Tag Archives: French And Indian War

The Battle on Snowshoes Event at Fort Ticonderoga


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A living history event at Fort Ticonderoga highlighting Major Robert Rogers and the Battle of Snowshoes will be held on Saturday, March 10 from 10 am – 4 pm. Visitors will be able to encounter the French Garrison in the middle of winter inside Fort Ticonderoga and tour through opposing pickets of British rangers and French soldiers adapted to frontier, winter warfare. At 1 pm on Saturday, visitors will experience the hectic tree to tree fighting in a recreated battle during which the rangers make a stand against superior numbers, only to retreat through the deep woods.

Visitors will be invited to tour Fort Ticonderoga as it appeared in the winter of 1758, meet the French and Indians who overwhelmed Roger’s experienced woodsmen, and see how native and French soldiers survived the deep winter at this remote military post. More adventurous visitors can take a hike led by a historic interpreter through the opposed pickets of soldiers in the deep woods. In these tours visitors can see how rangers kept a vigilant watch for subtle signs that might reveal their ferocious enemy.

“The Battle on Snowshoes event recreates the savage fight between Robert Roger’s rangers, and a mixed French force of regular soldiers, milice, and allied native warriors on March 13, 1758,” said Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga. “This event is designed to be a rich experience for both participants and visitors alike.”

Re-enactors portraying French soldiers and native allies will live inside the period furnished barracks rooms of Fort Ticonderoga. They will recreate the winter garrison for Fort Carillon, as it was known until 1759. Just as in the March of 1758 these re-enactors will sortie out from the Fort to meet and overwhelm Roger’s men.

Major Robert Rogers force of both volunteers from the 27th foot, and his own rangers headed out on an extended scout from Fort Edward along Lake George, following an attack on a similar patrol from Captain Israel Putnam’s Connecticut rangers. Hiking on snowshoes due to the three feet of snow, the tracks of Roger’s force were spotted on its march up the west side of Lake George. Near the north end of Lake George, Major Rogers, advanced scouts spotted their French counterparts. Rogers and his Rangers took up positions in a ravine, setting his force in ambuscade to await whatever French patrol would come to meet him.

The French patrol that met Roger’s men proved far larger than he imagined, and in this Battle on Snowshoes, the rangers’ ambush was itself surrounded and overwhelmed. In deep woods on deep snow, the rangers were forced to retreat with heavy casualties as the French regulars, malice, and natives pressed home their attack. Despite stands along the way, this retreat quickly became chaotic as rangers, Roger’s included, ran for their lives from superior numbers of French.

Illustration from Gary S Zaboly‘s “A True Ranger: The Life and Many Wars of Major Robert Rogers” (Garden City Park, NY: Royal Blockhouse, 2004).

Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation Formed


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A new organization, Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation, is partnering with the Fort La Presentation Association in Ogdensburg, New York to advance the education of Canadians in general and students in particular in shared Canadian and American colonial history.

Through seven decades – 1749 to 1813 – encompassing the Seven Years War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Canadian and American history intertwined at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River in what is now Ogdensburg, New York.


“The Canadian Friends will develop educational programs and resources, undertake research to advance historical knowledge and widely share these assets through media, local projects and other services,” said Michael Whittaker, president of the Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation. “The forts which once stood on Ogdensburg’s Lighthouse Point, La Présentation from 1740 to 1759, Oswegatchie from 1760 to 1796 and Presentation until 1813, are rooted in Canadian history from the last years of New France through the first 50 years of British colonial rule.”

With recognition as a non-profit corporation by the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Friends of Fort de La Présentation is undertaking a campaign to attract members and donations for which charitable tax receipts will be issued. All communications from the Canadian Friends will be in English and French.

They are already working actively with the Fort La Presentation Association to plan the fourth annual War of 1812 Symposium in Ogdensburg April 27 and 28, 2012. The symposium, featuring four speakers from each country, will attract an audience drawn equally from Canada and the USA .

“We hope to fund the Canadian speakers at the War of 1812 symposium,” said Mr. Whittaker. “I live in Bishop’s Mills and know those of us on the Ontario side of the St. Lawrence River look forward to expanding our co-operation with our friends in New York .”

