Fort Fever Series Explores the Construction of Redoubts at Ticonderoga in 1776-77

building redoubtsFort Ticonderoga’s final “Fort Fever Series” for 2016 takes place on Sunday, April 10, at 2:00 p.m. with “Building 18th-Century Redoubts” presented by Assistant Military Programs Supervisor Nicholas Spadone. The cost is $10 per person and will be collected at the door. The program is free for Members of Fort Ticonderoga.

From theory to practice, examine the construction of redoubts along the Ticonderoga peninsula. Dive into the science and geometry used in the layout process closely followed by American officers. Explore the literature that influenced young officers to make such fortifications in a brand new American Army. “Building 18th-Century Redoubts” will begin with a presentation in the Mars Education Center and conclude with a walking tour of Fort Ticonderoga’s redoubts, the largest surviving network of Revolutionary War earthworks in North America.

“The miles of entrenchments built along the Ticonderoga peninsula were the sole defense for the American Army in 1776 and 1777,” said Assistant Military Programs Supervisor, Nicholas Spadone.  “Many of the redoubts that defended the nation still stand today and serve as monuments for future generations to remember those who built them.”

Spadone, a graduate of Montclair State University, has several years of experience in historical interpretation and research into 18th-century military history.  He joined the Fort Ticonderoga museum staff in 2014 and has since developed major initiatives in military programs, heritage breeds, and carpentry.

The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs that take place at Fort Ticonderoga during the winter and early spring. Fort Ticonderoga also hosts monthly winter workshops, the Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium, North Country History Day, living history events, learning opportunities for students, and more. You can learn about all of Fort Ticonderoga’s programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org. Some programs require advance registration.

 

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Teacher Scholarships Awarded for Annual French & Indian War Conference

Fort Ticonderoga is pleased to announce the recipients of teacher scholarships to attend the Twenty-First Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 20-22, 2016. They are:

  • Sean Albert, LaSalle School, Albany, New York
  • Tod Guilford, Bluff Elementary School, Claremont, New Hampshire
  • Laura McCrillis Kessler, Sunapee Middle High School, Sunapee, New Hampshire
  • Alexander Putnam Lee, Spaulding High School, Barre, Vermont
  • John Pezzola, Blue Mountain Middle School, Cortlandt Manor, New York

War CollegeSince 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided 128 scholarships for teachers to attend its seminars and conferences at no cost, including 69 scholarships to attend the War College of the Seven Years’ War. Teachers from 14 states and two Canadian provinces have been awarded War College scholarships over the past 15 years. These scholarships are made possible by the generous support of War College patrons.

The War College of Seven Years’ War focuses on the French & Indian War in North America (1754-1763), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The War College takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Those who are interested should register early. A War College brochure and registration form can be downloaded here. For more information on the War College speakers, lodging suggestions, and general registration information click here.

Fort Ticonderoga also offers teacher scholarships for the Thirteenth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution (September 23-25, 2016). Brochures and teacher scholarship applications are both available on the Fort Ticonderoga website at www.fortticonderoga.org. Select “Education” and click “Workshops and Seminars” on the drop-down menu to learn more. Teacher Scholarship applications for the September seminar are due August 15.

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Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute Seeks Applications

Teacher Institute 2015Fort Ticonderoga is now accepting applications from teachers to participate in the 2016 Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute July 10-15, 2016. The focus of this year’s institute is “British Perspectives on the American Revolution” and will accommodate 12 teachers for a week-long exploration of the pivotal role that Ticonderoga and the Champlain-Hudson corridor played during the 1777 campaign. Applications are due April 15. Successful applicants will be notified by April 25 and will have until May 1, 2016 to accept or decline the offer.

“The Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute is a core component of our annual programs for educators,” said Beth Hill, President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga. “This significant program builds on the success of our first teacher institute in 2013 and our on-going experience with the National Endowment for the Humanities teacher workshops we’ve hosted. Fort Ticonderoga has become a nationally recognized leader in teacher education.”

“Fort Ticonderoga is thrilled to offer this unique opportunity for a small group of teachers to spend a week digging into the wealth of documents, objects, and material culture related to a specific year at Fort Ticonderoga,” noted Rich Strum, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Education and the Institute Director. “Full-time classroom teachers and school librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated schools are eligible to apply.”

“Our growing partnership with the Castleton University in Vermont gives participating teachers the opportunity to earn three graduate credits upon completion of the designated project,” said Strum. “Fort Ticonderoga offers this week-long experience with limited out-of-pocket costs for teachers.”

Lead Scholars Todd Braisted and Don Hagist will provide historical context while Fort Ticonderoga staff provides participants with behind-the-scenes opportunities, practical sessions on integrating documents and artifacts into the classroom, and immersive experiences related to the life of soldiers fighting for control of this pivotal wilderness outpost. Participants are selected through a competitive application process.

