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Old Fort Niagara Readies for French & Indian War Encampment, July 5-7

by Charlotte Clark
Thu, Jun 20th 2019 01:00 pm

June 20, 2019 (Youngstown, N.Y.) – Old Fort Niagara anticipates welcoming about 500 reenactors and close to 10,000 visitors over July 5, 6 and 7, as it readies for the 40th anniversary of the French and Indian War Encampment. This annual event recreates highlights from the actual 19-day British siege of the French fort in July of 1759 through large-scale battles, history tours, cannon firings, military music, living history camps of British, French and Native reenactors, sutlers (period merchants), games, dancing, councils, musket firings and more.

 

“Forty years says a lot about our community of supporters,” said Robert Emerson, Executive Director of the Old Fort Niagara Association. “To the thousands of local and regional visitors who have attended this event and our loyal and engaging community of reenactors, we say ‘thank you’ for all of the years of support and look forward to welcoming you back in July.”

 

Daily highlights at the French and Indian War Encampment include: morning tours (times vary) that provide historical background for what’s going on each day; 1 p.m. kids drill programs, where kids will use wooden muskets and learn how to be a soldier in 1759; 2 p.m. large-scale battle re-enactments between British, French and Native forces; and 4 p.m. artillery demonstrations. Please note that in-and-out access to the walled fort is halted 30 minutes before the daily 2 p.m. battles in order to secure safe crowd-control barriers.

 

The full schedule of events is available at www.oldfortniagara.org and is listed below.

 

Friday, July 5

 

10:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony

Witness the Trooping of the Colors as French and British forces mass to recreate this historic military ceremony.

11:00 a.m. Siege Tour

What makes a siege different from a battle? Learn about the nuts and bolts of 18th century siege warfare on this animated walking tour.

11:30 a.m.  Siege Demonstration

What begins as a skirmish between advance elements of both armies ends as a full-blown siege of the fort. Learn about military engineering and watch as British infantrymen engage. French defenders man the outworks and begin their resistance. For the next 90 minutes, British and French soldiers and their Native allies, trade musket shots across the glacis.*

*a gently sloping bank, in particular one that slopes down from a fort, exposing attackers to the defenders' fire.

12:30 p.m. Military Music

Hear a concert by the fifes and drums of both armies and discover the role that music played in 18th century military life.

1:00 p.m. Kids Drill

Here's your chance to join the garrison in defense of the fort. Children (of all ages) can take up wooden muskets and practice the military exercise of the era. (Instruction provided).

2:00 p.m. Battle Reenactment

French forces strike the British siege lines! The fort's defenders launch an impromptu and spirited sortie* against the British.

*an attack made by troops coming out from a position of defense.

3:30 p.m. Native Council

Learn about the fascinating intricacies of frontier diplomacy. Native warriors inside the fort arrange a council with British-allied warriors and ask them to withdraw from the siege. 

4:00 p.m. Artillery Demonstration

See the firng of the big guns in the fort's Dauphin Battery.

5:00 p.m. Musket Demonstration

Learn how a flintlock musket is loaded and fired

6:00 p.m. Musket Demonstration

 

Saturday, July 6

10:00 a.m. Siege Tour

What makes a siege different from a battle? Learn about the nuts and bolts of 18th century siege warfare on this animated walking tour.

10:30 a.m.  Native Council 

Discover the fascinating intricacies of frontier diplomacy. Warriors of the Six Nations decide whether to withdraw from the siege.

11:30 a.m.  Siege Demonstration

What begins as a skirmish between advance elements of both armies ends as a full-blown siege of the fort. Learn about military engineering and watch as artillery is moved forward and begins to bombard the fort. French defenders man the outworks and begin their resistance. For the next 90 minutes, British and French soldiers and their Native allies, trade musket shots across the glacis.*

*a gently sloping bank, in particular one that slopes down from a fort, exposing attackers to the defenders' fire.

12:30 p.m. Military Music

Hear a concert by the fifes and drums of both armies and discover the role that music played in 18th century military life.

