Key to the Northern Country

The Hudson River Valley in the American Revolution

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Thomas S. Wermuth
Preface by Barnabas McHenry, Esq.
Introduction by James M. Johnson
1. The American Revolution in the Hudson River Valley—An Overview
Thomas S. Wermuth and James M. Johnson
Part I. Politics and Loyalties
2. A Suspected Loyalist in the Rural Hudson Valley: The Revolutionary War Experience of Roeloff Josiah Eltinge
Kenneth Shefsiek
3. "Can you on such principles think of quitting a Country?” Family, Faith, Law, Property, and the Loyalists of the Hudson Valley during the American Revolution
Michael Diaz
4. New York’s Committees in the American Revolution
Colin Williams
5. Robert R. Livingston, Jr. : The Reluctant Revolutionary
Clare Brandt
6. Skinners: Patriot “Friends” or Loyalist “Foes”?
Lincoln Diamant
7. The Central Hudson Valley and the American Revolution
Thomas S. Wermuth
Part II. Suffrage and Society
8. Open to All Parties: Alexander and James Robertson, Albany Printers, 1771–1777
Denis P. Brennan
9. Taxation and Suffrage in Revolutionary New York
Jonathan Clark
10. The Right to Choose: Suffrage During the Revolutionary Era in Charlotte Precinct
William P. McDermott
11. “The women! in this place have risen in a mob”: Women Rioters and the American Revolution in the Hudson River Valley
Thomas S. Wermuth
12. Three Officers and a Lady: The Hudson Highlands and Georgia During the Revolution
Edward J. Cashin
Part III. Fortresses, Prisons, and Huts
13. Lewis Graham’s House in Pine Plains: A Revolutionary Log Building
Neil Larson
14. Revolutionary War Fleet Prison at Esopus, NY
Frank Doherty
15. The Flawed Works of Fort Constitution
James M. Johnson
Part IV. Battles and Warfare
16. A Warm Reception in the Hudson Highlands
James M. Johnson
17. Civil War in Schaghticoke: A Footnote to the Revolution in Upstate New York
R. Beth Kloptt
18. Interpreting the Battle for the Hudson River Valley: The Battle of Fort Montgomery
James M. Johnson and Gregory Smith
19. Revolutionary Road: Incident on Gallows Hill
Thomas C. O’Keefe
20. Soldier of ’76: The Revolutionary War Service of a Connecticut Private in the Campaign for New York
William Sullivan
21. Valcour Island: Setting the Conditions for Victory at Saratoga
Gregory M. Tomlin

Offers nearly forty years of interdisciplinary scholarship on the Hudson River Valley’s role in the American Revolution.


The Hudson River Valley, which George Washington referred to as the "Key to the Northern Country," played a central role in the American Revolution. From 1776 to 1780, with major battles fought at Saratoga, Fort Montgomery, and Stony Point, the region was a central battleground of the Revolution. In addition, it witnessed some of the most dramatic and memorable aspects of the war, such as Benedict Arnold's failed conspiracy at West Point, the burning of New York's capital at Kingston, and the more than six-hundred-mile march of Washington and the Continental Army and Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, and his French Expeditionary Corps to Yorktown, Virginia. Compiled from essays that appeared in the Hudson Valley Regional Review and the Hudson River Valley Review, published by the Hudson River Valley Institute, the book illustrates the richly textured history of this supremely important time and place.

James M. Johnson is Executive Director of the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College, Military Historian of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Dr. Frank T. Bumpus Professor of Hudson River Valley History. He is also coeditor (with Christopher Pryslopski and Thomas S. Wermuth) of America's First River: The History and Culture of the Hudson River Valley, also published by SUNY Press. At the Hudson River Valley Institute, Christopher Pryslopski is Program Director and Andrew Villani is Coordinator.


"The quality of the book speaks to the various editors and authors involved in creating a text which is of the highest academic level of history writing, yet is at the same time easily accessible to a general audience. In short, this collection is a work that is a valuable addition to any classroom as well as to any home in the Hudson Valley and beyond. " — About Town

"…a rich compilation … This is a veritable treasure trove of Revolutionary War trivia. " — Kaatskill Life