New Perspectives on the Last Argument of Kings: A Ticonderoga Seminar on 18th-Century Artillery, August 5-6, 2017

Fort Ticonderoga presents “New Perspectives on the Last Argument of Kings: A Ticonderoga Seminar on 18th-Century Artillery,” August 5-6, 2017, in the Mars Education Center. This special weekend symposium features visiting scholars and members of the Ticonderoga Curatorial and Interpretation Departments exploring the various aspects of 18th-century artillery in the Atlantic World.

This special symposium complements the award winning exhibit “The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-Century Artillery” which runs through October 29 in the Mars Education Center Gallery. Both the Symposium and exhibition were funded in part by a prestigious federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Featured presenters from the Fort Ticonderoga Curatorial and Interpretation Departments include: Stuart Lilie, Vice President of Public History and Operations, with “Artillery at This Post—Three Case Studies of Artillery at Ticonderoga,” Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Museum Curator, with “Lost in Boston: The Artillery of Carillon/Ticonderoga” and “Pell’s Citadel: The Ticonderoga Artillery Collection,” and Nicholas Spadone, Assistant Director of Interpretation, with “Green Wood and Wet Paint: American Traveling Carriages at Ticonderoga.”

Other presenters include:

  • Christopher Bryant, an independent researcher and dealer of historical portraits and artifacts, “Ultima Ratio Regum- A Pair of Vallere 4-Pounders at Yorktown and Beyond.”
  • Richard Colton, a retired Historian at Springfield Armory National Historic Site, “The American Foundry-Springfield Arsenal, Massachusetts, 1782-1800: Assuring Independence.”
  • Andrew De Lisle, a wheelwright and carriage-maker, “If you are satisfied with the methods the workers have found… then so am I: Reproduction as a method of understanding Eighteenth-century Artillery.”
  • Eric Schnitzer, Park Ranger/Historian at Saratoga National Park, “Pack Horses, Grasshoppers, and Butterflies reconsidered: British light 3-pounders of the 1770s.”
  • Robert A. Selig, an independent historian and consultant, “The Politics of Arming America or: Why are there still more than 50 Vallere 4-pound cannon in the United States but only 3 in all of Europe?”
  • Christopher Waters, an archeologist and a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at Syracuse University, “When the King’s Last Argument is but a whimper: Artillery Deployment in Antigua’s Colonial Fortifications.”

Registration for the Seminar is $155 per person, $135 for Fort Ticonderoga Members. Registration forms can be downloaded from the fort’s website at www.fort-ticonderoga.org under the “Education” tab by selecting “Workshops and Seminars” on the drop down menu. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting the Fort at 518-585-2821.

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: The Seminar on the American Revolution will take place August 5-6, 2017 in the Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga.

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fort ticonderoga’s heroic corn maze adventure opens august 12 with a new 2017 design!

Photo Credit: Carl Heilman II

What activity combines solving puzzles and testing your knowledge of history with fresh air, sunshine, and over two miles of winding trails? Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Maze: A Corm Maze Adventure! Beginning August 12, bring the family along to test your navigational skills among towering stalks of corn in Fort Ticonderoga’s six-acre corn maze located near the King’s Garden. The Heroic Maze is included in the Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission price and will be open daily August 12 – August 28 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (last entry at 4:30 pm). The maze will be open on weekends only, starting September 1 through October 15. It is also open Labor Day (September 4) and Columbus Day (October 9). Call 518-585-2821 to ask about group rates and availability, or visit www.fortticonderoga.org for corn maze details.

 

The maze, with a new 2017 design featuring the shape of Fort Ticonderoga and the year 1757, is divided into two phases, giving guests the chance to gain confidence in the smaller maze before tackling the main maze. The average journey will take from twenty minutes for the first phase and up to an hour for the second phase. Hidden in the maze are eight stations, each representing a component of an 18th –century fort. Players are given a Quest Card to collect a stamp from each section. It takes perseverance and skill to find all of the objects. The Heroic Maze is great fun for all ages!

