Crossroads of the French and Indian War Reenactment June 14-15, 2014

small_2299513460 For the third year, the Bolton Chamber of Commerce, Inc., the Town of Bolton and The Warren County Tourism Department are sponsors for “The Crossroads of the French and Indian War” reenactment at Rogers Memorial Park on Lakeshore Drive in the center of Bolton Landing, taking place on Saturday and Sunday, June 14 and 15. All the reenactment events are free for the public. There will be reenactments both afternoons of water-to-land battles between British, French and Native American forces, with cannons firing at about 2 pm each day, weather permitting. The encampment is open both Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Battle maneuvers are researched from records of original conflicts, and military commands are given and carried out in historically correct forms. Flintlock muzzle-loading muskets and cannons fire only black powder charges during demonstrations, with strict adherence to safety for both the reenactors and the public.  Battles may be called on account of rain, as they often were in the 18th century – because black powder turns into a gummy substance when it gets damp – “Keep your powder dry!” Reenactments are simply great! You get to witness a piece of living history, and even talk with the people involved! And you get to speak with all sides – someone has to be British, or French, Native American, local settlers, farmers,  soldiers, families, and traders. You are welcome to come and walk through the encampment all day (except during the actual battle reenactment times – for safety, please stay within the cordoned off area). Yes, you can even shop here for authentic replicas of weapons, food, utensils, blankets and jewelery. small_3824232655Reenactors love to talk with the public about their crafts – they take their calling very seriously. There is an enormous amount of research and preparation involved for any event, and the reenactors love to share their history and experiences. The materials and methods of construction are authentic for the time period as well as each event being reenacted. Different groups and units meticulously research the details of daily life and activities of the military, the families who followed the troops, as well as local residents and additional personnel like scouts and sutlers (18th century vendors, store keepers and merchants). Groups require that their participants have uniforms, clothing and equipment that are accurate reproductions of the time period and events being reenacted. Because of costs, new members of groups often borrow the proper equipment for the first year, and collect their historically accurate kits through the sutlers, other reenactors, and now even internet resources. Many make their own clothing an tents. (Actually, very much like the original armies would have done, sharing resources with each other – except for the internet part, of course!)small_3825060266 The French and Indian War of 1754-1763 (also called the Seven Year’s War) became part of our Bolton Landing history in 1755 – the Hurons sided with the French against the English and their Mohawk allies, battling for this strategic deep water highway between Montreal and New York City: the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Hudson River. With no roads through the vast wilderness, water was the only way to transport anything easily: wood, food, trade goods, people, armies. British Sir William Johnson constructed Fort William Henry to defend against the French coming from Fort Ticonderoga, and renamed Lac du Saint Sacrament as Lake George to honor the English King George II. Have you ever wondered why we speak English instead of French? American rather than the King’s English? Bolton Landing was actually a part of how that all happened – our lake is rich with history. There is even a fleet of bateaux resting on the bottom of the lake which has become an underwater museum and is on the National Register of Historic Places. (Bateaux is French for “boats” – flat bottomed, 25 to 36 feet long, and 4 to 5 feet wide). Three of the underwater sites are designated Submerged Heritage Preserves, and are open to the diving public for study. First discovered in 1960, these are the remains of a fleet of 900 bateaux that the British used in their war against the French for control of North America. The bateaux scuttled on purpose to keep them from the French after the British defeat at Fort Carrilon (now Fort Ticonderoga) in 1758. Did you know that James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 is set in this area during the French and Indian War? What is your favorite thing at a reenactment? The military event itself? The weapons? The uniforms and clothing? The equipment? Watching camp life as it was? Talking with the reenactors? Come and check it all ut the Saturday and Sunday at Rogers memorial Park. Penelope Jewell      ]]>