Interested teachers can learn more about opportunities for educators here. Additional details and the application form are available here. Any questions can be directed toward Rich Strum at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org or (518) 585-6370.

The Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute is made possible thanks to generous donor support and Fort Ticonderoga’s Edward W. Pell Education Endowment.

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Fort Ticonderoga Seeks Volunteers for Park Day

Aerial of Fort TiconderogaOn Saturday, April 2, 2016, community leaders, history enthusiasts, and preservationists will team up with the Civil War Trust at more than 125 sites in 29 states to answer the call to service on Park Day. Celebrating its twentieth year, Park Day has attracted volunteers of all ages and abilities bound by their dedication to serving their communities at historic sites nationwide.

In Ticonderoga, NY, Fort Ticonderoga will host a Park Day event beginning at 10:00 a.m. Volunteers will be asked to assist in the maintenance of Fort Ticonderoga’s Carillon Battlefield Trail, a 1.7 mile loop through one of the most important battlefields in North America. Volunteers will also help with the removal of brush piles from the recently pruned Pell family orchard, planted in 1911, to help the orchard thrive for another century! Tools and refreshments will be provided. For more information about Park Day at Fort Ticonderoga, please contact Lauren MacLeod by phone at (518) 585-2821 or by e-mail at lmacleod@fort-ticonderoga.org. Advanced registration is recommended.

Fort Ticonderoga volunteers gave more than 20,000 hours in 2015 in areas including interpretation, horticulture, education, development, collections, and buildings and grounds. In 2015, 15 volunteers reached the “platinum” award level by dedicating more than 51 hours of service.

“Volunteers are a critical part of the Fort Ticonderoga team,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “They bring vision and skills to our programs and serve in a variety of areas across our entire learning campus. We are so very grateful for their support; it has such a major impact on our educational mission and reach.”

New volunteers are welcome to apply to the “Volunteers Count!” program, which offers numerous and enriching volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Volunteer information and applications are available on Fort Ticonderoga’s Volunteer page or by calling (518) 585-2821.

About the Civil War Trust

The Civil War Trust is the largest and most effective nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds.  Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.  To date, the Trust has preserved close to 43,000 acres of battlefield land in 23 states.  For a complete list of participating Park Day sites, visit www.civilwar.org/parkday.

About Fort Ticonderoga: America’s Fort TM

The Fort Ticonderoga Association is an independent not-for-profit educational organization which serves its mission to ensure that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices, and victories that shaped the nations of North America and changed world history. It serves this mission by preserving and enhancing its historic structures, collections, gardens and landscapes; and educating the public as it learns about the history of Fort Ticonderoga. Welcoming visitors since 1909, it preserves North America’s largest 18th-century artillery collection, 2000 acres of historic landscape on Lake Champlain, and Carillon Battlefield, and the largest series of untouched 18th-century earthworks surviving in America.  Fort Ticonderoga engages more than 72,000 visitors each year. Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, historic interpretation, boat cruises, tours, demonstrations, and exhibits throughout the year and is open for daily visitation May through October. Fort Ticonderoga is accredited by the American Association of Museums and pursues its vision to be the premier cultural destination in North America. Visit www.FortTiconderoga.org for a full list of ongoing programs or call 518-585-2821. Fort Ticonderoga is located at 100 Fort Ti Road, Ticonderoga, New York.

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

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26th Regiment of Foot at Fort Ticonderoga

ethan allenIn his memoires, Ethan Allen portrayed himself as a brave patriotic leader, who had plenty of time for rousing speeches as he and the Green Mountain Boys rushed through the gates of Fort Ticonderoga before dawn on May 10th, 1775. The British foe he caught unaware, Captain William Delaplace, emerged from his quarters with a cry of, “Come out you old rat!” only to stand patently in his night clothes for, “In the name of the Great Jehovah and the …..” This vivid picture of Captain Delaplace’s surprise was painted, and subsequently printed, into the iconic image of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga that fills the imagination and Google searches alike. Yet, like so many tall tales of Ethan Allen’s account, the British Garrison was far more complicated than Allen led readers to believe.