Two of the historians featured in the recent PBS production, “The War of 1812,” are giving seminars at the 2012 symposium. Four other historians who appeared in the production have presented at previous symposia.

Lecture: Lake Champlain as Battleground, 1609-1815


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The Lake Champlain Basin Program will be hosting John Krueger, City Historian of Plattsburgh and executive director of the Kent-Delord House, for a presentation titled The Lake as Battleground: 1609-1815 on Thursday, March 1st at 6:30 p.m. in the LCBP office in Grand Isle, Vermont. This program is part of the LCBP’s Love the Lake speaker series.

John Krueger began promoting Lake Champlain’s history as a guide at Fort Ticonderoga in 1970. His talk will focus on Lake Champlain as a corridor for warfare, beginning with Samuel de Champlain’s exploration and the conflict of European powers for control of the corridor.
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17th Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War


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Registration is now open for Fort Ticonderoga’s Seventeenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 18-20, 2012. This annual seminar focuses on the French & Indian War in North America (1754-1763), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The War College takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required.

2012 Speakers include:

DeWitt Bailey, British author and 18th-century arms expert, on British weapons of the war.

Maria Alessandra Bollettino, Framingham State University, on slave revolts in the British Caribbean during the war.

Earl John Chapman, Canadian author and historian, on the experiences of James Thompson, a sergeant in the 78th Highlanders.

Christopher D. Fox, Fort Ticonderoga, on Colonel Abijah Willard’s Massachusetts Provincials in 1759.

Jean-François Lozier, Canadian Museum of Civilization, on the use of paints and cosmetics among Natives and Europeans.

Paul W. Mapp, College of William & Mary, on the role the vast western lands played in the battle for empire.

William P. Tatum III, David Library of the American Revolution, on the British military justice system, using ten courts-martial at Ticonderoga in 1759 as case studies.

Len Travers, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, on the “Lost Patrol of 1756” on Lake George.

The weekend begins Friday evening with a presentation by Ticonderoga Town Historian William G. Dolback on “Historic Ticonderoga in Pictures.” Dolback is also President of the Ticonderoga Historical Society and leading local efforts to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first settler in Ticonderoga in 1764.

Begun in 1996, the War College of the Seven Years’ War has become one of the premier seminars on the French & Indian War in the country. It features a mix of new and established scholars in an informal setting for a weekend of presentations related to the military, social, and cultural history of the French & Indian War.

Early Bird Registration for the War College is now open at $120 for the weekend ($100 for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga). Registration forms can be downloaded from the Fort’s website under the “Explore and Learn” tab by selecting “Life Long Learning” on the drop down menu and then clicking on the War College. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting Rich Strum, Director of Education, at 518-585-6370.

Photo courtesy Sandy Goss, Eagle Bay Media.

Teresa Mitchell, Seaway Trail Executive Director, Dies


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Teresa Hall Mitchell, 59, the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, passed away on January 24 at her home in Clayton with family at her side. She was an advocate for history and tourism along the 518 mile scenic driving route that follows the shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River in New York and Pennsylvania.

Mitchell had been been fighting a very aggressive cancer. She was determined to finish a quilt commemorating the War of 1812, which she did between hospice visits and pain medication. Just 11 days ago, she was sending out emails to colleagues sharing that plans for an 1812 guide book and wayside exhibits that were moving forward.


“Teresa was a hard and dedicated worker who made good things happen, and we were all privileged to have had the opportunity to have worked with her,” said Robert Weible State Historian and Chief Curator at the New York State Museum. “Her untimely passing is a loss for the state’s entire history community.”

“Teresa was always the one to push the envelope for America’s Byways, I am honored to call her a friend and greatly appreciate all of the support she has provided over the years — she will be greatly missed.” said Janet Kennedy, Executive Director of Lakes to Locks Passage, an All American Road.

“The best thing I got from being on the NYS French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commission was Teresa Mitchell, as a friend and mentor,” said Barbara O’Keefe, Executive Director of Fort La Présentation. “Our trips to Albany flew by with talk of quilting, knitting, children and grandchildren and marketing ideas. I have never met an individual who loved their job more or did it better. NYS has lost an amazing tireless advocate for cultural heritage tourism.”

