"1777: The American Revolution on the Northern Frontier"
In January 1927, Stephen H.P. Pell launched The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. “For this, the first number of our Bulletin, the Editor believes an explanation of the aims and ambitions of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum are undoubtedly in order and also a short history of the place to date,” Pell wrote in the “Foreword by the Editor.”
While best remembered as the person who, with his wife Sarah G.T. Pell, undertook the restoration of Fort Ticonderoga, Pell was equally interested and instrumental in assembling a world-class collection of artifacts and manuscripts to help tell the compelling story of Fort Ticonderoga during the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution. Pell noted with pride that the museum in the restored officers’ barracks, “Housed the great collection of military articles connected with the Indian Wars and the Revolution which is the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. A large and growing library has been formed,” he continued. “Manuscripts relating to the place have been accumulated, portraits, engravings and uniforms purchased, and hundreds of articles left by the soldiers of the various armies engaged or stationed here have been recovered and are on exhibition.”
The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum was a boon to scholars throughout the 20th century. With its mix of scholarly essays and the publication of transcripts from key manuscripts in the growing library and archives, the Bulletin became a go-to source. Pell’s vision continually motivates us as we expand our collections and use them as the basis for engaging new exhibitions and interpretive programs that bring the history of Fort Ticonderoga to life.
This issue of The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum relates to the Northern Campaign of 1777. Our feature guest contributor for this issue is Eric Schnitzer, Historian and Park Ranger at Saratoga National Historical Park. In his article “Cook’s and Latimer’s Connecticut Militia Battalions in the Northern Campaign of 1777,” Schnitzer explores the composition and contributions of these units to the ultimate success of the Continental efforts to stop British General John Burgoyne’s invasion from Canada.
In 2015, Fort Ticonderoga launched the Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowship program. Four graduate students spent the summer at Fort Ticonderoga working in Collections, Education, Exhibitions, and Interpretation, laying the groundwork for our 2016 programs related to the 1777 Northern Campaign. The scholarship of two of these graduate fellows is presented in this issue of The Bulletin.
Heather Haley, a graduate student at Texas State University, focused on the Loyalist story and explored the Philip Skene Papers in the Fort Ticonderoga’s archives. Haley transcribed the documents in the collection and, working with Curator Matthew Keagle and Collections Manager Miranda Peters, created an invaluable finding aid for future researchers. In “Philip Skene of Skenesborough: Selected transcriptions of a local Loyalist,” Haley provides an overview of the Skene collection, a biographical overview of Philip Skene, and transcriptions of select documents in the collection.
Richard Tomczak, a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University, eagerly researched the French-Canadian Corvée system as adapted by Governor Guy Carleton and General John Burgoyne during the 1777 Northern Campaign. Tomczak’s ground-breaking research, presented in “French Canadian Laborers in the 1777 Northern Campaign,” led to his December 2015 presentation of his findings at the First Conference of the European Labor History Network in Turin, Italy. At Fort Ticonderoga, Tomczak’s research will enable our interpreters to tell this little-known story and how the Corvée supported, grudgingly, the British advance into the Champlain Valley in 1777.
Long-time collector Bill Ahearn’s article, “The Curious Long Land Muskets of the British 53rd Regiment,” explores the history of three muskets of the 53rd Regiment now in the collection of Fort Ticonderoga. Ahearn’s connection with Fort Ticonderoga dates back several decades and his attention to detail and vast knowledge of 18th-century firearms is evident in his work.
Back Issues of The Bulletin
Back issues of The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum are available for sale at $5 each.