As You Prepare for Fort Ticonderoga’s Battle On Snowshoes Re-enactment: What You May Not Have Known About Bobby and His Buddies…

Roberts-Rangers1

Mezzotint “portrait” of Major Robert Rogers, published in London in 1776.

1.  Rogers’ Rangers were a remarkably diverse group

In spite of the French and Indian War’s moniker, not all Native Americans sided with the French. While the majority of them did, numerous tribes remained neutral, backed the British or shifted allegiances as the war progressed.

Robert Rogers had tremendous admiration and respect for the New York Stockbridge Mohican soldiers for their abilities as hunters, warriors and raiders. Thus, he pushed for their inclusion within Ranger companies. By early 1758, the rangers included three all-Indian companies: two of Stockbridge Mohicans, and a third of Natives from Connecticut (mainly Mohegan and Pequot). In fact, Rogers’ Rangers comprised men with several origins. Rogers’ original company was raised in central New Hampshire along the Merrimack River valley, but the rapidly expanding corps started recruiting men from other Northern colonies. Consequently, men of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, Portuguese and Dutch origin made their way into the Rangers. Two companies were recruited from the docks of Boston; Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts remarked in 1756 that “The best of their Men [are] Irish Roman Catholicks, the others mostly Sailors and Spaniards”¹. Among these men was Emanuel la Portgua who was killed at the first Battle on Snowshoes that year.

There are several accounts that illustrate black rangers as well, some of them free men, others servants. One man named Jacob Jones “was in Rogers Rangers three Years, and was at the Battle of Ticonderoga; [and] belonged formerly to one Daniel McCoy, in New York, who lived near the Old-Sly, and that his Master had given his free for serving three Years in the Rangers”².

2.  There is not just one, but three Battles On Snowshoes.

Ranger talk photo 1

Rogers’ Rangers during the 1758 Battle on Snowshoes Re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga.

Every other year here at Fort Ticonderoga, we get the opportunity to witness the re-enactment of a savage battle fought between the British Rangers and French soldiers on March 13, 1758. Major Robert Rogers and his force head out on an extended scout in three feet of snow, wearing snowshoes, leaving behind a conspicuous trace for their French counterparts. The rangers make a brave stand against superior odds, until heavy casualties left them no choice but to retreat and accept their worst defeat.

A prelude to this battle occurred near Fort Carillon (now Fort Ticonderoga) on January 21, 1757. Similar circumstances were evident, in which Rogers’ Rangers were ambushed by a mixed troop of French regulars, Canadian militiamen, and Indians during a scouting expedition. Although the British had a distinct advantage due to their snowshoes, they were largely outnumbered, suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat under the cover of darkness.

Third time’s the charm, right? The final Battle on Snowshoes occurred on March 7, 1759 directly across from Fort Carillon, beginning with a skirmish line composed of Rogers’ Rangers and a number of Iroquois allies. They successfully ambush a French wood-cutting detail on the eastern shore and leave with five prisoners. This action marked the close of Rogers’ overall expedition to make observations of the French defenses on the Carillon peninsula, and to seize prisoners for the acquisition of information that would assist in General Amherst’s attack later that year.

 

Detail from Thomas Davies' painting “View of the Lines at Lake George.

Detail from Thomas Davies’ painting “View of the Lines at Lake George.

3.  Rogers breaks his own rules

The 28 “Rules of Ranging” are a set of rules and guidelines created by Robert Rogers in 1757, remembered as one of the first written manuals for irregular warfare in North America. Intended to serve as a manual for the Rangers, it seems that Robert Rogers himself was caught making remarkably careless errors on a couple of occasions. One instance of this occurred in 1758 near present day Fort Anne when Major Rogers and a Regular officer were firing at targets upon a wager in enemy territory, which led to their discovery by French troops. They were consequently ambushed, and Isreal Putnam, one of Rogers’ fellow captains, was captured.

But, we have to give credit to Rogers. After all, these rules have been passed down through the centuries to today’s U.S. Army Rangers, with each ranger still being issued an updated version of the “Rules of Ranging”.

