Uncertain Loyalties

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger A major theme for Saratoga National Historical Park is “People at Saratoga: By Choice or by Chance”. This is a lovely catch-all category that allows the park to avoid taking sides while interpreting the Northern Campaign of 1777. It also helps us remind visitors that there were people here in […]

Jekyll or Hyde?

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger 20th [August 1777]. Our landlady had a child, 9 months old, that she was carefully hiding. I was curious to know the reason and asked Captain O’Connell [a captured English speaking Irishman serving with the German general staff] to question the woman as to the cause. I was very much […]

Dutch Treat

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger People compress the past. To some of our visitors, the French and Indian War (1754-1763) blurs with the War for Independence and vice versa. Maybe it’s the idea that the participants of both conflicts used muskets and wore tricorns and breeches. Perhaps it’s the use and re-use of some of […]

Which Side Are You On?

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger Every so often, visitors to Saratoga will opine: “If I lived back during the Revolutionary War, I’d have been a Tory [or Rebel]”. It’s gratifying that the Revolutionary War is taken to heart, but it’s obvious that they haven’t probed the subject deeply. They might discover that sometimes that a […]

What If?

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger The concept of “what if” in the study of history has intrigued pretty much anyone with an interest in the past. Indeed, it has spawned an entire genre of writing dubbed “alternate history”. Alternative or not, the fact remains that certain things did not occur, and no how you slice […]

The Maze

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger A past superintendent of Saratoga National Historical Park noted that prior to his arrival he was informed he would be more confused after a ride through the Battlefield Tour road than before. Compared to what can be learned at the Visitor center, he may have been right. It’s rather evident […]

The Guns of October

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger The war was all but over in 1783; Independence of the Thirteen States was essentially decided and the preliminary peace treaty had been ratified.  A German officer, Johann Ewald of the Hesse-Cassel Field-Jäger Corps traveled from the British-held city of New York through some of the areas he’d served in the lower Hudson […]

The Apprentice and the “Unfortunate Person”

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger “About 1730, Pultney, later the Earl of Bat, lay for a long time at Lord Chetwynd’s house of Ingestre, in Staffordshire, sick very dangerously, of a pleuritic fever. This illness cost him an expence of 750 guineas for physicians…Dr. Hope, Dr. Swynsen, and other physicians from Stafford, Lichfield and Derby, […]

Tea for Two

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger Americans are often insular about their history, in particular, the War for Independence. The rest of the world seems to have been “out there” and far removed from the events here. Perhaps it’s the notion that the 18th Century world was a “bigger place” and communication was painfully slow, especially […]

Stars and Stripes and Patriots

By Joe Craig, Park Ranger For a comparatively small park tucked away in the New York countryside, Saratoga NHP has a great deal of international flavor.  Besides affecting history on a global scale, the Battles of Saratoga were fought by a diverse bunch of individuals.  The flags on display in the battlefield visitor center attest […]