26th regiment of footDelaplace and nearly all of his command were men of the 26th Regiment of Foot, which was sent by the British Army to serve in North America in 1767, as part of a regular rotation of regiments into colonial service. The regiment’s Colonel, Major General John Scott, was a member of parliament who visited his regiment and the American colonies in 1769. He was a critique of British tax and economic policies in America, considering them bad for both parties. Rather than English soldiers, as is often assumed in popular memory, the 26th Foot was a proud Scottish regiment, known as the Cameronians or Covenanters for their armed defense of their religious liberty prior to the Glorious Revolution in 1688. While in English dress in 1775, the regiment adopted highland kilts and bonnets in 1881, the same time Ethan Allen reached his greatest popularity as an American patriotic figure.  Lieutenant Joceyln Feltham, second-in-command of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10th, 1775 wrote a long deposition about the capture of the fort, attempting to implicate Captain Delaplace. When Allen French published Feltham’s account in 1929 he prefaced the discovery and printing of this document with an apology that it ran counter to Ethan Allen’s narrative. Lieutenant Feltham commanded a party of twenty-three soldiers, reinforcements for Ticonderoga. He arrived twelve days prior to the fort’s capture with orders to leave as soon as more soldiers arrived with Lieutenant Wadman, who was to relieve him. Unfortunately for Feltham, the Green Mountain Boys arrived before Lieutenant Wadman. Writing from paroled captivity in Hartford Connecticut, Lieutenant Feltham ended his account with, “A list of names of Officer’s non commissd Officers & soldiers & the places they were taken.”

At Ticonderoga.

Officers &c of the 26th.

  • Capt Delaplace.
  • Lt Feltham

Non commissd officers & Privates

  • Henry Anderson Serjt  S
  • John M’cullogh drummer
  • John Ross O
  • John Traviss S
  • John Catham O
  • Alexr Brodie lame
  • Benjamin Fowkes
  • Alexander Fraser
  • James Hartley
  • Peter Campbell O
  • John Blake S
  • Edmund Grigson S
  • Henry Grant S
  • Willm Swann S
  • John Mc Cormick S
  • Daniel Cammeron S
  • Richard Sharpless S
  • George Scott S
  • John Barrender O
  • David Jenkins S
  • John Orram O
  • Alexr Willson
  • Archibald Mc Nabb S
  • Robert Anderson
  • Robert Miller S
  • Peter Mc Farlane S
  • Alexander Ramsay S
  • John Mc Cloud S
  • Hugh O Hara S
  • Daniel Stapleton S
  • William Stafford S
  • Robt Pollard S
  • John Mason S
  • Henry Pearce S
 
  • John Mc Donald baker
  • John Mcintoch, deserter S

Board of Ordnance at Ticonderoga

-Gentle conductor

  • Robert Rondick Corpl

Matrosses

  • John Miller
  • Robert Sherrie
  • John Hall

Provision store at Ticonderoga

  • Commissary Godlieb Sweitzer left behind sick.

DSCN2492Annotated with an, ‘O,’ to indicate worn out soldiers and an, ‘S’ to indicate fresh soldiers brought by Feltham, this list combined with a proper return adding twenty-four women and children provides a detailed picture. Captain Delaplace commanded a small garrison of long-serving soldiers from the 26th Foot, as well as a handful of soldiers from the Royal Artillery (officially part of the Board of Ordnance)  needed to maintain cannons and artillery stores. These soldiers were augmented with fresh soldiers by Lieutenant Feltham, less than a fortnight before the fort’s capture. It would be easy to assume that Captain Delaplace’s command was principally his company as a Captain, by definition, was a company commander. Without specific regimental orders this assumption largely made sense, albeit with nagging questions about the origins of reinforcements brought by Feltham.


IMG_3781Housed in the New York State Archives, is a surprisingly rich source of information about Captain Delaplace’s command. The 26th Foot, as with any regiment in the British Army was responsible for carefully accounting for all purchases and spending, including rations. For the 26th Foot in Canada, accounting reports on rations include the names of all companies listed by their captains, including the Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, and Major who also held commissions as captains of their respective companies. Three reports from the 26th survive, covering sixty to sixty-one day period from August 25th to December 24th, 1774 and from February 25th to April 24th, 1775. These reports record the number of rations for the soldiers of each company and their location for the two-month periods. These locations include the cities of Montreal and Three Rivers and Forts Chambly, Crown Point, and of course, Ticonderoga. If these rations totals are divided by the number of days (60 or 61) this leaves the number of soldiers at each post.

Only three soldiers from Captain Delaplace’s company were at Ticonderoga during the entire period covered by these rations lists. Two solders were at Crown Point, and most of the company was quartered in Montreal. The majority of the 26th Foot, about 229 soldiers (including Delaplace’s company) was quartered in Montreal. One company, Captain Strong’s was quartered in Three Rivers and Captain Livingston’s Company guarded Fort Chambly. At Ticonderoga, Captain Delaplace drew rations for twenty-three soldiers of the 26th Foot, two or three drawn from most companies, with as many as four or six drawn from individual companies during different periods. The soldiers were drafted from every company of the 26th Foot except Captain Stewart’s, or the Light Infantry company. Captain Delaplace did not command his company at Ticonderoga, he commanded a guard.

