Crossroads of the French and Indian War Reenactment June 15-16, 2013

There is nothing like a reenactment – it is much more than a theater production – you get to be an on-the-ground witness to a piece of living history, and even talk with the people who are reenacting the battles, complete with authentic reproduction uniforms, weapons and gear. And this one is free to the public!!

And Bolton Landing is just the place for re-living the local history of the French and Indian War (1754-1753) Also called the Seven Years’ War, the conflict was international, but had a front here in the Americas. Before roads or railways, water was the easiest way to transport people or products from place to place, which made both Lake George and Bolton Landing (a deep water harbor) prizes in the 18th century – part of the strategic natural waterway system between Montreal and New York City. With a fort at either end of the 32 mile long Lake George, the British and French and their Native American allies battled for military control. One battle in 1757 was made famous by James Fenimore Cooper in The Last of the Mohicans which was first published in 1826. June 15 and 16, 2013 brings Bolton Landing’s second annual French and Indian War reenactment at Roger’s Memorial Park. Sponsored by the Bolton Chamber of Commerce, Inc., the Warren County Tourism Department and the Town of Bolton, all the reenactment events are free for the public. The French and Indian War reenactment in Bolton Landing was originally the idea of Kelly O’Neil-Teer, owner of Serendipity Boutique. Kelly has had a life-long interest in both the unique beauty and the history of the Lake George area. As a former Director of Finance at Fort Ticonderoga, Kelly worked with hundreds of reenactors who would come to the Fort for different events. Reenactors work by invitation only to different historical events. Reenactors take their calling very seriously. Different groups and units research the details of daily life and activities of the military forces and the families who followed the troops – from the tents used to cooking utensils and food. The groups require that participants have uniforms, clothing and equipment that are accurate reproductions of the time period/event being reenacted, from the materials used to the method of construction. Because of costs, new members of groups often borrow the proper equipment for the first year, and collect their historically accurate kits through sutlers (18th century vendors), internet sources, or even make their own clothing and tents. The battle maneuvers used are researched from the original conflicts, with military commands given and carried out in historically correct forms. Flintlock muzzle-loading muskets and larger pieces up to cannons fire only black powder charges during demonstrations, with strict adherence to safety for both the reenactors and the public. Battles may be called because of rain, as they often were in the 18th century, because black powder turns to a gummy substance when the weather is wet – remember the saying, “Keep your powder dry!” In order to have a reenactment, someone has to be British, or French, Native American, and local settlers – you will be able to speak with them all at the Park- reenactors love to share their knowledge and experiences, and their bit of history. The reenactment in Rogers Park will include both the land and water parts of the battle, with bateaux boats landing at the beach. There is quite a history of bateaux boats being sunk in Lake George to avoid capture or destruction, many of which still exist under the water and are listed on National Register of Historic Places. Bateaux Below, Inc. has done most of the work to catalogue the ships, and guide divers who come to study them. Come and enjoy a day in the life of the 18th century soldiers and their families. There will be sutlers selling 18th century replica weapons, food, utensils, jewelry, and even a sutler who sells authentic 18th century blankets – if you happen to have one hanging around your house you can bring it along to have it evaluated! What is your favorite part of a reenactment? Looking at the weapons, watching the battle, talking with the soldiers, watching the women and children cook over campfires, or shopping at the sutlers stores? Penelope Jewell  ]]>