 

4.  Rogers may or may not have slid down Rogers’ Rock

A common folklore concerning the life of Robert Rogers pertains to a factitious-esque triumph that he may or may not have performed during his flight from the scene of the near-annihilation of his detachment at the Battle on Snowshoes on March 13, 1758. While reconnoitering near Ticonderoga with nearly two hundred rangers, a surprise force of French and Indians hit them with a relentless counterattack. After 90 minutes of combat, scores of Rangers fell, and Robert Rogers made the necessary order for the small number of survivors to run for their lives. Following his snowshoe tracks southward, Rogers’ reached what is now called Cook’s Bay and proceeded to ascend up Bald Mountain to avoid the swarm of French and Indians gaining on them. However, what goes up must come down. In climbing Bald Mountain to escape his followers, he must also make his way down the other side. During this retreat the legend of Rogers’ Slide was born, of his escaping the pursuing enemies by sliding down the steep naked precipice on the east face of Bald Mountain (today’s Rogers’ Rock).

rogers rock

Rogers’ Rock, located at the northwest end of Lake George

Now, sliding down any old rock may not seem like quite a feat. But this rock wasn’t named after Robert Rogers for nothing. At a height of nearly eight hundred feet, the east face of Rogers’ Rock is made of steeply sloping (60 degrees) solid rock, grounding itself at the shore of Lake George. Such an incredible exploit could easily be dismissed as impossible, if it weren’t for so many sources that suggest otherwise. It is not certain as to whether Rogers had company during this venture, as there is no clear record of indication.

But of course there are two sides to every story. One tradition describes this event as a solo feat of trickery committed by Robert Rogers. By backtracking in his own snowshoe prints, or reversing his snowshoes, he was able to fool the Indians into thinking he had slid down the rock face, when in fact he had found an alternate route down the mountain. Seeing Rogers walking far below on the ice of the lake toward Fort William Henry with no doubt that the only route he could have taken was down the precipice, they attributed his preservation to the Great Spirit and forbore to fire on him.

 

5.  Choosing silver over survival.

The St. Francis Raid refers to the attack by Rogers’ Rangers on the village of St. Francis, near the southern shore of the Saint Lawrence River, in what was then New France. The raid consisted of a select corps of rangers who rowed under the cover of darkness from Crown Point to the northern shore of Lake Champlain. They hid their whaleboats in the brush at Missisquoi Bay and continued north on foot, marching through spruce bogs and trackless wilderness. After two days, the men are met with unfortunate news detailed from the two breathless men responsible for guarding their boats.

Regrettably for Rogers, his landing had not gone unnoticed. A large force of French and Indians discovered the whaleboats and quickly began to scour the countryside in an attempt to track the rangers down. Several hundred of their men were stationed near the site where the boats were hidden to set up an ambush in the event of Rogers’ return. This left Rogers with a tremendously difficult choice to make. The reserve stores of food intended for the return trip were left with the boats, so to return home without facing an ambush, the corps must find an alternate route south, absent of supply. The only plausible course was via the Connecticut River Valley, east of Lake Champlain. By this route, they would depend on the stores of corn in St. Francis following the raid to get them home.st francis

Dawn of the attack, Rogers ordered his men to burn the village and kill its men, while sparing the women, children, and storehouses of corn. The attack was a success and the years of Indian raids on the frontier were finally indemnified. The rangers, as quickly as they came, left the burning village and returned into the woods for the journey home.

It soon became very apparent that missteps in caching food stores for the expedition’s use existed, as many rangers filled their knapsacks with the silver of the town’s church rather than the corn of the storehouses. Alas, it was too late to turn back as the vengeful war party following them was only hours behind. The rangers proceeded with minimal rations and the weight of silver southeast toward the Connecticut River Valley, which they would follow south to Fort Number 4. Soon enough, the stores of corn were expended and a remarkably cold winter the year before left little game to hunt. Root, bark, and berries became the main course of their diet, which was of little nutritional value to soldiers aiming to outpace their pursuers.

Aware that his command was in jeopardy of either starvation or annihilation by the enemy, Rogers ordered his party to separate into small bands with the conjecture that they would have a more promising chance of locating sustenance and a less promising chance of being located themselves. Unfortunately, many did not make it home. Some bands were overtaken, unable to resist the tomahawk or war club; others simply lost their way in the depths of the wilderness. Several of the men that did survive the expedition were driven to cannibalism. One ranger reportedly had many scalps in his knapsack and was caught eating the skin of his prizes. Another band found the body of a comrade stuck in a brook’s log jam and devoured it raw.

Rogers, what was left of his corps, and a few captives eventually reach home base after quite a few more hurdles and a valuable lesson learned: it may be beneficial to weigh the pros and cons before choosing silver over sustenance.

