New Year - New Name!

Well, it's not really a new name. Actually our e-newsletter's new name is an old one, drawn from the 1930s when Fort Niagara's post newsletter was called "The Drum." Because the drum was used to communicate, it seemed a natural connection to bring back the name for our bi-weekly e-blast. (Photo by Wayne Peters)
Events Coverage


The Fort has been busy over the past month with Candlelight Tours, a British assault and the annual 12th Night Ball. Foul weather both December 14 and 21 kept Candlelight crowds small, but those hardy souls who ventured into the snow and rain saw a good show. The Castle was packed with living history programming and the ever popular feu de joie went off in spite of flintlock-unfriendly weather conditions.

The 5:00 a.m. assault on December 19 was very well received with about 120 early risers arriving at the Fort by 4:30 a.m. to watch the attack. British troops mustered at Stella Niagara near the original landing spot of 1813 and marched the five miles to attack the Fort before dawn. One reenactor commented in the Buffalo News that this was the most authentic event of the 1812 Bicentennial because it took place at the right time, in the right place and under the right conditions.

Finally, Saturday's Twelfth Night Ball was a big success with over 100 dancers. The Ball was held at the Fort Niagara Officers Club. (photo by Jamie Pablionia)

Upcoming Events

Special Tour: Winter Survival,
Saturday Night, January 25, 7:00 pm
Your chance to experience the lives of soldiers and civilians who wintered at Fort Niagara in the 18th century.
$20.00 per person. Call (716) 745-7611 for reservations.

Volunteer Recognition Breakfast
February 1, 9:00 - 11:00 am
Officers Club
Join us as we recognize the tremendous efforts of our corps of volunteers. Annually volunteers donate some $425,000 worth of services to Old Fort Niagara. RSVP to (716) 745-7611 or email

Tavern Nights
March 1 & 8, 7:00 p.m.
An evening of live music, common tavern fare and a host of unsavory characters. Tickets go on sale February 1. Watch future issues for more details.

Canadian Folk Tales
March 22, 7:00 pm
Call for reservations, $20.00 per person.

Oswego War of 1812 Symposium,
April 5 & 6, 2014. Two days of noteworthy speakers, $75 both days. Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Oswego NY. For more info visit www.fortontario.com

Staff News

We welcome Gen Montante as our new volunteer coordinator. Gen will be coordinating tour scheduling and managing the Fort's volunteer program. Brian McDonald will now serve as Assistant Interpretive
Programs Manager as we gear up for another busy season. Many thanks to Brian for a job well done. We wish both Gen and Brian the best of luck in their new roles.
Old Fort Niagara is open year round. Winter hours are daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to closing time. Many people enjoy a winter visit to Old Fort Niagara. Whether it's a sense of peace and solitude, a desire to experience what winter garrisons endured or some other reason, the Fort in winter is a completely different experience. For more information visit www.oldfortniagara.org
In Their Own Words


Fort Niagara's Garrison Colors
Head for Halifax

Sir George Prevost to
Earl Bathhurst,

Quebec, January 6, 1814

The enemy set an example in his retreat from Fort George, by firing the town of Newark, that has produced calamitous consequences to himself since the theater of war has been transferred to his own territory.

Painful is such retribution, to those who execute it. I have felt the authority most repugnant and I sincerely hope it may not again be excited.

I have sent my aide de camp, Captain Cochrane, overland to Halifax as the bearer of my despatches to your Lordship. He carries with him a stand of colors taken in the Fort of Niagara, to be laid at the feet of His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent and I beg leave to refer Your Lordship to him for such information as you may require respecting this command.

*****************

Wood Cutters Attacked

Major General Amos Hall to Governor Daniel Tompkins

Batavia, January 13, 1814

On the 8th inst., a detachment under the command of General John Swift (a volunteer) and Lt. Col. C. Hopkins, with about 70 men, surprised a party of the British who were procuring wood about half a mile from the Fort [Niagara], fired upon them, killed four of the enemy, lost one of their own men, and took eight prisoners, subsequent to which a large force of the enemy was observed to be in motion, which induced our troops on that station to fall back 4 or 5 miles to a more defensible position. The affair ended here and all is quiet.

****************

Lt. General Gordon Drummond to Sir George Prevost

Kingston, January 19, 1814

A party was sent out [from Fort Niagara] on the morning of the 9th to cut wood, under protection of a sergeant's covering party, was attacked by a body of the enemy reported to consist of about 150 men and driven in. The sergeant was severely wounded and nine men of the working party, it is supposed, taken prisoners, for no account was received of them so long after as the following night...