Uncommon Sufferings

On the morning of January 21st, 1757, Robert Rogers and seventy-six of his officers and Rangers ambushed a column of French supply sleds headed from Fort Carillon towards Fort St. Frederic at Crown Point. Rogers’ Rangers successfully ambushed the front of the column. At the rear, French officers sent word to Fort Carillon, with a soldier riding a sleigh horse, cut from its harness. On hearing the news, Captain de Lusignan, the commandant at Carillon, sent out 100 French regulars, Canadians, and Native warriors to ambush Rogers’ Rangers on their escape back to Fort Edward.  By mid-day, Rogers’ men were surrounded and in a fire-fight lasting five and one- half hours. Unfortunately for the Rangers, the day closed with nearly total defeat.  News of the attack was recorded in the Journal of Louis Antoine de Bougainville which noted “the English seized the opportunity to retire in disorder leaving food, snowshoes, and 42 dead, 3 of them officers on the field of battle. Our people made 8 prisoners…” The publication Boston News Letter, printed on February 2nd, 1757, recorded Rogers’ account of the Battle and “A List of the Killed, Wounded and Taken.”

After a successful ambush on the morning of January 21st, 1757 Robert Rogers chose to halt, so that men and guns could dry out. Despite about two feet of snow on the ground, there were rain showers through the day.

Capt Robert Roger’s Company.
Capt. Robert Rogers, wounded in the Hand and Head.
Samuel Martin, badly wounded in the Belly and Hip.
Thomas Burnside, wounded thrugh the Hand.
Serj. James Henry, missing.
William Mirrice[Morris], missing.
Hugh Morrison, taken Prisoner.
Thomas Stinson, killed

Captain Spikeman’s Company.
Himself, killed.
Lieutenant Kennedy, killed.
Thomas Brown, killed.
Robert Avery, killed.
Samuel Fisk, killed.
Serjeant Morre, wounded slightly in the Arm.
John Catull, wounded in the Mouth.

Voluntiers.
Mr. Baker, of the 44th Regiment, killed.
Mr. Gardner, in my Company, killed.

Through the eyes of the reader, these names on a printed page were the aftermath of five and one- half hours of fighting. However, for many of the individuals whose names were printed on that page, the five and one-half hours of the battle were merely the beginning. Thomas Brown, a seventeen year-old Ranger from Charlestown, Massachusetts, was one of the unlucky captives. During the battle, Brown was the first Ranger to be shot, right through the body. His second wound came one hour into the battle, when he was shot in the knee, and crawled to the rear of his fellow rangers for cover. Shortly after, near the end of the battle, Brown took his last hit directly through the shoulder. By night fall, Rogers escaped with any men he could, leaving the wounded behind. For the wounded, this was the real fight for their lives. Ranger Thomas Brown survived to write about the immediate aftermath.

Roger’s Rangers themselves were ambushed by the French, who waited for them as the Rangers attempted to return south on the same path they used that morning. Fighting for the high ground, Rogers’ rangers managed to hold out for five and one-half hours.

Capt. Spikeman, one Baker and myself[Thomas Brown], all very badly wounded… All hope of Escape now vanish’d; we were so wounded that we could not travel; I could but just walk the others could scarce move; we therefore concluded to surrender ourselves to the French

At the moment that these Rangers gave up hope, Brown noticed “an Indian coming towards us.” Instinctively, Brown crawled away from the fire to be out of site. However, with the others unable to move, Brown witnessed the horrifying attack.

Capt. Spikeman, who was not able to resist, and stripp’d and scalp’d him alive; Baker, who was lying by the Captain, pull’d out his Knife to stab himself, which the Indian prevented and carried him away…But not being far from Capt. Spikeman, he saw me and beg’d me for God’s sake! to give him a Tomahawk, that he might put an End to his Life! I refus’d him, and exhorted him as well as I could to pray for Mercy, as he could not live many Minutes in that deplorable Condition… He desired me to let his Wife know (if I lived to get home) the dreadful Death he died.

With some hope of getting away now, Thomas Brown began his journey back towards Fort Edward. He decided to follow the snowshoe path left by the rest of the Rangers. Although the path was guarded by French sentries, he was able to successfully sneak around them. The cold coupled with his wounds made escape problematic.

…the Snow and Cold put my Feet into such Pain, as I had no Shoes, that I could not go on; I therefore sat down by a Brook, and wrapt my Feet in my Blanket. But my Body being cold by sitting still, I got up, and crawl’d along in this miserable Condition the Remainder of the Night.

Induced to crawl home, Brown was certainly not able to make it very far; by 11 o’clock the next morning, he was quickly spotted.

I heard the Shouts of Indians behind me, and I suppos’d they saw me; within a few Minutes four came down a Mountain, runing towards me: I threw off my Blanket, and Fear and Dread quickned my Pace for a while; but, by Reason of the Loss of so much Blood from my Wounds, I soon fail’d. When they were within a few Rods of me they cock’d their Guns, and told me to stop; but I refus’d, hoping they would fire and kill me on the Spot; which I chose, rather than the dreadful Death Capt. Spikeman died of.

