112 Teacher Scholarships and Counting

It’s hard to believe that since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided scholarships for 112 teachers to attend its seminars and symposia at no cost. Scholarship winners have come from 17 different states and two Canadian provinces. Of those 112 scholarships, 60 have been for the Fort’s oldest seminar, the War College of the Seven Years’ War.

Fort Ticonderoga is pleased to offer scholarships for four teachers at the middle school or high school level to attend this year’s annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, to be held May 16-18, 2014. This annual seminar focuses on the French & Indian War in North America (1754-1763), bringing to https://www.fortticonderoga.org/learn/learning/war-college-2014gether a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The War College takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. The scholarships are available for educators who are first-time attendees at the War College.

Begun in 1996, the War College of the Seven Years’ War has become one of the premier seminars on the French & Indian War in the country. 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. Since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided scholarships for 60 teachers from across the country to attend the War College, and a total of 112 teacher scholarships to attend seminars and conferences at the Fort.

Teachers interested in applying for a scholarship to attend this year’s War College of the Seven Years’ War should download an application here. Applications are due by March 15th. Successful applicants will receive free registration, two box lunches, and an opportunity to dine with the War College speakers at a private dinner the Saturday of the War College.

The War College is open to the general public. The cost is $120 if registering before March 15th; $145 after that date. There are additional discounts for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga. Registration forms can be downloaded here.

I look forward to seeing you at the Nineteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War at Fort Ticonderoga this May!

Rich Strum

Director of Education

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“A Day Longer in the Field” Explores Lives of Provincial Soldiers at Fort Ticonderoga’s Upcoming Living History Weekend, Feb 15-16

“A Day Longer in the Field” living history event will take place at Fort Ticonderoga February 15-16, 2014.

“A Day Longer in the Field” living history event will take place at Fort Ticonderoga February 15-16, 2014.

“A Day Longer in the Field”

Fort Ticonderoga will once again be alive with its premier interpretive programming during its next living history weekend, Saturday and Sunday, February 15-16 from 10 am until 4pm each day. The event will highlight the lives of Massachusetts provincial soldiers garrisoned at Fort Ticonderoga in 1759. The cost for the event is $10 per person and payable at the gate. Friends of Fort Ticonderoga and children 4 years old and under are free. For more details visit www.fortticonderoga.org or call 518-585-2821.

Guests will stand shoulder to shoulder with costumed interpretive staff as they portray American Provincial soldiers facing the challenges of daily life as a soldier at Ticonderoga during the French and Indian war. The weekend-long event will include special tours highlighting General Amherst’s army and the campaign of 1759. Interactive programs will feature soldier’s life activities including cooking, carpentry, tailoring, shoemaking, and maintenance of weapons. A guest favorite, Fort Ticonderoga’s highly acclaimed musket demonstration, will be offered several times throughout the weekend and will demonstrate how provincial soldiers, using an array of British army muskets, civilian fowlers, and captured French fusils, used their firelocks.

Recently featured in Travel and Leisure’s America’s Best Winter Rides, Fort Ticonderoga’s winter programs offer guests an intimate historic experience at one of America’s most beautiful and historically significant locations. During these winter programs guests are immersed in specific moments in our remarkable past, interact with talented staff that bring the Fort’s history to life in dramatic new ways, and will truly feel the power of the site in the midst of the quiet and rugged winter beauty at Ticonderoga.

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Sharing Ideas about Colonial American History

On Friday, May 16, 2014, Fort Ticonderoga hosts its Sixth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators. This day-long conference takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. While intended for educators, the conference is open to anyone with an interest in helping connect students with history.

Our conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. It has been gratifying to watch this conference evolve and grow since its inception in 2009. The number of classroom teachers presenting has grown each year. It’s exciting to have enthusiastic teachers share their classroom successes with fellow educators.

