Fort Ticonderoga Announces 2018 Annual War College on the Seven Years’ War

Registration is now open for Fort Ticonderoga’s Twenty-Third Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 18-20, 2018. With a panel of distinguished historians from across the United States, this seminar focuses on the Seven Years’ War in North America, also known as the French & Indian War. The War College takes place in the Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required.

Begun in 1996, the War College of the Seven Years’ War has become the nation’s premier seminar on the French & Indian War in the United States. It features a mix of new and established scholars in an informal setting for a weekend of presentations related to the military, social, and cultural history of the French & Indian War.

The 2018 speakers include:

  • Alex Burns, West Virginia University, “‘Without god and the King, I never would have lasted so long’: Common Soldiers in the Prussian Army, 1750-1765.”
  • Kyle Dalton, museum professional, “From Braddock to Wolfe: Royal Navy Seamen Ashore in North America.”
  • Cathrine Davis, University of Laval, “Négociants, Artisans, and Prostitutes: Exploring the Origins of French Textiles at Fort Carillon through Lead Seal Analysis.”
  • James Lacey, Marine Corps War College, “William Pitt: Global Strategist.”
  • David Ledoyen and André Gousse, Parks Canada, “Beds, Cabanes, and Hammocks: Where French Soldiers Slept in New France.”
  • Greg Rogers, SUNY Cobleskill, “New France’s ‘Petty Victories’: Everyday Power in the Lake Ontario Borderlands during the Seven Years’ War.”
  • Jobie Turner, United States Airforce, “Conestoga vs. Canoes: Lake George 1755-1759.”
  • Richard Weyhing, SUNY Oswego, “The Warrior and the Carpenter: Two Perspectives on the Siege of Oswego, 1756.”

The War College will also feature a Saturday evening lecture and concert “From the Ballroom to the Battlefield: Popular Music Adapted for Military Use during the French & Indian War.” Erik Lichack, a performer of early American music, is joined by musicians Eliza Vincz and Philip Winter, to present a lively performance that showcases the relationship between functional military tunes and songs, dances, and other pieces enjoyed by the English-speaking world.

A reception on Friday evening includes the opening of the new exhibition “Great Wars: Ticonderoga and World War One.” This new major exhibit opening in May 2018 will explore the lines between the Seven Years’ War and World War One through the story of Fort Ticonderoga’s Museum Founder, Stephen Pell.

Sunday’s sessions conclude with an optional boat cruise aboard the Carillon to explore naval aspects of the fight for Ticonderoga from 1756-59. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis to War College participants.

Registration for the War College is now open at $155 ($130 for those registering by March 15); additional discounts available for Members of Fort Ticonderoga. Registration forms can be downloaded from Fort Ticonderoga’s website at www.fortticonderoga.org under the “Education” tab by selecting “Workshops and Seminars” on the drop down menu and then clicking on the War College. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting the Business Office at 518-585-2821.

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

Photo:  Registration is now open for Fort Ticonderoga’s Twenty-Third Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 18-20, 2018. Early Bird Registration—with a savings of $25—closes March 15. Register Today! Copyright Fort Ticonderoga, photo credit Carl Heilman II. 

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On the Eve of the Revolution: 1775 British Garrison Living History Event at Fort Ticonderoga February 17

Join Fort Ticonderoga for a one-day living history event Saturday, February 17, 2018 to discover British garrison life in February 1775, three months before Ticonderoga was pulled into the American War of Independence. Living history demonstrations feature the weapons, tactics, trades, and people during peacetime at the fort. For more information, call 518-585-2821 or visit www.fortticonderoga.org

Highlighted programming throughout the day brings to life the routine of soldiers in the 26th Foot and their wives and families who made their homes inside Fort Ticonderoga’s barracks. Weapons demonstrations allow you to go beyond loading and firing to discuss what military traditions remained and what tactical innovations were standard on the eve of the Revolutionary War. Tour through the reconstructed Fort Ticonderoga of today and see what made this much-vaunted fortification so vulnerable to be captured by the Green Mountain Boys in the spring of 1775.