DSCN2417This may sound like a meaningless distinction, but it was a common practice at the time and says something about Fort Ticonderoga itself in 1774 and early 1775. The company was not so much a tactical unit so much as an administrative unit. Under a colonel, a regiment existed as an administrative unit, recruiting and equipping soldiers for one or more battalions that fielded as the tactical unit. Within that regiment, each company existed as an administrative unit commanded by a captain. When a battalion formed up it was subdivided into wings, grand divisions, divisions, and platoons or section. The division, roughly corresponded in size with a company, but did not equate the same thing. Similarly, guards in their various types were formed from officers, non-commissioned officers, fifers, drummers, and soldiers pulled from many companies in a regiment. Whether British or American, orderly books are filled with the size and composition of guards to be created from the companies of a regiment or brigade. While this sounds abhorrent to modern military personal, breaking down unit cohesion and leadership, this was standard practice. When a guard was formed, each of the companies that contributed officers and men remained. If an entire guard was wiped out or captured, the companies of the regiment remained as viable units. In the case of Ticonderoga, Captain Delaplace and his entire guard were captured on May 10th, but Captain Delaplace’s company remained intact in Montreal.

The fact that Delaplace commanded a guard, not a company at Fort Ticonderoga attests to the state and vulnerability of the post. Fort Chambly, a much older, captured French fort along the Richelieu River, served as a residence for Captain Livingston’s company. A little more remote and Spartan, it was on par for quarters in Montreal or Three Rivers. British Engineer Captain John Montressor described Fort Ticonderoga in 1774 as Ticonderoga “composed of decayed Wood and Earth,” suggesting the, “ruinous situation,” of the fort was beyond repair.  He added, “the unhealthiness of the place, the Garrison being then ill with Fevers and Agues, the badness of the Water.” The only serviceable part of the Ticonderoga was the barracks since they were “repairable, being made of Stone.” Whether due to decay or its exposed location near the south end of Lake Champlain Fort Ticonderoga was an important post to be guarded, not ideal quarters for a company.

26th_grenadierIn itself Captain Delaplace’s guard was not exceptional. While the massive barracks recreated today create the impression that whole regiments resided in the fort, guards formed from various companies, like Delaplace’s guard, were common. The French Army formed compagnie du piquet with soldiers from various regiments’ companies for winter guards at Fort Carillon. General orders for the Continental Army camp of Ticonderoga in 1776 and 1777, include a Lieutenant’s or Captain’s guard for Fort Ticonderoga, ‘the Old French Fort.’ Combining the Lieutenant Feltham’s account of the capture with the report on rations, a few odd details do appear. Throughout the winter of 1774 into the spring of 1775 Captain Delaplace’s guard included three men from Major Preston’s or the grenadier company. These large elite soldiers had uniform distinctions such as bearskin caps, befitting their status. These soldiers were often kept as a reserve and in wartime operations the grenadier companies of many regiments were pulled together into grenadier battalions. The same was true for light infantry companies, like Captain Stewart’s, fielding in light battalions. The three grenadiers drafted into Delaplace’s guard may reflect the difficulty of the regiment finding suitable men to compose the guard at Ticonderoga or the lack of distinction between companies in peacetime. Captain Stewart’s light infantry company grew from eight soldiers in August to October 1774 to thirty-eight by February to April 1775. The growth and training of this company may have precluded it from service in guard’s like Captain Delplace’s. Perhaps or more concern, Lieutenant Feltham noted an ‘S’ next to the name of Sergeant Henry Anderson, indicating this sergeant arrived with Feltham’s reinforcements. The number of soldiers indicated by the rations report of February through April of 1775 does not entirely line up with Feltham’s report on those captured on May 10th. However, if Feltham’s account is accurate, until he arrived Captain Delaplace’s guard of twenty-three men had a captain, a drummer and possibly a corporal or two. A proper captain’s guard usually included a compliment of junior officers, sergeants, and corporals to post guards and fight as unit if necessary. Without Feltham’s reinforcements, Captain Delplace’s guard may have been a tactical unit, but it was not tactically ready to guard. While the capture of Fort Ticonderoga was a stunning victory for the Green Mountain Boys, it reflects the challenges of a long rotation on colonial service for the 26th Foot. The story of America’s First Victory is far richer than Ethan Allen’s account and as new evidence is discovered on both sides, it only becomes richer.

Fort Ticonderoga’s Living History Event, 1775 British Garrison, will bring to life the stories of soldiers guarding this epic fort. Guests will have the opportunity to witness soldiering in peacetime as they learn about the men of the 26th foot and their wives and families who made their homes inside the crumbling walls of the old fort.

