The Revolutionary War in America was a pivotal moment in the nation's history, and it involved many different groups and factions fighting for their own interests. One of these groups was the Six Nations of the Iroquois, who had allied with the British and fought against the American revolutionaries. In two separate incidents, the Iroquois, along with a small contingent of British regulars, attacked and defeated Continental troops, militia, and settlers in the Wyoming Massacre on July 3, 1778, and the Cherry Valley Massacre on November 11, 1778.
In response to these attacks, General George Washington ordered a military campaign against the Iroquois, sending almost one-third of the Continental Army to upstate New York under the leadership of Major General John Sullivan. Washington's goal was to "ruin their crops" and force the Iroquois west into the Ohio Valley, and to do this, Sullivan was tasked with building a road from Tannersville to the Wyoming Valley to allow his army to pass through the Pocono Mountains.
A group of 500 men, consisting of members of the 2nd New York Regiment and the 5th New Jersey Regiment, were sent to transform a footpath into a road for Sullivan's army to use. The road building was a difficult task due to the dense forest, swamps, and the rocky terrain of the Wisconsin Glacier. On May 23, 1779, the road builders completed the first nine miles of the road and established an encampment in today's Tobyhanna Township, which they named "Hungry Hill" due to their lack of provisions.
While waiting for provisions from Fort Penn (Stroudsburg), one of Sullivan's soldiers died and was buried by the roadside at the top of the hill. This grave, with a large stone at the head of the grave, can still be seen by passersby today. The road to the Wyoming Valley was completed on June 15, 1779, and on June 18, Sullivan's forces of more than 3,500 soldiers, cattle, horses, wagons, and cannon set off from Easton and reached the Wyoming Valley on June 23.
Sullivan's campaign was a success, and it eliminated the threat posed by the Iroquois, forcing them west and north into Canada. The campaign also opened upstate New York for future American expansion and established the first road over the Poconos, opening the area to settlement. The building of the Sullivan Road was a significant moment in the history of the Revolutionary War and in the development of the United States.
Location: Pocono Summit, PA (Distance 5 mins, 2 miles)