1779 was the fifth year of the American Revolution, and many Iroquois Indians living in western New York sided with the British. Their war parties repeatedly raided frontier settlements in Pennsylvania and New York. To punish them, General George Washington sent an army led by General John Sullivan to invade the Iroquois homeland. Sullivan burned their villages and destroyed their farms, and Washington believed the Iroquois had been forced out of the war. But Washington had miscalculated: Sullivan had only kicked a hornet’s nest.
For the Iroquois, 1780 became a year for revenge. As winter ended, their warriors didn’t wait for the snow to melt before they sharpened their tomahawks, donned their snowshoes and headed for Pennsylvania. The first attacks caught settlers making sugar in their maple groves and rebuilding farms damaged by previous raids. The warriors terrorized the entire frontier. Across Pennsylvania, militia officers scrambled to protect their settlements. As William Maclay of Sunbury, Pa., implored Governor Joseph Reed, “… Help us if you can.”
Author John L. Moore draws on first-person accounts, letters and depositions to bring these events to life. In researching the topic, he visited many of the sites of forts and skirmishes described in the book.
1780: Year of Revenge is a sequel to his 2018 book, Scorched Earth: General Sullivan and the Senecas. It is also the third volume in his ongoing Revolutionary Pennsylvania Series.
John L. Moore