Yet, they did not shoot. Instead, Brown noted that, “took me by the Neck and kiss’d me… They took some dry Leaves and put them into my Wounds, and then turn’d about and ordered me to follow them.” Once brought to the main body of the enemy, more Natives came to greet him. Thomas Brown knew his only possibility of survival was not by escape, but instead the protection of a Frenchman. Brown recounted:

The Indians ran to meet us, and one of them struck me with a Cutlass a-cross the Side; he cut thro’ my Cloaths, but did not touch my Flesh; others ran against me with their Heads: I ask’d if there was no Interpreter, upon which a Frenchman cry’d, I am one: I ask’d him, if this was the Way they treated their Prisoners, to let them be cut and beat to Pieces by the Indians? He desired me to come to him; but the Indians would not let me, holding me one by one Arm and another by the other: But there arising a Difference between the four Indians that took me, they fell to fighting, which their commanding Officer seeing, he came and took me away and carry’d me to the Interpreter; who drew his Sword, and pointing it to my Breast, charged me to tell the Truth, or he would run me through:

Although Brown was in the hands of a Frenchman, his suffering would continue. The interpreter immediately began interrogating Brown. He then brought him back to the battlefield, showing him the carnage from the day before, most horrifying was “Captain Spikeman, who was laying in the Place I left him; they had cut off his Head, and fix’d it on a Pole.”

Still, Brown’s plight continued. On the journey back towards Fort Carillon, he ran into Gentleman Volunteer Robert Baker.

…we were ordered to march on towards Tionderoga: But Baker replied, he could not walk. An Indian then pushed him forwards; but he could not go, and therefore sat down and cried; whereupon an Indian took him by the Hair, and was going to kill him with his Tomhawk: I was moved with Pity for him, and, as weak as I was, I took his Arms over my Shoulders, and was enabled to get him to the Fort.

Finally after 24 hours of fighting for his life, Thomas Brown made it to a means of “safety.” While the battle is marked just five and one-half hours of fighting and a list of names killed, wounded, or captured, the fight continued well after that for many of these Rangers. The captives were carried to Montreal in March of 1757. The June 6th 1757 publication of the New York Mercury recorded, “Since our last came to Town, one William Morris, a Ranger, who was taken Prisoner by the French, in the Engagement near Ticonderoga, on the 21st of January last.” Even as late as the summer, Rangers were streaming home. The article mentions the means of escape for Morris:

…he found an Opportunity, when the Indians were gone upon a Scout, to make his Escape, with three more, having left Montreal the 7th of May, with about 4 Days Provisions, a Gun, and some Powder and Ball, which he took out of the Indian Hut, as he was left to take Care of their Things, in their Absence; They all arrived safe at Fort William Henry the 18th of May, much fatigued.

The January 21, 1757 Battle on Snowshoes was a disaster for the Rangers. For those captured, their sagas were just beginning.

For individuals like Thomas Brown, this took much longer. In fact, he never gave up the fight. After making a safe transport back to Albany in May of 1758, Brown re-enlisted with the 80th Regiment of Foot, Light Armed Infantry. In this corps, Brown found himself captured again on Lake Champlain. Finally, by November of 1759, Brown was sent back to Crown Point by a flag of Truce. Thomas Brown finally had enough:

After repeated Application to General Amherst I was dismissed, and returned in Peace to my Father’s House the Beginning of January, after having been absent 3 Years and almost 8 Months.

“A plain narrative of the uncommon sufferings, and remarkable deliverance of Thomas Brown, of Charlestown, in New-England;” Boston, Fowle and Draper, 1760; reprinted in The Magazine of History, extra number 4 (1908), page #5.

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17 things we are looking forward to in 2017!

2016 was so last month!  It’s time to turn the page and experience all that 2017 has to offer. Whether you are making summer plans to visit the Lake George/Adirondack area or you are just interested in everything at Fort Ticonderoga, here are the top 17 things we are looking forward to this year:

  1. More opportunities to explore the beauty of the site.

We can’t help it. We know we may be a bit biased, but we think Fort Ticonderoga is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Our sweeping vistas of Vermont’s Green Mountains and New York’s Adirondack Mountains combined with views of Lake Champlain make for a picture perfect day – every day!

  1. A new year – a new experience!

It’s true, most historic sites give the same old, same old experience every year.  Why visit more than once?  Well, we have the solution for that!  Every year is a new experience at Fort Ticonderoga thanks to our rich history and talented staff!

2017 is 1757: Have you heard of the book, “Last of the Mohicans?” Discover the real story of 1757. Imagine Fort Carillon (later named Ticonderoga) filled inside and out with French soldiers, native warriors, and cannon preparing to take the fight for New France all the way up Lake George.

  1. Get out of the classroom and onto our 2000 acre learning campus.

Teachers, it’s time to plan an unforgettable day for your students!  Whether they participate in the National History Day competition, take part in our immersive field trip programs, or discover the importance of the Lake Champlain/Hudson corridor aboard the boat M/V Carillon, our team is ready to help you plan a day that will go down in the history books! Remember, Fort Ticonderoga isn’t just for students–we have some great learning opportunities for teachers too!

  1. It’s a blast – literally!

New in 2017 – ah, we mean 1757 – is an artillery park.  Blast back into the past every day (beginning May 6th) at 2pm for an artillery demonstration like none you have ever seen. Artillerymen’s work was half art and half science, carefully measuring powder, wadding, and iron cannon balls, to make powerful, perfectly-aimed shots. In 1757 how did French Artillerymen take their guns over mountains and lakes to batter British forts? Prepare to find out!

  1. Don’t wait until summer!

Winter is one of our favorite times to explore Fort Ticonderoga.  Join us for exciting winter programs including the upcoming 1757 Battle on Snowshoes Reenactment on January 21st.  Step inside the beautiful Mars Education Center during our Fort Fever Series programs or participate in one of our unique historic trades programs led by our talented museum staff.

  1. Get a handle on this!

Have you ever wanted to handle a genuine 18th-century firearm from Fort Ticonderoga’s museum collections?  Now is your chance! Book your special program with Curator Matthew Keagle in the highly acclaimed “Beyond Bullet’s and Blades” program offered weekly in July and August.  Book your 90 minute behind-the-scene experience soon as it quick to sell out!

