This annual premier conference focused on the military, political, social, and material culture of the American Revolution regularly features scholars from across North America and beyond.
Attendees can participate in person or join the conference from home via the Fort Ticonderoga Center for Digital History.
Friday, September 23
6:00-7:00pm Opening Reception—Join Seminar faculty and museum staff at an opening reception in the Mars Education Center with light refreshments and cash bar (included in the registration fee, but reservations are required).
7:00-7:45pm Highlights from the Robert Nittolo Collection—Join Curator Dr. Matthew Keagle for a preview of items from the newly-acquired Robert Nittolo Collection.
Saturday, September 24
9:00am Welcome—Beth Hill, President and CEO, Fort Ticonderoga.
9:15-9:45am Jane McCrea, Women, and War: Gender and Violence in the Revolution’s Northern Front—Jane McCrea became a rallying cry for Patriot outrage over Britain and its Native allies’ conduct of the war following her highly publicized death in 1777 at the hands of British-allied Native warriors. However, her death is connected to larger issues around the treatment of women—both European and Indigenous, free and enslaved—during the war, questions that reveal the full complexity of the Revolutionary conflict. Blake Grindon is a doctoral candidate in history at Princeton University and the inaugural recipient of the Omohundro Institute-Fort Ticonderoga fellowship.
10:00-10:30am Tactical Prowess, Strategic Success, and John Brown’s Ticonderoga Raid Reconsidered—On 18 September 1777 Colonel John Brown’s dramatic raid on Fort Ticonderoga stunned the fort’s British garrison and signaled the changing fortunes of war in the Northern Theater. This presentation, however, explains that the raid was something considerably more than a tactical masterpiece: it was an illustration of an evolving American mastery of “compound warfare”—the coordination of regular and irregular military resources—a war-winning development for which the British never found an answer. Mark Edward Lender holds a Ph.D. in American History from Rutgers University and is now Professor Emeritus at Kean University; he has written widely on early American military and social history, with a special interest in the War for Independence. His latest book is Fort Ticonderoga, the Last Campaigns: The War in the North, 1777-1783.
10:45-11:15am “To do the duty of Soldiers in Every Respect”: New York City’s Loyalist Militia, 1776-1783—Despite fielding a professional army, supplemented by Hessians and locally-raised Provincial forces, the British still found it necessary to utilize militia, the citizen-soldiers, in many of the cities they occupied. None was larger or better organized than that of New York City, from colorful volunteer companies to battalions of merchants & mechanics; this is an examination of their service, personnel and organization. Todd W. Braisted is an author specializing in Loyalist studies as well as a Fellow in the Company of Military Historians and a member of the New Jersey 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution Advisory Commission.
11:30am-12:00pm Displaced: The Donation People and the Siege of Boston, 1775—As the Continental Army besieged Boston in 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress coordinated efforts with local towns to support the out flux of dislocated Bostonians while attempting to protect the countryside and the army from smallpox. Families, including aged, ill and infirm individuals as well as mothers with small children, were removed and relocated to the Massachusetts countryside, enduring much hardship and upheaval along the way. Katie Turner Getty is an independent researcher and writer based in Massachusetts. She is currently working on a book project about the Siege of Boston and can be reached at www.katieturnergetty.com or on Twitter.
12:15-1:15pm Lunch Break (Box lunch from America’s Fort Café included).
12:30-1:00pm Book Signing at the Museum Store in the Log House.
1:30-2:30pm KEYNOTE—FOB Valley Forge: Washington’s Armed Camp on the Schuylkill—Most Americans have grown up thinking of the Continental Army’s winter encampment at Valley Forge as an experiment in suffering and stasis. While the winter of 1777-1778 was miserable, Valley Forge was a hub of military activity; it was the eighteenth-century predecessor to the modern Forward Operating Base (FOB) from which George Washington’s army actively challenged the British Army for control of southeastern Pennsylvania. Ricardo A. Herrera is a Professor of Military History at the School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College. He is the author of Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2022) and For Liberty and the Republic: The American Citizen as Soldier, 1775-1861 (New York: New York University Press, 2015).
2:45-3:15pm For Britannia’s Glory and Wealth—Explore the political antecedents of the American Revolution, including British imperial policies such as “benign neglect,” the resulting constitutional crisis, and what “taxation without representation is tyranny” actually meant. It will also discuss colonial resistance and show that rebellion and eventually independence did not simply result from a refusal to pay taxes or buy tea. Glenn F. Williams, Ph.D., is a retired military officer who also recently retired from a civilian career at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, and the author of several books about the Colonial and Revolutionary Era.