I had the pleasure of working with Mitchell for 5 years as a member of the NYS French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. We shared a passion for marketing historic sites and events. She was relentless in her efforts to work with legislators and state agencies to promote unique historical locations and cultural heritage sites. Mitchell’s work with web sites, tour guides, wayside exhibits and the award winning Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Magazine made history exciting and accessible to visitors. The entire State has lost a special individual and a strong advocate for history in the North Country.

To learn more about Great Lakes Seaway Trail

To learn more about the success of the Seaway Trail visit the The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Heritage Tourism Program

A full obituary can be read at Newzjunky.com

Sean Kelleher is the Historian for the Town of Saratoga and Village of Victory in the Upper Hudson Valley. He has a particular interest in colonial history, being active as a reenactor for 34 years and has served as a Commissioner on the New York State French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration Commission.

Fort Ticonderoga Grows Interpretive Department


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While other history sites around the state continue to face cutbacks and layoffs, Fort Ticonderoga seems to have turned a corner with it’s own economic struggles. The private not-for-profit historic site and museum o Lake Champlain is growing with two new additions to its year-round Interpretive Department staff. Joel Anderson, Artificer Supervisor, and Joseph Privott, Military Programs Supervisor, began their new positions at Fort Ticonderoga on January 3.

Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Interpretation, said “These two individuals bring practical 18th century period knowledge to Fort Ticonderoga’s strategic drive to bring day to day historic details to life at Fort Ticonderoga, one of America’s oldest and most significant historic sites in North America.” He noted their “Skills and leadership allow the Fort to create living history programs and events for visitors that are exciting and interesting. Equally important, the Interpretive Department is able to emphasize Fort Ticonderoga’s commitment to excellence and historical accuracy as we portray those soldiers who struggled and died on this ground.”

Joel Anderson comes to Fort Ticonderoga with twelve years living history experience, both as a re-enactor and museum profession. Joel has previously worked for Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark located in Charleston, SC, specializing in livestock, carriages, and military programming. In his own business, Anderson Tailoring, Joel hand-stitched, custom-fit Revolutionary War uniforms and civilian clothing. Joel studied at East Tennessee State University, pursuing his musical skills. An avid equestrian, researcher, and eighteenth century mechanic, Joel has already contributed a great deal to Fort Ticonderoga’s living history programs in 2011. Serving as Artificer Supervisor, Joel will lead the development of the Fort’s historic trade program in 2012 including shoemaking and military tailoring.

Joseph Privott, who studied at Lees-McCrae College, brings his own living history experience in re-enacting and museums. Joseph’s mechanical skills include fields diverse as blacksmithing, artillery, woodwork, and Native American crafts. The creator of an online database about Southeastern Native Americans in the 18th century, Joseph brought his extensive background in Native American material culture to his portrayal of a 1759 British Indian agent at the Fort in 2011. Previously a docent with the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and a volunteer at Fort Dobbs State Historic Site, Joseph’s commitment to educational excellence in living history programs at Fort Ticonderoga has already made its mark.

The two new year-round positions expand Fort Ticonderoga’s capacity to offer events throughout the year and increased school programming. These positions will also provide the cadre of leadership for an enlarged staff of costumed interpreters in the 2012 visitor season. Beth Hill, Executive Director, said “The addition of Joel Anderson and Joseph Privott to Fort Ticonderoga’s full-time staff represents an important step in Fort Ticonderoga reclaiming its place as the premier eighteenth century military site in North America.”

Photo: Joel Anderson, Artificer Supervisor, (left) and Joseph Privott, Military Supervisor, (right).

Lessons From the French and Indian War Commission


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In the past decade, the New York State Legislature desired to create three anniversary commemoration commissions. The Commissions were necessary to bring together persons qualified by experience to coordinate and facilitate commemorations and activities.

In 2002 and 2004, the Hudson – Fulton- Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, and the French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration Commission (FIW) were created. In the past three years, three bills to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 (1812) with a Commission have been vetoed by Governors Patterson and Andrew Cuomo.* Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Acquires 1759 Powder Horn


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Fort Ticonderoga’s collection is strengthened by a recent donation of an engraved powder horn made in 1759. The horn is inscribed “JOSEPH STAB HIS POWDER HORNE 1759.” Joseph Stab’s identity thus far remains silent. A search of available records for the military campaigns of 1759 has not yet revealed who he was.