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French Soldiers during the 1758 Battle on Snowshoes re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga.

As you can see, Bobby and his Buddies were quite the bunch! The Rangers’ unique military tactics in combination with dedicated persistence has carried their name through history. Here at Fort Ticonderoga, we want to continue this legacy by re-enacting the hectic 1758 Battle on Snowshoes, where the Rangers are faced with the merciless attack by Native American Warriors, French Soldiers and Canadians. On Saturday, February 21, from 10 am – 4 pm, you can immerse yourself in the rich history of an integral and exciting aspect of the French and Indian War.

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1. Zaboly, Gary. American Colonial Ranger The Northern Colonies 1724 – 64. Great Britain: Osprey Publishing, 2004.

2. Todish, Timothy J. The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers. New York: Purple Mountain Press, 2002.

*Details also provided by Joseph Zea, Fort Ticonderoga’s Artificer Tailor.

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Area Students to Compete at North Country History Day

history dayTwenty one students from across the North Country will compete in the regional New York State History Day contest held at Fort Ticonderoga on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Students placing first and second in their categories will advance to the New York State History Day Contest in Cooperstown on April 27.

“Each year two million students all across the country participate in the National History Day program,” noted Rich Strum, Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Education and North Country History Day Regional Coordinator. “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.”

This year’s National History Day theme is “Leadership and Legacy in History”. Student projects can focus on any aspect of American or World history, but must make a connection to the theme.

Recent research shows that students who large_Mr.-Strum-Visit-10-25-12-C-Web-1024x768participate in the National History Day program consistently outperform their peers in state standardized tests, not only in social studies but in science and math as well. Students learn valuable research and critical-thinking skills essential to success in today’s business world.

Members of the public are invited to view student projects from 12 pm – 2 pm. Student-created performances run from 12 pm – 1 pm and exhibits are open from 1 pm – 2 pm. The public can also attend the Awards Ceremony at 2 pm.

North Country History Day takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga and has been coordinated by the Fort since 2008. To learn more about North Country History Day and how students can participate, visit www.fortticonderoga.org, click on the “Education” tab and select “Students.”

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Support Fort Ticonderoga at the 21st Annual Ticonderoga Ball: A Fundraising Event at the Union League Club in New York on Friday, March 6

Ti BallSpend an elegant evening at the Union League Club in New York City celebrating Fort Ticonderoga’s history and future. The Ticonderoga Ball will be held on Friday, March 6, 2015 beginning at 7 pm. Music, dancing, a silent auction and a lavish dinner make for a festive black-tie evening benefiting Fort Ticonderoga. Individual tickets are $325 and junior tickets are $210 (30 years old and under); Reservations are required.

“The Ticonderoga Ball is Fort Ticonderoga’s largest fundraising event of the year, “said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO.  “The event, set in the elegant and historic setting of New York’s Union League Club, brings together Fort Ticonderoga supporters from across the United States to celebrate Fort Ticonderoga’s epic history, current programs, and future plans. The Ticonderoga Ball’s theme this year is inspired by Fort Ticonderoga’s 2015 annual focus on its French history in the year 1756. The elegant dinner will be inspired by Fort Ticonderoga’s rich French history which dates to its origin in 1755 when the fort was first established as Fort Carillon in the southernmost part of New France. Support for this event makes possible Fort Ticonderoga’s educational programs, exhibitions, gardens, and all other preservation and restoration efforts.”

The Ticonderoga Ball attracts more than 170 people each year who attend in support of Fort Ticonderoga’s mission of preservation and education. Event honorees for the 21st Annual Ball are Dr. and Mrs. C. Wayne Bardin, longtime Fort Ticonderoga supporters and enthusiastic advocates of Fort Ticonderoga’s French connection. The night begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 7 pm; followed by an elegant dinner at 8 pm. A live auction and dancing complete the night. Dance music will be provided by the Lester Lanin Orchestra, known for their unique, homogenized music with lively patina. For more information or to receive an invitation, please contact Martha Strum at 518-585-2821 or by emailing mstrum@fort-ticonderoga.org. There is a flexible RSVP deadline of February 20.

Fort Ticonderoga is an independent non-profit educational organization.  All proceeds for the Ticonderoga Ball support Fort Ticonderoga’s 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.

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Fort Ticonderoga Names Matthew Keagle as Curator of Collections

Curator-MattFort Ticonderoga has announced the appointment of Matthew Keagle to serve as Curator of Collections at Fort Ticonderoga, one of the oldest and most significant historic site and museum in North America.

