A clinic on Revolutionary War artillery and news of work to honor forgotten Patriots were among
highlights of the September 15 meeting of the Saratoga Battle Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.
About 40 people gathered at the Holiday Inn of Saratoga Springs, where members of the recreated
Second Artillery Regiment set up a notable display of 1700's tools, gadgets, cannon balls and a mortar.
Compatriots Peter Hormell, Chapter President Michael Companion, Past President Doug Gallant, Mary Skelly
and Tim Butler - all members of the Second Continental - gave a hands-on presentation on Revolutionary War-era firepower.
They covered the devastating impact of crude iron projectiles and the crafty methods of loading,
aiming, firing - and avoiding unintended explosions.
Guests learned many interesting details of artillery's role in the war - and the risk artillery unit members took.
The artillery units were the biggest targets on the battlefield. Members had a life expectancy o
f six months - most were deaf within two weeks.
Though transported with draft animals and horses, the artillery equipment had to be moved around and aimed
by hand, a laborious task. The barrel of a cannon that fired the three-pound cannonball weighs 1,100 pounds,
and that isn't the largest cannon. These guns recoiled from six to 11 feet after being fired.
Some of the guns were shot with the goal of bouncing the cannonballs along the battlefield. Also on
display was a "split shot" cannonball - two halves of an iron ball tethered by a chain. They took
out the masts of ships to disable the vessels and preserve them for re-use.
A mortar on display was another focus of the educational presentation. Mortars feature in the lyrics
of America's National Anthem. Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner" mentions the "bombs
bursting in air" he witnessed during the War of 1812. It's a reference to the exploding projectiles
that were fired by mortars to blow up above the heads of troops.
Compatriot Peter Hormell discusses Revolutionary War artillery
during a presentation from the recreated Second Artillery Regiment.
Guests heard an update from Alexandra Oxaal, president of the Schuyler Society, Children of the American
Revolution (CAR), about the New York State CAR's focus on recognizing the historic impact of New York
State waterways. The organization is raising money for the Mattan Shipyard of Cohoes, built on the
confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers.
Three buildings remain on the site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Oxaal said.
The Erie Canalway Heritage Fund is matching donations contributed towards a project to transform
the facility into an educational site to celebrate shipbuilding that took place there from 1916 to 1983.
Oxaal brought state Project Pins and assembled sweets to sell in support of the fundraiser and presented
Saratoga Battle Chapter President Michael Companion with a State Project Pin, which depict the
Halfmoon under sail encircled with the words "New York Waters - Navigating Through History."
After a motion and second, the assembly voted to provide a $500 donation to the C.A.R.
Semi-annual reports were submitted, including a financial statement from Chapter Treasurer David L. Flint
with a list of several organizations supported by Chapter Donations as follows: $100 for a vocalist to
sing the National Anthem on July 4; $100 for the Covell Award, $100 for Friends of Saratoga Battlefield
and $75 for the NYS Children of the American Revolution Annual Conference.
Secretary / 2nd VP Edward Munger Jr., submitted Minutes from the February 23, 2019 Annual Meeting, and
Historian Karl Dannell informed the assembly he's preserving documents from events and functions
attended by the Saratoga Battle Chapter and members are encouraged to get him copies.
President Michael Companion recognized guests at the meeting including: SAR North Atlantic District VPG Col.
Peter Goebel (Ret.); Shaun Smith and Jack Bredenfoerder of the Cincinnati Chapter, SAR, both of whom are
dual Chapter members upon joining Saratoga Battle Chapter. Smith serves as webmaster for the Cincinnati
chapter and Bredenfoerder is current Vice President and Treasurer of the German Society.
Under new business, Compatriot Goebel informed the group of the Rensselaer County Veteran's
Breakfast planned for November 10. The chapter approved a motion to donate $100 towards publicity
for the event that honors those who selflessly served their country. Goebel read aloud a long list of
names of individuals recommended for National officer positions. Brief discussion centered on supporting
the incumbent candidate for Chaplain General, who lives in California, as opposed to a new candidate for
the position who lives in Pennsylvania. Goebel said the incumbent's familiarity with the position made
him the best choice. The chapter voted in favor of the slate of candidates as submitted.
Robert Sammons, Alexander MacLeod, Brian Companion and Brian Yamada were welcomed to the Saratoga Battle Chapter with applause.
The Chapter's membership rose from 218 to 235 between February and September 2019, according to the
Registrar report submitted by Thomas L. Dunne and Duane Booth.