Stab’s powder horn is nicely engraved with a variety of scenes and images. Directly above his name is a hunting scene depicting a horseman and three hounds chasing a deer. Another part of the horn is engraved with what appears to be Indians in trees shooting at game. A variety of birds, trees and deer are depicted over much of the remainder of the horn along with depictions of sailing ships one of which is identified as “Sloop Oswego.” The British Navy sloop Oswego was constructed on Lake Ontario in 1755 and captured (burned) by the French on August 14, 1756 at the end of the siege of Fort Oswego. Was the sloop depicted on Stab’s horn as a memory of service in a previous military campaign? Further research may reveal the answer.

Powder horns were regularly issued to American provincial and British regular soldiers in the French & Indian War for carrying bulk gunpowder. Unlike what is commonly seen in the movies, soldiers generally did not load their muskets directly from a horn. The horn was a container in which to carry bulk gunpowder to later be used in making paper cartridges. Many soldiers had their horns engraved perhaps as a way of commemorating their military service. Although there is little direct information that survives regarding the process of engraving a powder horn, it appears from scant evidence that most horns were engraved by a only a handful of men, perhaps individuals with known artistic or engraving skills, serving as fellow soldiers in the army. Some powder horns have poetic phrases reflecting upon specific events and military campaigns; others are inscribed with only the owner’s name and date. Many powder horns have maps or floral or naturalistic scenes engraved on their surfaces. Each horn, however it is decorated is a unique record of a person’s military experience.

Fort Ticonderoga’s collection of 18th-century military objects is celebrated as one of the best of its type in the world. The collection of engraved powder horns numbers about seventy-five pieces spanning the French & Indian War and American Revolution. According to Chris Fox, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections, “Each powder horn is unique and has a story to tell.”

Dozens of engraved powder horns are exhibited in the museum each season and many will be featured in the museum’s newest exhibit Bullets & Blades: The Weapons of America’s Colonial Wars and Revolution opening May 2012.

Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History


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A new book, Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History, was published this spring by The History Press. Written by Joseph W. Zarzynski and Bob Benway, the book is a collection their columns previously published in the Lake George Mirror along with additional material. Zarzynski and Benway helped establish Bateaux Below, which works to preserve shipwreck sites in Lake George.

The depths of Lake George hold an incredible world of shipwrecks and lost history. Zarzynski and archeological diver Bob Benway present the most intriguing discoveries among more than two hundred known shipwreck sites. Entombed are remnants of Lake George’s important naval heritage, such as the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau, considered America’s oldest intact warship. Other wrecks include the steam yacht Ellide, and excursion boat Scioto, and the first Minne-Ha-Ha (including some new findings). Additional stories include an explanation behind the 1926 disappearance of two hunters, John J. Eden and L. D. Greene, of Middletown, and pieces on the lake’s logging history and marine railways.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

New Fort Ticonderoga Tour Highlights Artillery


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Fort Ticonderoga’s newest tour “The Usefulness of those fine Cannon” highlights the museums extensive 18th-century artillery collection. The walking tour takes visitors through the armament history of Fort Ticonderoga and is presented as part of the daily schedule for the remainder of the 2011 season.

The tour provides a window into the events where Fort Ticonderoga’s heavy cannons played such a large part in General Montgomery’s siege of Quebec, General Benedict Arnold’s navy, and Henry Knox’s epic efforts to haul these guns to Boston to force a British withdrawal in 1776. With three artillery pieces original to these events in Fort Ticonderoga’s collection, and many others nearly identical to the historic pieces, the tour of the Fort’s cannons allows visitors to experience Fort Ticonderoga’s important place in American history.



Fort Ticonderoga is home to one of America’s largest collections of 18th-century military material culture. The weapons collection is composed of over one thousand muskets, bayonets, pistols, swords and pole arms representing most of the major types of weapons used in the colonial wars and struggle for American Independence. The museum’s collection of 18th-century artillery is considered the largest collection of its type in the western hemisphere.

