Battle Of Lackawaxen
( Originally Published 1900 )
Here is Shohola Township, on the Pennsylvania shore, a wild and rocky region fronting on the river for about ten miles, and Shohola Creek rushes down a rocky bed through a deep gorge to seek the Delaware. It was at this place the surveyors' line was drawn from the Lehigh over to the Delaware, after Marshall's fateful walk. The " Shohola Glen," a favorite excursion ground, has the channel of the creek, only forty feet wide, cut down for two hundred feet deep into the flagstones, and it plunges over four attractive cascades at the Shohola Falls above. A short distance northward the Lackawaxen flows in through a fine gorge, broadening out as the Delaware is approached; and the canal, after crossing the latter on an aqueduct, goes up the Lackawaxen bank. A grand amphitheatre of towering hills surrounds the broad flats where the Lackawaxen brings its ample flow of dark amber-colored waters out of the hemlock forests and swamps of Wayne County to this picturesque spot. Here was fought, on July 22, 1779, the battle of Lackawaxen or the Minisink, the chief Revolutionary conflict on the upper Delaware. The battlefield was a rocky ledge on the New York side, elevated about five hundred feet above the river, amid the lofty hills of Highland Township, in Sullivan County. The noted Mohawk chief, Joseph Brandt, with a force of fifteen hundred Indians and Tories, came down from Northern New York to plunder the frontier settlements. Most of the inhabitants fled down to the forts on the Lehigh or across the Blue Ridge, upon his approach ; but a small militia force was hastily gathered under Colonels Hathorn and Tusten to meet the enemy, whom they found crossing the Delaware at a ford near the Lackawaxen. Hathorn, who commanded, moved to attack, but Brandt rushed his Indians up a ravine, intercepting Hathorn just as he got out on the rocky ledge, and cutting off about fifty of his rear guard. Hathorn had ninety men with him, who quickly threw up a rude breastwork, protecting about a half-acre of the ledge. Their ammunition was scant, it was a terribly hot day, they had no water, and were soon surrounded ; but for six hours they bravely defended themselves, when, the ammunition being all gone, the Indians broke through their line. Tusten was attending the wounded, and with seventeen wounded men, whom he was alleviating, was tomahawked, all being massacred. The others fled, many being slain in the pursuit. Forty-four of the little band were killed, and the fifty in the rear guard who had been cut off were never afterwards heard of. Years after-wards, the bones of the slain in this terrible defeat were gathered on the field and taken across the Blue Ridge to Goshen for interment, and in 1822 a monument was erected at Goshen in their memory, Colonel Hathorn, who was then living, making an address. On the centenary anniversary in 1879 a monument was dedicated on the field, where faint relics of the old breastwork were still traceable on the rocky ledge perched high above the river, almost opposite the mouth of the Lackawaxen.