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"The American Revolution on the Northern Frontier: Fort Ticonderoga and the Road to Saratoga" NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers will be offered twice: Julne26-July 1, 2016 and July 24-29, 2016. The workshops begin at 7:30 Sunday evening and conclude Friday afternoon at 4:00. No teachers will be excused prior to 4:00 on Friday; please make travel arrangements accordingly.

The American Revolution on the Northern Frontier: Fort Ticonderoga and the Road to Saratoga

This NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop for School Teachers will be offered twice: June 26-July 1, 2016 and July 24-29, 2016.

Fort Ticonderoga played a crucial role in the early years of the American Revolution on the northern frontier. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured the Fort and its valuable artillery in May 1775 for the colonial cause. It was a hive of activity in 1776, fending off an aborted British invasion from Canada. In 1777, when news reached London that the Fort fell to the British in July, King George III reportedly shouted to the Queen, “I’ve beaten them! I’ve beaten them!” These week-long workshops explore Fort Ticonderoga and the first three years of the Revolution on the northern frontier.

Schedule Overview

Monday’s subtheme is "Precursor to Revolution: the French & Indian War.” The French originally built Fort Ticonderoga (Carillon) beginning in 1755 during the French & Indian War. An understanding of that war is essential in understanding the coming Revolution and the significance of Ticonderoga. Project Director Rich Strum (Director of Education at Fort Ticonderoga) will begin the day by taking the group to the top of nearby Mount Defiance, which offers a birds-eye view of the Ticonderoga peninsula and sweeping vistas both up and down Lake Champlain. Upon arrival at Fort Ticonderoga, a guided tour will help place the discussions during the week in context. Jon Parmenter, Cornell University, will provide an overview of the French & Indian War and how it served as a training ground for officers on both sides during the Revolution 20 years later. After lunch James Kirby Martin, University of Houston, will discuss the roles of Native Americans during the Revolution, in part based on his book Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution. While British use of Native allies is widely-known, Martin will focus on the Natives that sided with the Americans during the war. Participants will also be introduced to the object and document of the day by Teacher Facilitator Tim Potts and Project Director Rich Strum and tour the field fortifications surround Fort Ticonderoga constructed by the Continental Army in 1776-77. The day concludes with a 90-minute cruise on the MV Carillon on Lake Champlain. Using the Wintersmith Map (1777), participants will explore the geography of the Ticonderoga peninsula from the water, complementing the view of the peninsula from the top of Mount Defiance earlier in the day.

Tuesday’s subtheme is “A Revolutionary People.” We will take a look at the contributions and experiences of often-overlooked participants during the American Revolution. James Kirby Martin, University of Houston, explores Native Americans. Douglas Egerton (week one), LeMoyne College, and Joshua Canale (week two), Jefferson Community College, discuss the role of African-Americans during the Revolution. Mary Beth Sievens (week one), SUNY Fredonia, and  Holly Mayer (week two), Duquesne University, talk about women’s roles. Todd Braisted (week one), from the Loyalist Institute, and Judith Van Buskirk (week two), State University of New York at Cortland, give a presentation on the Loyalist side of the story.

“Benedict Arnold: An Unlikely Hero?” is Wednesday’s subtheme. James Kirby Martin, also the author of a biography on Arnold, gives an overview of Arnold’s life, followed by James Nelson, independent scholar, who focuses on Arnold’s military career at Fort Ticonderoga and on Lake Champlain during the crucial years 1775-1777. A field trip takes us to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) in Vermont, where museum Executive Director Erick Tichonuk discusses the on-going underwater archaeology at the site of the Battle of Valcour, Arnold’s naval battle with a British fleet on Lake Champlain. We will also tour the museum, including the full-scale replica gunboat Philadelphia, one of Arnold’s vessels. We’ll stop at Crown Point State Historic Site on our way back to Ticonderoga, where Site Manager Tom Hughes provides an overview of the site.

Thursday’s theme is “The Battle of Saratoga: Turning Point of the Revolution.” The American victory at Saratoga in the fall of 1777 led to the French Alliance in 1778, and ultimately to a successful end to the American bid for independence. We ta a day-long field trip to Saratoga National Historical Park. Park Ranger and Historian Eric Schnitzer will spend the day with us as we explore the battlefield both by motor coach and on foot. We’ll spend a couple of hours in downtown Saratoga Springs on the way home for dinner on your own.

“Lasting Legacies” is Friday’s Theme. Matthew Keagle, Curator of Collections at Fort Ticonderoga, discusses the preservation legacy of Fort Ticonderoga dating back to the early 19th-century. Tom Chambers, Niagara University, continues the theme, discussing how places like Ticonderoga helped preserve the collective memory of the American Revolution for citizens of the Early Republic. The week concludes with William Fowler, Northeastern University, talking about the enduring legacy of the Northern Campaigns of 1775-1777.

Prior to attending the workshop, participants are expected to have read Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War by Richard M. Ketchum. In addition, participants should have read Benedict Arnold’s Navy by James L. Nelson.