“This living history event will highlight the story of the people that provided the peacetime services and efforts to prepare Ticonderoga for war once again in 1775,” said Beth Hill, President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga. “Our commitment to bringing the dramatic and real story of our past to life through unforgettable programs such as the 1775 British Garrison at Fort Ticonderoga is an opportunity to share with our visitors the importance of this place in the founding of America.”

Admission to the event is $12 for the general public and free to Fort Ticonderoga Members, Ambassador Pass holders, and children age four and under. For the full event schedule, visit https://www.fortticonderoga.org/events/fort-events/living-history-event-1775-british-garrison/detail.

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

Photo: The 1775 British Garrison at Ticonderoga takes place February 17, 2018 at Fort Ticonderoga. Photo credit: Fort Ticonderoga.

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February’s Fort Fever Program to Focus on Soldiers of Color at Ticonderoga for Black History Month

Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” continues on Sunday, February 11, at 2:00 p.m. with a program on “Soldiers of Color at Ticonderoga” presented by Stuart Lilie, Vice President of Public History and Operations. During this program, explore the diversity of soldiers who fought at Ticonderoga and examine how attitudes about soldiers of color varied dramatically within the numerous armies and empires that held Ticonderoga. This program is part of the National Black History Month celebration.

The great campaigns of the French & Indian War and Revolutionary War have frequently been envisioned with long battle lines of soldiers as equally white as they were uniform. However, small, but significant numbers of African or African-American soldiers appear in nearly every army that came to Ticonderoga. Differences between the French army and Canadian irregulars or between states of the new United States also played out in different attitudes about soldiers of color in the ranks. Events like the 1757 massacre at Fort William Henry revealed Canadian involvement in the captive and transatlantic slave trade. The presence of African-American soldiers among New England regiments at Ticonderoga was deeply resented by other American officers. Even as the American Army faced a vast British Army in 1777, the removal of these African-American soldiers from the ranks was considered a priority by many officers.

Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the door; Fort Ticonderoga Members and Ticonderoga Ambassador Pass holders are admitted free of cost. The program will take place in the Mars Education Center.

Additional “Fort Fever Series” programs are scheduled on March 11 and April 15. The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place during Winter Quarters at Fort Ticonderoga now through April. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered March 10-11 and April 14-15. Fort Ticonderoga presents living history events on February 17 (1775 British Garrison at Ticonderoga), and March 24 (Ordered to Join the Northern Army in Canada). The Seventh Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 7. You can learn more about all of these programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org. Some programs require advance registration.

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

Photo:  Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” continues February 11 with a Black History Month program “Soldiers of Color at Ticonderoga.” The Sunday afternoon program begins at 2:00 p.m. and is $12 per person; free for Members of Fort Ticonderoga and Ticonderoga Ambassador Pass holders.

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Flags for the Forts

On November 30, 1776 Ebenezer Stevens, Major of the artillery stationed at Ticonderoga, prepared a return of “Ordnance and Ordnance Stores” wanted by the Northern department. Amongst his requests were two flags or “standards” for the twin citadels of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. Stevens requested massive flags, easily seen at a distance, measuring 30 by 45 feet—larger than the famous “Star Spangled Banner” that waved over Fort McHenry. Records of supplies issued out to the garrisons in 1777 indicate that two flags were, in fact, provided to the artillery and artificers on February 28, 1777. These flags would have flown over the forts as they prepared for a British attack, driving up the lake from Canada under the command of John Burgoyne. As the British closed in on Ticonderoga, American forces made the decision to abandon the posts. Leaving their flags flying, British forces tore down the American colors and replaced them with their own. General Simon Fraser’s advanced guard raised the colors of the 9th Regiment of Foot over the stone battery at the point of the Ticonderoga peninsula and Mount Independence, while the first flag to fly over the old French fort itself was that of the Brunswick Regiment Prinz Friedrich.