“Matthew begins his tenure as Curator with tremendous vision and enthusiasm for the future as we move forward with bold plans toward an expanded curatorial program,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “He is extremely competent as a leader in the museum profession and has a clear and passionate commitment to developing a premier comprehensive curatorial program that will bring to center stage Fort Ticonderoga’s world renowned collections through exhibitions, digital media, research, programming, and publications.”

“Fort Ticonderoga has always been at the forefront of collecting and interpreting the conflicts that shaped the 18th century. It is a great honor to be entrusted with forwarding a mission begun over a century ago and build upon my predecessor’s excellent work,” said Matthew Keagle. “Material culture represents the most immediate and honest record of the past. The things people engage with everyday are subjected to alteration, wear, and use that reveal many stories if we take the time to look. Fort Ticonderoga’s enviable collections contain all of the elements to narrate the layered stories of this remarkable place and the people that shaped it. Archeological collections reveal what actually happened here at Ticonderoga, while the artifacts collected in the 20th century give context to the archeological material, and the library collections position all of it in the broader theoretical understanding of the 18th century, making the mute objects of Ticonderoga’s past relevant and meaningful in the present.”

Matthew Keagle joined Fort Ticonderoga’s leadership team in May of 2014, serving as Director of Exhibitions. He was named Interim Curator in December 2014 and was recently named Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. As the new Curator of Collections, Keagle will utilize his training, scholarship, expertise, and experience to present, augment, and preserve Fort Ticonderoga’s extensive library, archival, and artifact collections as well as oversee Fort Ticonderoga’s broader cultural resources.

Originally from Vermont, Matthew Keagle has been involved in curation, exhibitions, research, historical interpretation, and program development for historic sites and museums in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina.  He holds a Bachelors degree from Cornell University, a Masters in American Material Culture from the Winterthur Museum, and is currently writing a cultural history of military dress in the Revolutionary Atlantic as a doctoral candidate at the Bard Graduate Center in New York.

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Experience the Battle on Snowshoes at Fort Ticonderoga: Living History Event and Re-enactment Planned for Saturday, February 21

Experience an exciting living history event and battle re-enactment at Fort Ticonderoga highlighting Major Robert Rogers and the Battle on Snowshoes on Saturday, February 21, from 10 am – 4 pm! Visit the French Garrison in the middle of winter inside Fort Ticonderoga and tour through opposing pickets of British rangers and French soldiers, both well trained and adapted to frontier, winter warfare. At 2 pm on Saturday, visitors will experience the hectic tree to tree fighting in a recreated battle. Watch as the rangers make a brave stand against superior odds, only to retreat through the deep woods. Event tickets are $10. Members of Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga Ambassador Pass holders and children age 4 and under are free. For more information call 518-585-2821 or visit www.fortticonderoga.org.

Visitors will be invited to tour Fort Ticonderoga as it appeared in the winter of 1758, and meet the Native American warriors, French soldiers, and Canadians, who delivered the rangers’ worst defeat. See how Natives Americans and French soldiers alike survived the deep winter at this remote military post. More adventurous visitors can take a hike led by a historic interpreter through the uneasy quiet of opposed pickets of soldiers in the deep woods. In these tours visitors can see how rangers kept a vigilant watch for subtle signs that might reveal their ferocious enemy.

“The Battle on Snowshoes event recreates the savage fight between Robert Roger’s rangers, and a mixed French force of regular soldiers, malice, and allied native warriors on March 13, 1758,” said Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga.  “This event is designed to be a rich experience for both participants and visitors alike.  It will investigate the myths and facts of Robert Rogers and explore why his exploits in the North Woods still fill the popular imagination today.”

Major Robert Rogers force of both volunteers from the 27th foot, and his own rangers headed out on an extended scout from Fort Edward along Lake George, following an attack on a similar patrol from Captain Israel Putnam’s Connecticut rangers. Hiking on snowshoes due to the three feet of snow, the tracks of Roger’s force were spotted on its march up the west side of Lake George. Near the north end of Lake George, Major Rogers’ advanced scouts spotted their French counterparts. Rogers and his Rangers took up positions in a ravine, setting his force in ambuscade to await whatever French patrol would come to meet him.