This year’s presentations include:

  • Historians in the Classroom: Creating Authentic Learning Experiences with Document Sets. This session will demonstrate how to create authentic learning experiences for students by grouping multiple primary sources into document sets. The document set format consists of an essential question, historical documents related to the essential question, and an assessment of student learning. This workshop will walk participants through a series of document sets that explore the causes, effects, and significant events of the American Revolution. Participants will be given the opportunity to create their own document sets, essential questions and assessments. Copies of document sets will be given to all attendees. Julie Daniels is the coordinator of educational programs at the NYS Archives; Jessica Maul is an education consultant at the NYS Archives Partnership Trust.
  • Colonial Tea Party. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go back in time to ask King George III how he felt when the colonists refused to pay his taxes, or ask John Burgoyne how he could have made his famous plan work? Your students will have the chance to do just that in the Colonial Tea Party. In this workshop, two team teachers (one English and one Social Studies) will walk attendees through the process of preparing students to conduct research on colonial figures, historical events that took place between 1763 and 1783, and the time period in general. Students will be engaged in reading leveled historical novels from the revolutionary war period to examine the factors leading up to the war itself from numerous perspectives. Then, students will select a historical figure that they will portray in the tea party. Leading up to the tea party, students will conduct research and complete several activities, including a character sketch, a colonial figure poster and poem, several historical journal entries, and a culminating letter of reflection after the tea party. So get ready to go back in time and help your students understand the dynamics of this tumultuous time period. Seth Harris teaches 7th grade social studies and Erin Mailloux teaches 7th grade English at Shaker Junior High School in Colonie, New York.
  • Early Colonial New York through Documents and Physical Resources: New France, New Amsterdam, and the Iroquois Confederacy. This session focuses on the early colonial relationship between the French, Dutch, and Iroquois as witnessed through primary sources. Special attention will be given to the use of documents and physical resources that are relevant to classroom instruction. Tom Henry is a retired teacher from the Liverpool School District. He is a former president of the Central New York Council for the Social Studies and New York State Social Studies Teacher of the Year. He currently teaches history in the Syracuse chapter of the Oasis program. Bill Perks is currently a social studies teacher in the Marathon School District. He is formerly the Director of Historical Interpretation at the St. Marie Among the Iroquois Living History Museum.
  • The French and Indian War in Pennsylvania. This presentation will give an overview of the major military events that occurred within Pennsylvania primarily from 1754 to 1758. The start of the war, Braddock’s Campaign, and the Forbes Campaign will be the major focal points. David P. Miller has been employed with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission since 1998 and served as the Director of Education at Bushy Run Battlefield for 11 years.
  • The American Revolution through British Eyes. This session is about the often ignored lives of British soldiers in North America and their stories. Using Don Hagist’s non-fiction book, British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution, participants will analyze up to nine biographies with primary source case studies to learn what life was like as a British soldier. Attendees will receive traditional and common core lesson plan strategies and formats to adapt to their classroom. Tim Potts has taught middle level Social Studies for 24 years at the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School in Monticello, New York. He is the immediate Past President of the New York State Council for Social Studies and was elected in 2012 to the steering committee of the National Council for Social Studies. Tim has presented at numerous local, state, and national conferences on innovative ways to teach Social Studies.
  • “Large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny”: A Review of German “Hessians” who Served in the American War for Independence. This program will address the generalities of German “Hessian mercenaries” who served during the American War for Independence. Focus will be made on their nation states of origin, organization, reasons for being involved in the war, and their feelings concerning it. Centuries-old stereotyping will be addressed. Primary focus will be on those Germans who served in the Northern Campaign of 1777. Eric Schnitzer has been the park ranger/historian at Saratoga National Historical Park for 18 years; among his areas of study are the people—officers, men, and followers—who served in the Northern Campaign of 1777.

The Sixth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators takes place on the Friday of War College weekend. The registration fee for participants is $40. For those also taking part in the War College of the Seven Years’ War (May 16-18, 2014), the cost of attending the conference is $35. You can download a flyer and registration form from our website.

Please share this information with educators you know—and even if you are not an educator, you are welcome to join us for this day of sharing ideas and digging deeper into our colonial history.

Rich Strum
Director of Education

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Rub Elbows with Expert Gardeners

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s the time of year for gardeners to start gearing up for the growing season: ordering seeds, making plans, and browsing the home improvement stores as the days lengthen and spring gets closer every day.  What are you planning for your garden or yard?  Holding back during mud season can be difficult since we just want to get out there and start the dirty work!  Solution: Register today for Fort Ticonderoga’s Third Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium “New Garden Visions” on Saturday, April 12. This day-long symposium, geared for both beginning and experienced gardeners, provides helpful insights from garden experts who live and garden in New York’s Adirondacks and northern New England.