What did these American flags look like?

John Riley’s Powder Horn December 17, 1776 PH-032 Fort Ticonderoga Museum

The clerk recorded the issuance of the flags, but did not provide any details on their appearance. Ebenezer Stevens had requested flags with, “the ground work blue.” Such flags appear to have flown over Fort Ticonderoga in early 1777, and are depicted on a powder horn belonging to Lieutenant John Riley in Fort Ticonderoga’s collection.  Riley was from Wethersfield, Connecticut and served in Colonel Burrall’s Continental Regiment from that state over the winter of 1776-1777. His powder horn, dated December 17, 1776, depicts the works on Mount Independence, where he was stationed, and Ticonderoga. Made before the flags of 1777 were received, flying above what is labeled as “Ty Fort” is a large flag. The flag on Riley’s horn is a plan field, or ground, perhaps meant to depict a blue field as Stevens’ had requested, with the British union flag in the canton.

Bowles’s Universal Display of the Naval Flags of All the Nations in the World. Printed in London, 1779 Catalog #1107 Fort Ticonderoga Museum

It is likely given this illustration and the request from Ebenezer Stevens that the large flags flown at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence in 1776 and early 1777 were similar to that depicted on Riley’s horn. The British union flag, on a field of blue, essentially the same as the British “blue ensign” that is illustrated in Bowles’s Universal Display of the Naval Flags of All the Nations in the World, printed in 1779.  Interestingly enough, one of the colors captured from the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment in July of 1777, also consisted of a blue field, with the British union flag in the canton, although with a regimental emblem at the center. One German account of the fall of Ticonderoga describes two flags, one red and one bearing thirteen red and white stripes, although it is unclear if these were the same that were issued in February. Some version of the blue ensign does seem to have flown at Ticonderoga over its final year in American hands. Hardly a Revolutionary flag, the blue banner suggests the tension that still existed within the new United States between their British heritage and their future as an independent nation.

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Fort Ticonderoga Receives a Forrest E. Mars Jr. Chocolate History Grant to Develop Chocolate Research and Programming in 2018

The Mars Wrigley Confectionery, LLC (MWC) recently awarded Fort Ticonderoga the Forrest E. Mars Jr. Chocolate History Grant for a project entitled A Sea of Chocolate: Cocoa Cargoes in the Anglo Atlantic to research and develop a new program highlighting chocolate consumption and distribution by the British Royal Navy on Lake Champlain. The $10,000 grant supports research on naval history and the transportation of chocolate found in manuscript, archaeological, and object collections. The grant will also fund the development of educational program material to be utilized for student programs and for the general public; and the implementation of the new chocolate maritime initiative in 2018 at Fort Ticonderoga.

“Fort Ticonderoga is extremely grateful to Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC (MWC) and especially the Heritage Chocolate Society established by Forrest E. Mars Jr. for this generous grant,” said Beth L. Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO.  “Forrest was passionate about chocolate and history. We are so thrilled to have this opportunity to engage our growing audience in the history of chocolate at Ticonderoga and connect its story to the broader Atlantic world in the 18th century. We are committed to partnering with the Heritage Chocolate Society to further study and communicate chocolate’s rich history and its role on past and present cultures.”

During the 1781 Campaign featured in 2018 at Fort Ticonderoga, visitors will discover how chocolate was shipped and prepared for British sailors and soldiers at Ticonderoga. “Being a tropical crop shipped across the ocean, chocolate is an essential tool to express the strategic importance of Ticonderoga along the water corridor of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River in 1781,” said Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga Vice President of Public History and Operations. “This educational initiative will integrate new research and American Heritage Chocolate produced by Mars Wrigley Confectionery (MWC) into a lively program along the shores of Lake Champlain for students and other visitors alike who will learn about chocolate and the broader network of trade that connected Lake Champlain to the Atlantic world in the 18th century.”