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North Country Regional Students to Advance to New York State History Day

History Day Competition held at Fort Ticonderoga on March 5

 Twenty-five middle and high school students from the North Country won top prizes at North Country History Day on Saturday, March 5, at Fort Ticonderoga’s Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. These students will advance to compete at New York State History Day in Cooperstown on April 18.

“What a great day!” said Rich Strum, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Education and North Country Regional Coordinator for New York State History Day. “Not only was it exciting to see student projects, but it was great to see students from throughout the region sharing with each other their common interest in history and what history can teach us about ourselves. Each and every student participant invested a great deal of time and energy in historical research and creating compelling projects reflecting this year’s theme of Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.”

Junior Division (Grades 6-8) North Country Regional winners include:

  • Grace Sayward, a homeschool student from Schuyler Falls, took first place in the Historical Paper category with her paper “Marjorie Lansing Porter.” Lisa Marie Baez, from Gouverneur Central School, took second place with her paper “The Diary of Mary Mallon.”
  • Taylor Ormasen, Shelbie Alguire, Tyler Tupper, Jillian Neaves, and Kate Rushlo, from Gouverneur Central School, placed first in the Group Performance category with their performance “Around the Moon and Back Again.” Leeah Morrissiey, Allyson Walker, Kody Martin, and Hannah McIntosch placed second with their performance “John Doyle Lee and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.”
  • Maia Ontiveros, from Gouverneur Central School, took first place in the Individual Exhibit category with her exhibit “Mexican Immigration.”
  • Lorelei Leerkes and Kiyanna Stockwell, from St. Mary’s School in Ticonderoga, placed first in the Group Exhibit category with their exhibit “Samuel de Champlain: His Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in North America.” Kylee Bennett and Talandra Hurlburt, from St. Mary’s School in Ticonderoga, placed second with their exhibit “Theodore Roosevelt: Leading the Charge to Build the Panama Canal.”

Senior Division (Grades 9-12) North Country Regional winners include:

  • Francis Kneussle, from Peru Central School, took first place in the Individual Exhibit category with his exhibit “Samuel de Champlain: Father of Quebec.” Ethan Depo, from Peru Central School, took second place for his exhibit “The Real Imitation Game: Turing and the Enigma Code.”
  • Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred, from Moriah Central School, placed first in the Group Exhibit category for their exhibit “The Bracero Program.”
  • Raymond Bryant, from Moriah Central School, took first place in the Individual Documentary category for his documentary “The Space Race.”
  • Ben Caito and Liam Sayward, homeschool students from Schuyler Falls, placed first in the Group Documentary for their documentary “Verplank Colvin: An Exchange of Ideals.”
Lorelei Leerkes, from St. Mary’s School in Ticonderoga, talks with judges about her History Day exhibit on Samuel de Champlain at North Country History Day, held Saturday, March 5. Dozens of students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties participated in North Country History Day, held at Fort Ticonderoga.

Lorelei Leerkes, from St. Mary’s School in Ticonderoga, talks with judges about her History Day exhibit on Samuel de Champlain at North Country History Day, held Saturday, March 5. Dozens of students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties participated in North Country History Day, held at Fort Ticonderoga.

A special prize for the best use of primary sources, sponsored by the New York State Archives, was awarded to Alice Cochran, Christina Lashway, and Nicholas Manfred, from Moriah Central School, for their exhibit “The Bracero Program.”

Participating schools included Gouverneur Central School, Moriah Central School, Peru Central School, and St. Mary’s School (Ticonderoga) as well as homeschool students from the Plattsburgh, New York area.

National History Day is the nation’s leading program for history education in schools. The program annually engages 2 million people in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. Students research history topics of their choice related to an annual theme and create exhibits, documentaries, performances, research papers, and website designs. They may enter in competition at the regional, state, and national level. Participants include students in grades 6-8 in the Junior Division and grades 9-12 in the Senior Division. National History Day also provides educational services to students and teachers, including a summer internship program, curricular materials, internet resources, and annual teacher workshops and training institutes. Fort Ticonderoga hosts teacher workshops about History Day each fall in the North Country and Regional Coordinator Rich Strum is available to meet with teachers at their schools to introduce the program. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, “Students who participate in National History Day—actually a year-long program that gets students in grades 6-12 doing historical research—consistently outperform their peers on state standardized tests, not only in social studies but in science and math as well.”

Teachers and students from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties interested in participating in North Country History Day during the 2016-17 school year should contact Rich Strum, North Country Regional Coordinator for New York State History Day, at rstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org or at (518) 585-6370.

 

 

Photo:  

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Annual Flowers from the King’s Garden: Blue Salvias

Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulturist in Residence

SalviasOne of the annual flowers that Marian Kruger Coffin used in her 1920 design of the King’s Garden was salvia or flowering sage.  Of the over 900 herbaceous species of salvias worldwide, she used a couple—the mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) and the azure or blue sage (Salvia azurea), sometimes seen too as pitcher sage.  Both are great garden annuals, still found in commerce today, and both provide blue flowers unlike the salvias known to most gardeners.  These will tolerate part shade, but prefer full sun for best bloom.