I am excited about our line-up of speakers, and for the first time, a presentation is offered on vegetable gardening.  Even if you don’t have a dedicated plot for vegetables, it’s easy to tuck a few edibles in your flower beds or in containers. (I like to put a cherry tomato at the end of a flower bed near the back door for quick nibbles.)  Also new this year, we’ve added a panel discussion with our speakers who hail from Maine, Vermont and New York.  Bring your questions, ideas, and garden dilemmas to share with our panel and your fellow gardeners.

Speakers include:

  • Kerry Mendez, “Seasonal Garden Care for Gorgeous, ‘Well behaved’ Gardens”
  • Dr. Leonard Perry, “Spring Flowering Bulbs”
  • Dave Rutkowski, “Chemical-Free Gardening: A Success Story”
  • Jane Sorensen, “Landscape Design for Pollinators”

Registration for the Garden & Landscape Symposium is now open. The cost for the day-long symposium, which includes a homemade lunch prepared by Libby’s Bakery Café, is $75 ($65 for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga). This event takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open by pre-registration only.  Visit our website for a brochure with the complete schedule and registration at http://www.fortticonderoga.org/learn/learning/garden-symposium. A printed copy is available by calling 518-585-2821.

I hope to see you this April at the symposium!

Heidi teRiele Karkoski
Director of Horticulture

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New Scholarship to Be Presented at Fort Ticonderoga’s Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War

Christopher Tozzi, from Howard University, discusses “How French were the French? The Demographic and Cultural Diversity of French Forces in the French & Indian War” at Fort Ticonderoga’s Nineteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 16-18, 2014. Registration is now open for this annual seminar focused on the French & Indian War in North America.

Christopher Tozzi, from Howard University, discusses “How French were the French? The Demographic and Cultural Diversity of French Forces in the French & Indian War” at Fort Ticonderoga’s Nineteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 16-18, 2014. Registration is now open for this annual seminar focused on the French & Indian War in North America.

Registration is now open for Fort Ticonderoga’s Nineteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 16-18, 2014. This annual seminar focuses on the French & Indian War in North America (1754-1763), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country. The War College takes place in the Deborah Clarke 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 one of the premier seminars on the French & Indian War in the country. 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,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO.
2014 Speakers include:
• Daniel Baugh, Professor Emeritus at Cornell, “Why did the British Empire in North America Become Territorial in 1763?”
• Russell B. Bellico, author, and Joseph Zarzynski, author and underwater archaeologist, “What Amherst Left Behind: An Historical and Archaeological Analysis of Lake George’s ‘Sunken Bateaux of 1758.’”
• Alexander Campbell, author, “‘Not in the most regular manner’: The Royal American Regiment at Ticonderoga, 8 July 1758.”
• Phil Dunning, Parks Canada (retired), “Fill the Bowl Again!”
• John Maas, US Army Center of Military History, “North Carolina’s French & Indian War, 1754-1761.”
• David Miller, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, “‘Whatever our Fate may be’—Colonel Bouquet’s 1763 Expedition to Fort Pitt and the Battle of Bushy Run.”
• Christopher Tozzi, Howard University, “How French were the French? The Demographic and Cultural Diversity of French Forces in the French & Indian War.”
• Stephen Warfel, archaeologist, “Lost and Found: The Discovery of Fort Morris, Shippensburg, PA.”
The War College also features presentations by two Fort Ticonderoga staff. Curator of Collections Chris Fox will give a presentation “Founding Fashion: The Diversity of Regularity in 18th-Century Clothing Collections.” He will share knowledge garnered as curator of the Fort’s newest exhibition of the same name which opens on May 10, 2014, for a two-year run. Fort Ticonderoga’s Artificer Shoemaker Shaun Pekar will present on “Blue broad Cloth Lapll’d Coats of various Sizes, Kersey and Frize ditto” examining the dress of Massachusetts Provincial Soldiers during the 1758 campaign against Fort Carillon.
Registration for the War College is now open at $145 ($120 for those registering by March 15th); additional discounts available for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga. Registration forms can be downloaded from the Fort’s website at www.fort-ticonderoga.org under the “Explore and Learn” tab by selecting “Life Long Learning” on the drop down menu and then clicking on the War College. A printed copy is also available upon request by contacting the Fort at 518-585-2821.

