Twenty-First Annual War College of the Seven Years' War

May 20-22, 2016

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Twenty-First Annual War College of the Seven Years' War May 20-22, 2016, in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. Since 1996, the War College has become a top venue for historians on subjects relating to the French & Indian War, drawing speakers and participants from across North America. An enthusiastic audience of nearly 200 people represents all levels of interest, from general lovers of history to scholars. The War College offers a unique, informal setting that promotes interaction and discussion between speakers and attendees. Our speakers include both established and new scholars studying the French & Indian War in North America.

Session Descriptions:

John Goffe, Jacob Bayley and the New Hampshire Regiment—Building roads from Fort Number 4 to Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point—Cutting roads in Northern Colonial New England made possible the movement of men, munitions and supplies to defend the early frontier. This set up an elaborate plan by Jacob Bayley with George Washington, during the American Revolution, to cut a road through Northern Vermont. This shorter route made possible the plans for a second invasion of Canada in 1779. However, diversion became the result. Carl J Anderson, III, Historical Researcher and the foremost research expert on General Jacob Bayley and collaborating, with Jeff Simpson, on an upcoming biography of Jacob Bayley.


Publishing Terror: War and Communication on the New England Frontier—In early New England, the rise of printing coincided with the rise of imperial war. Most colonists did not experience the violence of French and Indian raiding, but they heard and read about it—at length. This presentation explores communication as an important dimension of war, especially in rendering New England more vulnerable to terror. Katherine Grandjean is Assistant Professor of History at Wellesley College and the author of American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England.



Dieskau’s Grenadiers: Re-evaluating a key moment of the Battle of Lake George, 1755—Traditional narratives of the second half of the Battle of Lake George prominently center around the column of French grenadiers thrown at the Provincial breastworks. The vain attacks by these elite troops has been read to highlight the nature of combat in North America, presaging the triumph of irregular methods of warfare over regular European tactics that toppled empires from the French and Indian to the War of 1812. But what if there were more to the story? Matthew Keagle, Curator of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, will pose an alternative interpretation that challenges the traditional narrative of the opening combat of the Northern campaign of the Seven Years War.


“Desirous of Getting Up More Artillery”: Cannons of the Campaigns at Carillon—The design and defense, as well as the method of attacking the French Fort at Ticonderoga were all shaped by the cannons and mortars that armed both sides of the lines. What guns roared in 1758 and 1759 and how were they transported to such a remote but strategic location? Tour Fort Ticonderoga’s extensive cannon collection and look at original examples of the artillery of empires. Stuart Lilie is the Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga.



Sir William Johnson: British Colonial Politics During the French and Indian War—Sir William Johnson enjoyed fame and fortune as a result of his military success at the 1755 Battle of Lake George. Through an examination of primary sources, this presentation investigates the role political cronyism played in Johnson’s accolades and what these relationships reveal about the economic and political intrigues of pre-Revolutionary America. James M. McManus recently obtained a Master of Arts in American History from Norwich University and is presently researching the life of the frontier fighter Samuel Brady. Mr. McManus teaches American History at his local high school in Powhatan, Virginia. 

“No Real Dependence is to be Had”: Connecticut Provincials in the 1758 Campaign—Soon after the July 8th 1758 defeat and retreat from Fort Ticonderoga by the British, Major General James Abercromby began to explain the reasons for the failure of his Army. He wrote in a letter “No Real Dependence is to be had upon the Bulk of the Provincials – And how can it be otherwise?” In doing so Abercromby laid some of the blame for the Army's defeat on the Provincial Soldiers from the Colonies. Looking at the performance of Connecticut Provincials in this campaign, was this a fair assessment?  Or was it a way to deflect blame away from the General and his poor leadership?John-Eric Nelson is an Independent Historian of the French & Indian War with a particular interest in Connecticut Provincials who fought in the war. He has been a re-enactor portraying a Connecticut Provincial Officer for 35 years and resides in Milford, Connecticut.


Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution—This book presentation highlights new archival research on the pivotal moment of Braddock’s Defeat on July 9, 1755.  It offers a reinterpretation of Braddock’s Expedition in 1754 and 1755 and presents the fullest account yet of French and Indian perspectives during the campaign.  David Preston is professor of history at The Citadel and he received the 2010 Albert Corey Prize for his first book on the Iroquois Confederacy, The Texture of Contact.



Raising Gage’s Light Armed Infantry: Equipping the 80th Regiment of Foot for the Expedition Against TiconderogaBy the end of 1757 Lord Loudoun approved the raising of a body of troops to act in the capacity as rangers, yet still following the discipline of regular troops, creating a hybrid corps of “Light Armed Infantry.” The first task of Colonel Thomas Gage was to recruit and equip 500 men. We will examine how the clothing, arms, and accoutrements of the 80th Regiment of Foot was adapted for service in the 1758 campaign. Nicholas Spadone is the Assistant Military Programs Supervisor at Fort Ticonderoga.


The Engraved Powder Horn: origin and evolution of an indigenous American art form, 1746-1763—In 1748, a disastrous ranger raid on Crown Point catalyzed the evolution of artistically engraved horns. First made in Concord as military trophies of Louisbourg, they quickly became male fashion statements. Like the Revolution, they were the product of a deep-rooted Puritan culture and could have originated only in Massachusetts. Prof. Charles W. Thayer retired from the Geology and Biology Departments of the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a life-long interest in colonial New England and New France, specializing in arms and accoutrements. His present research focus is the “Lexington Conspiracy.”

"with intent to raise Commotions and Disturbances in the upper Countrys: The Trial of Major Robert Rogers for Treason While Commandant at Fort Michilimackinac"—Although very popular among the Indians and the local traders, as commandant of the important fur trading post of Michilimckinac, Major Robert Rogers clashed with British commander-in-chief General Thomas Gage and Indian superintendent Sir William Johnson. He was accused of treason under very suspicious circumstances, and eventually tried in Montreal in October of 1768. Tim Todish is a historian and writer specializing in the French & Indian War period, and the author/editor of several books including The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers.

Download the War College Brochure and Registration Form.

Lodging Suggestions

The War College brings over 150 people to Ticonderoga.  This event is taking place during a busy time of the year for Ticonderoga.  We suggest that you make accommodations arrangements as soon as possible if you plan to attend this event.

Eighth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Eighth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 20, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. This day-long conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. While geared for educators, the conference is open to anyone interested in how to connect students with history. War College attendees receive a conference discount. Learn more.

Teacher Scholarships

Thanks to the generous support of War College patrons, Fort Ticonderoga offers scholarships for K-12 school teachers who are first-time attendees at the War College. Since, 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided 68 teacher scholarships for the War College of the Seven Years' War.

The deadline for applying for scholarships to this year’s War College has passed. Congratulations to the following teachers who have won 2016 scholarships:

  • 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


Previous Speakers at the War College of the Seven Years' War

Fort Ticonderoga began its War College of the Seven Years' War in 1996. Click on the link below for a complete listing of previous speakers and topics.

List of previous speakers and topics at the War College of the Seven Years' War.

Other Conferences and Symposia at Fort Ticonderoga

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