
detachments along the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers in New York State. At
White Plains, during July, a New York Brigade is finally formed,
containing the other four New York regiments, under Brigadier General
James Clinton, the 3rd's original regimental commander. 3rd New York is
relieved by the 1st New York Regiment at Fort Schuyler, and remains in
the Northern Department.
The 3rd Regiment, now with the New York Brigade, and now
containing nine companies and a paper strength of 582 officers and men,
invades Iroquois Indian territory with Major General John Sullivan's
expedition, devastates the western frontier area of New York near today's
Finger Lakes, and withdraws.
The regiment endures record-setting cold and snowfall while
encamped with the New York Brigade in Washington's Main Army at
Garrison duty, in detachments, along the Hudson River and lower
1 January 1781:
The under strength 3rd, 4th, and 5th New York Regiments
are disbanded, and the men remaining in service transferred to the weak
1st and 2nd Regiments (becoming the two largest regiments in the entire
Continental Army, each with a total of over 550 men). The enlisted men of
the 3rd transfer to the 1st New York, commanded by Colonel Goose Van
Schaick. Some officers transfer to surviving regiments, others (notably Willett and Weissenfels) accept
positions in two new state regiments for frontier protection, and still
others retire permanently.
New York's two regiments reform the New York Brigade, and
are ordered to join the Main Army and march for Virginia for the siege of
Yorktown in which they play an important part.
The New York Brigade spends the winter with the Main
Army at Pompton Lakes, NJ.
Occupation and observation duty with the New York Brigade in
the Main Army along the Hudson River.
Winter with the New York Brigade in the Main Army
cantonment at New Windsor, NY.
Preliminary Articles of Peace announced; all New Yorkers
furloughed home to await the final signing of a treaty.
1st New York Regiment's officers and men are formally
discharged upon news of the final treaty of peace granting full
Bankrupt New York State struggles to pay back debts owed to
soldiers; payment attempts are made using western state lands, IOU's
depreciated pay vouchers, and state bonds. Many men never receive their
rightful reward from their government. New York State's unpaid debt is
eventually absorbed by the national government in the 1790's. The last
surviving New York Continental Army soldier from the American Revolution
is a former drummer boy of the 1st New York, Alexander Maroney, who dies
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