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

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga recently was awarded a Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant at the 14th Annual banquet dinner of the Heritage Chocolate Society held at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The Heritage Chocolate Society, formally known as the Colonial Chocolate Society, is a group whose mission is to further the study and communication of chocolate’s rich history and its impact on past and present cultures in the Americas.

Photographed (L-R): Gail Broadright, Director Sponsorships and Family Properties Mars-Wrigley Confectionery; Beth L. Hill, President and CEO, Fort Ticonderoga; Jacqueline Mars;  Stuart Lilie, Vice President of Public History and Operations, For Ticonderoga; Jacomien Mars;  and Berta de Pablos Barbier, President of Mars-Wrigley Confectionery U.S.

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Fort Ticonderoga Presents Seventh Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium

The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga presents the Seventh Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium on Saturday, April 7, 2018 in the Mars Education Center. Geared for both beginning and experienced gardeners, this daylong symposium provides helpful insights from garden experts who live and garden in upstate New York and northern New England. This event is open by pre-registration only.

Focusing on easy-to-implement strategies for expanding and improving your garden or landscape, these programs are offered in an informal setting that encourages interaction between presenters and attendees.

This year’s featured speaker is Charlie Nardozzi, an award-winning, nationally recognized garden author, speaker, garden tour leader, and radio and TV personality based in Vermont. Charlie delights in making gardening information simple, easy, fun and accessible to everyone. In “Better Berries for Your Edible Landscape” Nardozzi will talk about growing berry shrubs, which has become more popular with the growing interest in edible landscaping. He will also be including a talk about new varieties of blueberries, brambles, honeyberries, currants, gooseberries, elderberries, and more that grow well in our climate.

Emily DeBolt, owner of Fiddlehead Creak Native Plant Nursery, will encourage attendees to “Go Native: An Introduction to Gardening with Native Plants.” Gardeners can learn about the benefits and beauty of gardening with native plants and learn which plants are great for monarchs and other pollinators and which plants can grow in tough sites such as clay soils or dry shade.

Ellen Ecker Ogden, author of The Complete Kitchen Garden, will discuss “The Art of Growing Food.” In this presentation, you will learn the six steps to successful kitchen garden design, based on classic techniques that anyone can follow.

Barry Genzlinger asks “What are the ten facts that everyone should know about bats and why should gardeners care?” His presentation focuses on the benefits bats provide for gardeners and the dangers bats currently face. Genzlinger is president of the Vermont Bat Center and rescues, rehabilitates, and releases hundreds of Vermont bats.

The cost, including the daylong symposium and a lunch prepared by Libby’s Bakery Café, is $85 ($75 for Members of Fort Ticonderoga). There is an Early Bird rate for registrations received by March 15, 2018: $75 ($65 for member 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 2018. 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 Ticonderoga’s website at www.fortticonderoga.org and selecting “Education.”

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

Photo: The Seventh Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium takes place on Saturday, April 7, 2018 in the Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga. This event is open by pre-registration only.

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Preparing for the Coming Campaign Living History Event on January 13, 2018

Experience Fort Ticonderoga in the beauty of winter during its next living history event Preparing for the Coming Campaign on Saturday, January 13, 2018.  The event will bring to life the story of American soldiers at Ticonderoga in the year 1777 as they prepare for a British attack. Aware that their resources are limited and manpower scarce, meet soldiers in the wintertime fort and immerse yourself into the struggle for liberty. Learn about the carpentry skills that were required to build and defend a Revolutionary era fort and see first-hand how the tools work as soldiers build a cannon carriage. Watch soldiers at work undertaking tasks such as tailoring and flag making. A full day of programs include guided tours, weapons demonstrations, and even a tasting of colonial chocolate along with a program on the importance that this food item played in the lives of American soldiers and camp followers at Ticonderoga. For a full event schedule and other event details visit www.fort-ticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

“Ticonderoga in the winter of 1776 into 1777 was an active post, filled with American soldiers achieving incredible feats of construction,” said Stuart Lilie, Vice President of Public History and Operations. “As snow piled up, carpenters built massive new barracks and artillerymen built carriages for the largest number of cannon ever at Ticonderoga. Even the frozen surface of Lake Champlain was a construction site, as soldiers built wood and stone piers for a bridge across the lake.”