Although blue sage is typically grown as an annual flower, it is listed as hardy into southern Minnesota and warmer parts of our region (USDA zone 5, or minimum average winter temperature of -10 to -20 Fahrenheit).  It is native to the central and southern states, often found in prairies on somewhat dry soils.  The flowers in late summer into fall attract bees and butterflies seeking their nectar.  Growing three feet or more high, interplant them closely (one foot or so apart) with other annuals or grasses to keep these salvias from flopping over.  Cutting plants back by half in late spring will make them more bushy and less prone to flopping.  Otherwise, it is an easy-to-grow flower.

Mealycup sage is so named for the “mealy” or felty hairs on the flowering stems and outer parts (calyces) of the flowers.  It is grown as an annual flower in northern gardens, as a tender perennial elsewhere, and only as a perennial in warmer climates such as its native Texas and Mexico.  The flower spikes are one and one-half to three feet high, on square and branching stems (the square stems are a clue it is in the mint family).  The blue flowers cover the top four to eight inches of these stems, from early summer into fall.  They have an upper hood over a lower tip.  Cutting flower stalks off after bloom will promote new flowering stems sooner.

mealycup sage butterfly salviasMealycup sage is showy in mass on their own, or mixed into borders and containers to add a vertical accent and the less common blue color—a great contrast to most other colors.  They’re attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Use them also as a cut or dried flower.  Mealycup sage is easy to grow, too, having few problems, usually resistant to deer and rabbits, and tolerant of poor soils and some drought.  Plant these upright annuals one foot or less apart.

While Marian Coffin only specified the species of the mealycup sage, and it is still available, there are several cultivars (cultivated varieties) you may find.  Two of these—Blue Bedder and Rhea—are planned for the King’s Garden in 2016.  Blue Bedder salvia has darker violet blue flowers than the species, while Rhea (shown in the photo) has similar dark flowers but is more compact—only about one foot or so high.

Victoria is perhaps the most popular mealycup sage cultivar, with similar flowers to Rhea only perhaps not quite as dark, and on larger plants with indigo blue stems. It has been around a while, winning the Fleuroselect award in 1978.  As good or even better in some locations and years than Victoria, taller with more stems, is the similar older German cultivar Gruppenblau (“group blue”, from Johnny’s Seeds).  Evolution also is compact with good branching and deep violet-purple flowers, and won top awards in both the European Fleuroselect (2002) and All-America Selections (2006) flower trial programs.

Strata is an older cultivar, similar in height to Victoria (18 inches or so high), only with clear blue and white (outer calyx) flowers.  It also won a Fleuroselect award (1996). Similar in height, only with sapphire blue flowers is the Fleuroselect winner (2008) Fairy Queen.  White spots on the flowers resemble fairy dust.  Argent is an older  cultivar with all white flowers, and is less commonly found now.  A newer selection with stems in dark blue, sky blue, and white is Cathedral Blue.

Indigo Spires resembles Victoria only is taller (three feet or more in hot climates), and has richer deep blue flowers.  It is a hybrid of mealycup sage supposedly with a Mexican native salvia (longispicata), found in 1979 at the Huntington Botanical Garden in San Marino, California. The patented Mystic Spires is another similar hybrid, only shorter.

Look for some of these blue mealycup salvias in your favorite garden retailer this spring, as well as the first two in the King’s Garden this summer.  If you’re ordering seeds to start your own (which is a good way to ensure you’ll have them), plan on sowing seeds indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before planting outside after the last frost.

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Experience Fort Ticonderoga on the Eve of the American Revolution during the “1775 British Garrison” Living History Event

26th-foot-eventExperience Fort Ticonderoga on the eve of the American Revolution as British soldiers and their families live in this peacetime fort on the frontier at Fort Ticonderoga’s upcoming event, “1775 British Garrison,” on Saturday March 19, from 10 am – 4 pm. In this one-day living history event, visitors will discover British garrison life in March 1775, two months before Ticonderoga would be thrust into war once more.

What was it like to be a British soldier, soldier’s wife, or child at Ticonderoga? Discover how the British Army was both prepared and unprepared to fight for control of Ticonderoga – the key to the continent. Tours highlighting Ticonderoga’s defining role in the Revolutionary War will be presented throughout the day. Admission to the “1775 British Garrison” event is $10 per person and payable at the gate. Members of Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga Resident Ambassador Pass holders, and children 4 years and under are free. For more details call 518-585-2821.