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Snowshoe at America’s Fort! Fort Fever Program Feb 2nd

Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” continues on Sunday, February 2 at 2 pm. with a “Winter Woods Snowshoe Exploration” led by Director of Horticulture Heidi Karkoski. The cost is $10 per person and will be collected at the door; free for members of the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga.

Participants in a past winter hike explore the landscape near Fort Ticonderoga. This year’s snowshoe hike takes place on Sunday, February 2, at 2 pm. and is part of the Fort Fever Series at the Fort.
Participants in a past winter hike explore the landscape near Fort Ticonderoga. This year’s snowshoe hike takes place on Sunday, February 2, at 2 pm. and is part of the Fort Fever Series at the Fort.

 

Tour the historic hiking trail leading from the Fort and through the forested landscape on the Heights of Carillon where the most intact 18th-century earthworks remain today. Karkoski will talk about the landscape history and its uses in the time after military occupation. In addition, she will discuss forest succession and provide an opportunity to learn about the trees, shrubs, and other visible plant life along the way. The group will likely encounter animal tracks and other signs of nature on this two-mile excursion highlighting the beauty of the winter landscape.

Additional “Fort Fever Series” programs are scheduled March 16, April 13, and April 27. The complete schedule of winter and early spring programs is available at www.fortticonderoga.org by clicking on “Explore and Learn” and selecting “Life Long Learning” on the drop down menu.

The “Fort Fever Series” is just one of several programs taking place at Fort Ticonderoga this winter. Clothing and Accoutrement Workshops are offered one weekend a month through April. Fort Ticonderoga presents Living History events on February 15 and 16, and March 15 & 16. The Fourth Annual “Material Matters: It’s in the Details” seminar takes place January 25 and 26, while the Third Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium will be held on April 12. You can learn more about all of these programs by visiting www.fortticonderoga.org and selecting the “Explore and Learn” tab and click on “Life Long Learning.” Some programs require advance registration.

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Making History “Real”

Monday, September 16, 1776, breaks at Ticonderoga with a hint of the cold weather yet to come, and the fortifications at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence are draped in the “Thick Fogs, that are peculiar at this place.” Thus another day dawns for the Continental Army’s Northern Department on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Dr. Lewis Beebe, surgeon in Colonel Charles Burrell’s 14th Connecticut Regiment encamped on Mount Independence, laments that disease and illness continue to take their toll among the troops. He writes that “Doctr parker is taken poorly, & the business all comes upon me. Hard fortune indeed to have so many sick upon hand at one time. But harder for those who are sick to be crowded into a dirty, Lousy, stinking Hospital, enough to kill well men.”

One of the sick is Colonel Jeduthan Baldwin from Massachusetts. He’s been sick since the 8th, sometimes so sick he’s been unable to tend to his duties as Chief Engineer at Ticonderoga. On the 16th, Baldwin notes he “was something better and it is of the Lord’s mercy that I am alive after Such a hard and constant fatigue.”

Also among those stricken by illness is the Reverend William Emerson, chaplain with the Massachusetts troops. Another chaplain, the Reverend Ammi Robbins from Colonel Burrell’s Connecticut Regiment, “went with Mr. Breck to visit Rev. Mr. Emerson who is very low.” Emerson, the grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson, is discharged on October 20th, but dies of dysentery in Rutland, Vermont, on his way home.

Across the lake, encamped on Liberty Hill near the Old French Lines, is Timothy Tuttle, a sergeant in Captain Joseph Morris’s First Company in the First New Jersey Regiment. Having survived small pox earlier in the year, Tuttle’s health has revived as he notes “Capt. Morris Paying some of his men to Day 2£-2s-8d stoppages for this month.” During the day, Tuttle “went as far as the Landing at Lake George” and had “rosted Beef and Turnips for dinner.”

Among the administrative concerns Major General Horatio Gates faces on September 16th is counterfeiting: “So much counterfeit money being of late brought into this camp, from the eastern parts of the continent, the Gen. forbids any money passing or being recd but continental money.”

The parole and countersign for the day are Connecticut and Trumbull.

Monday, September 16, 1776, provides a snapshot of day to day life in the Continental Army at Ticonderoga during the 1776 campaign. Insights into daily life at Ticonderoga come from the letters and journals of some of the men serving at Ticonderoga and Mount Independence.

