Preservationists fighting a losing battle to save Fishkill, NY sites

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History is what we choose to remember, and there have been many reasons not to remember too much about the Fishkill Encampment and Supply Depot, a sprawling military city that became the most important northern supply center during the Revolutionary War.

No stirring battle was won there. Life was brutish and often short, a place of smallpox, frostbite and mutiny, where wounded soldiers had limbs sawed off and covered with tar, where, as one contemporary account put it, soldiers “patched their clothes until patches and clothing both gave out and the garments dropped from their bodies,” where hundreds, perhaps well over a thousand, were buried in unmarked graves.

No grand building was left behind. And over time the lure of commerce and utility — the Dutchess Mall on one side of Route 9, a Hess gas station and a Mexican cafe on the other, a pump station up the road — meant more than the hoarse whispers of history....

Paving over history is one thing; paving over [newly discovered] graves is another. The State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is encouraging the town to protect the site, saying the opportunity to preserve it is unlikely to come again.

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