Back by Popular Demand:

Fort Ticonderoga’s youngest guests will have a chance to explore the Heroic Maze in the Kiddie Maze, a short maze designed for our youngest visitors, giving a fun introduction to corn mazes! This maze has twists and turns, but no dead ends. With adult supervision, this maze is recommended for children up to age four.

Experience the Maze at night! Maze by Moonlight:

Explore the 6-acre corn maze using your flashlight as a guide and under the light of the full moon! The mysteries of the night surround you as you search for hidden stations in the maze to complete our “Engineer a Fort” Maze Quest! The Maze by Moonlight event takes place on Friday October 27-Saturday October 28, 2017. The cost is $10 per person; tickets are available at the door. Admissions booth/maze opens at 7:00 pm; last ticket sold at 9:00 pm, the maze closes at 10 pm.

Group Visitors:

School field trips and other group tours will have the fun opportunity to learn about Fort Ticonderoga’s dramatic story, while building teamwork skills as part of this interactive, interdisciplinary quest! In September and October, the Heroic Corn Maze will be open for group visits on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Group tours require advanced registration and can be done by calling (518) 585-1023 or emailing rwiktorko@fort-ticonderoga.org.

Fort Ticonderoga developed the Heroic Maze with a professional maze design company from Utah that used computer software to translate intricate designs onto the landscape, creating a fun and exciting quest.

The agricultural history at Fort Ticonderoga dates to 1756, when the French built the Garrison Gardens below the walls of the Fort. The agricultural story continues today with nearly 40% of Fort Ticonderoga’s landscape in agricultural use. In addition, a strong horticulture program brings the use of landscape to life in the formal Colonial Revival Garden, working Garrison Garden, and other Discovery Gardens.

The Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure! is funded in part by generous support from McDonalds of Ticonderoga.

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure! opens on August 12, 2017 with a NEW design! Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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Summer family fun at fort Ticonderoga July-August: featuring a new line-up of programs!

Bring the whole family to experience Fort Ticonderoga on land and water this summer! Throughout July and August, Fort Ticonderoga offers a new line-up of fun, active, and hands-on programs that will be sure to excite and delight the whole family! Take a guided tour and explore the beautiful and historic grounds of Fort Ticonderoga, become a Gunner’s Apprentice and help soldiers with their daily duties, climb aboard the tour boat, Carillon, to experience the history on the waters of Lake Champlain, join a Cannon Crew and practice the steps to successfully load and fire a cannon, journey down to the King’s Garden, roll up your sleeves, and join the garden program to learn about the different types of produce used at the fort.

Specially designed tours just for families are offered at 10:40 a.m. and 1:40 p.m. to get an overview of the variety of exciting things to do during a visit. Fort Ticonderoga is filled with adventure as you step back into 1757, a time at which the French held the fort when it was called “Carillon.”

Become a Gunner’s Apprentice by helping the soldiers and civilians stationed at Fort Carillon as they go about their daily activities. Stop by the camp kitchen to discover what each meal consisted of and why. Visit the shoemakers on the first floor of the Officer’s Barracks to learn what goes into keeping an army marching in good footwear. Adventure upstairs to the Tailor Shop and feel the different types of fabrics used in their clothing and try on different French uniforms! Journey down to the carpentry yard and help the soldiers on fatigue duty as they construct gabions and fascines to support these fortifications.

Climb aboard the Carillon, a 1920s replica tour boat, and learn about the most archaeologically rich waters in North America. The 90-minute narrated tour available daily Tuesday through Sunday brings Ticonderoga’s epic story to life surrounded by the beauty of Lake Champlain and the mountains of Vermont. Pack a lunch or order lunch to-go from America’s Fort Café, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Join a Cannon Crew at 3:30 p.m. and practice the steps needed to successfully load and fire cannons at Fort Ticonderoga. During this kid-friendly program, understand how every small detail is part of the teamwork of a successful shot. (Cannons will not be fired during this program).

