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

May 17-19, 2019

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Twenty-Fourth Annual War College of the Seven Years' War May 17-19, 2019, in the Mars Education Center. Since 1996, the War College has become a top venue for historians on subjects relating to the Seven Years’ War in North America and beyond, drawing speakers and participants from across North America. An enthusiastic audience of over 150 people represents all levels of interest, from general lovers of history to scholars. The War College offers a unique, informal setting that promotes interaction and discussion between speakers and attendees. Our speakers include both established and new scholars studying the French & Indian War in North America and the broader Seven Years’ War internationally.

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Keynote Speaker:

Saratoga and Britain's Logistical Triumph in the French and Indian War—Logistics remains an unheralded aspect of the historical study of the French and Indian War. Based upon new archival research for an NPS Historic Resource Study commissioned by the Saratoga National Historical Park,  this presentation unfolds Saratoga's colonial background and its development as a logistical hub for British operations from 1755 to 1760. Saratoga (Fort Hardy) and other British posts in the Hudson-Lake George corridor crucially anchored road networks, bateaux routes, warehouses, and barracks, all of which enabled British armies to project their power deep into the continent's interior in unprecedented ways. David Preston is a Professor of History at The Citadel and the author of the award-winning books Braddock's Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution (Oxford 2015) and The Texture of Contact: European and Iroquois Settler Communities on the Frontiers of Iroquoia, 1667-1783 (Nebraska, 2009).

Additional Sessions:

Smashing the Clockwork Soldier: The Infantryman's Experience of Battle in Europe and North America, 1740-1783The idea that mid-eighteenth century European infantrymen were inadaptable and inflexible is one of the most persistent myths regarding this era. This paper explores the ways in which soldiers deviated from tactical drill manuals in order to enter combat in a rational and effective way. Alex Burns is a Ph.D. Candidate in European History at West Virginia University. His dissertation focuses on the local identities of European soldiers between 1740 and 1815. 

"Let us unanimously lay aside foreign Superfluities": The Intersections of Textile Production and British Subjecthood in the 1760s--Rhode Island's' Newport Mercury published multiple articles from both Loyalist and Patriot identifying colonists advocation for home textile production in the 1760s. Both sides began with a belief that their identities as textile producing Britains allowed them to claim the rights and protections of British subjecthood. This paper explores the ways in which these arguments both evolved and diverged in the decade before the American Revolution. Abby Chandler is an Associate Professor of Early American History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and is currently working on a book project examining political rebellions in North Caroline and Rhode Island in the 1760s. 

Barracks, Billets, and Camps: The Problem of Military Housing in Eighteenth-Century Europe and North America—The expansion of standing armies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries presented generals and statesmen a growing problem: how to best house their soldiers at home, on campaign, and through the winter. The close study of European military treatises and manuals reveals that concerns over forms of shelter, camp administration, and the strategic role of armies’ quarters comprised on an important part of the art of war in the eighteenth century. During the Seven Years’ War, British, French, and Colonial commanders discovered that European practices were inadequate for housing armies operating in North America’s environment. Steven Elliott is a Ph.D. candidate in American History at Temple University. He teaches history at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.

Leveling the Playing Field? Military Intelligence and the French Army in America during the Seven Years’ War—In the mid-18th century, military intelligence played an important role during the French army’s 1754-1763 campaign in North America. Though intelligence was, indeed, a powerful tool at the disposal of an army suffering inferior numbers facing its enemy, knowledge of the opponent’s strategy was not enough to overcome inherent logistical, political, and demographic discrepancies between belligerents. Joseph Gagné is a published historian and doctoral researcher at Université Laval in Québec City.

Enterprising Diplomacy: the Ohio Company, George Washington, and the Expedition to Fort Le Boeuf—George Washington’s diplomatic trip to Fort Le Boeuf in 1753-1754 is one of the most famous events of Seven Years' War, particularly the future President’s actions, however, Washington did not travel alone or uninformed, he had intelligence, allies, infrastructure, and a guide provided by the Ohio Company of Virginia. This paper showcases how private enterprise shaped not only the nature of Washington's diplomatic mission but the international conflict that followed. Emily Hager Kasecamp is a history instructor, public historian, and a doctoral candidate at Kent State University whose work focuses on Ohio Valley empire-building and the origins of the Seven Years' War. 