Our interpretive staff will be bringing the year 1776 at Fort Ticonderoga to life this summer, utilizing the numerous journals, orderly books, letters, and other documents to help flesh out history. Making history “real” is part of our job description. Telling it in an engaging manner is also our job. We mustn’t forget that “story” is part of history.

I often overhear visitors saying “I wish history was this interesting when I was in school!” History has always been interesting—it’s just in the marketing. How we learn history directly correlates to whether we view it as a painful task or a life-long obsession.

This summer I will be working with about 120 teachers through several programs at Fort Ticonderoga. My primary goal is to help teachers tell the hi-“story” of places like Fort Ticonderoga in an engaging manner, so their students get beyond the impression that history is just a bunch of names and dates. History is the story of all of us. History is the story of life. And life happens!

Rich Strum
Director of Education

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Earthen Remains of 1776

In 1777, Lieutenant Charles Wintersmith mapped out American Earthworks built on the remains of the old French Lines.

In 1777, Lieutenant Charles Wintersmith mapped out American Earthworks built on the remains of the old French Lines.

In creating living history programs based on diaries, letters, artifacts, and other documentation one can sometimes be left feeling that it’s a story, somehow detached from reality from so long ago. This upcoming season’s focus on 1776 and the Fourth PA battalion offers the wonderful nexus of visual and written sources with surviving earthworks 238 years old. This gives historians a chance allowing us to take a big deep breath and realize that yes, it’s really real and really happened right here.

Though three companies briefly passed through Ticonderoga on their march to join the army in Canada, it was July 13, 1776, when the entire Fourth PA battalion arrived and encamped on the slope just to the south of Fort Ticonderoga. In a letter to his wife back in Pennsylvania, Captain Persifor Frazer briefly described his arrival to FortTiconderoga:

On Friday we removed to this place and encamped just under the walls to the southward of the fort. This has been the strongest place of any I have yet seen but is now in a very ruinous condition and there is not any thing done to put it in a posture of defence…Our Battalion is now joined for the first time since it has been raised and it gave us all great satisfaction to find ourselves together though many of the 3d company through the fatigue they had undergone are in a poor state of health…

While the ruins of the Fort recreated today certainly allows the view of Captain Frazer to be easily imagined, it’s the Fourth PA battalion’s encampment and entrenchments in the old French lines that evoke the most.

The French Lines of the July 8th, 1758 battle are famous, but what survives today is the work of Americans in 1776.

The French Lines of the July 8th, 1758 battle are famous, but what survives today is the work of Americans in 1776.

In Fort tours visitors are encouraged to explore the French Lines on the Carillon Battlefield. Similar in shape and placement to the earthworks that survive today, General Montcalm on July 8th, 1758, made his stand against the army of General Abercromby at the lines. In the two days prior, French soldiers deforested this wooded hill overlooking the Fort itself. They used the logs to build a breastwork eight feet high with the tree tops arrayed outwards with sharpened branches twenty feet high. Whether recounting the withering fire unleashed by French soldiers or the epic attack of the 42nd Highlanders, the events that made the July 8th Battle of Carillon center around General Montcalm’s French lines. While the French Lines stand today as a testament to the great battle, they were already extensively modified by July 9th as French soldiers continued to build up the lines preparing for a second day’s attack. By the following year, General Amherst’s British and provincial army soldier’s found the French lines greatly reinforced with batteries of cannon and earth covering the outside of the log breastworks. Amherst’s men further modified the lines as they dug the first parallel trench of their siege lines into the French lines. Far from being the original French lines of July 8th 1758, the earthworks upon the heights of Carillon were already extensively modified by the time the Fort was in British hands.

In the summer of 1776 Colonel Wayne’s Pennsylvanians moved to the French Lines to defend this tactically important approach from a British attack from the north and west, much as Montcalm’s men took up this position to defend from a British attack from the south and west in 1758. Captain John Lacey appraised these earthworks as the 4th Pennsylvania Battalion moved into their new position.

On the 18th the Pennsya Troops moved from their encampment near the old Fort Ticonderoga, and Encamped along and within the old French lines on the high ground to the Northward and Westward of the Fort. These lines consist of a string of Redoubts or Breast Work, with a ditch on the outside, which had been picketed, and appeared to have once been a formadable works, but now gone very much to decay and out of repair. They extended across a point or Neck of Land from the Southern to the Northeast bend of Lake Champlain, as far as the hight extended, to a Marsh or Morass on the Margin of the Lake. These lines or Redoubts appeared to be well calculated for defence against the sudden approach of an Enemy without Cannon, but required twice the number of Men composing the four Pennsya Regiments to defend it.