The French patrol that met Roger’s men proved farlarge_Rangers-2 larger than he imagined, and in this Battle on Snowshoes, the rangers’ ambush was itself surrounded and overwhelmed. In deep woods on deep snow, the rangers were forced to retreat with heavy casualties as the French regulars, malice, and natives pressed home their attack. Despite brave stands along the way, this retreat quickly became chaotic as rangers, Roger’s included, ran for their lives from superior numbers of French.

Visitor Schedule

10 AM Site Opens to Visitors

10:15 AM Guided Tour of Fort Carillon (Begins at the American Flag)

Examine the historic walls and landscape of Fort Carillon and delve back into its early years as a remote, but vital French outpost. Imagine the snow-drifted walls and barracks alive with activity in the winter of 1758 as its soldiers sortied to meet another of Robert Rogers’ patrols.

11 AM Guided Tour of Petite Guerre in the North Woods (Begins at the American Flag—Winter Footwear Recommended)

Beginning from Fort Carillon, take a guided hike into the deep woods around Ticonderoga to encounter Rogers’ Rangers taking a brief respite and weighing their options as they consider what Native warriors or French soldiers might lurk behind the next ridgeline.

12 PM “Their Attire Is No Longer the Ancient One, Made of Skins” Winter Adaptations among Natives in the Colonial Period (Inside the Mars Education Center Great Room)

Join Michael Galban, Public Historian at Ganondagan State Historic Site, as he discusses winter survival and technique among the Native inhabitants of eastern NY. This lecture will focus on the cross-cultural nature of life in the Northeast woodlands.

1:15 PM Guided Tour of Fort Carillon (Begins at the American Flag)

Examine the historic walls and landscape of Fort Carillon to explore its early years as a remote but vital French outpost. Imagine the snow-drifted walls and barracks alive with activity in the winter of 1758 as its soldiers sortied to meet another of Robert Rogers’ patrols.

2 PM Battle on Snowshoes (Begins at the American Flag—Winter Footwear Recommended)

Follow guides out to the deep woods to the west of Fort Ticonderoga to watch the ambush of Rogers’ Rangers become a fight for survival as they struggle to escape back to Fort Edward. See Native warriors and French soldiers overwhelm and shatter Rogers’ 180-man patrol.

2:30 PM Vestiges of Les Troupes (Inside the Mars Education Center Great Room)

Join Fort Ticonderoga Curator of Collections Matthew Keagle to examine what the French troops stationed at Fort Carillon left behind. See what the archeological evidence reveals about the material conditions of French military life on the front lines of New France.

3:00 PM Guided Tour of Fort Carillon (Begins at the American Flag)

Examine the historic walls and landscape of Fort Carillon, to delve back into its early yearsas a remote, but vital French outpost. Imagine the snow-drifted walls and barracks alive with activity in the winter of 1758, as its soldiers sortied to meet another of Robert Rogers’ patrols.

4 PM Site Closes to Visitors

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Available 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Soldier’s Quarters (Ground floor the Soldier’s Barracks and Officer’s Barracks)

Which is more important to you: staying warm or personal space? See how French soldiers lived in their quarters inside the barracks and see how messes of soldiers worked together to keep each other in fighting shape.

Officer’s Quarters (Second floor of the Officer’s Barracks)

From a real bed to a servant, from goose comfit to red wine, see how French officers still live like gentlemen at this remote front-line post.

Exhibit: Pork, Pigeon, & Pottery (Ground Floor of the Soldiers’ Barracks)

In this exhibit of original artifacts recovered from the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga explore the meals of soldiers and officers who served inside this ‘Old French Fort.’

Exhibit: It Would Make a Heart of Stone Melt (Ground Floor of the Soldiers’ Barracks)

Smallpox was a very real threat for armies fighting along Lake Champlain. In this visually compelling exhibit see how this disease, as well as battlefield wounds, was handled in the Revolutionary War.

Exhibit: Founding Fashion (Downstairs in the Mars Education Center)

From original 18th-century uniforms to real remains of clothing from the American Revolution, explore this great presentation of myths and realities of clothing from the great campaigns that made Ticonderoga so famous.

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Fort Ticonderoga Launches New Graduate Fellowships

Fort Ticonderoga is launching the Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships for students seeking practical, hands-on internship experience at a historic site and museum with cutting-edge programs. The fellowships run from June 15 to August 15, 2015, and include internships in Collections, Exhibitions, Education, and Interpretation.

