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

May 18-20, 2018

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Twenty-Third Annual War College of the Seven Years' War May 18-20, 2018, in the Mars Education Center. Since 1996, the War College has become a top venue for historians on subjects relating to the French & Indian War, 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.


Sessions:

"Without God and the King, I never would lasted so long:" Common Soldiers in the Prussian Army, 1750-1765—In recent years, much new material has come to light allowing historians to reevaluate the common soldiers of ancien regime Europe. In particular, there has been a discovery of new material on the Prussian army, allowing historians to go beyond the small number of memoirs available in the twentieth century. This material points to the idea that common soldiers embraced the cause of their states with patriotic feeling. Letter collections, newly discovered diaries, and quantitative analysis allow a reevaluation of the Prussian army and serve to further explain the effectiveness of this army in adversity. Alex Burns is a doctoral student at West Virginia University where he is studying the British and Prussian armies of 1740-1815.

Négociants, Artisans, and Prostitutes: Exploring the Origins of French Textiles at Fort Carillon through Lead Seal Analysis—Despite the enormous scale of eighteenth-century European textile importations to New France, relatively little is known concerning the origins of these sartorial staples. The analysis of lead seals such as those in the collections of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum brings often overlooked artifacts and their secrets to light, revealing the interconnectedness and intricacies of production, trade, and consumption in the expansive French Atlantic world. Cathrine Davis is a historical archaeologist, sigillographer, former 2015 Edward W. Pell Collections Fellow, and a Master’s Candidate in history at Université Laval. 

From Braddock to Wolfe: Royal Navy Seamen Ashore in North America—From a disastrous start at Monongahela to the triumphant conclusion at Quebec, common sailors joined the British army on campaign in the French and Indian War. This presentation explores the experiences of these sailors working afloat and ashore with land forces in the bookend campaigns of the war for North America. Kyle Dalton is a museum professional and independent scholar who writes and maintains the website British Tars: 1740-1790.

William Pitt—Global Strategist—We must never forget that North America was but one theater in a much larger Seven Year’s War.  Moreover, at the start of 1756, Great Britain was losing in all of them.  William Pitt, who upon his ascendancy to power said: “I know that I can save this country, and that no one else can,” proved as good as his word.  With “the great commoner” at the helm, Britain ceased piling up defeats and, in almost a twinkling, reversed a disastrous strategic situation. Pitt thought about and engaged in war on a truly global scale, and by making the war a contest of economic might rather than just soldiers, he broke French power as surely if British forces had invaded France and captured Paris.  As Pitt understood from the start, if a state’s strategy is unsound courage and hard fighting can rarely make it right.  It was William Pitt who finally provided Britain with a strategic plan that could bring victory. Dr. James Lacey is the professor of “War, Strategy, and Policy” at the Marine Corps War College.  His latest book – The Washington War – Was released earlier this month.

Beds, "Cabanes" and Hammocks: Where French Soldiers Slept in New France—On the eve of the Seven Years' War, soldiers of New France were billetted in Canadien's houses or housed in various forts' barracks. With the arrival of the troupes de terre in 1755, a new way of lodging troops was put into use: under tents in large camps during the summer months, such as at Fort Carillon. This talk will explore the material culture and living conditions of soldiers in New France in barracks, houses, and camps. David Ledoyen is a Product Development Officer with the Parks Canada Agency and material culture researcher. André Gousse, reitred Parks Canada Chief Curator, is pursuing research on soldiers of the troupes de la Marine in New France.

From the Ballroom to the Battlefield: Popular Music Adapted for Military Use During the French and Indian War—Join Erik Lichack, Eliza Vincz, and Phillip Winter in a lively concert/lecture that showcases the relationship between functional military tunes and songs, dances, and other pieces enjoyed by the English speaking world. Listen to the various tunes and how they connected military life to civilian life, see the footwork adapted from the dance positions as used in battle, immerse yourself in the culture through song and dance. Musical examples will be performed on fife, drum, classical flute, and harpsichord, with voice. Erik Lichack is a teacher and performer of early American music, specializing in fife, drum, and harpsichord.  Eliza Vincz is a dancer and mezzo-soprano holds her BA in history of art and studies late 18th century fashion in America and Europe and the politics it shaped, as well as performs songs from the period. Philip Winter is a skilled tailor, dancer, and musician.

New France's “Petty Victories”: Everyday Power in the Lake Ontario Borderlands during the Seven Years’ War—This paper explores the ways New France, with its limited demographic and military power, utilized the borderlands region between Canada, Iroquoia, and New York during the Seven Years' War. While conventional material resources were certainly sparse, intercultural encounters, mobility, and daily diplomacy yielded much intelligence and "soft power." Dr. Greg Rogers earned his PhD in Canadian-American History at the University of Maine in 2016 and currently works in primary and secondary education and at SUNY Cobleskill. 

Conestoga vs. Canoes: Lake George 1755-1759—The two systems of logistics used by the British and the French during the campaign for the lake stand in stark contrast—the British moving by land and the French by water. With a lens on supply and transportation this presentation examines broader strategic implications of the logistics systems needed to move armies in during the Seven Years War. Dr. Jobie Turner is an officer in the United States Air Force and has a PhD in Military Strategy.

The Warrior and the Carpenter: Two Perspectives on the Siege of Oswego, 1756—This paper compares the experiences of two individuals who participated in the siege, and eventual capitulation, of British-held Oswego in 1756: 1) The venerable Menominee war chief known as “Lamotte” who travelled with his warriors from Wisconsin to join French and Indian forces prior to the campaign, and 2) Stephen Cross, a young ships carpenter who was contracted out of Newburyport Massachusetts to build vessels on Lake Ontario, and arrived at Oswego shortly before it was invested.  By viewing the siege from these different vantage points, the paper argues, we can not only gain a greater sense of the complexity of the event itself, but also better appreciate the very scope of the Seven Years War -- a conflict that drew individuals from disparate communities across North America to such flashpoints as Oswego, where the very fate of the continent seemed to be at stake. Dr. Richard Weyhing is an assistant professor in the History Department at SUNY Oswego.  He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.  While his earlier scholarship analyzed French and Indian alliance systems in the western Great Lakes region during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, he is currently at work on a book manuscript exploring the role of Oswego itself during the Seven Years’ War.

Download a Brochure and Registration Form for the 2018 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.


Tenth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Tenth Annual Colonial America Conference for Educators on Friday, May 18m, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m in the Mars Education Center. This day-long conference focuses on the period 1609-1783 and 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 70 teacher scholarships for the War College of the Seven Years' War.

Teacher Scholarship Application


Other Conferences and Symposia at Fort Ticonderoga

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