“Defend that Place to the last extremity”: Archaeological Investigations of Col. George Washington’s Ashby’s Fort—Following the defeat of Gen. Edward Braddock’s army in July 1755 Virginia’s western frontier was in great peril and forts were built to hold its boundary.  Recent archaeological excavations on one of these forts, Captain John Ashby’s in present Mineral County, WV, have produced significant architectural features and artifacts that shed light on its design and occupation. Dr. W. Stephen McBride is a historical archaeologist, Manager of McBride Preservation Services, LLC, Lexington, KY, and Director of Interpretation and Archaeology at Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park, Nicholasville, KY.

The Proclamation of 1763 and the Idea of a Beautiful American--British policy in the Americas made two dramatic turns in 1763: Britain formally ceded many of its Seven Years' War prizes to France and Spain in return for Canada and Florida, and the Proclamation of 1763 halted settlement and land sales west of the Appalachian Mountains. These two policies are best understood not as part of the give-and0take of peace negotiation and imperial administration, but rather as emblems of an emerging British aesthetic of empire in the middle decades of the 1700s. Robert Paulett is an Associate Professor of history at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the author of An Empire in Small Places: Mapping the Southeastern Anglo-Indian Trade, 1732-1795. 

Fortified landscapes in 18th century ScandinaviaWithin this frame, my aim is to analyze the fortified landscapes of Scandinavia, by means of selected examples. Post-medieval fortifications were not only strong military sites. Instead, they were complex facilities with agglomerated inhabitants from different social and professional groups, which created a socio-economic entity, separated by the surrounding landscape through a social and cultural borderland, highly constricted and regulated by the sovereign. Per-Ole Pohl is a historical archaeologist and currently Ph.D. Fellow at Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes at Kiel University.

“The Glorious Day is Coming On”: The Seven Years’ War as an Apocalyptic StruggleThe Seven Years’ War was understood by nearly all Protestant clergymen and laypeople as a religious war.  More than that, they believed that they were witnessing the penultimate events before Jesus Christ’s second coming.  The millenarian New Light rhetoric of the First Great Awakening thus transformed the conflict into an expression of providentialism emphasizing Protestant American exceptionalism. John Howard Smith is Professor of History at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and the author of The First Great Awakening: Redefining Religion in British America, 1725-1775 (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2015) and The Perfect Rule of the Christian Religion: A History of Sandemanianism in the Eighteenth Century (SUNY Press, 2008).  He is currently at work on his third book, The Promised Day: The Roots of American Millennialism and Apocalypticism.

“Two Monies for Me”: Categories of Captivity during the Seven Years’ WarThis presentation discusses the multiple captivities of Susannah Johnson, an English colonist who experienced captivity among the Abenaki and French during the Seven Years’ War. Susannah Johnson's life was transformed by the violence, trauma, displacement, and exploitation that multiple categories of captivity entailed. Johnson's story provides a window into a larger nexus of human trafficking where several captive trade networks in the northeastern borderlands facilitated her movement across multiple imperial borders. By telescoping between the micro and the macro, this study keeps the human cost of captivity in the forefront while examining how and why this early modern version of human trafficking flourished during the era of the Seven Years’ War. Joanne Jahnke Wegner is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and serves as the assistant editor for the Journal of Early Modern History.

PDF of War College Brochure


Call for Papers 2020 War College


Lodging Suggestions

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

Eleventh Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Eleventh History Conference for Educators on Friday, May 17th, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Mars Education Center. This day-long conference features presentations by classroom teachers, museum educators, and archivists. While geared for educators, the conference is open to anyone interested in how to connect students with history. War College attendees receive a conference discount.

Teacher Scholarships

Thanks to the generous support of War College patrons, Fort Ticonderoga offers scholarships for K-12 school teachers who are first-time attendees at the War College. Since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided 77 teacher scholarships for the War College of the Seven Years’ War. The deadline for this year’s scholarships has passed.

2019 Scholarship Winners are:

  • Jennifer Connolly, Preston High School, Bronx, New York
  • Ron Eisenman, Rutland High School, Rutland, Vermont
  • Steve Kruger, Arlington Memorial High School, Arlington, Vermont
  • Christian Scott, Lyndon K-8 Boston Public Schools, West Roxbury, Massachusetts

Other Conferences and Symposia at Fort Ticonderoga

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