7. The King’s Garden – do we need to say more?
One of our very favorite places at Fort Ticonderoga is the magnificent King’s Garden. The walled colonial revival flower garden designed by Marian Cruger Coffin, takes your breath away with its fragrance and vibrant colors. Be sure to capture the beauty of the “Young Diana” statue by Anna Hyatt Huntington which graces the reflecting pool in the center of the garden.  Also, check out our latest plantings as our horticulture team continues to refine the garden’s plan dating to the 1920s. Explore the discovery gardens outside the walls which always delight children of all ages including the Children’s Garden, the Garrison Garden, the farm to table garden, and more! This a perfect location to have a picnic lunch from our yummy America’s Fort Café featuring nothing else but fresh produce from the garden!

8. SO. MUCH. STUFF.

Did you know that only about 2% of Fort Ticonderoga’s museum collection is on display? We have a lot of stuff!  Our museum collection is considered one of the most comprehensive military collections from the long 18th century in North America. Our hard working collections management staff spend their time organizing and caring for the collections.  They enter all the information in our database in order to make the information more accessible for everyone. From fine art, to the premier 18th century and early 19th century uniform collection, to the largest collection of 18th-century artillery in the western hemisphere, our museum collection’s team is excited to make big strides in 2017 in the cataloging of our collection.

9. Ah, lake days!

Have you ever wanted to take a boat ride on Lake Champlain?  Discover what it was like for the great armies of the 18th century as they traveled this strategic waterway to conquer North America.! Take a 90 minute boat tour aboard the M/V Carillon and enjoy the views while your guide entertains with stories of our epic past.  We love being on the lake and hope you will join us!  Be sure to book your evening cruises, field trips and special charters too!

10. An Opportunity to Make an Impact.

We love working at Fort Ticonderoga. Everyday our team makes an impact and serves our mission of preservation and education. You can become part of our mission too!  Join our membership program and enjoy FREE Admission, become a volunteer to learn a new skill and meet great people, or make a tax-free donation. All proceeds go 100% to educational work.

11. What’s App with that?

Fort Ticonderoga will take a giant leap into the 21st century in 2017 when we unveil a mobile application! Explore the incredible history of our artillery collection that sits majestically on the fort walls. Let the app take you into the Mars Education Center to explore our major exhibition “Last Argument of Kings.” Be sure to finish to check out the Artillery Laboratory located on the second floor of the Mars Education Center. Kids (and kids at heart) love the artillery pinball!

This project is funded in part by a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grant # MA-30-16-0178-16.

12. We will come to you!

One of our absolute favorite things to share the history of Fort Ticonderoga and its importance in the founding of our nation.  Our dedicated education and interpretive staff members travel to schools in New York, Vermont, and beyond to engage youth in a multi-disciplined hands-on program that provokes thought and yes, is fun! 

13. America’s earliest preservation effort.

We are so proud of our history! Did you know that in 1820 William Ferris Pell acquired the Fort Ticonderoga’s land and with that launched America’s earliest private preservation effort?  Pell built a home called the Pavilion on the fort property in 1826.  The house, later to become a hotel in the second half of the 19th century, is an important architectural treasure and one that encapsulates Ticonderoga’s epic story literally in its beams. Thanks to dendrochronology, we now know that beams in the house date to the 1690s, 18th century, 19th century and 20th century when our museum founders restored the house. Today, plans are set for the future adaptive reuse of the home and work is underway to raise funds to complete the project in by remarkable structure!

  1. Ah-mazing!
    40% of Fort Ticonderoga’s land is farm land today.  The site’s agricultural history dates back to pre-European contact.  The story continues today, and as part of that, is our very unique 6 acre Heroic Maze! Every year the maze has a new design shaped in the likeness of the fort. Explore this life-size puzzle while tackling questions related to Fort Ticonderoga’s story. You may want to brush up on your history by taking a tour before you try to conquer the maze. Also be sure to include Maze by Moonlight on your late fall calendar.
  1. Mount Defiance.

Speaking of amazing – we never tire of the stunning views from Mount Defiance and we love sharing our beauty with you! Your daily pass to Fort Ticonderoga includes the Mount Defiance experience.  Whether you pack a lunch and enjoy the breathtaking views of the historic landscape or join our 4pm tour offered daily May – October, this is one Fort Ticonderoga experience you won’t want to miss!

  1. But I’m still thinking about lake days!

It’s January and we are all having dreams of warm days on beautiful Lake George.  Admit it! Well, if you just can’t peal yourself away from the lake during the day, we have a solution for you! Check out our awesome and always exciting evening programs. Get the whole family or all of your friends to visit Fort Ticonderoga when the crowds aren’t here to experience the site in a whole new and fun way. “Guns by Night” is our favorite evening program, but also be sure to check out other new and exciting programs!

  1. We know we are the best at special events!

Not to brag, but… we know that we put on the best special events out there. Imagine getting swept up into a battle surrounding you on all sides with horses galloping around as commanding officers drive their troops into conflict telling a very specific Ticonderoga story. A Fort Ticonderoga special event experience is unforgettable. From re-enactments and living history weekends, to other special events – every year our crowds get bigger and our events never disappoint!

 

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Fort Ticonderoga Presents Epic “Battle on Snowshoes” Re-enactment on Saturday, January 21, 2017

Join Fort Ticonderoga as we recreate the epic 1757 Battle on Snowshoes on the anniversary of the event. This lesser known, but no less dramatic, Battle on Snowshoes brings to life the fierce clash in the woods between French soldiers and Rogers Rangers as the roar of muskets highlight Ranger warfare and the struggle for North America. Discover the peoples, weapons, and stories through living history vignettes, exhibitions and hands-on programs. March out with French soldiers and their allies before they spring upon Rogers’ Rangers.

