The Battle of Sharon Springs Swamp

July 10, 1781 at Sharon Springs, New York

Facts about the Battle of Sharon Springs Swamp

  • Armies - American Forces was commanded by Col. Marinus Willett and consisted of about 150 Soldiers. British Forces was commanded by John Doxtader and consisted of about 300 Soldiers.
  • Casualties - American casualties were estimated to be 5 killed and 9 wounded/captured. British casualties was approximately 40 killed.
  • Outcome - The result of the battle was an American victory.

Battle Begins

On July 9, at the end of the Battle of Currytown, Colonel Marinus Willett noticed some smoke rising from the Currytown settlement. He was at Fort Plank, 4 miles south of Currytown. Willett knew that something wrong was definitely going on.

A short time later, he recieved an intelligence report from Captain Gross. The information stated that while Gross and his 35-man detachment was making a patrol in the direction of New Dorlach, he spotted John Doxtader and his 300-man Tory and Indian force camped out in Sharon Springs Swamp.

Willett quickly gathered up a small group of 16 militiamen, commanded by Capt. Robert McKean, and gave them orders to immediately go to Currytown and find out what was going on there. Willett then gathered a larger force of 100 men and headed south to the swamp.

He took a local guide with him to lead him, but the guide couldn't lead them through the dense swamp. This would cancel out a chance to surprise Doxtader at his camp. Willett decided to make camp and move out early in the morning.

On July 10, at 6:00 A.M., Willett finally found Doxtader's camp. Doxtader was expecting them and had his men take up a defensive position, giving them the advantage. Willett was joind by the forces of Gross, McKean, and some volunteers from Currytown. This put Willett a total of 150 men. Willett decided on a plan to take advantage of the dense swamp. He formed a crescent with the tips of it pointing toward Doxtader. Once they formed up in the crescent, the order was given to open fire.

Next, they fell back and drew Doxtader's force into a trap. Once Doxtader entered the trap, Willett ordered his men to open fire. The devastating fire tore in Doxtader's men. McKean then hit Doxtader's flank while Willett ordered the rest of his men forward "with bullet and bayonet."

Doxtader was able to offer some resistance but not for long. He soon broke contact and fled the area, leaving his dead and wounded and the plunder from Currytown. Of the American wounded, McKean was mortally wounded, dying a few days later.

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