The special tour is included in the admission price. Visit www.fortitonderoga.org for calendar details or call 518-585-2821.

Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, historic interpretation and tours, garden tours, demonstrations and exhibits daily from 9:30 am – 5 pm, May 20 – October 20. A full schedule and information on events can be found at www.Fort-Ticonderoga.org or phone (518) 585-2821. Fort Ticonderoga is located at 100 Fort Ti Road Ticonderoga, New York.

Photo: Artillery at Fort Ticonderoga. Photo by John Warren.

Fort Ticonderoga Highlights Role of 1759 Indian Agent


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Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga this summer will be able to explore the role of an Indian agent in 1759 as part of a new program entitled “Within Humane Bounds.” The program will be offered from 2 pm – 5 pm, Sunday through Thursday through October 20, 2011.

An historic interpreter representing an Indian agent of Sir William Johnson’s Northern Indian Department who supplied and coordinated with Mohawk warriors in 1759 brings this nuanced history to life. The program includes an impressive display of representative trade goods including leggings, shirts, powder horns and weapons that were that were needed to secure Mohawk support to the British army. Visitors will learn about the role the agent played in maintaining the bonds of alliance as well as being an important source for practical trade goods utilized in the native villages including agricultural tools and cutlery.

Native American allies in the French & Indian War were key players for both the French and British armies. Accordingly, both sides had extensive networks of agents and traders to try to forge those alliances and coordinate native warriors. Beyond the backing of the British crown, and a large supply of trade goods, Indian agents also had to use personal connections to fulfill their positions. Their fluency in languages, knowledge of local customs, as well as their own personal bonds of kinship within tribes were all essential in securing native alliances. These bonds were very often tested during these times of war, as Indian agents walked a fine line between encouraging native military support while keeping these warriors acting, “Within Humane Bounds”. Sir William Johnson’s directive to his Indian agents was to use the inherent skills of natives in woodland warfare, while keeping them acting within the moral morays of European warfare. Indeed, 1759 through the work of Indian Agents, the Mohawk allies had a reputation among the British army for discipline as admirable as their martial skill.

“Within Humane Bounds” program is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s broader interpretive emphasis this season which brings to life the year 1759. Costumed historic interpreters portraying members of Abijah Williard’s Massachusetts Provincial Regiment recreate 1759 through daily programs and historic trades demonstrations.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Historic Interpreter, Joseph Privott, portrays an Indian Agent of Sir William Johnson’s Northern Indian Department at Fort Ticonderoga as part of the “Within Humane Bounds” Program.

Ogdensburg Founder’s Day Weekend July 23-24


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Ogdensburg, in St. Lawrence County, will play host to it’s annual Founder’s Day celebration, French and Indian War reenactment, and colonial trade fair on Saturday, July 23 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday, July 24 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

More than 250 years ago the roar of cannon fire echoed over the St. Lawrence River on the now peaceful stretch between Ogdensburg, New York and Prescott, Ontario. The final battle of the French and Indian War – the battle that truly led to the French losing Canada to the English – was fought here in August 1760.

Founder’s Day Weekend is the annual commemoration of Ogdensburg’s French colonial history and the Battle of the Thousand Islands. Lighthouse Point features a military re-enactment and colonial trade fair. As many as 500 participants from the U.S. and Canada, dressed in 18th-century clothes, will establish an encampment of white canvass tents.

French and English naval contingents will moor their historically accurate small boats along the shore and bivouac there. The crews will race on Saturday morning, but Saturday and Sunday afternoon the boats with bow guns and muskets in battle on the river. The skirmishing on the water leads into the land battle. Across the width of Lighthouse Point, the opposing forces and their Native allies will maneuver.

Civilian life of the colonies will also be represented as women and children, pipers, dancers, artisans, traditional tradesmen and women, and sutlers, the merchants that followed the armies, set up their shops to furnish just about anything a re-enactor, or 21st-century tourist, could want.

The re-enactment of the Battle of the Thousand Islands and the colonial trade fair are adjacent to the archaeological remains of Fort de la Présentation, built by the French in 1749. When the tide of war turned in favor of the English, the French vacated the fort in early 1759 and continued the construction of Fort Lévis downriver on Île Royal, now Chimney Island. La Présentation was a wooden stockade; Lévis was a substantial fortification.