The following individuals joined the Saratoga Battle Chapter during this period, bringing the listed
Patriot ancestors into the embrace of our gratitude:
Brendan K. Bartow, Troy, NY; Cameron D. Bartow, Troy, NY; Christopher C. Bartow; Ballston Spa, NY;
and Douglas L. Bartow III, of Troy, NY all trace their roots to Cpl. Morris Barto - NY.
Christopher S. Burky, Cody L. Burky and Wyatt E. Burky, of Middle Grove, NY, joined in honor of
Patriot ancestor Ensign Alexander Ewing - PA. Brian J. Companion, of Ballston Spa, brings tribute
to Patriot ancestor Cpl. Moses Hall Jr. - CT. Alexander E. MacLeod, of Delmar, NY, descends from
Pvt. Edward Edward Pratt - MA. Ray W. Miller Jr., of Gansvoort, NY, honors Pvt. Ezekiel Whitney - CT.
Robert H. Sammons, of Burnt Hills, NY, carries the legacy of Ensign Sampson Sammons - NY.
Daniel T. Woloszyn, of Schenectady, brings Patriot ancestor Pvt Isaac Lane - MA into the spotlight
of patriotic recognition. Ten Eyck B. Powell III, of Selkirk, NY, highlights the patriotic service
of his ancestor Jacob C. Ten Eyck.
Robert Sammons, Alexander Mac Leod, Brian Companion, and Brian Yamada
were sworn in as new members of the Saratoga Battle Chapter.
Chapter 1st Vice President Mike Skelly and President Michael Companion presented awards during the meeting.
Credited with bearing the flags and representing American Patriots at events and commemorations, several
members of the recreated Second Continental Artillery Regiment were recognized for their work as the Chapter's
Color Guard. Mary Skelly and Timothy Butler were presented the Bronze Good Citizenship Medal, also issued to
Alfred Bartlett and Bradley Allen in absentia. Douglas M. Gallant, the Chapter's past president, was presented
with the Bronze Color Guard Medal. The Bronze Good Citizenship Medal, dating back to 1895, recognizes
individuals for important contributions to the community. The Bronze Color Guard Medal, established in 1998,
is awarded to individuals for their in-uniform, Color Guard service at events including Revolutionary War
commemorations, flag retirement ceremonies, parades and other occasions.
L-R: Former Chapter President Doug Gallant, Mary Skelly and Timothy Butler were honored
with awards for their work as the Chapter's Color Guard to their right are
Vice President Mike Skelly and President Michael Companion.
Recognition might shine on the graves of several American Patriots once hidden under the weeds of
abandoned Rensselaer County graveyards.
Stephentown Historian Patricia Flint - wife of Saratoga Battle Chapter Treasurer David Flint -
announced applications are being submitted to the William G. Pomeroy Foundation's Historic Marker Grant Program.
With the goal of celebrating community histories, the foundation provides historic signs that commemorate
historic events, places, people and events taking place from 1740 to 1919.
Flint compiled enough research to submit applications for signs at six cemeteries serving as final
resting place of more than a dozen American Patriots.
A decade of work has centered on graveyards in the area, where Flint said Boy Scouts, cub scouts,
a cemetery committee and other volunteers are all due gratitude for their work cleaning up and restoring
these sacred sites. Flint said Compatriot David J. Cummings provided essential help rigging up a
pulley and hoist system, making it possible to lift several toppled stones and obelisks.
The gravestones are all being photographed so they can be listed on the Find A Grave website,
a growing compilation of images and details of the final resting places at cemeteries throughout
the United States and beyond.
Flint said permission is being sought to clean up another cemetery they found - this one with
125 graves in it. More volunteers are being sought, she said.
The Pomeroy Foundation has paid for 600 historic markers in more than 50 New York counties since it
began the program in 2006, according to the organization's website at wgpfoundation.org.
The Foundation is expected to review grant applications and decide in winning entries in late December.
Saratoga Battle Chapter, following Chapter President Michael Companion's request at the start of the year,
is serving as the nonprofit sponsor for Historic Marker grant applications aimed at honoring Patriot
Ancestors in the chapter's broad geographic reach.
Compatriots aware of American Patriot burial grounds are encouraged to inform the Chapter. Sites are
being evaluated based on a variety of criteria including how accessible the cemetery is and whether
there are already historic markers there. The program requires permission from the property owner and
Primary Source documentation backing up any writing proposed for the signs.
Following a dinner, the meeting of the Saratoga Battle Chapter, Empire State Society, Sons of the American
Revolution was adjourned until February 2020. Stay tuned for details of the Annual Meeting.
Pomeroy Foundation historic marker grant program: