EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published on Richland Source in 2017.
LOUDONVILLE -- I was a 13-year-old kid the first time I heard the story about the Battle of Copus Hill.
My Scout troop was standing there at the time on that quiet wooded road next to the Copus Hill Monument and, from what the pamphlet said, we were standing at the very spot where Mohican Indians and Richland pioneers filled the valley with angry gunpowder smoke in 1812.
It absolutely fired my imagination.
I needed more. I needed more details, more images, more information: there was a lot more I needed to understand before I could appreciate what it meant to be standing there.
There was too big a disconnect between the hot-blooded, passionate tale of struggle I was hearing and the cold piece of mossy granite that stood there on the side of the road.
So I read the books. The Copus Hill story is found in County Histories, romantic novels, and historical treatises of the 19th century; in epic poems, adventure stories, and dramatic scripts from the 20th century.
These various accounts all add color and new angles and insightful details to the story, but they always seemed to me to lack the fundamental underlying element I was searching for.
It wasn’t until after I made this documentary that I really understood what it was I wanted as a 13 year old boy: a connection to the place; the true reverent sense of history.
If land can truly be said to be consecrated by blood spilt in defense of home, then Copus Hill is sacred twice: for that blood soaked hillside has the soul of both the American Indians and the frontier settlers; and contains both equal sides of the conflict: flint and steel.
This short film is online so it can be viewed right at the site where the events took place. It is my gift to that young man: it is exactly what he wanted.