“These fellowships for graduate students in museum studies, museum education, history, public history, American studies, or military history offer an opportunity to work side by side with our dedicated team,” noted Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO Beth Hill. “These interns will focus their research and creative energy to support exhibitions and programs related to the year 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga.”

“While working individually with their project supervisors,” added Rich Strum, Director of Education, “interns will also meet and work together throughout the two month experience. Interns will have an opportunity to work with the Fort’s professional staff as part of our team-approach to all major projects.”DCIM100MEDIA

Each year Fort Ticonderoga’s interpretation focuses on a specific year in the site’s multi-layered history. This year’s fellows will be helping lay the ground work for exhibitions, programs, and educational initiatives to be offered to the public in 2016. Interns will need to be self-motivated and able to work independently as well as contribute to a dedicated team to create and develop ground-breaking exhibitions and programs for a diverse audience.

Successful applicants for the two-month fellowship will receive a $2,500 living stipend along with an additional housing stipend. Graduate students and qualified undergraduates interested in learning more details and applying should visit the Fort website at www.fortticonderoga.org/education/university-partnerships. Individual fellowships are available in Collections, Education, Exhibitions, and Interpretation.

The Edward W. Pell Graduate Fellowships at Fort Ticonderoga are made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support comes from the Edward W. Pell Education Endowment at Fort Ticonderoga and other generous individual donors.

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Fort Ticonderoga presents Fourth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium

The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga presents the Fourth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium on Saturday, April 18. This day-long symposium, geared for both beginning and experienced gardeners, provides helpful insights from garden experts who live and garden in upstate New York and northern New England. This springtime event takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open by pre-registration only.

This one-day program focuses on practical, easy-to-implement strategies for expanding and improving your garden or landscape. The programs are offered in an informal setting that encourages interaction between presenters and attendees. Speakers and sessions include:

  • Landscape Sympoisum 2015“The Healing Garden: Traditional Medicinals for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” by Nancy Scarzello
  • “Save the Monarchs! Native Plants for Native Pollinators” by Emily DeBolt
  • “A Favorite Place of Resort for Strangers: The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga” by Lucinda Brockway
  • “Getting Control of Your Perennial Garden” by Amy Ivy
  • Panel Discussion with all the speakers facilitated by Master Gardener Diane O’Connor

Registration for the Garden & Landscape Symposium is limited, so register early. The cost, including the day-long symposium and a lunch prepared by Libby’s Bakery Café, is $75 ($65 for members of Fort Ticonderoga). A brochure with the complete schedule and registration form is available on Fort Ticonderoga’s website at www.fortticonderoga.org by selecting “Education” and then “Workshops and Seminars” on the drop-down menu. A printed copy is also available upon request by calling 518-585-2821.

The Garden & Landscape Symposium is one of numerous opportunities for continuing education for the public at Fort Ticonderoga in 2015. You can learn more about these programs, including the annual War College of the Seven Years’ War and the Seminar on the American Revolution, by visiting the Fort’s website at www.fortticonderoga.org and selecting “Education.”

About Fort Ticonderoga’s “King’s Garden” 

Fort Ticonderoga has a long and layered horticulture history. The center of Fort Ticonderoga’s horticulture program today is the walled Colonial Revival King’s Garden which was designed in 1921 by leading landscape architect Marian Coffin.  The formal elements – a reflecting pool, manicured lawn and hedges, and brick walls and walkways – are softened by a profusion of annuals and perennials, carefully arranged by color and form.  Heirloom flowers and modern cultivars are used to recreate the historic planting scheme. Visitor favorites include the lavender border, towering hollyhocks, bearded irises, dinner plate dahlias and many types of phlox.

Outside of the nine-foot brick walls of the colonial revival King’s Garden, the Discovery Gardens include a children’s garden, military vegetable garden, native garden, cut flower garden, and early 20th century tenant farmer garden. The restored Lord and Burnham greenhouse, charming gazebo, sweeping lawns and shady picnic spots invite visitors to explore the landscape at one of America’s oldest gardens dating to the French occupation of the fort in the mid-18th century.

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Beyond Founding Fashion: Fort Fever Series Program February 8th Highlights Fort Ticonderoga’s World Renowned Museum Collections

Fort Ticonderoga kicks off its second “Fort Fever Series” with a special guided tour led by the Curator of Collections, Mathew Keagle, to explore Fort Ticonderoga’s collection of military clothing—the largest collection of 18th-century military uniforms in North America. “Beyond Founding Fashion” is a unique opportunity to discover the evolution of military fashion in the decades after the American Revolution. The program takes place on Sunday, February 8 at 2 pm in the Mars Education Center. The cost for the program is $10 per person and will be collected at the door; free for Fort Ticonderoga members.

