SNY3-08 Two Line Infantry, 3rd New York Regiment
The 3rd New York Regiment was authorized on May 25th 1775 and organized from June 28th to August 4th from the counties of Ulster, Dutchess, Orange and Suffolk under the command of Colonel James Clinton for 5 months service in Canada. The enlistments of the first establishment ended on December 31st 1775.
The second establishment of the Regiment was authorized on January 19th 1776. And was raised a third time in December 1776 under the command of Peter Gansevoort.
The regiment saw action in the Invasion of Canada, New York Campaign and Fort Stanwix.
The regiment was merged into the 1st New York Regiment on January 1st 1781.
At the Battle of Oriskany the British loyalists under Major Stephen Watts, wearing their coats inside out tried to penetrate the American lines by pretending to be reinforcements from the 3rd New York Regiment at Fort Stanwix. They achieved this by reversing their coats, revealing their grey lining and green facings which were the same as the 3rd New York.
It was Captain Gardenier of Visscher’s Regiment at the American rear which spotted the ruse when one of his men went out to greet these “friends” and was promptly captured. Gardenier, armed only with a spontoon and sword, rushed forward and killed his man’s captor. Desperate hand to hand fighting followed between the loyalists and the American militia, as Gardenier shouted “they are not our men – they are the enemy! Fire away!”.
Both sides withdrew to recover, as three cannon shots were heard in the distance. Herkimer and his men knew instantly what this meant, that the 3rd New York at fort Stanwix had raided and sacked the loyalist camp. Already demoralized by heavy losses, the threat to their possessions persuaded the remaining warriors to leave, and with insufficient numbers to fight on, Johnson also decided to withdraw.
In 1779, the 3rd NY Regiment received a gift from Col. Gansevoort in the form of a regimental flag. This flag, which was carried for the remainder of the war, later served as the basis for the present-day New York State flag. On campaign, the regiment made up part of the troops committed to the various expeditions against British allied Six Nations settlements. In April 1779, the light infantry company returned to the Mohawk Valley as part of a detachment sent from Ft. Schuyler to destroy the principle Onondaga Indian villages. From August through September, the entire regiment was part of the Clinton-Sullivan expedition that destroyed the principle Cayuga and Seneca Indian villages in western New York. The regiment also participated in one major battle of the expedition at Newtown, which resulted in a major defeat for the Indians and the loyalist troops supporting them. In September, the 3rd NY once again returned to the Mohawk Valley, having been given the task of destroying the Mohawk village near Fort Hunter and retrieving the expedition’s baggage. With the approach of winter, the regiment rejoined the main army under General Washington for the hard winter encampment of 1779-80 at Morristown, New Jersey.