Living History Event: Riot! Yankees versus Buckskins

December 15, 2018

Although coined the "United States" when the Declaration of Independence was written, the states were anything but united by the end of that year. Feuds persisted between states from private soldiers all the way up to gentlemen officers. See how the cold and lonely existence on this forward post would lead soldiers to fight, nearly erupting in a riot at the end of 1776. Witness the small altercation between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts as men go sour, and an entire battalion brought forth to suppress the brawl.

A special pop-up exhibit on display during this event ONLY will present one of the garrison’s original orderly books. These official documents which buried the details of the altercation and the riot between Pennsylvanians and Massachusetts soldiers has been known only circumstantially through two diaries and memoirs. The recent re-discovery of first-hand accounts, disregarded for over a century, help shed a new light on this surprising event. These sources will be used to recreate the procedures of Christmas day and explore the complex history of America’s remarkable struggle for Independence.

Fort Ticonderoga Museum Curator Matthew Keagle recently discovered NEW evidence about this moment of American disunity. Sitting under noses of generations of historians is an event that shatters popular notions of the Revolutionary War. On Christmas day 1776, an altercation unfolded at Ticonderoga that resulted in American blood being shed by other Americans.

“Late on Christmas Day 1776, Pennsylvania soldiers attacked the camp of a Massachusetts Regiment and assaulted the regiment’s almost 60-year-old colonel, ransacked their quarters, and fired at the Massachusetts men,” said Curator Matthew Keagle. “The violent assault was the explosion of grievances over issues of class, race, and military professionalism that divided soldiers from the “south” with those from New England, and were exacerbated by alcohol and boredom in garrison at Ticonderoga.  While engaged in the same cause, the Independence of the United States, deep divisions existed between the ranks of the Revolutionary army. Fortunately, in this circumstance, the participants were able to resolve their differences for the benefit of the cause. This was not the first, nor would it be the last altercation across state lines, but it reflects how remarkable the achievement of Independence was, in the face of profound diversity between Americans.”

Visitor Schedule 


Event tickets are $12.00. Free admission is offered to Members of Fort Ticonderoga, Ambassador Pass holders, and children age 4 and under. The event runs from 10:00am-4:00pm.