3:30-4:00pm The Missing (Cuff) Link: “Wilkes & Liberty” Material Culture and the Britishness of the American Revolution–The Wilkes and Liberty movement made effective use of consumer goods like prints, cuff links, teapots, and punchbowls to spread radical Whig ideology throughout the British Empire, up and down the social hierarchy, from London to Appalachia. British artisans, manufacturers, and merchants generated these goods, for British as well as colonial consumers. As an investigation of Wilkes and Liberty material culture, this paper spotlights the pervasiveness and Britishness of antiroyalism in the 1760s and early 1770s. J. Patrick Mullins is Associate Professor of History and Public History Director at Marquette University and author of Father of Liberty: Jonathan Mayhew and the Principles of the American Revolution (Kansas, 2017).
5:00pm Dinner at America’s Fort Café (pre-registration only).
7:00pm Meanwhile…Simultaneous Events and Ticonderoga’s Revolutionary War Story—Join Vice President of Public History Stuart Lilie to examine the fun coincidental events between Fort Ticonderoga and the broader Revolutionary War. Explore connections between these simultaneous historic moments and how they inflect the context of Fort Ticonderoga’s story.
Sunday, September 25
9:00-9:30am “The Infamous Conduct of A few Abandoned Miscreants”: Sexual Violence committed by Continental Soldiers towards American Women—This presentation seeks to break the historical silence on the sexual violence committed by Continental Soldiers towards American women. I argue that Continental soldiers’ abuse and sexual violence was purposefully pushed aside during and after the war for the more palatable and patriotic narrative that focused on British soldiers’ misconduct. Sarah Shepherd is a dual master’s student in Library Science and History at Simmons University.
9:45-10:15am “The British Will Know Who We Are”: Women in the Revolutionary War—The perspectives of women throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries often tend to be limited or flawed as demonstrated by their frequent portrayal as passive beings belonging to the periphery. This narrative undermines the contributions women have made while simultaneously disregarding the intrinsic significance these events, movements, etc. held for them. This paper seeks to reverse the aforementioned narrative, focusing on the stories of women in war, a field in which they have been overwhelmingly depicted as victims—not as active participants. Matthew Cerjak is a student in Early American and Atlantic History at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the evolution of female agency in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
10:30-11:00am Beyond the Racial Divide: Cross-cultural Alliances and Unexpected Loyalties in the Revolutionary Borderlands—This project traces the history of those individuals—both Native and non-Native—that challenged the hardening racial divisions between Indigenous societies and settler communities in the Ohio Country, exploring the complex motives that shaped allegiances along the fringes of the American Revolution. Influenced by factors ranging from loyalism to marital connections, captivity, adoption, and economic realities, those that chose to ally across racial and cultural lines complicate our understanding of the war and its aftermath in the Revolutionary Borderlands. John William Nelson is Assistant Professor of history at Texas Tech University, where he is revising a book manuscript, tentatively titled, Muddy Ground: Native Peoples, Europeans, and the Chicago Portage, which explores the localized history of a contested space in the Great Lakes borderland from precontact through the early republic.
11:30am Lunch (Box lunch from America’s Fort Café included).
Optional Bus Tour on Friday, September 23
8:00am-4:00pm “New York’s Frontier on Fire”: Major Christopher Carleton’s Raid in 1780—Fort Ticonderoga and America’s History, LLC again partner to offer a one-day Revolutionary War bus tour led by Patrick Niles and Bruce Venter. Pat is a licensed battlefield guide at the Saratoga National Historical Park. A complete tour description will be on America’s History website. The cost is $135 per person (includes lunch and refreshments.) There are two ways to register: online at www.AmericasHistoryLLC.com or call 703-785-4373.
Fort Ticonderoga offers teacher scholarships for teachers who are first-time attendees at the Seminar on the American Revolution. Teachers can apply for a scholarship to attend in-person or virtually through the Fort Ticonderoga Center for Digital History.
In-person scholarships waive the registration fee and include two box lunches and an off-site dinner Saturday evening with other scholarship winners and the faculty and staff of the Seminar.
Virtual scholarships waive the registration fee and provide virtual access to all daytime sessions on Saturday and Sunday of the Seminar.
Applications are due August 15, 2022. Complete the application here.