Captain Lacey detailed life in camp at the French Lines, chronicling their work and a return to military discipline as they prepared to defend this historic ground.

Work on the French Lines proceeded rapidly in the late summer of 1776. Hard work in the dirt took a toll on the men and uniforms of the 4th PA battalion.

Work on the French Lines proceeded rapidly in the late summer of 1776. Hard work in the dirt took a toll on the men and uniforms of the 4th PA battalion.

The Troops Officers and men lay in Tents, their daily occupation was repairing the old lines and building new Re doubts, not even Sundays excepted, officers as well as men laboured in cutting brush making and toting fashines, and diging in the ditches, not a moments time was lost, and only time allow’d to Eat. Fattigue and guard-mounting occu pyed all our time. The following was the order of work viz. On the beating of the Revelee, which commenced at the Fire of the Morning Gun at the head Quarters of the Commander in Chief. At the moment the report of the Cannon was heard every Drum in Camp began to beat the Revelee, a little before or on the first appearance of Day brake, the Soldiers at the same instant seasing their Arms and accrutraments, rush forward to the Alarm posts–a place previously fixed for that purpose, there with the Officers they remain there ready for action untill, and sometimes after sunrise. As soon as it is sufficiently light to distinguish the Men, orders are given to go through the exercise of fireing, which is kept up untill the Troops are ordered to their Quarters, to get their brakefasts and at 7 at Troop Beating the Guards and Fattigue parties are turned out, who assemble opposate their respective Companies and are marched by Sergants to the Genl Parade to be joined by others, and placed under the proper officers are sent to the Stations of the different Guards or Fattigue, according to the Order of the Detail of the Day. The sick having been on our first arival from Crown Point sent over Lake George to the Barracks at the south end of it, where they had good Quarters, those in Camp are geting well, and very few new Cases accrue, owing to our regular duty & better supplies which are now becoming very regular and plenty. We begin to live like Christians and all in good Humour and Harmony.

PA soldiers, including the 4th PA Battalion constructed a large redoubt at the center of the French Lines. It survives today incredibly well preserved.

PA soldiers, including the 4th PA Battalion constructed a large redoubt at the center of the French Lines. It survives today incredibly well preserved.

In December the Fourth PA battalion left the French lines to take up winter quarters inside the Fort itself. Despite the elements these Fortifications remained, albeit in need of repair, into the summer 1777 when the British captured the American fortifications at Ticonderoga. Lieutenant Charles Wintersmith, who served as an engineer officer with the British Army, carefully surveyed the American earthworks, mapping them in 1777.  His maps show incredible detail of the Fort, batteries, and redoubts and the French lines.  Exploring the trails along the French lines in December with the leaves down reveals remains that almost perfectly correspond with Charles Wintersmith’s maps. Sally ports, cut at an angle between the inner parapet wall and outer ditches, remain in exactly the locations shown by Wintersmith. The redoubt at the center of the French Lines still stands tall with openings cut for cannons looking out over the paved exit road. Looking over earthworks which are in such impressive shape, that match up so well to contemporary maps, it is easy to imagine soldiers of the Fourth PA battalion building their new earthworks on the remains of the French Lines. The French lines that stand today grounds the history of the Fourth PA battalion and of 1776 in undeniable reality.

…it appears to be the last part of the world that God made & I have some ground to believe it was finished in the dark-that it was never Intended that man shou’d live in it is clear—for the people who attempted to make any stay—have for the most part perished by pestilence or the sword.

I believe it to be the Ancient Golgotha or place of Skulls—they are so plenty here that our people for want of Other Vessels drink out of them whilst the soldiers make tent pins of the shin and thigh bones of Abercrumbies men–

Ironically enough, our experience as historians today mirrors the experience of soldiers in the Fourth PA battalion of 1776. The military significance of the French Lines was not lost on the officers of this regiment, being students of military history in their own right. In this August 23rd letter to Colonel Penrose, Colonel Anthony Wayne, with both callous humor and backhanded reverence, remarked on the visceral reality of the 1758 battle as his men dug into this already historic ground.