Bring your family along to experience this exciting living history event during Fort Ticonderoga’s new schedule of programs during Winter Quarters season. From now through April, visitors will be immersed in a more intimate experience at Fort Ticonderoga. From living history events, insightful seminars, specialty programs, and hands-on workshops, guests will have the opportunity to explore Fort Ticonderoga during what was traditionally the “Winter Quarters” season for armies of the 18th century.

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

Photo: The Preparing for the Coming Campaign Living History Event will take place on January 13, 2018 at Fort Ticonderoga from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Visit www.fortticonderoga or call 518-585-2821 for more Winter Quarter events, programs, and seminars.

Posted in Collections, Education, Exhibits, Family Fun in the Adirondacks, Family programs, Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Ticonderoga Staff, Landscape, Life Long Learning, Living History & Material Culture, Living History Event, Museums, Programs, Public Programs, Special Events, Tourist Destination | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Preparing for the Coming Campaign Living History Event on January 13, 2018

Fort Fever Program to Focus on Lake Champlain Naval History

Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” begins on Sunday, January 7, at 2:00 p.m. with “Vigilance and Discipline to be Observed through all the Vessels” presented by Nicholas Spadone, Director of Interpretation. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the door; Fort Ticonderoga Members are admitted free of cost. The program will take place in the Mars Education Center.

Fort Ticonderoga’s military history in the American Revolution extends well beyond just the land. Strategy and tactics were developed to command Lake Champlain and Lake George. British Royal Navy vessels on Lake Champlain demonstrate the strength and extent needed to attack American-held Ticonderoga as well as supply and defend Ticonderoga during British occupation. Learn about the design, construction, and legacy of the British Royal Navy vessels on Lake Champlain between 1775 and 1781 during this Fort Fever program.

Additional “Fort Fever Series” programs are scheduled February 11, March 11 and April 15. The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place during Winter Quarters at Fort Ticonderoga November through April. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered January 27-28, March 10-11, and April 14-15. Fort Ticonderoga presents living history events on January 13 (Preparing for the Coming Campaign), February 17 (1775 British Garrison at Ticonderoga), and March 24 (Ordered to Join the Northern Army in Canada). The Seventh Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 7. You can learn more about all of these programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org. Some programs require advance registration.

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

Photo: A detail from A View of the Old French fort, redoubts and batteries at Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and His Majesty’s ship inflexible also the Piers constructed with the Trunks of Large Tress by the American Army for the conveyance of their Troops to Mount Independence taken on the spot by H. Rudyard Lieut Corps of Royal Engineers in the year 1777. Collection of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum.

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$2.45 Million Grant to Support Fort Ticonderoga’s Plans for Pavilion Restoration and Adaptive Re-use

Fort Ticonderoga has been awarded a $2.45 million grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Empire State Development (ESD) as part of their Arts & Cultural Facilities Improvement grant program. The grant award was announced at the 2017 New York State Regional Economic Development Council Award Ceremony in Albany, NY.

The Fort Ticonderoga Pavilion Restoration and Adaptive Re-use project will save a national treasure while expanding as a national cultural destination. The adaptive re-use project will include needed visitor amenities, conference center capacity, and new educational and exhibition space.

“Today we have the opportunity to bring new life and purpose to an American treasure. The 1826 National Historic Landmark, the Pavilion, is a major component of our plans to transform Ticonderoga into a national cultural destination,” said Beth L. Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “The restored Pavilion will offer Fort Ticonderoga a wide array of opportunities for guests who might prefer to focus on non-military aspects of the Ticonderoga experience – horticulture, agriculture, culinary, decorative arts, and the scenic beauty of the site. This will enhance the guest experience, extend guest’s length of stay, and expand Fort Ticonderoga’s educational impact.”

