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The Battle of Oriskany and the Death of Henry Diefendorff

August 20, 2018

When I started Diefendorff, I had several motivations. Of course, one of them is that had a unique watch design that I wanted to share with the world. Of course, I like being my own boss. And of course, I was struck by the incredible coincidence in time and space as being born 200 years to the day of my sixth great-grandfather’s death.

But there was also a deeper, more personal reason. I felt like I owed something to Henry. His story was forgotten, except for a small few people who had done the research. I wanted his story to live on, I wanted his name to live on. It was the only way I knew how I could honor his sacrifice.

Visiting the Battle of Oriskany Monument

To do that, I went to battlefield and recorded a video to the story about the ambush at Oriskany and the (very gruesome) details about what we know about Henry Diefendorff’s death.  You can view it here:


Making Your Visit to Oriskany

It’s definitely worth a going to Oriskany if you are in the area. It’s just a few miles outside of Utica, NY and a little less than an hour’s drive from Syracuse, New York. I recommend double-checking the park's open hours as they may shift based on time of the year and federal holidays. 

The setting is quite beautiful actually. The obelisk that stands in the middle of the park has several plaques on it, including a relief of General Nicholas Herkimer who directed the battle despite being, ultimately mortally, wounded in the leg.  Be sure to cross the grass and visit the sites beyond the tree where Herkimer stood. This is where the ravine is located and where the bulk of the battle took place.

The National Park Service works with the NY Department of Parks to staff the park. There’s a visitors center with a ranger who is there to answer questions. I’ve been to the monument several times and have had conversations with several rangers. Each time I’m routinely impressed by their level of knowledge about the battle, the area and the history of the American Revolution.

Visiting Fort Stanwix

If you are going to visit Oriskany, you should also be sure to visit Fort Stanwix which is only about six miles away. There’s a museum and larger visitor center there, as well as guided tours. Fort Stanwix was featured in the video above, as well.

Stay tuned! We have more videos and blog posts on the way!


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