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Plants That Had People Talking

Here are a few of the plants that caused a real buzz this year in the King’s Garden.  All are listed on the historic garden plan, yet are used in alternate locations so that the best results could be achieved, while still representing the designer’s selections within the walled garden.

Mask flower: Third time is a charm!

Mask flower (Alonsoa)This little-known flower (Alonsoa), grown as an annual in most zones, is listed on Marian Coffin’s plan for the formal garden along one of the main walkways. After a crop failure then marginal success with a test group of a few plants in 2012, this year’s mask flower border did not disappoint. We lightened the soil and kept close tabs on watering. This South American native also surely benefited from the summer’s hot weather.

Replaces: Pink and coral snapdragons
Variety/Cultivar: Salmon beauty
Seed source: Summer Hill Seeds

 

 

Nemesia: The good and the not-so-good!

NemesiaThis dainty annual likes it cool, but prefers full sun. Planting them along brick pavers that radiate heat can be a difficult proposition. The gardeners managed to keep the nemesia blooming all summer thanks to careful watering (never let them dry out!), lots of compost and regular deadheading. They were positioned near the house on a border that receives part sun. We did learn that rabbits like to munch on them and consequently lost one of the borders in the fall in the course of just two nights.

Replaces: Blue verbena
Variety/Cultivar: Poetry blue
Seed Source: Garden Harvest Supply

 

 

Columbine: Thank you Mother Nature!

ColumbineOne of the joys of gardening is “volunteers” that pop up, often unexpectedly, and grace a garden with their presence. This was the case with several colonies of columbine that seem to be a cross between the cultivated varieties planted in the garden. The salmony-yellow color was so unique and interesting, but only our earliest garden visitors got to see them blooming in late May and early June. Plan a visit next year accordingly.

Replaces: Cultivated varieties
Variety/Cultivar: n/a
Seed Source: Self-sown

 

 

Lilac zinnia: So many comments on the color!

Zinnia Benary's Giant LilacBenary’s giant zinnias have been grown in the King’s Garden for over a decade because they are tall, sturdy, loaded with blooms, and disease resistant. A substitute was needed for the China asters on the garden plan because of the disease, aster yellows. Workhorse zinnias to the rescue…and in a fabulous color that had everyone talking!

Replaces: Purple and mauve China aster
Variety/Cultivar: Benary’s giant zinnia, lilac
Seed Source: Swallowtail Seeds

 

 

 

Happy gardening,

Heidi Karkoski
Director of Horticulture

 

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Daniel Dwight’s Powder Horn

One of the most interesting genres of American art that survives from 18th century America is the engraved powder horn.  Horns fashioned for carrying gunpowder were supplied to military troops in both the French & Indian War and American Revolution.  Soldiers often engraved or carved designs on their horns, perhaps as a way of memorializing their service and the places they served.

Daniel Dwight's engraved powder horn dated "Tieonderoga October 1759."

Daniel Dwight’s engraved powder horn dated “Tieonderoga October 1759.”

Daniel Dwight was a regimental surgeon in General Phineas Lyman’s 1st Connecticut provincial regiment during the 1759 campaign.  His powder horn was engraved at Ticonderoga and records the only surviving view of the siege works constructed in 1759 by the British about a half-mile from Fort Ticonderoga.  The British cannon batteries identified by the number “5” on this powder horn held a total of 11 cannon.  The two larger batteries each held one 12-pounder and three 24-pounders and the smaller battery held two 10-inch mortars and one 13-inch mortar.

The British artillery batteries are identified by the number "5."

The British artillery batteries are identified by the number “5.”

Once the British cannon batteries were securely in place, the small French garrison blew up the powder magazine in the southeast bastion which set fire to the Fort as they retreated northward.  With the Fort securely under British control, General Amherst renamed the stronghold Fort Ticonderoga.

This sketch shows all the remarkable details of Dwight's horn.

This sketch shows all the remarkable details of Dwight’s horn.

While the person who engraved Dwight’s horn did not sign his work, powder horn historians generally refer to hors with the same decorative elements as seen on Dwight’s horn as the “Momento Mori” carver.  The “Momento Mori” carver was most likely a member of the Connecticut provincial forces and served with the army in the Lake George region.  His work is typified by the distinctive border decoration at the ends of the horn and form of the cartouche enclosing the horn owner’s name.

Blog post by Christopher D. Fox, Curator, Fort Ticonderoga

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