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The 4th annual Revolutionary War Weekend review

September 21/22, 2013 - Fishkill, NY

The scent of fresh bread and apple pie filled the Hudson Valley as the Fishkill Historical Society and the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot (FOFSD) co-hosted the 4th annual Revolutionary War Weekend and dedicated their latest attraction, the Colonial Clay Oven.

Set on the grounds of the historic Van Wyck Homestead (headquarters of the Fishkill Supply Depot), the Colonial Clay Oven is a hand-made replica built in the likeness of ovens used during the colonial era. The brainchild of FOFSD board members Jim Burr Sr. & Secretary Judy Wolf, the clay oven was a huge hit at the Rev War Weekend. "Everything was unbelievably delicious. Kudos to Judy, her crew and the fritter makers for adding to that wonderful and very interesting weekend. I'LL BE BACK!" said Gloria from Ohio.

(Above L-R) Apple pie is prepared for baking in the NEW Colonial Clay Oven. Jim Burr Sr., Judy Wolf, Tracy Wolf & Jim Burr Jr. pose in front of the oven while fresh bread bakes. Getting hungry yet? (Below L-R) Firewood is burned down to hot embers to heat the Colonial Clay Oven. The Boy Scouts of Troop 65 prepare refreshments donated by Price Chopper. Assorted cast iron cookware used to make stews and other colonial dishes. (click any image to view the full-size version)

The Revolutionary War Weekend in Fishkill is an annual event held in September to honor the Fishkill Supply Depot (FSD), a military supply depot of General George Washington's Continental Army. The FSD existed throughout the 7 year conflict and was a vital part of the war effort, supplying soldiers with the provisions needed to secure our independence.

The FSD has been on the historic register since 1974 and many believed there existed a Continental Army burial ground within its borders but no one knew where it was. Then in 2007, a team of archeologists including FOFSD Trustee Bill Sandy discovered the burial ground on privately-owned land and determined more than 300 soldiers lie in unmarked graves making it the largest Continental Army burial ground in existence!

Shortly thereafter, the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot, a non-profit [501(c)3] organization was formed to advocate for the Preservation, Study, and Proper Interpretation of the Fishkill Supply Depot and Encampment. In recent years, FOFSD researchers have uncovered the names of 85 soldiers who died at the FSD and rest in the burial ground. View the list on our Tribute page.

(Above L-R) FOFSD Treasurer Paula Sarvis has been a vital part of our organization from its humble beginnings. 85 flags were placed on the unmarked graves of soldiers in the burial ground. Photo of the base of the mountain described in "History of Dutchess County" by James H. Smith 1882. Musician Linda Russel entertained visitors with music of the colonial era. (Below L-R) Steve Lynch is President of our co-sponsors, the Fishkill Historical Society. Colonial era writing table inside the Van Wyck Homestead. The Dutch Reformed Church in Fishkill was used as a makeshift hospital during the war and Dutchess County Historian, William Tatum III takes part in the "Loyalists in America" presentation.

Visitors to the 4th annual Revolutionary War Weekend were treated to a multitude of colonial era activities including blacksmithing and musket ball fabricating, broom making, candle making and shoe making demonstrations. Shuttle bus tours took visitors to the Dutch Reformed Church and Trinity Episcopal Church in Fishkill as both played significant roles during the Revolutionary War. Tours of the Van Wyck Homestead, Herb garden and Regimental encampment were provided all day, both days and all activities were free to the public.

The weekend began with a mustering of the troops (2nd and 5th NY regiments) followed by a patriotic flag-raising ceremony. Four interpreventive walking tours to the burial ground were provided to educate the public about the FSD and the fight to save it and the soldiers who lie in a field along Route 9 (Old Post Road). Several educational presentations were made including "Loyalists in America," "History of the US Flags" and "The Story of Sybil Ludington's ride.

(Above L-R) People gather at the D.A.R. monument for a interpretive walk to the burial ground. Nicole Smith portrays Sybil Ludington with Beatrice (the horse) and Hugh Francis as British General Clinton. Troops muster for inspection.(Below L-R) Young patriot Andy poses with members of Garden State Black Powder. Daniel Velardo enjoys a colonial era picnic on his special day - Happy Birthday, Daniel! FOFSD Secretary Judy Wolf, President Lance Ashworth, Trustee Bill Sandy and Trustee Rob Ashworth read the names of the 85 soldiers known to have "died at Fishkill."

Musket and artillery fire filled the air throughout the weekend while the Garden State Black Powder Artillery Unit were on hand to demonstrate Revolutionary War cannon loading and firing (see below). The weekend concluded with members of the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot reading the names of the 85 men identified through intensive research to be buried in Fishkill. Each soldiers' name was read aloud to honor their service to the United States of America and their sacrifice in securing our freedom and independence.

Cannon fire demo

Special thanks go out to the New York Council for the Humanities and Pricechopper's Golub Foundation for their generous donations.

Huzzah to the 2nd NY regiment, 5th NY regiment, 1st Ulster Militia, Pawling's Levies, Dutchess County Muzzle Loaders, the Garden State Black Powder Artillery Unit, Hugh Francis, Nicole Smith and Musician Linda Russel for participating in our event.

Thank you Boy Scout troop 65, Sea Cadets of Newburgh, Dutchess County Tourism Office, Dutchess County Historian William Tatum III, Dutchess County Division of Public Transit, Camo Pollution Control, Adams' Fairacre Farms, Fishkill Farms, Briggs Hollow Farm, Burger King, Hampton Inn, Southern Dutchess Eye Care and Jack & Sue Grumet for your support.

Last but not least we would like to thank all of our friends and those who support our efforts throughout the year. Events like the 4th annual Revolutionary War Weekend reaffirm our belief that we have the best group of supporters in the world and next September we will gather again and stand united as friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot. Huzzah!

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