Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Seventeenth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution September 25-27, 2020, in the Mars Education Center. This seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the American War for Independence. Over 120 participants—people with a deep interest in the American Revolution—join us each year for this weekend seminar. Leading authorities and new scholars on the period share their latest research in a series of presentations. The seminar provides participants with an opportunity to listen to and interact with the presenters in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. Participation is limited and is by pre-registration only.
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Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty—Two hundred forty years after his plot to deliver the crucial fortress of West Point to the British was exposed, General Benedict Arnold remains the most notorious traitor in U.S. history. But why did one of the American Revolution’s most celebrated defenders defect, and how close did his conspiracy come to inflicting a fatal blow to the Patriot cause? Dr. Stephen Brumwell is an award-winning independent historical and writer living in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
“A Measure of the Utmost Importance”: The Battle of the Virginia Capes, 5-9 September 1781 from an Operational and Tactical Perspective—Cornered in Yorktown, Lord Charles Cornwallis needed reinforcement or evacuation by the British Royal Navy. However, the tactical and operational failings of the RN squadron under Rear-Admiral Graves leading to the failure to defeat the French squadron under Admiral Comte de Grasse off the Virginia Capes ultimately doomed the British forces at Yorktown. Stanley D.M. Carpenter is Professor Emeritus from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI where he served as a Professor of Strategy, Command Historian, and Strategy and Policy Department Chairman, a retired US Navy Captain, and a specialist in the War of American Independence, British Naval and Military History, and World Wars I and II.
“To induce the Officers & Soldiery to exert themselves”: The Role of Plunder and Trophies in the Revolutionary War—Although little-explored by historians, both sides routinely sold items recovered from the battlefield and divided the proceeds among soldiers who had fought in the engagement. Utilized by such generals as George Washington, Richard Montgomery, John Stark, and Horatio Gates, the sale of “plunder” provided another incentive for soldiers to fight besides loyalty to their cause. Dr. Michael P. Gabriel, a professor of history at Kutztown University, is the author of three books on the American Revolutionary War and one on World War II.
Ravaging the Ranks: The Toll of Illness on Two British Battalions–It is well-known that disease caused more deaths than battle, but what diseases? Who died? What differed by region and season? This talk answers questions using medical records from the 29th Regiment of Foot and Brigade of Guards. Don N. Hagist is the editor of the Journal of the American Revolution and author of several books on Britsh soldiers in the American Revolution.
Mounting Mermaids on Alligators: The Establishment of the Georgia Continental Line—Georgia, as the youngest and poorest of the thirteen colonies to join in rebellion against Great Britain, faced unique challenges in raising military forces during the opening years of the War for Independence. This lecture will explore the efforts of Colonial Georgians to establish military forces for both defense and as a statement of solidarity with the other colonies. Christopher Long is Manager of Military Programs and Historical Research at the Citizenship Trust/ American Village, a history and citizenship education center located in central Alabama.
An Army of Immigrants: Martial Races, Foreign Officers and the Continental Army—Over the course of its existence, the Continental Army transformed from a conglomeration of local militia into a professional fighting force. This lecture will analyze the manner in which European officers contributed to this development, especially in technical branches such as the artillery and engineers. Jim Mc Intyre teaches History at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois, and serves as an Adjunct for the United States Naval War College in their Distance Education Program.
The Canadian Exile of the Hudson Valley Loyalists—At the end of the American Revolutionary War, many Loyalists chose to begin a new life in Canada rather than stay in the United States. Focusing on Loyalists from New York’s Hudson Valley, this lecture will explore why thousands fled the country, how they coped with exile, where they settled, and how individual Loyalists and their communities were shaped by wartime experiences. Kieran J. O’Keefe is a Ph.D. candidate at The George Washington University.
“Destruction & Wanton Waste”: The Impact of War in a Peaceful Valley—Following a victory at the Battle of Brandywine, General Sir William Howe’s army occupied the Quaker dominated battlefield landscape for five days. This lecture will discuss the severe impact the battle and occupation had on the local population. Andrew Outten is the Director of Education & Museum Services at Brandywine Battlefield Park and Chairman of the Brandywine Battlefield Task Force.
Colony Interrupted: The Inception, Formation and Collapse of Jeffrey Amherst’s Dream—This presentation will describe the tortured course of British General Amherst’s 1759 plan to create a barrier colony in northern New York that involved fellow officer Philip Skene, Ethan Allen, New York’s Supreme Court of Judicature, and the Green Mountain Boys that was finally extinguished with the outbreak of war in 1775. Historian Gary G. Shattuck is a former federal prosecutor and has written four books and many articles concerning Vermont and Massachusetts history, including the recently published The Rebel and the Tory: Ethan Allen, Philip Skene and the Dawn of Vermont.
Dunmore’s War: Last Conflict of America’s Colonial Era—In 1774, Lord Dunmore, last royal governor of Virginia, led the colony’s militia in a defensive war against an Indian confederation led by the Shawnees. This presentation explains the causes, conduct, and outcome of the war, and the organization and operations of Virginia’s colonial militia on the eve of the War for Independence. Dr. Glenn F. Williams is a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History and specializes in the 18th century with an emphasis on Colonial-Revolutionary America.
War Crimes Not Mentioned—Despite many mentions of the “Laws of War” during the American Revolution, no one has sought out and quantified what the realities of this legal and philosophical construct were outside of broad histories of “Just War Theory” and the development of later “Laws of Armed Conflict.” This presentation will cover the content, sources, and principals of the “Laws of War” of the late 18th century, and apply them to revolutionary war case studies. Steven Woods has worked at historic military sites and museums for over 20 years, served six years in the Airforce, received his undergraduate degree from LeMoyne College, and is currently in graduate school.
Thanks to generous support from Seminar patrons, Fort Ticonderoga offers scholarships for K12 school teacher who are first-time attendees at the Seminar on the American Revolution. Since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has provided 58 teacher scholarships for the Seminar on the American Revolution.
Teachers wishing to apply for a scholarship should download a PDF of the application below and send it to Rich Strum, Director of Education. The application deadline is August 15, 2020.
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Other Conferences and Symposia at Fort Ticonderoga
Fort Ticonderoga offers a series of conferences and symposia throughout the year.