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The Burning of Warwarsing

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

Early in the morning of the twenty-second instant, a party of Indians and Tories, consisting of about four hundred, entered the beautiful settlement of Warwarsing, situated on the great road leading from Minisink1 to Esopus, about thirty-five miles from the former. At their first coming to the place, they were hailed by a sentinel who was at the gate of a picket fort where there was a sergeant’s guard kept, (which were the only soldiers in that quarter;) they not making any answer, induced the sentinel to fire, and run within the fort, which alarmed the garrison. The enemy kept up a constant fire upon the fort for some time, but without effect, and at last retired in confusion, with the loss of three killed and two wounded. They then proceeded to burning and plundering the place. The inhabitants being alarmed by the firing at the fort, all made their escape, except one, John Kittle, whom they killed. The loss of these poor people is very great; the fate of an hour reduced them from a state of ease and affluence to want and beggary. Thirteen elegant dwelling-houses with all the out-buildings and furniture, fourteen spacious barns filled with wheat, besides barracks, stables, stacks of hay, and grain, were all consumed; between sixty and seventy horses, mostly very fine, and a great number of cattle, sheep, and hogs, were driven off. Colonel Pawling, getting intelligence of the above, immediately collected about two hundred New York levies and militia, and pursued them about forty miles, but was not able to overtake them. It appears that they fled in confusion, as they left a considerable quantity of their plunder behind them in many places. By a white man who has been with them for three years, and made his escape while Warwarsing was in flames, we learn that this party was from Niagara, and that they were four weeks and three days on their way; that they were exceedingly distressed for want of provisions, insomuch that they eat up their pack-horses and dogs. He adds that the garrison of Niagara was in a melancholy situation for want of provisions and the necessaries of life; and that the Tories there most bitterly execrate the day they were deluded by the tyrant emissaries to take up arms against their native country.2


1 Minisink is situated among the Shawangunk Mountains, about twelve miles from Goshen, in Orange county, New York.
2 Pennsylvania Gazette, October 3.