Highlighted programming featured throughout the day brings to life both the British Ranger story and French history at Fort Carillon, later named Ticonderoga. Discover the fight for survival as the Rangers struggle to escape back to Fort Edward, behind British lines. See how French soldiers and officers lived in their quarters inside the fort barracks and watch as soldiers work together to keep each other in fighting shape. In addition to the living history program, step inside exhibition spaces and discover the incredible French artifacts on display in the museum. To view a detailed visitor’s schedule, visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/fort-events/1757-battle-on-snowshoes-battle-re-enactment/detail. Snowshoes are optional/weather dependent.

Historical Background: Battle on Snowshoes 1757

Each year as the French and British armies retreated to winter quarters, only token forces were left at the forts at either end of Lake George to hold the posts over the winter. These troops battled the cold as well as probing parties of enemy irregulars in a bitter war where even a few yards outside of the walls of Fort Carillon could be a deadly no-mans-land. January 21, 1757 began as a normal day for French soldiers garrisoning Fort Carillon. Horse-drawn sleighs and a guard of soldiers left for Crown Point to bring back food and supplies, however, this column never reached its destination, thanks to an ambush by Robert Rogers and his Rangers. A French soldier riding a draught horse detached from a sleigh galloped with the news into Fort Carillon. A party of one-hundred French soldiers, Canadians, and Native warriors marched on moccasins out into the cold forbidding woods to ambush the Rangers flushed with their early success.

 

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

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Battle on Snowshoes Re-enactment will be presented January 21, 2017.

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President Taft’s Visit to Fort Ticonderoga focus of Fort Fever Series Program January 8th

Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” begins on Sunday, January 8th, at 2 p.m. with “President Taft Comes to Ticonderoga,” presented by Director of Education, Rich Strum. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the door; Fort Ticonderoga Members are admitted free of cost. The program will take place at the Mars Education Center.

“William Howard Taft is the only sitting President of the United States to visit Fort Ticonderoga. Taft’s visit came early in his term, July 6, 1909, as part of the week-long Champlain Tercentenary Celebrations throughout the Champlain Valley,” said Rich Strum Fort Ticonderoga Director of Education. “The early restoration work at Fort Ticonderoga, undertaken by museum founders Stephen and Sarah Pell, was underway, and the President was given a tour of the work by Sarah Pell. Thousands attended the day-long event on the Ticonderoga peninsula. Learn about the advance planning, the scope of the celebration, and the details of Taft’s visit.”

Rich Strum is the Director of Education at Fort Ticonderoga, serving as the Project Director for the Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute. He is managing Editor of The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum and the North Country Coordinator for New York State History Day.

The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place at Fort Ticonderoga this winter and early spring. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered March 11 & 12 and April 8 & 9. Fort Ticonderoga presents living history events January 21st (1757 Battle on Snowshoes), February 18th (1775 British Garrison at Ticonderoga), and March 25th (Four Divisions formed at Fort Carillon; Rigaud’s Attack of Fort William Henry). The Sixth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 8th. You can learn more about these programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org. Some programs require advanced registration.

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

Photo:  President Taft speaks at Fort Ticonderoga during his visit on July 6, 1909. Taft’s visit will be the topic of the Fort Fever Series program on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at 2:00 P.M. given by Director of Education Rich Strum. Admission is $10; free for Members of Fort Ticonderoga.

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3 Steps to a Better French Army Portrayal for the French & Indian War

By Senior Director of Interpretation, Stuart Lilie

In 2017, Fort Ticonderoga will be portraying the year 1757, with daily on-going programs, weapons demonstrations, and guided tours. The year will also feature epic living history events bringing to life French soldiers serving right here at Fort Carillon. Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, these French soldiers defended Canada for nearly five years, winning Pyrrhic victories against vastly larger British and Anglo-American armies. Equally fascinating is the blend of unique military cultures embodied in the clothing, equipment, and food of the French army soldier in North America. Here are three simple details that really bring the story of French soldiers to life.

  1. Havresac not Haversack

    Everything a French soldier needed, extra clothing, personal items, & rations could be carried inside the gran haversac. These large bags are often shown in the period filled to the gills.

This distinction is more than just a ‘k,’ it’s a gulf between two completely different military systems. In his 1768 book, “A System for the Compleat Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of Infantry,” Captain Bennet Cuthbertson defined the British army haversack, saying, “…a Soldier cannot conveniently get through the Duties of a Campaign, without a Haversack of strong, coarse, grey linen (which is always issued as part of the Camp-equipage) to carry his bread and provisions on a March…”

In contrast, the French soldiers’ haversack was two distinct bags. In, “Institutions Militaire” from 1754, the haversacs’ dimensions and use was defined:

The Havresac of good and useful dimensions for Officers, Sergeants, and the same for soldiers, is a plain sack of linen 4 feet long, 2 feet, 6 inches wide at the corners, still giving him a hide/skin for normal usage to wrap up in for sleeping on campaign, and contains a small leather sack to carry cloths and keep out the rain. Closing the sack is a flap of the dimensions, closing with 4 buttons closing the outer part. It is 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. It would carry all that a Dragoon on foot would have independent of his personal equipment. The knapsack/haversack has a leather strap 2 feet long of Russia or buff leather, as wide as a waistbelt. The buckle is attached with another strap of Moroccan in the same width, 3 inches long sewn do the side the same distance from the opening. Above the strap, it folds over to keep out the rain, closed around the middle by a leather strap or cord. The little haversack is carried in the middle of the open space of the bag. The strap of the bag is carried over the right shoulder, but is long enough to be carried over both shoulders, which is less work. (1)

This soldier’s ration of tobacco is depicted in a small bag with two ties to close it. Collection of the Musee de la Armee. 