Roll up your sleeves and adventure down to the King’s Garden, help soldiers with weeding, and learn what kind of vegetables were grown and used for meals in 1757. Talk with the soldiers about their rations and the challenges of feeding an army of 8,000 people.

In addition to these activities, pass through the Log House Welcome Center, pick up a trail guide at the Guest Service Desk, and take a family hike on the Carillon Battlefield to explore where empires clashed to decide the destiny of North America. Rent canoes, make use of our Waterway Trail Guide (also located at the Guest Service Desk), and travel the shoreline of Lake Champlain and the mouth of the La Chute River nearby In August, take the time to adventure through the Heroic Corn Maze to look for history clues among towering stalks of corn connected to our epic story. With the yearly-changing design, the corn maze makes for a perfect annual family adventure! The Maze is open August 12 -28 from 10 am – 5 pm daily (Last entry 4:30), September 1 – October 28, 2017 10 am – 5 pm (Last entry 4:30 pm) Saturdays & Sundays only and Thursdays & Fridays for group reservations only. It is also open Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2017) and Columbus Day (Monday, October 9, 2017).

These interactive activities will inspire creativity and make history come alive! Fort Ticonderoga also hosts living history events, re-enactments, and other family fun events such as the Heritage, Harvest, and Horse Festival on September 30, 2017. For more information on family visits and activities, call (518) 585-2821 or visit www.fortticonderoga.org.

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga. Family Programs resume July through August.

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CELEBRATE AMERICA WITH PATRIOTIC MUSIC AT FORT TICONDEROGA’S FIFE & DRUM CORPS MUSTER JULY 29TH

Experience martial music at its best at Fort Ticonderoga on July 29 during the Fife and Drum Corps Muster! From the American Revolution, to modern commemoration, learn about the practical purpose of fifes and drums. Enjoy the stirring rhythms and tunes of these classic marches and camp songs throughout the day. A special evening Twilight Fife & Drum Corps Concert will be presented at 7:00 p.m. on the fort parade ground.

“The Fife and Drum Corps Muster highlights the role Fife and Drum music has played in the commemoration of American history. The Fife and Drum Corps gained increased popularity during the American bicentennial celebrations,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “In 18th-century military life, fifes and drums served as one of the primary modes of battlefield communication and camp regulation.”

Fort Ticonderoga formed its first Fife and Drum Corps in 1926, on the eve of the 150th anniversary celebration of American Independence. The Corps performed at Fort Ticonderoga each summer until the beginning of World War II. When the World’s Fair came to New York City in 1939, the Fife and Drum Corps was a featured performance on May 10th, Fort Ticonderoga Day, celebrating the 164th anniversary of the capture of the Fort by Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, and the Green Mountain Boys.

In 1973, in preparation for the bicentennial, Fort Ticonderoga revived the Fife and Drum Corps to perform daily during the museum campus’ summer season. The Fife and Drum Corps has performed every year since, and has been a featured performance at many major public events, including the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games, the Christening of the US Navy Guided Missile Cruiser USS Ticonderoga CG-47, and several Evacuation Day parades in Boston, Massachusetts.

Today the Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drum Corps is comprised of Ticonderoga area High School students who are paid employees of Fort Ticonderoga, an independent, not-for-profit educational organization and museum. The Fife and Drum Corps is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s Interpretive Department whose focus brings to life Fort Ticonderoga’s history through daily interpretive programs, historic trades, special events, and museum educational outreach.

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga. Join Fort Ticonderoga July 29, 2017 for the Fife and Drum Corps Muster. A special evening Twilight Fife and Drum Corps Concert will be presented at 7:00 p.m. on the fort parade ground. 