Among the plans for the restored Pavilion:

  • Dedicated exhibit space to tell the story of 200 years of preservation and restoration efforts across the site, and the rich decorative and fine arts collection.
  • Re-establish the Pavilion as a place for visitor welcome, offering new amenities including indoor and outdoor dining facilities, museum retail and restrooms. New space for programs, special events, conferences and meetings will offer opportunities for rental and food and beverage revenue. The Pavilion operations will also support Fort Ticonderoga’s new maritime program, including tours aboard the Carillon, a 60 ft. tour boat.
  • Create a teaching kitchen and new culinary programs that will connect Fort Ticonderoga’s gardens and produce with centuries of international history and hospitality and respond to a growing demand for culinary experiences and training. Students will also have the opportunity to dig deep into the site’s rich agricultural story and carry their experience into the teaching kitchen to learn about healthy eating in the past and today.
  • Expand the space available for museum collections and research by bringing key administrative staff to the center of operations by relocating offices currently housed at Fort Ticonderoga’s Thompson Pell Research Center to the second floor of the Pavilion.

The goal for the project is to raise $5.4 million to complete the project in time for a 2020 grand opening to mark the 200th anniversary of William Ferris Pell’s first efforts to preserve Ticonderoga for future generations.

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

Photo:  The Pavilion, A Landmark American Country Home – William Ferris Pell built this summer home between 1826 and 1837.  It represents an important shift in the architecture and history of the American country estate, situated far from a major urban area. By 1840, the home had become a hotel welcoming guests from across the United States to the iconic ruins of Ticonderoga.  Plans are underway for the restoration and adaptive reuse of this National Historic Landmark.

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Unsung, Unarmed Heroes of Ticonderoga in 1775

Despite plans for regimental uniforms, the 4th NY  had blue facings on many colors of coat.

Henry Knox’s Noble Train of Artillery from Ticonderoga to Boston was made possible by the labor of many soldiers, as well as the famous drivers and teams of horses. Rather than bringing his own artillerymen to Ticonderoga, Knox relied on soldiers already serving in the Northern Army under General Philip Schuyler to help gather and move the guns to south of the Hudson River.  Knox’s personal journal and correspondence, as well as the papers of General Philip Schuyler, have revealed who was at Ticonderoga to heft the guns for the Noble Train. The commanding officer at Ticonderoga in December of 1775 was Colonel James Holmes, commander of the 4th New York Regiment. Unlike the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd New York Regiments who were fighting in Canada, Holmes’ regiment garrisoned rear supply posts like Ticonderoga.  And so the men of the 4th New York Regiment were at Ticonderoga to help Colonel Knox, as Holmes recorded on December 12, 1775:

The Garrison hath been imploy’d Allmost Ever Since You left this, in Conjunction with Capt. Johnson Party in Transporting Cannon Morters &c to the N: Landing Lake George Their Exertions on this Occation hath been Much to the Satisfaction of Colo Knox, the number of Cannon &c I am not at Present able to Give you tho Very Considerable.

Colonel Holmes’ 4th New York Regiment was not alone, one company of the 1st New York Regiment, commanded by Captain John Johnson. Indeed, Knox himself recorded this company’s work alongside the 4th New York in his journal on December 9th and again on the 16th:

Paid Lieut Brown for Capt Johnson which he paid the Carters for the use of their Cattle in dragging Cannon from Ticonderoga to the Norther Landing of Lake George.

Leather Breeches were very common and likely brought by many New Yorkers from home.

Yet, with the exception of this Captain Johnson’s company, Knox repeatedly noted, “Holmes men,” as paid for their labor loading the noble train.  In the midst of a major campaign in Canada, why was the 4th New York Regiment at Ticonderoga in December of 1775?  Colonel James Holmes effort to clothe and equip his men never came to full fruition; by virtue of this men of 4th New York were available to aid Henry Knox at Ticonderoga.