In English parlance, the French havresac is much closer to their snapsack or knapsack of the time. The gran and petit haversacs together were to carry all a soldier’s personal items. Blankets were not a standard issue item to French soldiers serving on the continent of Europe. Unique to French service, the gran havresac was large enough to serve as a sleeping bag. Blankets were issued as part of the colonial clothing issue to French soldiers in North America and were used in conjunction with their gran havresacs and bearskins in the winter.  It does beg the question, how were rations carried, if they didn’t have haversacks in the English sense? The answer is that rations were carried in the gran havresac as well, but likely in privately acquired linen bags. Some pieces of camp equipment, issued to individual British soldiers, like canteens, were issued to a tente, or chambree (or mess in English) of 8-10 French soldiers. In the case of canteens, or bidon, it was common for French soldiers, to procure gourd canteens for their personal use. It appears a similar practice was common for rations. The 1757 official watercolor of a soldier of the Berry regiment shows him enjoying a smoke, drawing his tobacco from a small bag with two ties closing it at the top. Tobacco, was a ration like any other in the French army. These small bags may well have been used more commonly to keep other rations like salt pork, flour, & all away from the sleeping soldier inside the gran havresac at night.

  1. Pea Soup and more Pea Soup

French army officers had a surprising diversity of foods available. Chevalier de la Pause of the Guyenne regiment noted officers’ rations as they prepared for campaign in the summer of 1755.

Given moreover to the commandant and major a barrel of pigs ears, two pots of goose thighs confit, and two barrels of wine and a parcel of groceries, thirty-two for them, and more a ham of each officer, two for the commandant, the same as the major, and in the place of the second ham each officer was given a wheel of gruyere cheese that was shared among all. Issued for stores to the major was one barrel of oil, one of vinegar, one of prunes, one of raisins and one crate of 50 pounds of soap, ten pounds of powder and eight pounds of lead.

Eating split pea soup and bread with the other members of you tent or barracks room was a daily ritual for French soldiers.

This was not the case for enlisted soldiers. In the spring of 1756, Chevaliar de la Pause outlined the soldiers’ rations for each soldier also per month:

60 pounds of bread

13 pounds of lard (salt-pork)

7 ½ pounds of peas

1 pot of brandy

1 pound of tobacco

These rations were either dry or salted, and so could be preserved without refrigeration. In the summer of 1755, this ration of flour often came as biscuit, a kin to ship’s biscuit in British service, or hard tack a century later. At established posts like Carillon, bake ovens were built to allow proper bakers to turn rations of flour into proper fresh bread. French soldiers ate a lot of bread, but other than bread, dried peas and salted pork were the bulk of their rations. This meant two to three meals a day consisted of split pea soup. Each mess of eight to ten French soldiers had a marmite or iron kettle and a gemelle or tinned-iron mess bowl. They shared these to cook with along with a bidon or tinned-iron canteen for all of them, their tent, and a pot ladle. This meant that a cornerstone of daily life for a French soldier was eating together with the members of his mess, sopping up split pea soup with bread or biscuit.

  1. Hats: Collect All Three!

If French army soldiers serving in North America lacked for anything, it wasn’t hats. The full dress uniform of a French soldier included his chapeau, a cocked hat of black felt, bound in wide faux gold or silver lace. This lace matched the color of the metal of the buttons on the coat and sleeved vest underneath. More important soldiers, like sergeants, were distinguished by fine, not faux gold or silver lace. While the cocked hat looks great, it really had to be preserved for full dress occasions, like mounting guard or battle itself. For messier duties, French soldiers’ had a bonnet, which later was called a bonnet de police, or fatigue cap in English. Article LXVII of the 1753, “Royal Ordinance, Covering Regulations on the Service of the Infantry on Campaign,” directly stated,

Blankets were issued by the colony of Canada in North America. For service in Europe these French soldiers are shown sleeping under their coats with their legs inside the gran havresac.

“When the troops are in camp, two or three men per mess, in vest and bonnet, will be conducted in good order for wood and straw, as the Officers& Sergeants command to this effect.” Generally, these bonnet were made in the colors of their regimental coats, turned up in the color of the coat’s cuff.  The French naval ministry, which administered Canada, shipped brand new bonnet from France to go with new uniforms for French army soldiers arriving in 1755. These white bonnet were turned up at the bottom up with either blue or red wool cloth, to match the coat cuff colors of the six battalions arriving from France.  The only thing better than two hats…is three. French army solders received an annual clothing and equipment allotment from the colony of Canada. This was similar, but not identical, to what Canadian malice and colonial regulars received. This clothing included another bonnet, which French officers like Aide Major, Chevalier de la Pause noted as a bonnet d’laine. This hat was the tuque, the red wool knit cap worn in France by sailors and worn in Canada by most men. This bonnet or tuque was often made double layered and in the Canadian winter must have been a welcomed comfort from the cold. The tuque was also a tangible symbol of serving in North America. These many hats represent the many roles of French soldiers in America; well-disciplined regular soldiers, skilled laborers, and fighters in the varied seasons and country of North America.

1: All measurements are in Paris feet and inches, not English measure. A Parisian inch is approximately one and one-eight English inch.

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

For more information on 2017 Fort Ticonderoga events and the recreation of 1757, visit the events calendar.

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Satisfy That Sweet Tooth With American Heritage Chocolate!

American Heritage Chocolate has captured the sophisticated flavors of our forefathers, recreating the delicious, slightly spicy, decadently rich flavor and texture in their chocolate drink. You can also find the chocolate in bites and blocks, creating the foundation for other unforgettable sweets! From chocolate gingersnaps, to chocolate chunk cake mix cookies, to peppermint sipping chocolate, American Heritage Chocolate allows you to get creative this season and make treats to delight the whole family!

To purchase American Heritage Chocolate, visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/store/products/edibles.