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Montcalm’s Cross Battle Re-enactment, July 22-23: Fort Ticonderoga Recreates the Epic 1758 Battle of Carillon

Join Fort Ticonderoga July 22-23, 2017 for an exciting battle re-enactment highlighting the epic 1758 Battle of Carillon! Witness how the British amassed the largest army in North American history to date, yet was stunningly defeated by a French army a quarter of its size. Highlighted programming featured throughout the weekend brings to life the story of the courageous French soldiers that protected their lines of defense against all odds. Visitors will meet the British and Provincial soldiers who gave their utmost to drive the French from the rocky peninsula and fortress of Carillon, later named Ticonderoga. Experience the fog of war and smoky haze of battle as the French and British armies maneuver across Fort Ticonderoga’s historic landscape in battle re-enactments each day.

Throughout this two-day battle re-enactment, tour Carillon Battlefield and discover how this battlefield preserves both the memory and remains of the battle. Step aboard the 1920s replica tour boat, Carillon, to explore the naval side of the battle. Follow the amassed military musicians of the French Army as they provide musical escorts. Join Fort Ticonderoga’s expert staff for detailed presentations in the Mars Education Center. Watch the assault at the recreated French Lines as waves of British and American soldiers rushed through French bullets in an attempt to dislodge this tenuously fortified position during the epic battle re-enactment.

“During this dramatic event, visitors will discover how the Battle of Carillon sealed the reputation of Ticonderoga for generations to come,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga’s President and CEO. “The battle resulted in the greatest number of casualties in one day until the American Civil War and as a result, Ticonderoga became a legend in its own time.”

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga Recreates the Epic 1758 Battle of Carillon: Montcalm’s Cross on July 22-23, 2017. The price for this event is included in a general admission ticket. To learn more about the event, visit www.fortticonderoga.org.

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Celebrate Independence at Fort Ticonderoga July 1-4!

Join Fort Ticonderoga July 1-4 for a four-day celebration this Independence Day weekend. Celebrate freedom by exploring the year 1777 when America was consumed in the labor of liberty. Participate in the fight for freedom when the Northern Department of the Continental Army fought to keep the great fortress of Ticonderoga from falling into British control. Take the experience onto the water aboard the recreated 1920s tour boat Carillon. Dig into the centuries of military history during guided tours in the historic gardens. Thrill at the power of artillery during cannon demonstrations and march to the beat of the Fife and Drum Corps as they perform patriotic music Saturday through Monday. For the full event schedule, and to learn more about the event, visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/fort-events/independence-day-weekend-1/detail  or call 518-585-2821.

“Step into a hive of military activity as you meet the soldiers working feverishly to fortify the great camp Ticonderoga and build outer military defenses,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Walk along teamsters and oxen as they help in the work. Visit a trades shop to discover how tradesmen known as artificers worked to resupply soldiers with clothing, shoes, and equipment. Observe rations cooked, lumber cut, and the army in motion prepared to hold their ground for freedom. Bring your family along to experience an unforgettable weekend.”

Additional activities during this special Independence Day weekend will include daily soldier’s life programs, reconstruction of earthworks, musket firing demonstration, Mount Defiance tours, and museum exhibitions.

About Ticonderoga on Independence Day 1777:

1776 is famous for the signing of the Declaration, but what was happening at Ticonderoga in July of 1777? The scene was uncertainty, trepidation, and the expectation of a British attack.  By July 2nd, the siege of Ticonderoga was underway. British and Brunswick soldiers began to surround the great camp and build lines of attack, commencing the bombardment.  On July 5, British General Burgoyne captured Fort Ticonderoga forcing the American retreat.

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: Celebrate Independence at Fort Ticonderoga – America’s Fort™! Photo Credit Fort Ticonderoga.

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Fort Ticonderoga’s New Mobile Application

For over a century, Fort Ticonderoga has been the premier museum of 18th-century military history, providing fresh and exciting perspectives for visitors through engaging programs and tours. The recently launched mobile application is a new way to explore the rich collections and dig deeper into the history at Fort Ticonderoga. Visitors can become their own guide as they tour the museum’s world-renowned artillery collection and the award-winning artillery exhibition, Last Argument of Kings. This application features exclusive content, providing a behind-the-scenes experience for visitors, giving them insight on objects that are not on display in the gallery.