UniformsThe program begins with a guided tour of the Founding Fashion exhibit in the Mars Education Center gallery. Get a behind-the-scenes perspective of new research on the uniforms featured in the exhibition, the stories of the men who wore them, and how they fit into the evolution of military clothing. This will be followed by a rare chance to examine additional original garments from the collection not on display. These garments will complete the story of 18th-century military dress and show how military dress evolved from those worn during the Revolutionary War through the early years of the American Republic. Many of these garments and related accessories are one-of-a-kind survivors preserved only in Fort Ticonderoga’s collections.

“With the installation of Founding Fashion in the Mars Education Center, Fort Ticonderoga has finally been able to showcase its excellent collection of 18th-century military uniforms,” said Mathew Keagle, Curator of Collections. “But Founding Fashion is just the beginning; the museum’s collection is much larger—stretching through the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and beyond.”

Founding Fashion: The Diversity of Regularity in 18th-Century Military Clothing Exhibition opened in May of 2014 and runs through November of 2015. The exhibit explores how European military fashion and global commerce influenced American martial appearance throughout the American Revolution. Funding for the Founding Fashion exhibit was made possible in part by the following supporters: Best Western Plus Ticonderoga, D&E Technologies, Glens Falls National Bank, History Channel, Lake George Mirror, National Grid, Ticonderoga Credit Union, and individual donors.

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A Layer of Ice Shielding Infinite Layers of History

From May to November you can find Fort Ticonderoga bustling with the sounds of history. Often, you will witness the flash of musketry, the march of soldiers and the echoing of the Fife and Drum Corps. It is hard to fathom that on a white, wintry day like today, it is quiet enough to hear the branches of trees dripping with melting snow and the subtle winds whirling through the Champlain Valley—a perfect opportunity to ponder the history of the land far before the fearless acts of heroism took place on this battleground—lands which are rich in agricultural, forest, and biological resources. It’s hard to believe that just 550 million years ago (remember that Earth had already been around for roughly 4 billion years by this point), the eastern edge of proto-North America was covered by the Iapetus Ocean. If you were to place yourself where our museum campus is now, rather than witnessing the majestic, tall Adirondack Mountains to your west, and vast Green Mountains to your east, you instead might find the extensive formation of sedimentary layers resulting from the slow deposition of sediments, precipitates, and fossil remains.

Champlain Valley when ADKs formed

The proto-Champlain Valley is pictured in the center as a long chain of hills, derived from a major fault known as the “Champlain Thrust”. The main metamorphic rocks of the Green Mountains are to the east, the land to the west captures the uplift and development of the steeper topography of today’s Adirondack Mountains.

Over time, this slow accumulation of sediments is interrupted by ruptures of tectonic activity. The initial formation of Vermont’s Green Mountains occurred through orogeny (a mountain-building process brought about by plate tectonics) about 450 million years ago, as a smaller entity of the formation of the entire Appalachian chain. Only a mere 20 million years ago—what seems like yesterday—the Adirondacks we know begin to make themselves known through the uplift and exposure of buried metamorphic and indigenous rock that date over a billion years old (hence why they are referred to as “new mountains from old rocks”). During this time, we can stand back on the museum campus grounds and see the beginnings of our dome-shaped Adirondacks to the west and our sharply defined, much taller, Green Mountains to the east. The Green Mountains we see today are significantly worn down due to erosion.

On this quiet day in February, I am able to listen to the cracking ice on Lake George and Lake Champlain—the only masses separating Fort Ticonderoga from the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains. It is difficult to imagine that at one point, Lake George was two rivers; one flowing south into the present day Hudson River, and the second flowing north into the present day Lake Champlain. Lake George as we know it today was not formed until approximately 11,000 years ago, just 10,000 years after Lake Champlain, as a result of glacial retreat. Now, we can witness the outflow of Lake George drained into southern Lake Champlain via the La Chute.

Champlain Valley today

Today, Lake Champlain divides the old metamorphic rocks of the Adirondacks from the faulted sedimentary rocks of the Champlain Valley, which eventually give way to the younger (compared to the ADKs) metamorphic rocks of the Green Mountains.

