A village in central New York state and the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War. During the Saratoga campaign in the summer of 1777, a British force invested Fort Stanwix in central New York, intending to seize control of the Mowhawk Valley and guard the left flank of the British advance on Albany. On 4 August 1777, a relief column of some 800 Tryon County militiamen and 40 Oneida warriors under Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer and Chief Skenandoah set out from Fort Dayton, some forty miles to the east. Two days later, as the Tryon militia entered the marshy ravine of Oriskany Creek, a smaller force of Tories, Mohawks and Senecas under Sir John Johnson, Col. John Butler and Chief Joseph Brant ambushed the patriot militia. Initially thrown into disorder and suffering heavy losses, Herkimers' force regrouped on higher ground and fought a bitter six hour battle against the Loyalists, marked by hand-to-hand combat with bayonets and tomahawks. Losses at Oriskany were severe and both sides withdrew, with American losses amounting to half the original force, including General Herkimer who died of his wounds a week later. Although the patriots did not then relieve Fort Stanwix, a second expedition forced the British force to lift the siege and retreat to Canada, contributing to British General John Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga in October.