“Fort Ticonderoga holds the largest collection of 18th-century artillery in the western hemisphere. Collected throughout the 20th century, cannon, mortars, and howitzers represent the evolution of weaponry, strategy, and technology from the late 17th to the early 19th century,” said Curator Matthew Keagle. “There are over 90 cannon lining the fort walls and each one has a fascinating story.”

The mobile application, also available in French, is accessible on Google Play and Apple iTunes as a free download by entering “Ticonderoga.” Visitors are able to use this as a tool to gain knowledge before their visit, render curiosity, and enhance their self-guided visit. This project was made possible in part by a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s mobile application is available on Google Play and Apple iTunes.

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Make History with Your Dad!

It’s that time of year when we celebrate how great every Dad is and how much our Dads mean to us. There are a number of traditional and typical gifts that a majority of Dads will receive throughout the years; socks, a tie with a quirky cartoon design, a book or perhaps a garden tool. Whilst these are very much appreciated (as it is the thought that counts!), there’s no better gift than spending quality time with dad on his day.

Whether you see your Dad every day or perhaps only on occasion, take the opportunity this year on Father’s Day to whisk him away to Fort Ticonderoga, located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Every day is an event and every year is a new experience at Fort Ticonderoga!

Here are five reasons why a day at Fort Ticonderoga with dad is a perfect gift for Father’s Day:

Take a scenic boat tour and discover the epic history above and below the waters of Lake Champlain

1. Take a scenic boat tour aboard the Vessel Carillon and spend quality time enjoying a 90 minute unforgettable voyage on Lake Champlain. Enjoy the views and the narrated tour where you will discover cool information about the epic history above and blow the water and how this place shaped the story of North America!  Catch a tour at 1 pm and 3:30 pm .  Be sure to get your combo daily pass and boat tickets at Admissions when you arrive! http://www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/boat-cruises

2. Have a blast! Dads and kids of all ages love Fort Ticonderoga’s weapons demonstrations. This year check out our museum staff highlight the French soldiers at Carillon (later named Ticonderoga) in 1757 as they were preparing to capture the British held Fort William Henry at the southern part of the lake. The Musket Demonstration at 11 am and the Cannon Demonstration 2 pm feature insider information on how the weapons work, systems of warfare and strategy, and of course never let us down with an awesome bang (make that 2!)! http://www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/daily-programs

3. Is your Dad crafty? Step into our historic trades shops located in the the Barracks and talk with our talented museum staff to learn about construction at the fort in 1757 and the carpentry projects underway. This week we made some bunks for the soldiers. See what their next project is! Compare today’s tools with the tools used at Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) in 1757. Don’t forget to visit the shoe maker and tailor shop too! You might even get your Dad fitted for a new Regimental Coat! http://www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/living-history

4. But my Dad loves gardening! Well, we have something great for your Dad too! The stunning walled King’s Garden and the other Discovery Gardens located on the shores of Lake Champlain is the perfect spot to take your Dad. Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded in beauty and heirloom flowers and plants, take a Garden Tour offered at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, and be sure to talk with Fort Ticonderoga horticulture team to learn about our centuries of gardening at Ticonderoga! http://www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/kings-garden

5. Dad deserves a super Father’s Day lunch! Pull up a chair at America’s Fort Cafe located in the Log House House Welcome Center and enjoy the exquisite views of New York’s Adirondack Mountains and Vermont’s Green Mountains overlooking Lake Champlain. Enjoy fresh veggies from the King’s Garden, delicious sandwiches and burgers, local beer and wine, and don’t forget dessert! We recommend the Rhubarb Mouse made fresh from the King’s Garden’s own Rhubarb! Don’t forget to pick-up a special gift for your Dad in the Museum Store while you are at the Log House! http://www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/dining-shopping