The 1760 Battle of the Thousand Islands began with the capture of the French corvette L’Outauaise by a swarm of English row galleys off abandoned Fort de la Présentation. The battle continued with the successful, weeklong siege of Fort Lévis. The English pressed on to accept the capitulation of Montreal.

For more than a decade, the annual Founder’s Day Weekend has honored the shared history of Canada and the United States. Here, where the Oswegatchie River flows into the St. Lawrence, the Fort La Présentation Association plans to rebuild the historic fort as a high-quality, tourist attraction.

Admission: Adults $8; Children 7 to 12 $2; children 6 and under free.

More information is available online or by calling the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce at 1-877-228-7810.

Photo courtesy Sandy Goss, Eagle Bay Media.

Fort Ticonderoga to Recreate 1759 British Capture


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Re-enactors portraying French and British soldiers of the Seven Year’s War, also known as the French and Indian War, will converge upon Fort Ticonderoga this Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26 to recreate the tumultuous and chaotic events by which General Amherst’s British army captured the vital Fort. Visitors will experience the life of British soldiers and besieged French soldiers recreated around them, with all the sights and sounds they would have encountered at Fort Ticonderoga in the summer of 1759.

The modern recreation of this clash for empire will feature a variety of demonstrations and events. Highlights of the weekend include: a battle each day featuring re-enactors recreating events of the siege as reported in the diary of a private in Willard’s Regiment of Massachusetts Provincials, who was part of the British force attacking the Fort; artillery and musket demonstrations; a talk by author Russ Bellico on his book, Empires in the Mountains; 18th-century music performed on period instruments by musician Robert Mouland; a rousing game of 18th-century cricket; and historic merchants to give visitors an immersive experience in the inevitable victory for the British forces. In addition to these special events, visitors to Fort Ticonderoga on June 25 and 26 can also enjoy the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts and militaria and the King’s Garden; admission to this reenactment weekend is included in the price of general admission to the Fort.

During the Seven Year’s War the great rivalry between France and Britain played out in their American colonies. The summer of 1759 saw General Amherst, commander and chief of all British forces in North America, moving to take the French Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) from the rear guard of soldiers posted there. Amherst moved his massive force of 11,000 to siege lines previously held by the French outside the Fort. The tiny French contingent of 400 pounded the British line with artillery for four days, in a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable. Finally, with their defeat in sight, the French spiked the cannons in the Fort, rendering them useless, and lit a fuse in the powder magazine, which exploded with destructive force. The French force retreated by boat to Fort St. Frederic in the north, also known as Crown Point. Out of the rubble of the old Fort Carillon rose the new Fort Ticonderoga as the British forces immediately moved in to begin reconstructing the fortifications.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Historic Interpreters Portray Massachusetts Provincial Soldiers in 1759. Courtesy Fort Ticonderoga.

Program on Crown Point Cannon Offered


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Where, in the Lake Champlain region, was the richest trove of artillery pieces at the time of the outbreak of the Revolutionary War? Most published histories, including those used in the classroom, overlook the largest British fort ever built in North America – Crown Point. At 7:00 pm, May 12th, artillery expert Joseph M. Thatcher will present a free public lecture inside the museum auditorium at the Crown Point State Historic Site on the little-known but fascinating topic of “The Cannon From Crown Point.”

As the long-time Supervising Curator for the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, Thatcher tracked the movements – over the centuries – of artillery pieces. His presentation falls precisely on the 236th anniversary of the liberation (by the Green Mountain Boys militia, led by Captain Seth Warner) of more than 100 British-held artillery pieces at Crown Point. Those cannon from the French and Indian War-period would soon be put to use during the War for American Independence.

Crown Point seasonal staff will return to service at the site on Saturday, May 14, to provide history interpretation in the museum and in both fort ruins at Crown Point. Summer open hours are 9:30 – 5:00, Thursdays through Mondays. The museum contains an audio-visual presentation and exhibition, both installed in 2009, that features four different original artillery pieces from the 1700s.

