Battle Hill sign
A 1927 historic marker embedded in the rock face of Battle Hill along Route 4 in Fort Ann, where the British and American forces clashed just before the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. The historic battlefield was purchased by a private developer, who has applied to mine a stone quarry on the site. (Photo Credit: John Carl D’Annibale / Times Union)

FORT ANN – With the 250th anniversary of the American Revolutionary War just a five years away, the American Battlefield Trust is raising funds to preserve 41 acres at the site of the 1777 Battle of Fort Ann to add to the 160 acres it saved in 2017.

ABT’s goal is to preserve 2,500 acres for the semiquincentennial of the American Revolution in 2026. The 41 acres adjacent to Battle Hill in Fort Ann is part of this preservation goal.

The goal is to raise $47,650 to protect the Fort Ann battlefield site plus locations at the Battle of Guildford Court House in North Carolina and the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill in Camden, S.C. A total of about 64 acres would be preserved. Matching funds for the $47,650 would cover the total $2,115,500 cost of buying the three properties.

“We are still raising the funds,” said Colleen Cheslak, a communications associate for American Battlefield Trust.

It’s anticipated that an announcement about completing the acquisition in Fort Ann could come by the end of the summer, Cheslak said.

The Battle of Fort Ann on July 8, 1777 was part of the Saratoga Campaign leading up to the American victories over the British Army at the two Battles of Saratoga on Sept. 19 and Oct. 7, 1777. The Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater includes much of the battlefields. The fight at Fort Ann and Battle Hill, where an estimated 30 soldiers are buries, is considered vital in buying time for American General Horatio Gates to assemble more troops. About 300 American soldiers, many of them Albany County militia and from New Hampshire, fought about 200 British soldiers.

The trust described it’s goal for the Fort Ann battlefield, saying the “41-acre tract we have the opportunity to protect is adjacent to Battle Hill, a parcel of 160 acres in upstate New York once threatened by a granite and topsoil mine, which the Trust helped to save and has now been turned into a historical site by the town of Fort Ann.

“These 41 additional acres will be used to provide an enhanced interpretive experience for all who visit, telling this chapter of our nation’s founding conflict, where citizen-soldiers bravely fought and died for American independence,” the trust continued.

The other sites the ABT has purchased for preservation of Revolutionary War battlefield sites in the state include 23.1 acres in 2020 for the Battle of Bennington in the town of Hoosick; 68.34 acres in 2019 at the Newtown battlefield in Chemung County; at the Saratoga battlefield 6.03 acres in 2019 and 19.8 acres in 2018; and Battle of Fort Ann in Washington County, 160 acres in 2017. The War of 1812 battlefield acquisitions were both at Sackets Harbor in Jefferson County in 2017, 24.03 acres and 0.51 acres.

Article by Kenneth C. Crowe II, Times Union.