6. Your Dad is one of a kind and so are our museum collections! Visit our many exhibits located in the South Barracks and in the Mars Education Center. Check out the all the guns, powder horns, swords, and stories that helped fight for empire and our liberty. Be sure to visit our newest major exhibit “The Last Argument of Kings” in the Mars Education Center. Download our mobile application to get the inside scoop on all the cannon on the fort walls too! http://www.fortticonderoga.org/mobileapplication

7. Soar to new heights atop Mount Defiance!
End your perfect Father’s Day adventure with your Dad as you ascend to the top of Mount Defiance for the 4 pm Witness to History Tour. Get a birds-eye view of America’s most historic landscape and learn why Fort Ticonderoga was the “Key to the Continent in the 18th-century! http://www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/mount-defiance

Photo Credit: Carl Heilmann II

Spend the day and make history with Dad at Fort Ticonderoga. Remember to show your appreciation for your fathers, father figures, and male mentors this Sunday on Father’s Day while you learn about our nation’s forefathers and their fight for independence!

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Evening Programs at Fort Ticonderoga: Featuring “Defend the Fort,” NEW in 2017!

This summer, enrich your Fort Ticonderoga experience with the new behind-the-scenes evening program “Defend the Fort!” During this program, explore areas of Fort Ticonderoga off-limits to daily visitation. Get a museum hack perspective with Curator Matthew Keagle and discover how the fort’s garrison prepared to tackle all of the contingencies of war from sudden attack, to bombardment, to a formal siege. Get an exclusive look at the strengths and weaknesses of the iconic fort and why and how it ultimately fell to the British while exploring it inside and out.

“Our special programs allow guests to enhance their Fort Ticonderoga experience through tours and demonstrations, focusing on unique parts of our history, led by our staff of engaging historians,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “This year, visitors have the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes for an unforgettable experience for the whole family.”

Other special tour opportunities include the highly acclaimed Guns by Night, Sunset Boat Cruises, and Beyond Bullets and Blades. Guns by Night captivates guests during a unique tour and demonstration of 18th-century firepower, concluding with a dramatic nighttime firing of weapons that you will not see anywhere else! Sunset Cruises aboard tour boat, Carillon, provides visitors with the breathtaking lake views of commanding mountains and the majestic fort, accompanied by a narrated tour of the most archaeologically rich waters in North America. Beyond Bullets and Blades introduces a rare opportunity to go beyond the exhibition case to examine and handle original 18th-century weapons with the supervision and knowledge of Fort Ticonderoga’s expert museum staff.

All programs are rain or shine and require advanced reservations due to limited availability. To check availability and to reserve your spot today, call (518) 585-2821. For more information, visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/behind-scenes.

Every day is an event at Fort Ticonderoga and every year is a new experience. Fort Ticonderoga is the only site in America that tells a new story each year through dynamic historical interpretation.

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga introduces a new special program “Defend the Fort” on select days starting July 18, 2017. For more information and to reserve your spot, call (518) 585-2821.

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Understanding French Army Uniforms

At a distance the Guyenne Regiment looked quite similar to the Bearn Regiment, but differences in the construction of the coat would have been clearly understood back in 1757. Collection of the Musée de l’Armée 

This year Ticonderoga is very excited to be bringing to life 1757 and the French cannon crews that prepared to defend the walls of Fort Carillon, later named Ticonderoga. Looking at French uniforms in 1757 can be confusing. If you are used to modern military uniforms with patches and badges sewn onto a camouflage fabric suit, the array of colors is dizzying. Even if one is used to the uniforms of the Revolutionary War or War of 1812, the lack of regimental numbers or insignia on the metal buttons makes these 1750s French uniforms equally vague. Be assured, there was a method to regimental distinctions in the French army. At the time, these would have read as clearly as the number on a badge today.

It may be subtle, but the collars of the Royal-Roussillon Regiment weren’t attached for the final inch at either end, created an open or hanging appearance to the collar. Collection of Fort Ticonderoga.