Crown Point occupies a key location, both geographically and historically. Before the 1730s, Woodland Indians camped on the peninsula. In 1734, the French military built an impressive stronghold here, Fort St. Frédéric, with its tall limestone tower and its artillery-fortified windmill. A quarter-century later, when the British arrived, they built a vast fort at Crown Point, starting in 1759. The limestone ruins of both the French-built fort and of the earthen walls and stone barracks of the British fort have remained largely unchanged since a devastating fire burned the British fort in April 1773, just two years before the start of the War for American Independence.

New York’s Historic Military Maps Event


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On Friday, May 6, 2011, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor, NY, opens for the spring season with a special exhibit of New York’s Historic Military Maps from 1750 to 1820. At 6:30 pm that evening living history re-enactor Randy Patten will share his collection of historic maps, accouterments and artifacts from the French and Indian War.

Patten says, “These maps provide a fascinating look into America’s history as it occurred in New York State. Several show the local Northern New York area as well as all of New York state and parts of Canada and Pennsylvania, plus the waterways that people traveled to establish settlements and forts in such places as Oswego and Youngstown.”


Over the past 30 years, Patten has traveled to the Library of Congress and as far as Great Britain to obtain color copies of original maps, including some from the collection of King George III. Patten describes the hand-drawn maps as “works of art.”

The presentation by the retired New York State Trooper will include a look at French and Indian War artifacts, a British broadsword from a man-of-war used in the War of 1812, and a lesson on historic musket safety.

The exhibit of more than 50 historic maps will be on display Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5 pm at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center through June 26, 2011. The Center is located at 401 W. Main Street. Day admission is $4. Evening program admission is $5.

For more information on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway, visit www.seawaytrail.com or call 315-646-1000.

Seven Years’ War College Teacher Scholarships


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Fort Ticonderoga is has announced the winners of teacher scholarships to attend the Sixteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 20-22, 2011. They are: Wendy Bergeron, of Winnacunnet High School, Hampton, New Hampshire; Steven Hammerman, Falcon Cove Middle School, Weston, Florida; Judd Kramarcik, Commack Road Elementary School, Islip, New York; and Bill Sullivan, Northwestern Regional High School, Winsted, Connecticut.

Fort Ticonderoga’s teacher scholarships are supported by generous War College patrons and have been awarded to 53 teachers since 2001. Teacher scholarships are also offered for the annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution, held this year September 23-25, 2011. The seminar brochure and teacher scholarship application form are both available on the fort website at www.fort-ticonderoga.org by selecting the “Education Program” tab and then clicking on “Revolutionary War Seminar.”

Photo: Fifteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, May 2010.

Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History


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The eastern edge of the Adirondack Park stretches into the middle of Lake Champlain, that great river-lake 120 miles long, four times the size of Lake George. Standing between the states of New York and Vermont, it’s the largest body of water in the Adirondacks, one that connects Whitehall and (via the Champlain Canal and Hudson River) New York City to Quebec’s Richelieu River and the St. Lawrence River.

Two routes inland from the Atlantic Ocean that have had a historic impact on the entire North County, New York and Vermont. The book Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History celebrates what is unquestionably America’s most historic lake. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Presents Material Matters Workshop


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Fort Ticonderoga presents the next “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” Winter Weekend Workshop on Saturday, February 26th. This workshop, focusing on the Revolutionary War era, takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

Designed for those who want a deeper understanding of the everyday objects that help tell the story of life during the 18th century, this workshop is a part of a series examining the material culture of the 18th century as it relates to Fort Ticonderoga’s role in the 18th-century contests for North America.

The February 26th workshop features William Hettinger, an expert on 18th-century jewelry; Jenna Schnitzer, who will speak on 18th-century women’s clothing; Chris Fox, the Fort’s Curator of Collections, whose presentation focuses on 18th-century lighting devices; and Eric Schnitzer, from Saratoga National Historical Park, who will discuss the use of artworks when researching 18th-century material culture. The workshop concludes with an opportunity for participants to examine examples of 18th-century artifacts with the panel of experts.

The cost for the day-long workshop is $35 and includes morning refreshments and lunch. To register, contact Rich Strum at 518-585-6370 or you can download a registration form at www.Fort-Ticonderoga.org and select “Adult Programs” under the “Education Programs” button.

