Sullivan’s Expedition - Revolutionary War Military Campaign

Sullivan’s Expedition was a military campaign ordered by General George Washington to destroy the power of the Indian nations who had allied with the British. The expedition led by Major General John Sullivan, was tasked to destroy the crops and villages of the Indians, take Indian prisoners and capture Fort Niagara, a British Loyalist base in New York. The campaign started June 18, 1779 and concluded by October of the same year. The expedition was made up of regiments from New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

The regiments assembled prior to the campaign at Easton, Pennsylvania. The Second New Jersey Regiment commanded by Colonel Israel Shreve marched to Easton from Elizabethtown, New Jersey. From Easton, the assembled forces marched to Wyoming, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River and from there to Tioga, Pennsylvania. While waiting for the New York regiments to join the campaign, General Sullivan built a fort which was named after him, today the center of Athens, Pennsylvania.

On August 24, General Sullivan's army left Tioga, Pennsylvania, leaving behind Colonel Israel Shreve and a mixed detachment to garrison Fort Sullivan. The remainder of the regiment marched north with the rest of the army, burning the Indian villages and laying waste to the crops.

By the end of the expedition, Sullivan’s army had destroyed over 40 villages and acres of crops. However two of the expedition’s goals were unmet. Sullivan had not captured Fort Niagara nor had he returned with a single Indian prisoner.