What is the Sullivan/Clinton Campaign?

The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign was the largest expedition ever before mounted against native North Americans. It targeted the Iroquois Six Nations Confederacy: specifically, the Seneca, Cayuga and Onondaga nations. Indeed, the Fall of Iroquoia is forever entwined with the Birth of the American Republic.

The year was 1779. In the middle of the American Revolution, George Washington ordered two Generals, John Sullivan and James Clinton, and more than 6,200 men ‘ roughly 25% of the entire rebel army ‘ to clear-cut and burn these resisting or then neutral Iroquois nations from one of Earth’s most fertile regions. They should ‘not merely be overrun,” Washington insisted, ‘but destroyed.’ And England, for its part, couldn’t and/or wouldn’t send forces enough to defend its Indian allies’ homelands against the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign.

After five days in April and four weeks in September, almost all of Iroquoia was reduced to shattered hearths and fields of fire. According to Sullivan’s Official Report, the army burned 40 towns and their surrounding fields; consuming at least 160,000 bushels of corn, ‘with a vast quantity of vegetables of every kind.’ A study (1969) by Anthony Wallace concluded that the Campaign destroyed 500 dwellings and nearly 1 million bushels of corn. Drawing on extensive records, a history (1978) by Allan Eckert estimated at least 50 towns and nearly 1,200 houses were burned. All this before the worst winter in recorded memory.

While these figures vary, all show an earth-shaking defeat for America’s native peoples that cannot truly be expressed in numbers; one that still lingers today - often hidden in plain sight or deep in people’s souls. Against this background, a hard-won foothold in NY and Rebirth of Iroquoia have been well underway…

So, keep scrolling! You’ll quickly get the whole picture, from Then to Now!


The past endures, often hidden in plain sight. All around our neighborhoods, there are shards and bits, pieces to reassemble and dots to reconnect. Knee-deep in broken links, we look but fail to see. We walk or drive but don’t know what lies underfoot, or what is just around the corner, or even wonder why it’s there at all. Some label this our “historical amnesia,” and just leave it at that. But there really are reasons for things; and being true to our basic curiosity - asking the spontaneous “why?,” that bubbles over in children - is the best way to learn them.

Many of us know all too well that History as it’s been presented in school is often a bore and a turn-off. The fact is that our most exciting sagas and personalities are so often ignored altogether or dulled-down by our classroom practices into “answers” for a quiz - the so-called “facts.” Yet, somehow, in spite of this numbing down, something deeper still gnaws and lingers within us, a hunger that cannot finally be crushed. Real history, whether painful or inspiring, is really irresistible. Indeed, any casual web-surfer can spot telltale signs of people’s genuine hunger for history: even as it bubbles up in our nationwide - if not a worldwide - passion for family genealogy, historical reenactments and legacy tourism.

This website acknowledges this enduring hunger for history. It aims to feed and deepen it, by exploring new ways to heighten awareness of the non-stop interplay of past and present as it shapes our everyday lives. And, if it is to truly succeed, it may even help enliven History in our classrooms.

As a learning center, we welcome all visitors - history buffs, teachers, students and passersby - to participate and add thoughtful comments throughout. It will experiment with fresh and innovative techniques to explore and refresh our awareness of the great historical themes – Dispossession, Race Relations, Social Justice and Healing Nature. And it will cast new light on forgotten people and watershed events; and on select challenges to these past and present scourges.

In sum, SullivanClinton.com, Derryveagh.com and StakedPlains.com are ongoing collaborations of educators and artists, designers and you, our visitors. We strive for a special historical awareness: one that promotes a more humane and pluralistic society; that advances democratic values; and that helps narrow the chasm between our best ideals and the status quo. Noting that racial, cultural and economic divisions continue to polarize us, it offers a fresh look to help sustain our better angels: to nourish dreams of a lasting harmony with each other and - most urgently - with our imperiled natural world.