“Twelve of Fort Ticonderoga’s twenty-two years of military service were at peace, keeping a watch over Lake Champlain,” said Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga’s Senior Director of Interpretation. “This event will bring to life the stories of soldiers guarding this epic fort. Guests will have the opportunity to witness soldiering in peacetime as they learn about the men of the 26th foot and their wives and families who made their homes inside the crumbling walls of the old Fort. From blanket coats, to fur caps and mittens, discover the special clothing and equipment for service in Canada and along Lake Champlain. This event is an opportunity to tour through the reconstructed Fort Ticonderoga of today and see what made this fortification so vulnerable to capture by the Green Mountain Boys in May of 1775.”

Click here to view the Visitor Schedule

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Straight Outta Woolwich

A sampling of the range of works in Fort Ticonderoga’s library, the title pages of Christoph Friedrichs von Geisler’s Neue, Curieuse und vollksommene Artillerie, Dresden, 1718, and Marchel Blondel’s L’Art de Jetter les Bombes, Paris, 1683. (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

A sampling of the range of works in Fort Ticonderoga’s library, the title pages of Christoph Friedrichs von Geisler’s Neue, Curieuse und vollksommene Artillerie, Dresden, 1718, and Marchel Blondel’s L’Art de Jetter les Bombes, Paris, 1683. (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

To kick off the 2016 season, Fort Ticonderoga will open a new exhibit, “The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of Artillery in the 18th Century.”  This project is supported in part by a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and involves a re-contextualization of Fort Ticonderoga’s massive collection of early modern artillery. This means a lot of reading! Fortunately, Fort Ticonderoga’s library is well stocked with artillery manuals, treatises, and handbooks, thanks to the foresight of the museum’s founders in the 20th century who built a rich collection of period literature on the art of war. The collection contains works on artillery, bombs, and mines reaching back into the 17th century through the middle of the 19th century (including a confederate ordnance manual from 1863). These books span the period when smoothbore artillery was the king of the battlefield, when it was quite literally “the last argument of Kings.”

The Fort Ticonderoga Museum’s earliest works on artillery were almost exclusively published in French, out of Paris, Amsterdam, and the Hague; the most important being Surirey de Saint Remy’s three volume Memoires d’Artillerie, of which the library holds two editions (1697 and 1745). Christoph Friedrichs von Geisler’s Neue, Curieuse und vollksommene Artillerie, published in Dresden in 1718 is one example of a German edition of the time. Few books were written on the subject in Great Britain until the second half of the 18th century, introducing a problem for monolingual English speakers. Granted there were some of the Continental volumes that were translated into English, such as the 1746 English edition of A Treatise of Artillery by the Frenchman Guillaume Le Blond, part of a larger series on the art of war.

Muller Title Page Treatise of Artillery

Title page of the 1779 Philadelphia edition of John Muller’s Treatise of Artillery showing Colonel Jeduthan Baldwin’s inscription. (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

This changed, in part, thanks to John Muller, an English mathematician and engineer that served as chief master of the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. Muller was especially dedicated to the technical training of artillery officers. The French and Germans had been receiving technical training for some time and it eventually developed in Britain. Muller generated a wealth of new works and translations on artillery, fortification, siegecraft, and mathematics from the 1730s through the 1750s. Although some works in English were published between the middle of the 17th century and middle of the 18th century, the field was dominated by foreign translations. Muller’s 1757 Treatise of Artillery stands out as an original English work on the subject. Most 18th and early 19th century writers in English consider it the first volume in their own language.

What may be somewhat more important was the impact of the Treatise on the artillery arm of the young American forces during the Revolutionary War. Muller’s broader work on “Mathematicks,” Fortification, and Artillery in seven volumes was just one of four military-specific works that Henry Knox stocked in his London Bookstore prior to the outbreak of war. Responding to a query from John Adams in 1776, Knox specifically recommended that American officers should read Muller’s Treatise. Knox’s regard for Muller’s work was reinforced by its use at the short-lived artillery academy at Pluckemin, New Jersey over the winter encampment of 1778-1779. Muller’s Treatise was in fact the first artillery-specific volume to be printed in the United States.

American printing on military topics was dominated by manuals of arms and treatises on the management of infantry. It wasn’t until 1779 that Muller’s Treatise of Artillery was added to this output by the Philadelphia printers, Styner and Cist. This printing was due in some part to its centrality as a text on the art and practice of artillery that was accessible to Anglophone Americans. The Philadelphia edition was appropriately dedicated (taking up a whole page) to George Washington, Henry Knox, and the officers of the Continental Artillery. The importance of the work is also underscored by the re-use of plates nearly identical to Muller’s work in American artillery manuals printed in the 1790s, of which the museum holds a number of copies. Muller’s text dominated American military thought until nearly the turn of the 19th century as the modern theory and practice of the successful French artillery.

