Starting at 8:30 am, I touched down at Markers No 6 through 23 on Tuesday, all in the state of New York. At 5:15 pm, I crashed at the Colonial Inn on Route 20 between Markers 23 and 24. Hungry for vegetables, I happily followed the inn proprietor’s suggestion to eat at the sushi place across the street.
According to the Hudson Valley Organization’s guide to the Henry Knox Trail, this is the route I followed:
Leaving Sabbath Day Point, where, in the words of my 5x-great-grandfather Henry Knox, they rescued the scow that had “run on a sunken rock, but not in such a manner as to be irretrievable that they had broken all the ropes which they had in endeavoring to move her off”, the Train of Artillery pushed on south. (I mistakenly wrote in previous posts that they were traveling on frozen-over rivers in sleds. They were not. They traveled down Lake George in boats. The sled part is when they ford the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers later. I will correct my previous blog.)
In his journal on December 10, 1775, Knox wrote, “…the crew of the Battoe [batteau], after having refresh’d themselves, told me as they were not very deeply loaded that they intend’d to push for Fort George [at the south end of lake]. Accordingly I jump’d into the Boat & ordered my man to bring my baggage & we would go with them — accordingly we set out it being eleven O’clock with a slight breeze ahead the men rowed briskly, but we had not been out above an hour when the wind sprang up very fresh & directly against us – the men after rowing exceedingly hard for about four hours seem’d desirous of going ashore to make a fire to warm themselves & knowing them to be very exceedingly weary.” (Marker No. 6 – Bolton Landing) “… we warmed ourselves sufficiently and took a comfortable nap – laying with our backs to the fire …”
The next morning, they started again, “… about half an hour before day break that is about a quarter after rising we set out and in six hours & a quarter of excessive hard pushing against a fresh breeze, we reached Fort George.” (Marker No. 7)
There is a gap in Knox’s journal between December 18 and 23. This is what historians think happened:
Knox and his men had to search for sleds to drag the cannon south from Lake George to the Hudson. They also had to wait for sufficient snow to make the roads passable for those sleds. The Train of Artillery would eventually follow the route from Lake George to Fort Miler shown by Markers 8 through 11. It follows the Hudson River along today’s Routes 4 and 9. They passed the intersection of Bloody Pond Road (Marker No. 8),
and through Glens Falls (Marker No. 9),
Hudson Falls (Marker No. 10),
and Fort Edward (Marker No. 11).
On December 24, Knox forged ahead of the group on foot, scouting good roads and places to ford the rivers. He stopped at Fort Miller (Marker No. 11.5), “where Judge Dewer procured me a sleigh to go to Stillwater.”
Knox crossed the river by ferry to the west side (Marker No. 12) near the hill (knob) General John Stark of New Hampshire would later defend and prevent the British from “retreating north.”
A small park was created in 2000 where Monument No. 12 now stands, hidden in the brush. A modern statue of one of Henry’s ox carts keeps it company.
and arrived at Schuylerville (Marker No. 13), which he called Saratoga. [I can’t remember which of my photos this is, sorry.]
“… we dined and set off about three OClock, it still snowing exceeding fast … after the utmost efforts [of the] horses we reach’d Ensign’s tavern 8 miles beyond Saratoga [was Marker 14, now missing)” where, “we lodg’d.”
Marker No. 15 in Bemis Heights shows the location of the house where Knox stayed on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas morning, Knox woke to find two feet of new snow on the ground. He forged on to Stillwater (Marker 16),
where he obtained another sleigh that would take him to Albany. He passed through today’s Mechanicsville (Marker No. 17).
At Waterford (Marker No. 18) he forded took a ferry across the Hudson to the east side.
He wrote, “…the roads not being broken prevented our getting farther than New City [today’s Lansingburg], about 9 miles above Albany — where we lodg’d.” Henry may have crossed the Hudson via the Lansing’s ferry.
Albany is on the west side of the river. But the Train of Artillery had to deal with the confluence of the mighty Mohawk River and the Hudson River, a complicated and busy geographic roadblock. Knox first tried the “usual crossing” at Half Moon near Cohoes. The ice was too thin and he lost a sled and cannon. So he ordered the rest to cross “At Sloss’s [Claus’s/Klaus’s Ferry] as the ice was so much stronger …” Marker No. 19 in Crescent stands by Route 9 south of the Mohawk River.
On January 5, after crossing the Mohawk at Claus’s Ferry, the Train of Artillery headed south along today’s Loudon Road (Route 9) toward Albany (Marker No. 20 in Latham).
Marker No. 21 locates where the road turned into Albany. Today that “turn” is a major freeway intersection.
Marker No. 22 is now missing, It used to mark the place where the train forded the Hudson at Albany, placing the group on the west side on their way to Massachusetts.
From the exit off the bridge in Rensselaer, the trail follows today’s Route 20, where I passed by Marker No. 23. It is surrounded by weeds. I bet few people who pass it know why it stands there.
From here I travel southwestward toward Boston.