Another day of snowfall here in Ticonderoga is a perfect reminder of the savage wintry battle fought between the British rangers and French soldiers just 257 years ago. As we all get ready to gear up and watch the re-enactment of the Battle on Snowshoes this Saturday, let’s not forget all of the other great things we’ll get to be a part of both prior to and following the epic battle.
From 10 am to 4 pm, we will get the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves into the lives of the soldiers that walked these grounds in 1758. The morning will begin with two guided tours; first, an exploration of the walls of Fort Carillon, once alive with military activity, followed by a hike into the North Woods to discover the true significance of guerrilla warfare. Next, we will hear from the Public Historian at Ganondagan State Historic Site, Michael Galban, as he discusses winter survival and technique among the Native inhabitants of eastern NY. All of this builds up to the ambush of Rogers’ Rangers that takes an unexpected turn for the worse. Native warriors and French soldiers overwhelm and shatter Rogers’ 180-man patrol, leaving them with no choice but to retreat back to Fort Edward and accept their worst defeat.
This may signify the end of the skirmish for the French and British, but there is still plenty more for us to experience! Curator of Collections, Matthew Keagle, has prepared a special selection of original objects that were left behind by French Troops stationed at Fort Carillon. They were discovered here during the restoration of Fort Ticonderoga in the early 20th century. The photo shown below is just a sampling of these one-of-a-kind objects. On Saturday, we will have the unique opportunity to discuss the stories behind each item and their role in French military life on the front lines of New France. This will include a dissection of how they match the written record, in addition to an analysis of what doesn’t survive in the archaeological record.
If this isn’t enough to keep us busy, also available throughout the entire day are opportunities to witness the contrariety in the lives of French soldiers versus officers in their barracks. We can furthermore examine three compelling exhibits that cover the lifestyles, clothing, and ailments of the soldiers occupying Fort Ticonderoga during the 18th century; all of which have contributed to its historically rich culture.
What better way to appreciate this snowy landscape than by seeing how it was utilized generations before? Speaking of snow, don’t forget to bring layers and proper winter footwear! For more information, visit http://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/category-1/battle-on-snowshoes-robert-rogers-ill-fated-raid/detail. Look forward to seeing you there!