Chocolate Gingersnaps

INGREDIENTS:
4 ounces butter
4 ounces brown sugar
½ cup molasses
2 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
6¾ ounces flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces American Heritage Finely Grated Chocolate Drink
3½ ounces granulated sugar
*recipe makes 36 2-inch cookies

DIRECTIONS:

  • Cream butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add molasses, water and ginger. Scrape bowl as necessary.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Slowly add to the mixer, blending thoroughly. Stir in American Heritage Chocolate Drink, mixing until it forms a dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape the dough into 1½ inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Back for 14-16 minutes. Store baked cookies in an airtight container.
  • If not baking all the cookies, refrigerate dough in airtight container until next use.
  • You can also roll out the dough and cut into shapes, bake and decorate.

Chocolate Chunk Cake Mix Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
4 sticks (0.85 oz.) American Heritage® Chocolate Bites
1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
2 Eggs
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
Powdered Sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix eggs, cake mix and oil until well combined.
  • Finely chop 4 American Heritage® Chocolate Bites and mix them into the cookie batter mix.
  • Scoop batter into 1-inch balls and roll into a bowl of powdered sugar until well covered.
  • Place powdered sugar covered cookie dough balls onto cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Peppermint Sipping Chocolate


INGREDIENTS:
3 Tbsp. American Heritage® Finely Grated Chocolate Drink
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp sugar
whipped cream
crushed peppermint sticks

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat milk until almost about to boil.
  • Whisk in AMERICAN HERITAGE® Finely Grated Chocolate Drink and peppermint extract. Adjust the amount of milk and grated chocolate for taste and consistency.
  • Top with whipped cream, a pinch of AMERICAN HERITAGE® Finely Grated Chocolate Drink and crushed peppermint sticks.

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

Photos: MARS Chocolate North America has made the world’s most beloved chocolates. With a rich heritage in chocolate making, recipes have been created to bring satisfaction to all. Recipe credit and for more ideas, visit http://www.americanheritagechocolate.com/home/recipes. To purchase yours today, call (518) 585-2821 or visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/store/products/edibles. 

 

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2017 Fort Fever Series Schedule at Fort Ticonderoga Announced

ffs-2017Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” will begin in January and run through April 2017. The lecture series will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. in the Mars Education Center. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the door; Fort Ticonderoga Members are admitted free of cost.

“The Fort Fever Series is a wonderful opportunity for Fort Ticonderoga Museum Staff to share their latest research with the public,” said Beth Hill, President and CEO. “New discoveries found in Fort Ticonderoga’s vast museum collections inform our annual programs. Fort Fever programs give guests the opportunity to have a preview of the content and learn more about Fort Ticonderoga’s history, collections, and upcoming initiatives.”

Fort Fever Series Schedule:

January 8th: “President Taft Comes to Ticonderoga”— In the early months of his term as President of the United States, William Howard Taft came to Fort Ticonderoga on July 6, 1909, as part of the Champlain Tercentenary Celebrations. Rich Strum, Director of Education, explores this only visit to Fort Ticonderoga by a sitting U.S. President.

February 12th: “Vive le Roi! French Regiments at Carillon” — Join Senior Director of Interpretation, Stuart Lilie, to examine the regiments of French soldiers who built and defended Carillon, later named Ticonderoga. Look beyond their service in the French & Indian War to the broader history of these regiments. How did the defense of Canada fit into these regiments’ fight for France in the 18th century?

March 12th: “Basse Ville: Vernacular Architecture of the Lower Town at Carillon”— Supplying the rising walls of French Fort Carillon was a collection of storehouses, kilns, and ovens, known simply as the “Basse Ville” or Lower Town. Join Assistant Director of Interpretation, Nicholas Spadone, to explore the melding of old world French framing with Canadian materials and practices that characterized the building below the walls of the old French fort.

April 9th: “Gribeauval’s Guns: French Artillery Reforms from Montcalm to Napoleon”— Following the French & Indian War, the French artillery went through the most radical changes in its history. The reforms of General Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval transformed the way French cannon were designed, made, and operated. Join Curator, Matthew Keagle, to learn how the artillery doctrine changed from Montcalm’s sieges to Napoleon’s battles and tour Fort Ticonderoga’s collection of 18th-century French artillery, containing some of the earliest surviving examples of Gribeauval’s cannon.

The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place at Fort Ticonderoga this winter and early spring. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered December 3 & 4, March 11 & 12, and April 8 & 9. Fort Ticonderoga presents living history events January 21st (1757 Battle on Snowshoes), February 18th (1775 British Garrison at Ticonderoga), and March 25th (Four Divisions formed at Fort Carillon: Rigaud’s Attack of Fort William Henry). The Sixth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 8th. You can learn more about all of these programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org. Some programs require advance registration.

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

Photo:  The 2017 Fort Fever Series take place on January 8th, February 12th, March 12th, and April 9th at 2:00 pm in the Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga. Photo credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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Fort Ticonderoga Seeks Applicants for 2017 Graduate Fellowships

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2016 Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellow Riley Clark-Long, from Connecticut College, conducts research at the Thompson-Pell Research Center at Fort Ticonderoga as part of his fellowship. Fort Ticonderoga is accepting applications for the 2017 Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships from now through February 1, 2017.

Fort Ticonderoga is seeking applicants for the 2017 Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowship Program, a program designed for students seeking a practical, hands-on internship experience at a historic site and museum with cutting-edge programs. The Fellowships run from June 12 to August 18, 2017, and include internships in Education, Exhibitions, Collections Management, and Interpretation.

“These Fellowships for graduate students in museum studies, art history, decorative arts, museum education, public history, history, American studies, or military history offer an opportunity to work side by side with our dedicated team,” noted Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO Beth Hill. “These interns will focus their research and creative energy to support exhibitions and programs related to upcoming projects at Fort Ticonderoga.”