Schedule Summary


3:00-5:00 Registration at Best Western Ticonderoga Inn and Suites
6:00 Dinner at Burgoyne Grill at Best Western
7:30 Welcome, Introductions, and Program Overview at Best Western


     6:30 Breakfast on own at Best Western 
      8:00 Depart Hotel for Mount Defiance
8:45 Depart Mount Defiance for Fort Ticonderoga
9:00 Guided Tour of Fort Ticonderoga—Rich Strum
           10:45 The French & Indian War: an Overview—Jon Parmenter, Cornell University
12:15 Lunch
1:00 Native Americans and the American Revolution—James Kirby Martin, author of Forgotten Allies, and University of Houston
 2:30 Document and Object of the Day discussion—Rich Strum & Tim Potts
 3:15 Guided tour of Field Fortifications—Stuart Lilie, Senior Director of Interpretation
 4:30 Carillon Cruise on Lake Champlain, using the Wintersmith map to explore the geography of the Ticonderoga peninsula
 6:00 Bus for the Hotel
7:00 Make-Your-Own-Pasta Night


 6:30 Breakfast on own at Best Western 
      8:30 Depart Hotel for Fort Ticonderoga
8:45 Preview of the Day—Rich Strum and Tim Potts
9:00 African-Americans in Revolutionary America—Douglas Egerton, author of Death or Liberty, and LeMoyne College (week one); Joshua Canale, Jefferson Community College (week two)
           10:15 Belonging to the Army— Mary Beth Sievens, SUNY Fredonia (week one);  Holly Mayer, Duquesne University (week two)
11:30 Lunch
12:15 Divided Loyalties: a Loyalist Perspective—Todd Braisted, Loyalist Institute (week one); Judith Van Buskirk, SUNY Cortland (week two)
1:30 Weapons of the Revolution—Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga Curator
2:30 Army Wives and Refugees: The Material Lives of the Women with the Army in 1777—Eliza West, Fort Ticonderoga Interpretation Department
3:30 Supplying the Northern Army—Fort Ticonderoga Interpretation Department
4:45 Summary and wrap-up
5:15 Board Bus for Hotel
6:00 Dinner (optional BBQ dinner at Best Western)


 6:30 Breakfast on own at Best Western 
      8:30 Depart Hotel for Fort Ticonderoga
8:45 Preview of the Day—Rich Strum and Tim Potts
9:00 The Benedict Arnold You Didn’t Know— James Kirby Martin, author of Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered, and University of Houston
           10:15 Benedict Arnold on Lake Champlain 1775-1776—James Nelson, author of Benedict Arnold’s Navy and George Washington’s Secret Navy.
11:45 Board Bus for Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (Basin Harbor, Vermont)—eat lunch on the bus
12:45 Maritime role of Lake Champlain during the American Revolution—Staff at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
2:00 Board the Gondola Philadelphia and explore life on Arnold’s Fleet— Staff at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
2:30 Additional museum time, exhibits, etc. at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
3:45 Board Bus for Crown Point State Historic Site
4:15 Guided Tour of the forts at Crown Point State Historic Site
5:30 Board Bus for return to Ticonderoga
6:15 Dinner on own


 6:30 Breakfast on own at Best Western 
    7:30 Bus Departs for Saratoga
8:45 Stop in Fort Edward (stop at the gravesite of Jane McCrea, for a discussion of propaganda during the American Revolution based on the document and object of the day)
9:15 Continue to Saratoga
           10:00 Arrival at Saratoga National Historical Park Visitor Center
10:30 Who were the “Germans” with Burgoyne?—Eric Schnitzer, Historian and Park Ranger
11:45 Lunch
12:45 Battlefield Tour by Bus with Step-On Guide (Eric Schnitzer)
3:45 Return to Visitor Center
4:30 Depart for downtown Saratoga – dinner on own
7:30 Depart for Ticonderoga
9:15 Approximate arrival time at Best Western


 6:30 Breakfast on own at Best Western 
    8:30 Depart Hotel for Fort Ticonderoga
8:45 Preview of Day—Rich Strum and Tim Potts
9:00 Review of Saratoga Campaign, using primary documents and painting Saratoga.
           9:45 Preserving Fort Ticonderoga for Future Generations: The Archaeological, Preservation, and Interpretation Legacy—Matthew Keagle, Curator of Collections at Fort Ticonderoga
11:00 Object and document of the day—Tim Potts
11:30 The Power of Place: How Places like Ticonderoga Helped Preserve Collective Memory in the early 19th Century—Tom Chambers, Niagara University
12:45 Lunch
1:30 Enduring Legacy of the Northern Campaigns of 1775-1777—William Fowler, Northeastern University
2:45 Project wrap-up, stipends, graduate credits, certificates
4:00 Bus departs for hotel; program’s formal end


NEH Summer Scholars are expected to be fully-involved in all aspects of the workshop. Field trips to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Crown Point State Historic Site, and Saratoga National Historical Park all include moderate amounts of walking. Likewise, several sessions at Fort Ticonderoga involve utilizing the historic landscape and require moderate amounts of walking. All NEH Summer Scholars are expected to attend the entire week and not depart prior to 4:00 Friday afternoon. All travel arrangements should be made accordingly.


Prior to attending the workshop, NEH Summer Scholars are expected to have read the following books:

Ketchum, Richard, Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War, Owl Books, 1999. Ketchum includes a summary of the 1776 campaign on the northern frontier and covers the Northern (Burgoyne) Campaign of 1777 in detail in a narrative style that most readers find enjoyable.

Nelson, James, Benedict Arnold’s Navy, New York, McGraw Hill, 2006. Nelson provides an overview of Benedict Arnold’s early Revolutionary career, from the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775 and his involvement in the Canadian campaign of 1775-76 through his service at Fort Ticonderoga and in command of the American fleet on Lake Champlain in 1776, culminating with the Battle of Valcour in October 1776.