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The Christmas Riot of 1776: Overlooked Moment of American Disunity

Fort Ticonderoga recreates the moment during December 17 Living History Event RIOT! Yankees vs. Buckskins

(Ticonderoga, NY) Join Fort Ticonderoga on Saturday, December 17, 2022, for the signature living history event “RIOT! Yankees vs. Buckskins.” Throughout the day, visitors will participate in engaging presentations, weapons demonstrations, historic trades, and living history vignettes. Watch the disunity between officers unfold during an intense riot that plagued the American army in 1776.

Explore the Continental Army at Ticonderoga, from the daily life of soldiers to simmering regional tensions between New Englanders and others. Watch as soldiers finish wooden huts to provide better shelter for winter. See the supplies that the Continental Army stockpiled within Fort Ticonderoga for future campaigns, as well as vital day-to-day activities like cooking and laundry.

“It is amazing that soldiers whose courage and solidarity held the British at bay in October of 1776, could turn on one another in the dim evening twilight less than two months later,” said Fort Ticonderoga Vice President of Public History, Stuart Lilie. “The 1776 Riot stands out among Revolutionary War events as a reminder that these soldiers were heroic and human while at the fragility of the fight for freedom itself.”

Included in the event program, Fort Ticonderoga Curator, Dr. Matthew Keagle, will provide insights on this dramatic yet little-known historic event during a lecture in the Mars Education at 11:30 a.m.

“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. This 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,” said Keagle. “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.”

To see the full event schedule and to learn more about this event visit www.fortticonderoga.orgg or call 518-585-2821.

The Riot! Yankees vs. Buckskins Living History Event is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s Winter Quarters lineup of activities. From now through April on select dates, visitors will be immersed in exciting living history events, engaging seminars, specialty programs, behind-the-scenes VIP Tours, and hands-on workshops. Additionally, follow along virtually by checking out our line-up of virtual programs presented through our Center for Digital History. All in-person and virtual events can be found at

About Fort Ticonderoga:
Welcoming visitors since 1909, Fort Ticonderoga is a major cultural destination, museum, historic site, and center for learning. As a multi-day destination and the premier place to learn more about North America’s military heritage, Fort Ticonderoga engages more than 75,000 visitors each year with an economic impact of more than $12 million annually. Presenting vibrant programs, historic interpretation, boat cruises, tours, demonstrations, and exhibits, Fort Ticonderoga and is open for daily visitation May through October and special programs during Winter Quarters, November through April. Fort Ticonderoga is owned by The Fort Ticonderoga Association, a 501c3 non-profit educational organization, and is supported in part through generous donations and with some general operating support made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts. © The Fort Ticonderoga Association. 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit and copyright Fort Ticonderoga.