“While working individually with their project supervisors,” added Rich Strum, Director of Education, “Fellows will also meet and work together throughout the two-month experience. They will have an opportunity to work with Fort Ticonderoga’s professional staff as part of our team-approach to all major projects.”

This year’s Fellows will be helping lay the groundwork for exhibitions, programs, and educational initiatives to be offered to the public in 2018. Interns will need to be self-motivated and able to work independently, as well as contribute to a dedicated team to create and develop ground-breaking exhibitions and programs for a diverse audience.

Successful applicants for the two-month Fellowship will receive a $2,500 stipend along with on-site housing. Graduate students and qualified undergraduates interested in learning more details and applying should visit Fort Ticonderoga’s website at http://www.fortticonderoga.org/education/university-partnerships/graduate-fellowships. Applications are due February 1, 2017.

The Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowship Program was launched in 2015 and has included eight students from the following universities over the past two summers: Connecticut College, New York University, North Carolina State University, Stony Brook University, Texas State University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Western Michigan University.

The Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships at Fort Ticonderoga are made possible with the support from the Edward W. Pell Education Endowment at Fort Ticonderoga and generous individual donors.

 

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

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A President Visits Ticonderoga

By Rich Strum, Director of Education

william-howard-taft-pres-taft-blog

President William Howard Taft at the Grandstand at Ticonderoga.

Several future U.S. Presidents visited Fort Ticonderoga in the late 18th century, including George Washington (1783), Thomas Jefferson (1791), and James Madison (1791), but to date, only one sitting President has visited Fort Ticonderoga—William Howard Taft on July 6, 1909.

President Taft’s visit came during the Champlain Tercentenary Celebrations, commemorating the 300th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of the region in the summer of 1609. The week-long celebration took place at Crown Point, Ticonderoga, Plattsburgh, Burlington, and Isle La Motte, in addition to locally-sponsored events throughout the Champlain Valley (Vergennes, VT had its own Tercentenary Day in early July, as did the Village of Ticonderoga).

Fort Ticonderoga was the official location for the second day of the Champlain Tercentenary Celebration on Tuesday, July 6, 1909. Restoration work on the Officers’ Barracks of the old Fort had gotten underway earlier in the year under the direction of Stephen and Sarah Pell. Tercentenary Day at Fort Ticonderoga would be the first day the restoration work would be open for the inspection of the public and President William Howard Taft was expected to attend.

In March 1909, the New York Tercentenary Champlain Commission added Ticonderoga to the President’s itinerary. He was already committed to attend the events in Plattsburgh on July 7th and in Burlington on July 8th.

A full day of activities and events was planned for the Fort grounds on July 6th. Sham battles (what we would call re-enactments today) depicted Champlain’s encounter with the Mohawks here in 1609 and then the epic 1758 Battle of Carillon. The Native Americans participating in the Tercentenary events throughout the week were primarily from Canada and presented an “Indian Pageant” on a floating island constructed on barges moved from venue to venue up and down Lake Champlain. These Indians participated in the sham battle between the Mohawks and Champlain’s allies. Members of Company I of the Tenth Regiment took on the role of Champlain and his fellow Frenchmen. Company I also made up both the French and British in the re-created Battle of Carillon. Company I participated in both sham battles in their regular uniforms.

Literary exercises included a host of speeches and orations, culminating in a brief address by the President. Other speakers included New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes, British Ambassador James Bryce, and French Ambassador Jean Jules Jusserand. The newspapers estimated that a crowd of up to 20,000 gathered on the plain to the north of the Fort to listen to the speeches and to cheer on President Taft.

During his brief visit, Taft was given a tour of the restoration work by Sarah Pell and took a refreshment at the Pavilion before departing northward aboard the Lake Champlain steamer Ticonderoga.

Taft, like many of the attendees that day, arrived by train. The Delaware & Hudson Railroad added additional special trains throughout the day to transport thousands to the Fort grounds and then to take people home afterwards. The trains discharged passengers at Addison Junction, located near the present-day Amtrak station on NYS Route 74. From there, attendees walked the three-quarters of a mile to the Fort and the site of the festivities.

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The Officers’ Barracks Restoration in 1909.

Taft departed Norwich, Connecticut, late on July 5th, traveling in the private car “Mayflower” to Grand Central Station in New York City overnight. His car, attached to the “Adirondack and Montreal Express,” departed Grand Central Station for Albany at 7:45 in the morning. A special Delaware & Hudson train then took the President North from Albany to Addison Junction, arriving at 2:45 in the afternoon.

Taft was met at the station by a delegation that included Colonel Robert Means Thompson, father of Sarah Pell. An automobile carried the President from the station to the Fort for a brief tour before the same automobile took the President to the grandstand, where the literary activities were already underway.

The Ticonderoga peninsula had been inundated by a heavy rain overnight, and on and off showers had plagued the festivities throughout the morning and early afternoon. As the President’s automobile headed down the hill from the Fort, “the big machine, its wheels locked by the brakes, slipping over the treacherous surface, began to skid toward the edge of the roadway. The chauffer quickly got the car under control, however, and the danger was over in an instant. The president was the least concerned of any person in the large throng.”

Rain, and the thick, slippery clay, was the on-going topic of the day. Even President Taft couldn’t resist a humorous start to his remarks to the crowd: “Had a good deal of rain here, haven’t you?” he asked. While the rain had ceased during the majority of the literary exercises, it began again just as the speeches concluded, leaving the President to walk the quarter mile from the grandstand to the Pavilion and the dock where the steamer Ticonderoga awaited his arrival in the rain.

President Taft departed aboard the Ticonderoga, which carried him and the ambassadors to Port Henry, where they found the private car “Mayflower” waiting to take them to Plattsburgh for the following day’s festivities.