Plates Artillery of the US

The continuing influence of Muller’s work in America. Above, An 8 Inch Howitz Carriage as it appears in the 1779 Philadelphia edition of Muller’s Treatise, virtually a copy of the London printing, below, An 8 Inch Howitz Carriage printed in William Stevens, System for the Discipline of the Artillery of the United States of America, New York, 1797. (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

The Fort Ticonderoga Museum holds a copy of the 1779 Philadelphia edition of Muller’s Treatise. The engravings depict artillery carriages and related vehicles which are accurately reproduced from the London original. These have been invaluable as a resource for our exhibition and interpretive departments to recreate the material culture of Anglo-American artillery during the Revolution. Hand written above the title in dark ink is the word “Northampton 1841.” The name of the owner evidently written above has been torn away. This inscription was added after an earlier owner’s name was crossed out. Partially obscured through the tear in the paper but still visible is the name “Colo Jeduthan Baldwin, Engineer.”

Jeduthan Baldwin was the chief engineer at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence between 1776 and 1777. He prepared the defenses that made the camp into an impregnable fortress and compelled the General Carleton’s British force to withdraw in the fall of 1776. Like many Yankees, Baldwin was no newcomer to Ticonderoga; he had served at Fort William Henry in 1755 and 1756 as the captain of a company from his native Massachusetts and accompanied Amherst’s final campaign to take Ticonderoga in 1759.

Uniform coat of the Boston Independent Company of Cadets, 1772-1774, worn by Jeduthan Baldwin’s cousin Cyrus Baldwin’s prior to the Revolution. (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

Uniform coat of the Boston Independent Company of Cadets, 1772-1774, worn by Jeduthan Baldwin’s cousin Cyrus Baldwin’s prior to the Revolution. (Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum)

Close to the beginning of the Revolution, Baldwin was involved as an engineer preparing the works around Boston until its evacuation by the British when he was finally sent to Ticonderoga. Baldwin remained in the Engineer Corps through the evacuation of Ticonderoga in 1777, thus he may have purchased the edition of Muller’s Treatise during a visit to Philadelphia in 1780, as it post-dates his service here. The volume confirms the American consumption of English artillery literature by officers of the Continental army.

It might be added that the Baldwin family contributed mightily to the American cause. Jeduthan served nearly the entire war, retiring in 1782. His brother Isaac had been killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. His cousin Loammi Baldwin was given command as Colonel of a regiment of Massachusetts men designated as the 26th Continental Regiment that served during the New York campaign and crossed the Delaware prior to the attack on Trenton, New Jersey under Washington’s command. Loammi is also the namesake of the Baldwin apple which he propagated. Loammi’s brother Cyrus, another cousin of Jeduthan, was the owner of the only surviving Boston Company of Cadet’s uniform, now part of Fort Ticonderoga’s collections and perhaps the oldest surviving American made military uniform in existence. The Baldwins testify to the depth of service and sacrifice one family was capable of during the tumultuous period the American Revolution, which is well represented and preserved in the Fort Ticonderoga Museum’s collection.

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Fort Fever Series Explores the Uniforms of Artillerymen at Ticonderoga

Fort FeverFort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” continues on Sunday, March 13, at 2:00 p.m. with “Gunners, Bombardiers, & Matrosses: Uniforms of Artillerymen at Ticonderoga” presented by Senior Director of Interpretation Stuart Lilie. The cost is $10 per person and will be collected at the door. The program is free for Members of Fort Ticonderoga.

Explore the various Corps of Artillery that have manned the cannons at Fort Ticonderoga. Follow the similarities between artillery uniforms and adaptations to the seasonal extremes of weather in the North Country. In a branch of service where technical information and skills were shared internationally, see what uniform distinctions represented in organizational and cultural differences.

Stuart Lilie is the Senior Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga. He oversees major areas of guest experience and operations including military programs, historic trades, heritage breeds, horticulture, and maritime. Lilie is a leader in the museum and interpretive fields and is a nationally recognized expert in 18th-century saddlery. Lilie has a degree in History from the College of William and Mary and has led Fort Ticonderoga’s Interpretive Department since 2011, where he developed a revolutionary approach to historic interpretation. Under Lilie’s leadership, Fort Ticonderoga has been recognized for its strong commitment to program excellence.

A final “Fort Fever Series” program on building 18th-century redoubts is scheduled for April 10.  The complete schedule of winter and early spring workshops and seminars is available here.

The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place at Fort Ticonderoga this winter and early spring. The living history event “1775 British Garrison Weekend” takes place March 12. The Fifth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 9. You can learn more about all of these programs by visiting Fort Ticonderoga’s calendar. Some programs require advance registration.

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