Authors and Fort Ticonderoga

For the past several years, the “Fort Ticonderoga Authors Series” has featured authors of recent books either connected to Fort Ticonderoga’s story or to the history of our region. This year’s programs are concentrated in late August and September, when four of our five programs take place.

Sunday, August 19, 2012
2:00 p.m.
Michael Gabriel is the author of The Battle of Bennington: Soldiers and Civilians. Gabriel will talk about the Battle of Bennington, one of the first major setbacks for General John Burgoyne’s Northern Campaign of 1777.

Saturday, September 8, 2012
2:00 p.m.
Will Martin is the author of the historical fiction work Benedict Arnold: Legacy Lost. Martin will talk about how he uses historical research to write historical fiction.

Sunday, September 9, 2012
2:00 p.m.
Douglas Cubbison is the author of “Profession & honour is all that remains”: Papers of Lieutenant General John Burgoyne relation to the Saratoga Campaign 1777. Cubbison will talk about the unfolding of Burgoyne’s Northern Campaign of 1777 as it relates to the Fort Ticonderoga vicinity.

Sunday, September 30, 2012
2:00 p.m.
This year marks the bicentennial of the outbreak of the War of 1812. Keith Herkalo, author of The Battles of Plattsburgh: September 11, 1814, talks about the War of 1812 battle on Lake Champlain that led to the end of the war.

Each program takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is followed by a book signing in the Museum Store at 3:00 p.m. The programs are included in the cost of admission and are free for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga and Ticonderoga Ambassador Pass holders.

Author Doug Cubbison

One of the exciting aspects of working at Fort Ticonderoga is the opportunity to meet and work with so many scholars with a deep interest in the multiple stories Fort Ticonderoga has to tell. Many of the presenters at our various seminars and conferences are authors who have delved into these stories and are eager to share their discoveries. Two of our Author Series speakers this summer have spoken at the Fort in the past. Michael Gabriel, while still working on his book on the Battle of Bennington, spoke at the Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution in 2010 on an aspect of the battle. Douglas Cubbison spoke on “Before the Hangman: The Reconstruction of an American Army at Fort Ticonderoga, July-October 1776,” based on another of his books, The American Northern Theater Army in 1776.

Authors and scholars also enjoy the opportunities for feedback and interaction with the knowledgeable audiences at Fort programs. Program attendees have the opportunity to react to new research and engage with scholars, sometimes providing the scholars with new leads to follow. Len Travers, who spoke on “Kill’d or Taken: A Lost Patrol of 1756” at this past May’s War College, received a number of leads from members of the audience as he sought more evidence for the possible location of the ambush he described.

Authors and historians have long made Fort Ticonderoga a destination. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a short travel piece for American Monthly Magazine titled “Old Ticonderoga: A Picture of the Past” early in his writing career in 1835. He noted sitting in the roofless barracks “now overgrown with grass, nettles, and thistles.”

The great 19th-century historian Francis Parkman also made a pilgrimage to Fort Ticonderoga. Parkman’s interest in the French & Indian War evolved during his sophomore year at Harvard College. His great uncle William Parkman had served with General Abercromby in 1758 at the Battle of Carillon. In 1843, at the age of 18, Parkman visited the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga. He was dismayed at the condition of the Fort, noting “the senseless blockheads in the neighborhood have stolen tons and tons of the stone to build their walls and houses of—may they meet their reward.”

Author Kenneth Roberts (left) at Fort Ticonderoga with Stephen Pell, 1934.

Late 19th-century writer, cartographer, photographer, and publisher Seneca Ray Stoddard wrote histories of Fort Ticonderoga and the surrounding area for inclusion in the multitude of publications he churned out over a thirty-year span. And many of today’s historians were inspired by the historical fiction works of Kenneth Roberts, who used the Fort Ticonderoga library and archives to research Rabble in Arms in the 1930s.

Even the history makers themselves were sometimes authors. Samuel de Champlain documented his explorations of the regions for publication back in France. Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, Montcalm’s aide-de-camp at Fort Carillon, went on to become a noted mathematician and French explorer of the south Pacific. His Journal of his time at Carillon between 1756 and 1758 provides a wealth of information about life during the French era at Ticonderoga. Ethan Allen, most well-known for his historic capture of Fort Ticonderoga from the British in 1775, wrote A Narrative of Col. Ethan Allen’s Captivity and Reason: the Only Oracle of Man.

Authors and scholars have long trekked to Fort Ticonderoga in a quest for inspiration and research. They still come to Fort Ticonderoga today to access the gems housed in the Thompson-Pell Research Center.

You too can come to Fort Ticonderoga on your own personal journey of discovery!

Rich Strum
Director of Education

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