Added to 6 August

1777The Battle of Oriskany was one of the bloodiest battles in the North American theater of the American Revolutionary War and a significant engagement of the Saratoga campaign. An American party trying to relieve the siege of Fort Stanwix was ambushed by a party of Loyalists and allies of several Native American tribes. This was one the few battles in the war in which almost all of the participants were North American: Loyalists and allied Indians fought against Patriots and allied Oneida in the absence of British soldiers. Early in the siege of Fort Stanwix, an American relief force from the Mohawk Valley under General Nicholas Herkimer, numbering around 800 men of the Tryon County militia, and a party of Oneida warriors, approached in an attempt to raise the siege. British commander Barry St. Leger authorized an intercept force consisting of a Hanau Jäger (light infantry) detachment, Sir John Johnson’s King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Indian allies from the Six Nations, particularly Mohawk and Seneca; and other tribes to the north and west, and Indian Department Rangers, totaling at least 450 men. The Loyalist and Indian force ambushed Herkimer’s force in a small valley about six miles (10 km) east of Fort Stanwix, near the present-day village of Oriskany, New York. During the battle, Herkimer was mortally wounded. 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 nations, the battle marked the beginning of a civil war, as Oneida warriors under Colonel Louis and Han Yerry allied with the American cause and fought against members of other Iroquois nations. There were also internal divisions among the Oneida, some of whom went to Canada as allies of the British. The site is known in oral histories of the Iroquois nations as “A Place of Great Sadness.” The site has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is marked by a battle monument.

1819 – Norwich University, the first private military school in the United States, is founded in Vermont as the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy. It is the oldest of six senior military colleges, and is recognized by the United States Department of Defense as the “Birthplace of ROTC” (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps).

1901 – Kiowa land in Oklahoma is opened for white settlement, effectively dissolving the contiguous reservation.

1940 – Estonia was illegally annexed by the Soviet Union.

1991 – Tim Berners-Lee releases files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. WWW debuts as a publicly available service on the Internet.

2012 – NASA’s Curiosity rover lands on the surface of Mars.

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