Baum Site 22: Sancoick Mill Skirmish

Van Schaick Mill. Illus in Lossing, Benson John, “Pictorial Field-Book of the American Revolution”

Van Schaick Mill. Illus in Lossing, Benson John, “Pictorial Field-Book of the American Revolution”

Aware that Baum’s men were in the vicinity, John Stark, Major General of the Continental Army, was growing impatient. He dispatched Colonel William Gregg with a detachment of two hundred men to scout the position of the Baum’s forces. Gregg’s troops advanced about seven miles and posted themselves at a mill in Sancoick on the evening of August 13th.

Early on the morning of the 14th, Baum encountered Gregg’s scouting party and a skirmish ensued. The Rebels fired one volley, then withdrew into the woods. The Rebels had dismantled the bridge surface, giving Gregg time to fall back two miles to meet Stark and his army at the ford of the Walloomsac. Upon learning the movements of Baum’s force, Stark sent instructions for Col. Seth Warner, who was camped in Manchester, to bring his men up as soon as possible. Baum wrote to Burgoyne that morning to inform him of the situation.

The last upgrade of NY 22 & 67 across Little White Creek straightened the highway while greatly changing the terrain around the mill site. Today the mill site is near or under the southwest corner of the fill across the Little White Creek ravine. To see the ravine you have to look upstream from the fill. The fill has removed the character of the ravine and the bridge site upstream at the time of the battle.

We set out at 5 o’clock this morning, reached the parish of Sancoick at 7 o’clock and made a rendezvous near a beautiful house, which the owner had left this very morning. There was little household furniture left in the house but what there was was being destroyed by Savages. These also discovered a beautiful Engl. Clock, several Portuguese [coins] and guineas in a chest. The owner of this house, son of a Dutchman by birth, is called Van Rensselaer. He had a gristmill with a sluice near his house. The mill was full of flour and the floor full of wheat and rye; we also found several barrels of salt here. Our tetes [Teten] had driven off the Rebels detachment that was standing in front of the bridge. Thereby one of the Savages was wounded, whom I had to bandage on orders of our commander. At this house, the enemy had just slaughtered an ox; it had not yet been completely skinned. We set out again and marched across the bridge at the mill; at the houses we were passing, we came across some more horses, which we took along.

Julius Wasmus, August 14, 1777

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Baum’s Third Letter to Burgoyne

“Sancoick, 14th August, 1777. 9 o’clock. Sir, I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I arrived here at 9 in the morning, having had intelligence of a party of the enemy being in possession of a mill, which they abandoned at our approach, but in their usual way fired from the bushes and took their road to Bennington.

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