Most Americans don't know the details of
lesser-known wars in U.S. history. For example, take the War of
1812: Dolly Madison's house in Washington was burned by the
British, Francis Scott Key used the occasion to write "The
Star-Spangled Banner" and Andrew Jackson, as celebrated in song,
won big at the Battle of New Orleans. (Never mind that this took
place after the war had ended.)
But what about
the French and Indian War? How many of us realize that this war
helped set the stage for the American Revolution? Who remembers
that it was our first "world war," part of a larger French-English
conflict in Europe called the Seven Years War? Who knows that it
was started by a young man named George Washington? You have to pay
close attention to realize that all the blood and gore in James
Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans" was part of the French
and Indian War.
Many of this
war's battles raged across the state of New York. The French turf
the English wanted, and won, included parts of New York as well as
And now, 250 years later ...
Two hundred and
fifty years later, New York's Anniversary Commemoration Commission
is charged with raising awareness of a slice of U.S. history --
and, not incidentally, ensuring that the New York tourism industry
benefits. This effort entails a string of commemorative events to
run through 2010,
New York is
loaded with strategically important waterways, including the Great
Lakes, where the French and British built forts and then fought
Today, New York's
Division of Tourism is handing out flyers describing 16
historically significant sites associated with the French and
sites include the Crailo State Historic Site near Albany, the Dutch
manor house where "Yankee Doodle" was written; Old Fort Niagara near Buffalo,
which was wrested from the French after a British siege in 1759;
Fort Ontario near Rochester, a staging area for the British; and
Fort Ticonderoga in the Adirondack region, the southernmost fort in
France's North American empire.
scheduled 15 events across the state for 2006, and two remain: a
living history encampment, Sept. 15 to 17 at Lake George Village
(giving access to the Lake George Battlefield and Fort William
Henry) and a reenactment encampment, Sept. 23 to 24 at Fort Edward.
Both are in the Adirondacks.
Most of next
year's activities have not been announced, but the big, signature
events were scheduled well in advance and are worth planning
itineraries around, especially for groups.
The biggest event
will last more than two weeks and involve more than 1,000
re-enactors from the U.S., Canada and Europe.
scheduled signature events follow.
of the 1757 siege of Fort William Henry takes place Sept. 15 and
16, 2007. The siege ended with the fort's surrender to the French
under Marquis de Montcalm. This is the central historical event in
"The Last of the Mohicans."
commemoration of Fort Ticonderoga's Battle of Carillon takes place
June 21 to July 8, 2008. A reenactment of the greatest French
victory in the war on July, 8, 1758 will include replicas of
of the 1759 capture of Old Fort Niagara by the British takes place
July 3 to 5, 2009. The surrender of this fort gave the British
access to the Great Lakes region. Visitors will see living history
camps and naval vessels.
of the attack on Fort Levis at Ogdensburg in northern New York is
scheduled for July 17 and 18, 2010. Participants will commemorate
the surrender of a 400-man French garrison on Aug. 26, 1760, after
the French held out 10 days against a 12,000-man British
For copies of
flyers, call (800) 225-5697. Information on commemorative
anniversary events is online at www.iloveny.com.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].