In general, French army uniforms were white; that is regular French Infantry regiments wore white uniforms. Foreign regiments were often distinguished by different colors. German regiments often wore blue coats, Swiss and Irish regiments wore red, and Maison du Roi or household regiments had their own distinctive colors. A French infantry uniform could be plain white. In fact, the Bourgogne Regiment, which served at Fortress Louisburg, wore habits or regimental coats which were completely white. While it may not seem like it, unbleached white wool cloth, often described as gris-blanc, cost less than dyed cloth, especially on the  vast scale of the French army. There was expense inherent in dying wool to make the distinctive colors of a regiment. The 1747, Royal Ordonnances for clothing mentions this cost stating, “The expense of the dye, as well as that for the facings, will be in the future part of the regimental fund.”  French regiments were distinguished by the colors of the collar and cuffs or the facings of their habits, as well as the color of their vestes, the sleeved jackets worn under the habit. The French infantry regiments that served at Carillon had red or blue regulation facings. Only the Volontaires Étrangers, or foreign volunteers which sent a few hundred men to Carillon in the summer of 1757, broke the mold with green coat facings and vestes.

Regiment Habit

Cuffs and Collar

Veste Button Color
La Reine Red Blue White Metal
Languedoc Blue Blue Brass
Royal Roussillon Blue Blue Brass
Bearn Red Red Brass
Guyenne Red Red Brass
La Sarre Red Blue Brass
Berry Red Red Brass

 

The Bearn Regiments’ two vertical pockets didn’t function, they served to identify the regiment. The actual pockets were set into the pleats of the coat.  Collection of the Musée de l’Armée 

A quick glance at the repetition of these colors creates the impression that these regiments’ uniforms were barely distinguishable. However, more than these colors were subtle details in the construction of uniform garments. The cut of the collars, pocket flaps, cuffs, vestes, and the placement of buttons on these, were just as important to a regiment’s uniform as the color of their facings. By regulation, the Bearn Regiment and Guyenne Regiment both had red vestes, cuffs, and collars, Bearn had two vertical pocket flaps on each front of the coat, with three buttons each. Guyenne had simply one horizontal pocket flap with three buttons upon it.  When the French navy supplied uniforms to French army regiments arriving in 1755, these facing colors were negotiable, but regiments’ distinctions were adhered too.  In fact, the Bearn received blue vestes and blue cuffs, though no mention was made about there regulation vertical pocket flaps. These pocket flaps served only for identification, the actual coat pocket openings were in the pleats at the side of the coats. A few generations earlier, these diverse styles of pocket flap were high fashion. These details incorporated into the uniforms of these regiments in the 1670s through 1710s, but remained long after.

The cut of the vestes was also part of a uniform’s distinctions. Arriving to Carillon in 1758, the Berry Regiment had red facings and two vertical pocket flaps like Bearn, but appeared very different with a double-breasted veste. In addition to two rows of small brass buttons closing the veste down the front, the coat cuffs of the Berry Regiment featured six buttons on each cuff as a further distinction. Albeit with blue facings, this detail was shared with the Royal-Roussillon Regiment, which arrived at Carillon in the summer of 1756. More obvious details like the shape of pocket flaps and buttons on the cuff were complimented by even more subtle distinctions. While the 1747 Royal Ordonnances ordered a collar for the habit, the shape of it was left as a regimental distinction. Careful examination of images of the Royal Roussillon Regiment reveals a hanging collar, with an inch to either end left unattached to the neckline. The La Reine Regiment, with its red collar and cuffs, but a blue veste, shared this odd collar detail.

While the Royal-Roussillon Regiment was to have 6 buttons on the cuff, Sergeants in the French army were to have three loops as a distinction. Their rank superseded the regimental cuff distinction. Collection of Fort Ticonderoga.