The regional and national newspapers were full of details about President Taft’s visit to Fort Ticonderoga on July 6, 1909. The New York Sun featured especially poetic descriptions of the day. An example follows, describing the fair-like atmosphere on the Fort grounds:

They strolled over the grounds, in woods and meadows, and picknicked and made merry—yes, some of them gambled with the sharpers, who did not worry about [Governor] Hughes being present, and got stung—and everything was nice until the rain fell and then there was a lot of scampering and soiled finery and displays of—well, the styles of hosiery in upper New York seem about the same in the city, but it was noticed that walking up and down the hills here seems to tend toward a larger, more rotund development of calf measure than in the cities.

Join us on Sunday, January 8, 2017, for our first “Fort Fever Series” program of the year where I will be sharing much more about President Taft’s visit to Fort Ticonderoga in “President Taft Comes to Ticonderoga.” Cost is $10 per person; Members of Fort Ticonderoga are admitted free of charge.

 

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Chipmunks in the Garden

By Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulturalist in Residence

If you’re like me, or the gardener’s in the King’s Garden, you’ve experienced a banner year for chipmunks in the garden.  I’ve been lucky—they’ve merely uprooted new plants and seedlings.  In the King’s Garden they’ve not only done this, but climbed flower stalks to end buds of lilies and other perennials!

chipmunk

Photo courtesy of Sharon Flaherty

Chipmunks may be cute to many, especially if they’re not damaging gardens or aren’t present in large numbers.  Otherwise, they can be a serious nuisance.  Knowing a few facts about chipmunks may help prevent them from eating or relocating spring bulbs you may plant this fall, damaging young plants, or even causing more serious structural damage.

I find it amazing that chipmunk burrows may extend 20 to 30 feet.  There is no soil around the openings because chipmunks carry it away from the burrows in their cheek pouches and scatter it away from the openings.  The burrows are complex, usually with chambers for nesting, food storage, side pockets, and escape tunnels.

Usually there are two generations of chipmunks born per year, with two to five in early spring and again in late summer.  So if your landscape seems to have many, this is why.  They may range over about a half-acre, but only defend about 50 feet around their burrow opening.

Chipmunks gather and store food, often seeds, throughout the year.  If you have seen clumps of sunflowers coming up in flower pots or the lawn, or small bulbs blooming far away from where you planted them, you can thank a chipmunk!   This is one of their purposes in natural woodlands– to sow seeds for forest regeneration.  Although chipmunks mainly eat seeds, berries, nuts, insects and mushrooms on the ground, they also can climb trees to gather these or to prey on young birds and bird eggs.

Chipmunks do not hibernate during fall and winter as woodchucks do, but remain rather inactive, subsisting on their stored food.  You may see them active on warm, sunny days.  In addition to their damage in gardens, chipmunks can cause structural damage from burrowing under stairs, retention walls, or foundations. They may kill flowers from burrowing under them.

Exclusion can be used to keep chipmunks from buildings and some flower beds.  Fill openings at building foundations, fill and caulk openings, or use one-quarter inch mesh hardware cloth.  Cover annual flower beds with this hardware cloth, at least a foot past the edges.  You can cover the wire lightly with soil to hide it.

Where bulbs may be damaged, if planting a whole bed, first dig out all the soil.  Then line the bed with similar hardware cloth before refilling and planting.  Cover the top with the mesh cloth until spring when the bulbs emerge.  If planting bulbs in individual holes, place some sharply crushed stones or shells in each hole before refilling.  This will help deter their digging.  Such products often can be found, just for this purpose, at feed and garden stores.

Habitat modification may lessen chipmunk damage.  Try not to continuously connect, through vegetation and plantings, wooded areas with garden beds and homes.  Such areas, wood piles, and debris provide protection for them, plus their openings are hard to find under such cover.

Spilled bird seed from feeders is a common attractant for chipmunks, as around my own home.  Place bird feeders 15 to 30 feet from buildings or gardens.  Keeping grass cut short around such areas will provide little cover for them and encourage them to burrow elsewhere.

Taste repellents, such as those for squirrels, can be used for chipmunks too and may be a good first line of defense.  These can be used on bulbs, seeds, and foliage not meant for human consumption.  These need to be reapplied, can be expensive over time, and generally don’t provide complete control.

Trapping is an effective means of control around homes and gardens.  Common rat snap-traps are used by some.  If using these, place boards or a box over, with small opening for the chipmunk, to prevent children, pets, birds or other non-target wildlife from getting caught.  I like to put an upturned, large clay pot over such—they’re more attractive in gardens (just don’t leave them out over winter or the clay will get wet and crack when frozen).

Many prefer to use a live-catch wire mesh trap, then transport them several miles away so they don’t return. While relocating chipmunks is not illegal in Vermont (as is the relocation of most larger wildlife), it is in some states.  This generally is not recommended, though, as they may not adapt well or even survive in a new site.  Another alternative for live-trapped chipmunks is to humanely euthanize them.  If relocating to a property other than your own, make sure you have the landowner’s permission.  In New York state it is illegal to relocate animals to a property other than where they were caught (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/81531.html).

If using traps, a variety of baits can be used including peanut butter, seeds, raisins, or breakfast grains.  Place traps in areas, and along routes, where the chipmunks are seen.  You may want to fix the traps open a couple days to condition the chipmunks to them, before setting.  Check traps often to remove captured chipmunks and to release non-target animals such as birds from live traps.

If chipmunks are in your garden and landscape, and aren’t a big problem, start with exclusion and deterrents from your flowers and vegetables.  If they’ve become a serious nuisance, and you seem overrun with them, then you may need to resort to traps.  Learn more about chipmunk biology and controls, as well as many other wildlife problems, from publications from Penn State Extension (extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/wildlife).

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