Fort Ticonderoga has its own very unique history, as it relates to our own kind, but it is important to understand that this area is much more than that. All it takes is a quiet, wintry day to tune into momentous geological transformations that have sculpted the beautiful landscape we are able to observe today. And we are not the only ones taking advantage of these resources. Although sometimes hard to imagine in what seems like a desolate environment in the middle of winter; a few months from now, we will see an incredible amount of biological diversity coming out of the woodwork. Gulls, Bald Eagles, and osprey soar above the valley, overlooking ideal habitats for bobcats, coyotes, fishers and white-tailed deer.

As you prepare for another lively summer season at our site, do not forget to also take a good, far look around. There is a lot to see outside of these walls.

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Fort Ticonderoga Purchases Carillon Cruise Boat: Waterway tours will be offered beginning in spring 2015

Fort Ticonderoga, a not-for-profit educational organization and major cultural destination, announced today that it has purchased the Carillon cruise boat, formerly located on the shores of Lake Champlain in Shoreham, Vermont.  Waterway tours will be offered by Fort Ticonderoga beginning in the spring of this year.  The acquisition of the boat is part of a larger Fort Ticonderoga waterway recreation and transportation initiative that is anticipated to continue to develop over the next several years.

Carillon Boat

“Fort Ticonderoga is thrilled to have the opportunity to expand its cultural destination experience to the internationally significant waters of Lake Champlain. The lake is a tremendous asset for our region and with Fort Ticonderoga’s 2 miles of shoreline and story that is intricately linked to Lake Champlain, the development of a water experience is an obvious next step in our program development,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “Thanks in part to a New York Empire State Development grant and other generous supporters, Fort Ticonderoga’s waterway experience will expand our tourism demographic, increase the length of stay of our guests, connect our historic properties on both sides of Lake Champlain, and highlight Ticonderoga’s epic story in a new and exciting way. We are particularly enthusiastic about this project as it is directly linked with a Town of Ticonderoga priority to increase access and waterway experiences through tourism development.”today that it has purchased the Carillon cruise boat, formerly located on the shores of Lake Champlain in Shoreham, Vermont. Waterway tours will be offered by Fort Ticonderoga beginning in the spring of this year.”

“We are extremely pleased to acquire this iconic vessel,” said Sanford W. Morhouse, Fort Ticonderoga Chairman of the Board. “My wife and I were privileged to be guests of Captain Paul Saenger and his wife Rene, the Carillon’s prior owners, on Captain Paul’s last Carillon cruise prior to his passing. Captain Paul clearly wanted the boat to stay in the southern part of Lake Champlain, and we at Fort Ticonderoga are exceedingly pleased that we will fulfill that wish while greatly enhancing the Fort Ticonderoga experience.”
The Carillon boat, a replica of a 1920s 1000 Islands cruise boat, is a 60 foot luxury vessel previously owned by Paul and Rene Sanger. The Saengers owned and operated the boat from a dock in Shoreham, Vermont, offering scenic and educational tours in southern Lake Champlain that highlighted the region’s history, beauty, and nature. Fort Ticonderoga plans to finalize ownership of the boat this spring as it builds plans for waterway tours on Lake Chaplain for the 2015 season.

Fort Ticonderoga recently received a funding in the latest round of the New York State Regional Economic Development grant awards. The grant was awarded to Fort Ticonderoga to support the first phase of development in a waterway transportation and recreation system. Specifically, the funding will be used to construct a dock. Fort Ticonderoga continues to seek philanthropic support to fund the development of this waterway initiative and related educational programs.

Fort Ticonderoga: America’s Fort™

Located on Lake Champlain and nestled in the beautiful 6 million acre Adirondack Park, Fort Ticonderoga is an independent not-for-profit educational organization, historic site, museum and cultural destination whose mission is 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. Serving the public since 1909, Fort Ticonderoga engages nearly 70,000 visitors annually and is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Fort Ticonderoga’s history. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, historic interpretation, tours, demonstrations, and exhibits throughout the year and is open for daily visitation May 9 through November 1, 2015. The 2015 season will feature four new exhibitions, two new gardens in the King’s Garden, and the French story highlighting the year 1756. Visit www.FortTiconderoga.org for a full list of ongoing programs or call 518-585-2821.

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

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga announced today that it has acquired the Carillon cruise boat, 60 foot replica 1920s 1000 Islands cruise boat. Plans are underway for 2015 waterway tours and programs at Fort Ticonderoga.

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