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his saddle, wounded, smoking his pipe and directing the battle, is identified by Morven M. Jones, who visited the field forty years ago, accompanied by a surviving participant. It is west of the monument, about fifty feet, and beyond another small ravine, unfortunately not within the limits of the monument park.
The Oriskany monument was erected under contract with the Mount Waldo Granite Company of Maine and the National Fine Art Foundry of New York, whose plans were preferred in an open competition. It was built by Alexander T. Pirnie, who also erected the Sir Walter Scott monument at Edinburgh, and the Baron Steuben monument at Steuben, Oneida County. The superintendent was Hon. William Jones, of Utica. It is in obelisk form and stands ninety-three feet above a massive foundation. The base, of granite, is nineteen feet in height. The impression to the eye of the distant observer is of a graceful and slender monolith, while the near-by spectator is struck by the massive and imposing character
of the work. It may be doubted if there is a monument in the country which surpasses that at Oriskany in perfection of design calculated to produce these effects.
The Oriskany monument will rank among artistic memorials chiefly from the bronze tablets which form the four panels of its base. One of these tablets contains the dedicatory inscription, written by Dr. Edward North, of Hamilton College, which reads as follows:
HERE WAS FOUGHT
THE BATTLE OF ORISKANY
ON THE SIXTH DAY OF AUGUST, 1777;
HERE GENERAL NICHOLAS HERKIMER,
INTREPID LEADER OF THE AMERICAN FORCES,
TILL THE ENEMY HAD FLED.
MADE THIS BATTLE GROUND
THIS MONUMENT WAS BUILT
UNDER THE DIRECTION
AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK.
Two of the tablets are striking bass-reliefs, designed by J. R. O'Donovan of New York City, and in strict keeping with the realistic scene they are intended to illustrate and typify. One of them is a figure of the sturdy Herkimer, as the imagination pictures him on that memorable day, with one limb bare and the wound upon it rudely dressed; with the short Dutch pipe in one hand and the other raised to emphasize the command he is giving to the youthful aide at his side-an idealized Herkimer beyond doubt, but not an unhistorical Herkimer—a bass-relief of strong and effective outlines and characterized by a boldness akin to its subject. The other bass-relief is allegorical, and may have been suggested by a wellknown piece of sculpture at the National Capitol ; but it is strictly indigenous to Oriskany and the strange phases of that conflict. It represents a hand-to-hand conflict in the forest between a young German-American, dressed and trimmed in the Continental fashion, and a typical American Indian, horrid of expression in the passion of that battle, nearly naked, lithe but strong of build, with uplifted arm in which the swinging tomahawk trembles and tarries on its journey as the point of the white man's bayonet penetrates the bared breast of the savage. The advanced foot of each combatant is planted upon the breast of a dead soldier, who may easily be taken to be a Tory or a Hessian, for whose lifeless form the patriotic young Dutchman cannot be supposed to feel the ordinary respect. These three figures typify the essence of Oriskany; and they may be held also to symbolize the struggle between civilization and barbarism, as it was
worked out in the remote forests of the Mohawk during the Revolution. It was hand-to-hand; it was intense, horrid, tragic; it is not sweet to look upon; but it is truth ; and the issue was a close one—as close, even, as the instant's point of time which the Continental bayonet is awarded over the Indian tomahawk.
The fourth tablet contains the roster of Oriskany—and it has been the most perplexing in preparation for a reason that promises to make it always the most interesting and most discussed of the four Oriskany bronzes. Never was a more tangled problem in linguistics than the one which presented itself for solution in the preparation of this roster. The body of. militia that General Herkimer gathered to raise the siege of Fort Stanwix is agreed to have consisted of some eight hundred men. So hurriedly was the muster made and so imperfectly were the records kept, that it is impossible to dig out the names of more than about two hundred and fifty of them, including those known to have been killed, wounded or missing. The casualties are supposed to have equaled fully half of the number in the engagement. It was literally a battle in the woods—so far away from civilization that we do not even know who was there and to whom we should do honor. Up to the time of the Oriskany centennial, the names of not over one hundred of the participants were commonly connected with the vague accounts of the battle. Long and patient search among old letters and family records, and some reliance upon verbal traditions, have swelled this list to its present dimensions. General Herkimer's followers were nearly all of German blood, with some Low Dutch among them, and occasionally a few of other nationalities, as Irish, Welsh, and the Scotchmen who came over from the Cherry Valley settlement. The original settlers in the Mohawk Valley—except the English settlement that focused around the manor house of Sir William Johnson—were largely, as is well known, the exiled Palatinates. It has been said they were induced to people this country by the Dutch magnates of Manhattan, because it was still the hunting-grounds of the Six Nations, and they would protect the other colonies to the east, being best suited to that service because they had grown used to the burning and pillage of their homes. Germans they were when they came there ; Germans they were in the Revolution ; and Germans they remain, to a remarkable degree, down to this day. As ex-Governor Dorsheimer declared at the centennial celebration, “Oriskany was a German fight. The words of warning and encouragement, the exclamations of passion and of pain, the shouts of battle and of victory, and the commands which the wounded Herkimer spoke and the prayers of the dying, were in the German language."
And yet the admixture of races had already begun to play pranks with the names of these Germans. These pranks have continued and accumulated, until to-day the descendants of many of the participants in that “German fight” would not know the names of their ancestors if spelled on the roster as they were spelled correctly at the time Oriskany was fought. Hence arose a great contention, which raged fiercely for many weeks in the local press and in the meetings of the Historical Society, as to which was the proper spelling to adopt, the Anglicized, modern spelling, now generally in vogue in the Valley, or the original spelling in vogue onc hundred years ago.
The problem was further complicated by the fact that the original Palatinates and their descendants who comprised the bulk of the yeomanry of the Mohawk Valley in the Revolution, were not an educated people. They had no schools, nor any time for schools. Many of the wealthiest and most respected of the land owners among them could neither read nor write. None of them—nor anybody else, for that matter—could correctly spell the now unintelligible jargon which arose from the free intermingling of English and German speaking people, who were compelled in their
business transactions and social intercourse, to each make use of more or less of the patois of the other. There are preserved several dockets of the Dutch Justices of the Peace of Tryon County which are utterly undecipherable by any one not intimately familiar with that patois. There can be no better illustration of the linguistic confusion of the time and place than that afforded by the case of General Herkimer himself, over the spelling of whose name on the roster the controversy waxed fiercest. General Herkimer would be called an ignorant man in these days. The few specimens we have of his manuscript justify this judgment. One of the most curious of these, preserved by the Oneida Historical Society, throws a