The New York Provincial Congress appointed captains to command the companies of the 4th New York Regiment. These captains spent a large majority of the summer of 1775 recruiting men from Dutchess, Westchester, Kings, Queens, and Richmond counties.  Once mustered, they were to march to Albany to receive their clothing and equipment.  The New York Provincial Congress ordered in June of 1775:

Peter T Curtenius as Commissary of this Congress be desired to purchase on the public Credit the following quantities of Coarse Broad Cloths vizt. Coarse blue broad cloth sufficient to make 712 Short Coats & Crimson cloth for cuffs & facings for the said Coats & that if blue cloth cannot be had, that in such Case he purchase blue Coating for that purpose—Light Brown coarse broad cloth sufficient to make 712 Short coats, with blue cloth sufficient for Cuffs & facings.—Grey coarse broad Cloth sufficient to make 712 Short Coats with green Cloth sufficient to Cuffs & facings.—Dark brown coarse broad Cloth sufficient to make 712 Short Coats with Scarlet cloth sufficient for Cuffs & facings for the same.

Cloth became harder to obtain and by July, the New York Provincial Congress slimmed down their grand plans of color combinations, ordering Commissary Peter Curtenius to procure, “Uniform coats made for all the Non-commissioned Officers & Men to be raised in this Colony; that the Coats of each regiment be made with different Cuffs & facings.” Regardless of the body of the coat, the only regimental distinction was to be the cuff and facing color and the 4th New York Regiment received blue facings for their clothing.  A mate of the vessel from Lake Champlain made comment on the status of the area around Ticonderoga in September of 1775.  He pointed out this distinction stating, “at Lake George a company, Capt Woodward, 25th of grey with blue…”

Nathan Woodward’s company of the 4th New York r

eceived at least part of their complement of regimental coats, enough for the writer to indicate the uniformity amongst them. This same color combination was described in a pension record of Nathan Lockwood. In November of 1819 he described his service:

A private in the Company commanded by Captain Jonathan Platt in the 4th New York Regiment commanded by Colonel James Holmes…Deponent was in service at Ticonderoga…the uniform worn by the Deponent & other privates in said Regiment was gray cloth turned up with blue.

Although the New York Provincial Congress described “light brown” coats turned up with blue, grey is actually true to form.  In practice, grey, drab, and light brown were used interchangeably for the body cloth of the coats of the 4th New York Regiment.

Unlike muskets themselves, New York successful procured cartridge boxes for men of the 4th New York Regiment in 1775.

On July 12, 1775 the New York Committee of Safety defined the preferred set of clothing to be worn in addition to the regimental coats, yet the numbers of waistcoats, breeches, hats, and shoes only account for two regiments of the four to be raised.  The 4th New York Regiment does not seem to have been one of those regiments, and short coats appear to be the only uniform item worn by the regiment. Philip Van Cortlandt wrote to the New York Provincial Congress from Albany on August 28, 1775 describing the 4th New York Regiment:

Agreeable to verbal orders received from Colonel Holmes, when last in New York, made all the dispatch in my power to this place, where I arrived with the 26th instant…The day I arrived came up the following Captains, with their Companies; Captain Herrick, Captain Palmer, Captain Benedict, and Captain Mills…many of the men wanting shirts, shoes, stockings, underclothes, and, in short, without anything fit for a soldier except a uniform coats.

Holmes’ 4th New York Regiment only received bits and pieces of other clothing through the summer of 1775.  Nathan Woodard requested at Albany on August 28, 1775 his company be supplied with “Ten Coats four shirts & 26 pair of shows & 20 weast-Coats & 20 Pair of Breeches 20 Hats.”  This certainly was not the full complement of his company.  Similarly, Colonel Holmes requested Peter Curtenius in an undated letter sets of clothing for Captain Mill’s Company which included:

Becker Holmes            one pair of Drilling Breeches
Henry Rich                  one pair of shoes
Thomas Golden          one pair woolen stockings
Shubal Cunningham   one pair of wolling stockings
Joshua Baker               one shirt
Lewis Miller                one Shirt Checkt
Samuel Baker              a Jacket & pr of Breeches Brown Cloth
One pair of Shoe
One pr of Cotton Stockings
One shirt white
One stock
A jacket and pr Breeches
Charles Parsons           one pr Drilling Breeches two Chekt Shirts one Jacket

Additionally, Colonel Holmes wrote to Commissary Curtenius again requesting on August 4, 1775, “Please to Deliver to the Bearer herof Mr. Robert Benson one hundred and forty four Coats including Six Sergeants Coats- also as many Shirts, Hatts, shoes, stockings, Wescoats & Breeches as is in proportion for 2 companys.” Likewise, Captain Joseph Benedict’s Company was provided with the following clothing on August 9, 1775:

 15 vests
15 pairs of breeches
25 shirts
30 pairs of stockings
18 pairs of shoes
12 black silk handkerchiefs
3 hats
30 knapsacks
52 coats
52 blankets

Just like private soldiers, fifers and drummers of the 4th New York Regiment received coats too.

While some men did receive waistcoats, breeches, shirts, shoes, and hats out of military stores, this was not the case for all the men within the companies. Those men with serviceable waistcoats, breeches, shoes, shirts, and hats brought from home were never issued anything out of military stores for lack of enough to outfit everyone.

Unlike clothing, Colonel Holmes had better success procuring accoutrements for his regiment from the colony of New York. Saddlers through New York were busy at work producing the bayonet belts, cartouche pouches, and musket slings.  This facet of military material seems to have come fairly easily.  An anonymous letter in the New York Provincial Congress proceedings from October 4, 1775 noted the state of accouterments:

All our troops are furnished with belts and pouches for nineteen cartridges, bayonet belts, musket slings, blankets, coats, canteens, haversacks, &c.

Arming the 4th New York Regiment proved to be Holmes’ hardest task.  The New York Provincial Congress contracted on June 23, 1775 Robert Boyd to “set on foot a manufactory of Guns Barrells, Bayonets and Steel Ramrods,” Henry Watkeys to “furnish locks for the muskets and to mount stock & finish them in compleat workmanlike manner as the sample shown to him,” and an unknown “Sadler” in “making scabbards for Bayonets and straps and buckles for the Musquets.”  By the end of August, little to none of these weapons are toted in the hands of the 4th New York Regiment. An officer at Albany mentioned on August 29, 1775 “Col Van Cortlandt is also arrived here with five Companies of Holmes’ Battalion, who have not arms sufficient to supply one Company.”  This fact is confirmed by Philip Van Cortlandt when he wrote to New York Congress from Albany on August 28, 1775:

Dear Sir: Agreeable to verbal orders received from Colonel Holmes, when last in New  York, made all the dispatch in my powere to this place, where I arrived the 26th             instant…not more than thirty guns, with four companies, fit for service.

New York Provincial Congress proceedings from October 4, 1775 mentions that most arms were issued to the 1st and 2nd New York Regiments, leaving the 4th deficient.

 The First and Second regiment and some part of the other Regiments are armed with the   best of musket and bayonets and other with firelocks of the widest bore, which could be   found, repaired where it was necessary, and fitted … The fourth or Colonel   Holmes’ Regiment is now at the outpost; part of the Regiment was obliged to be detained at Albany, until arms could be procured for them.

The New York Provincial Congress’ plan to assist the American war effort quickly hit the challenges clothing and arming thousands of soldiers.  The 4th New York Regiment exemplified the struggle to equip men for war. Ironically, it was the lack of clothing and arms for Holmes’ men which left them relegated to the rear, in the right place and time to play a crucial role in the service of Henry Knox. Without deliveries of small arms, men of the 4th New York Regiment at Ticonderoga helped deliver the big guns, which ultimately delivered Boston into freedom from British occupation.

On Saturday, December 9, Fort Ticonderoga presented Henry Knox’s Noble Train living history event. To learn more about this event and other events, programs and seminars taking place throughout Winter Quarters, visit www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

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