Wool and metallic tape or galon was used for regimental and rank distinctions. Most of the French army regiments at Carillon had brass buttons which was matched in the faux gold binding of their hats. La Reine, the only army regiment with white metal buttons, had its hats bound in faux silver tape. This was true of the ranks of soldat, corporal, and anspessades (roughly equivalent to a modern private first class or lance corporal). When a soldier reached the rank of Sergeant, their hat was instead be bound in fin or real gold or silver tape. Beyond their hat and a special sword, Sergeants were distinguished by their coat’s cuff being “trimmed on the facing with three loops or a wide gilded or silver border, & only one of the two…” by the 1747 Ordonnances.  By regulation, a Colonel had to choose either a band of this gold or silver lace at the top of the cuff or three loops of that trim. However, a painting of the Royal Roussillon Regiment in 1748 shows one of their Sergeants with both. Corporals were distinguished by three loops of woolen tape on the cuffs, like a lower quality version of the Sergeants’ distinction. Interestingly, the three loops–and buttons to go with them– superseded the regiments’ arrangement of buttons on the cuffs. Though Royal-Roussillon’s coats had six buttons on their cuffs, their Sergeants had only three as per their rank’s distinction.

Were it not for their double-breasted vestes and 6-button cuffs, Berry Regiment soldiers looked very similar to Bearn soldiers. Collection of the Musée de l’Armée

The French army, as with many armies at the time, set apart artillerymen in blue coats with red distinctions. For the fourteen artillerymen and four officers of the Regiment of Royal-Artillery who arrived at Carillon in the summer of 1757, their uniforms with red breeches and red vestes were further set apart with unique details. Their double-breasted vestes featured pocket flaps closing with four buttons and buttonholes. Their habit featured many details unique to the artillery corps, including a, ‘bande,’ a separate strip containing the buttonholes to close the coat down the left side of the front.

As fascinating and intricate as the French Army artillery uniform was, most of the artillerymen at Carillon were from the Colony of Canada’s Cannoniers-Bombardiers, completely separate from the French army and with their own uniform. The April 10, 1750 “Ordonnances Concerning the Establishment of a Company of Cannoniers-Bombardiers in Canada” explained their uniform.

…Et à chacun des Canonniers un habit de drap bleu commun avec des parements rouges, boutons blancs de métal d’allemagne argenté veste, culotte et bas rouges, un chapeau bordé d’argent faux… …And to each of the Artillerymen a coat of common blue wool with red facings, white German-silver buttons, red veste, breeches and stockings, a hat bordered in faux silver…

The 1758 Code Militaire includes descriptions of each French regiments’ uniform, including the Royal Artillery. In addition to blue coats and red distinctions, the artillery had many subtle details on the coat and veste. Collection of Fort Ticonderoga.

Blue and red was a common distinction of the artilleryman across many armies. For this recreated uniform of a Cannoniers-Bombardiers the rank of Corporal is signified by the band of white worsted tape around the cuff.

Within this company, sergeants received higher-grade cloth, real silver buttons, and fine silver lace for their hats and cuffs. Oddly like anspessades in the infantry, for this company Corporals had a band of plain lace at the top of their cuffs.  As complete as these uniform regulations seem, knowing the wide array of shapes and finishes to so many details on the cuffs, pockets, and all, the exact uniform is open to interpretation. As Fort Ticonderoga portrays the Cannoniers-Bombardiers as part of our recreated year of 1757, we have opted for the simplest arrangements of facings, pockets & other details.

All of this attention to subtle differences in buttons, trimmings, and the finish of pieces of a uniform may seem silly, but at the time they were important regimental traditions. Just as we understand a unit’s patch or badge today, the meaning of uniform details in the French army were well understood by soldiers. Relative to civilian clothing at the time, many of these cuff and pocket shapes were old-fashioned or odd, serving to set apart military dress while tapping into a regiments’ heritage over generations of soldiers. Some regiments tenaciously hung onto distinctions like their old pocket flap shapes even as reforms of the French army in the 1760s prohibited them.  As our staff wears these fascinating uniforms every day in 2017, guests will have the opportunity to look through 18th century eyes and read these distinctions for themselves, and appreciate the significance they carried at the time.

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