Fort Ticonderoga Receives Program Grant


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Fort Ticonderoga has been awarded a grant in the amount of $15,000 by the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust of Saratoga Springs, NY. The funds will support an expanded interpretive program entitled “These Worthy Fellows are Second to None in Courage” highlighting the daily lives of the soldiers garrisoned at Fort Ticonderoga.

The funding support from the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust will help support interpretive staff and the purchase of interpretive clothing, weapons, accoutrement and tools. The Fort’s expanded programming will further bring to life the Fort’s social and military history as well as the material culture of the 18th century soldiers who served at Fort Ticonderoga.

Beth Hill, Executive Director, said the generous grant provided by Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust will “support a significant initiative at Fort Ticonderoga that invests in the visitor’s experience, serves the heart of our mission and meets a national need.” As part of an institutional-wide assessment, Fort Ticonderoga has identified the need for more interpretive opportunities that engage visitors through expanded living history programs.

According to a recent national study, 83% of U.S. adults failed when tested on the beliefs, freedoms and liberties established during the American Revolution. A goal of the Fort’s interpretive initiative is to address in part the historical amnesia identified in the report. Fort Ticonderoga, often called “America’s Fort,” tells the story of how the blood spilled in the name of empire during the French and Indian War became part of the same story of the blood spilled in the name of liberty during the American Revolution.

Photo: Interpreters portray Loyalist militia at Fort Ticonderoga.

New NY Military History: Empires in the Mountains


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Meeting Russell Bellico, as I did briefly several years ago, you’d think you were in the presence of an old sea captain spending his retirement in the softer wind and spray of Lake George. You’d be surprised to know that he spent 35 years in the economics department at Westfield State College in Massachusetts.

You’d be glad to hear that Bellico spent his time away from Westfield at Lake George, where as a summer resident he invested himself in local history. He has spent over three decades photographing shipwrecks and historic sites on Lake George and Lake Champlain. He served as a consultant on the National Park Service’s Champlain Valley Heritage Corridor, a trustee of the Lake George Battlefield Park Alliance, and a board member of Bateaux Below, the organization founded by the archaeological team (which included Bellico) that documented the 1758 radeau Land Tortoise which lies underwater at the southern end of Lake George.

Bellico is the author of a score or more articles and five books on the maritime and military history of Lake George and Lake Champlain published by Purple Mountain Press. His first two projects were Chronicles of Lake George (1995) and Chronicles of Lake Champlain (1999). Both were aptly subtitled Journeys in War and Peace, as they were mostly drawn from primary sources by diaries, journals, and other early first hand accounts.
His third major effort, Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military History of Lake George and Lake Champlain, earned a place as the go-to resource on the region’s maritime history.

His interest in boots on the ground history has no doubt contributed to some of Bellico’s most unique contributions to the region’s history – his careful looks at what remains. For example, Bellico weaves together histories of not just the events (through archaeology, primary sources, and first hand accounts) but of what remains of those events on the landscape.

Bellico’s latest effort, Empires in the Mountains: French and Indian War Campaigns and Forts in the Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Hudson River Corridor, is the fruit of three decades of the author’s work to understand the military and maritime importance of the region. His first volume to focus entirely on the campaigns and forts of the Great Warpath during the French & Indian War (1754-1763), Empires in the Mountains covers the epic battles of the war in the lake valleys, as well as the building of the fortresses and battleships in Northern New York’s wilderness.

And true to his authoritative and thorough style, Bellico explores this history with one eye toward what happened after those great events of 350 years ago. He reviews the history of the abandonment, the excavations, and the exploitation of French and Indian War sites from Bloody Pond (which Bellico seems to suggest may in fact be correctly marked on Route 9 south of Lake George) and Fort Gage (bulldozed by a local developer avoiding APA oversight) to the more popular spots like Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Edward, Fort William Henry, and Fort George.

It’s that concluding epilogue, “Forts Revisited” that is perhaps the most valuable chapter of the book for local historians, and those interested in how we remember, and exploit, local history. For that chapter alone, this book belongs on the shelf of those interested in local history, regardless of your particular interest in the French and Indian War.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.