Fourteenth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution

September 22-24, 2017

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Fourteenth Annual Seminar on the American Revolution September 22-24, 2017, in the Mars Education Center. This weekend seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the American War for Independence.

Over 120 participants—people with a deep interest in the American Revolution—join us each year for this weekend seminar. Leading authorities and new scholars on the period share their latest research in a series of presentations. The Seminar provides participants with an opportunity to listen to and interact with the presenters in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. Participation is limited and is by pre-registration only.

Download Registration Form


Session Descriptions:

 

Ballston Raid of 1780: Military Operation and/or Time to Settle Old Scores—Was Capt. John Munro's devastating Loyalist and Indian raid on the New York community of Balls Town in October 1780 a part of a broad coordinated military operation which punished and unsettled upstate New York that month, or was it an opportunity for old debts to be paid by former neighbors and countrymen. This presentation will examine the raid and try to answer some of the lingering questions of the raid. Michael Aikey is the retired director of the New York State Military Museum.

 

Grand Forage 1778—The entry of France into the American War for Independence necessitated a strategic re-vamping of Britain's forces in North America. Faced with the prospect of losing the bulk of his offensive punch, Sir Henry Clinton's logistical and tactical expertise were put to the test in complying with London’s orders, while hoping for one last victory with a united large army under his command. For several weeks in the early fall of 1778, nearly 10,000 Crown forces sparred with Washington's Army. While none of the skirmishes altered the course of the war, for the men engaged in them it was often a life and death situation. Todd Braisted s a Fellow in the Company of Military Historians and an Honorary Vice President of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada and the author of Grand Forge 1778.

Sparing the Lash: A Quantitative Study of Corporal Punishment and its Effect on British Soldiers' Careers—British military courts routinely issued sentences of hundreds of lashes. Were such harsh punishments actually meted out, how could a man survive such a beating, and what portion of a regiment’s soldiers stood before courts and faced disciplinary measures? Don N. Hagist, editor of Journal of the American Revolution and author of several books on the British army in America, uses regimental court records and muster rolls to answer these questions.

 

Feeding Valley Forge—In February 1778, George Washington launched the largest operation of the Continental Army while encamped at Valley Forge. The army was desperately short of food and nearing collapse; Washington took a risk and sent nearly a quarter of the army into New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware in search of food and forage for men and animals. Dr. Ricardo A. Herrera is associate professor of military history at the School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College, and is the author of For Liberty and the Republic: The American Citizen as Soldier, 1775-1861.

 

In Enemy Hands – Life for German Prisoners of War during the American Revolution—Some 37,000 soldiers from six German principalities, collectively remembered as Hessians, entered service as British auxiliaries in the American War of Independence. At times, they constituted a third of the British army in North America, and thousands of them were imprisoned by the Americans. Despite the importance of Germans in the British war effort, historians have largely overlooked these men. Drawing on research in German military records and common soldiers’ letters and diaries,Daniel Krebs places the prisoners on center stage in his research, portraying them as individuals rather than simply as numbers in casualty lists. Krebs is an Associate Professor of History at Louisville University.

 

“An example or two of death is necessary”: The British Military Justice Process during the American Revolution—What factors determined how an offending soldier or officer would be tried and punished for military crimes during America's formative conflict? This presentation will chart the formal structure of the British Military Justice System and the decisions through which officers determined where military personnel would enter and leave it. William P. Tatum III received his Ph.D. in History from Brown University in 2016 and currently serves as the Dutchess County (NY) Historian.

 

 

“To be ordered upon corvées”: French Canadian Laborers in the American Revolution, 1774-1778—My study examines the relationship between law and labor in late eighteenth century Quebec. During the American Revolution, the British required French Canadian peasants to transport supplies and build roads for the military. The British referred to this work as “corvee”, a French feudal form of tenure. Richard Tomczak is a PhD student at Stony Brook University and was the Edward W. Pell Fellow in Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga in Summer 2015.

“Behold the Cerberus the Atlantic plough”—The History and Archaeology of the HMS CerberusThe H.M.S. Cerberus was a British warship, a sixth rate ship of the line of the Coventry class. The 28-gun frigate was built during the French & Indian War and saw naval action in that conflict and in the American Revolution, too. Following the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775, the vessel brought British generals Burgoyne, Clinton, and Howe to America.  In 1777, the Cerberus was the target of one of David Bushnell's experimental floating mines, but the warship was not damaged. After the American victory at Saratoga (1777) and the Franco-American Alliance (1778), the frigate was on coastal duty when in the summer 1778 a powerful French fleet entered Narraganset Bay, Rhode Island. When the larger French warships were spotted, the smallerCerberus and other British frigates were ordered not to be captured. So, the Cerberus was deliberately run ashore, the crew offloaded, and the vessel was destroyed. The shipwreck was discovered in the 1970s and was partially excavated by a team from the University of Rhode Island. In the late 1990s, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) with assistance from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and others studied the shipwreck. Joseph W. Zarzynski is a maritime archaeologist with the Rhode Island Marien Archaeology Project. He has a Masters of Arts in Teaching-Social Sciences and a Masters of Arts-Archaeology & Heritage. He was one of RIMAP's underwater archaeologists during the underwater mapping project of the Cerberus in the late 1990s. 

The Battle of Fort Anne: “In Consequence of this Action Fort Anne was burnt and abandoned...”—Usually overlooked as a minor skirmish on the way to Saratoga, the Battle of Fort Anne was one of the fiercest fire-fights of the American Revolution as 190 British Regulars fought off the determined attacks of over six times their number of American Continentals and Militia. Fort Anne is a superb example of the professionalism of the British Army and the bravery of the untried Americans in battle. Influenced by events at Fort Anne and Hubbardton, Burgoyne would make the fatal decision to halt his offensive and consolidate his army for the final push to Albany. Matthew Zembo is an Associate Professor of History and Military History at Hudson Valley Community College and currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London. His working dissertation title is “War From the Side of Canada: British Military Operations on the Northern Frontier, 1775-1783.”


Saratoga: Burgoyne’s Retreat and Surrender Bus Tour

Fort Ticonderoga and America’s History, LLC will partner again to offer a one-day Revolutionary War tour led by Eric Schnitzer and Bruce Venter. Tour departs from Fort Ticonderoga and goes directly to the Saratoga Battlefield sites. The cost is $125 per person and registration is through America’s History. There are 3 ways to register: online at www.AmericasHistoryLLC.com, call 703-785-4373 or send a check to America’s History LLC, PO Box 1076, Goochland, VA 23063. This tour is limited to one bus, so please register early.

This tour takes place on the Friday of the Fourteenth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution. Learn more about the tour.


Teacher Scholarships

Thanks to generous support from Seminar patrons, Fort Ticonderoga offers scholarships for K12 school teacher who are first-time attendees at the Seminar on the American Revolution. Since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided 51 teacher scholarships for the Seminar on the American Revolution.

Teachers wishing to apply for a scholarship should download a PDF of the application below and send it to Rich Strum, Director of Education. The applicatiion deadline is August 15, 2017.

Teacher Scholarship Application


Where to Stay

Rooms book quickly for Fort Ticonderoga events. Book your room early. For more information.

Best Western Ticonderoga Inn and Suites (518-585-2378) is offering the following discounts for War College attendees (while space remain):

  • $112.99 for a room with two Queen beds
  • $132.99 for a King suite

Other Conferences and Symposia at Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga offers a series of conferences and symposia throughout the year.