1:00 p.m. Kids Drill

Here's your chance to join the garrison in defense of the fort. Children (of all ages) can take up wooden muskets and practice the military exercise of the era. (Instruction provided).

2:00 p.m. Battle Reenactment

The British make their first attack on the Fort, demonstrating the basics of linear warfare.

2:45 p.m. Siege Tour

What makes a siege different from a battle? Learn about the nuts and bolts of 18th century siege warfare on this animated walking tour.

3:00 p.m. Fur Trading Demonstration

What was the first big business on the Great Lakes? Learn about the dynamics of the fur trade as Native Americans barter with French traders. What kinds of goods are being traded? How valuable are different kinds of furs? How did the trade influence cultures of both Native peoples and Europeans? 

4:00 p.m. Artillery Demonstration

See the firing of the big guns in the fort's Dauphin Battery

5:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. Musket Demonstration

Learn how a flintlock musket is loaded and fired

 

Sunday, July 7

9:30 a.m. Church Call

10:30 a.m. Siege Tour

What makes a siege different from a battle? Learn about the nuts and bolts of 18th century siege warfare on this animated walking tour.

11:00 a.m. Battle of La belle Famille

On July 24, 1759, approximately 800 French soldiers and militia tried to break through British lines to relieve the siege of Fort Niagara. See what happens as they encounter British forces posted south of the fort in this dramatic reenactment of the crucial battle that determined the fate of Fort Niagara. 

12:30 p.m. Military Music

Hear a concert by the fifes and drums of both armies and discover the role that music played in 18th century military life.

1:00 p.m. Kids Drill

Here's your chance to join the garrison in defense of the fort. Children (of all ages) can take up wooden muskets and practice the military exercise of the era. (Instruction provided).

2:00 p.m. Battle Reenactment

British forces launch their final assault on the fort in this demonstration that reveals the nature of 18th century linear warfare.

2:30 p.m. Surrender Ceremony

French forces must surrender the fort. Discover what happened on July 25, 1759 as the British move into the fort and end 33 years of French occupation.

3:00, 4:00, 5:00 & 6:00 p.m. Musket Demonstration

 

The encampment will also feature a special exhibition of paintings by Robert Griffing, dozens of period merchants and artisans, 18th century children’s games, cooking demonstrations, and 18th century medicine.

Food, snacks, drinks and ice cream will be available for sale each day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the log cabin and adjacent food tent.

 

The fort’s Bachelor Officers’ Quarters and its New Fort Niagara displays (post-Civil War through 1963) will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

 

The 2019 French and Indian War Encampment is sponsored by Northwest Bank.

 

Everything is included in the $14 admission price and children ages 5 and under are free. Admission is also free for Old Fort Niagara Association members. However, please note that new or renewed memberships to the Old Fort Niagara Association will not be processed onsite during the French and Indian War Encampment. Memberships can be purchased online at www.oldfortniagara.org/membership/registration.

                                                 

OTHER SUMMER EVENTS AT THE FORT

 

Starting July 8         Flintlocks and Council Fires (Daily Summer Program)

Daily programs explore the history of Native American, French, British and U.S. soldiers and camp followers who lived here between 1726 and 1815. Regular musket and cannon firings, field music, cooking and other history interpretation ongoing daily.

 

July 13-Oct. 14        Lighthouse Open the Public (12-3 p.m. daily)

Free admission for visitors; must be at least 4 feet tall and sign a waiver

 

August 4                   BPO Performs at Old Fort Niagara

 

August 10 & 11       Soldiers of the Revolution (Re-Enactment)

Life on the New York Frontier during the American Revolution. Period camps, musket and artillery demonstrations, military battles and activities for kids.

 

Aug. 31 & Sep. 1     War of 1812 Encampment (Re-Enactment)

Tactical and weapons demonstrations, sutlers and living-history camps. Saturday evening battle recreates historic events from 1813 at the fort.

 

 

Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is a Registered National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association, a not-for-profit organization, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through June and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in July and August (last tickets sold 30 minutes before closing). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Hours of Operation

The Fort is open year round with the exception of New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

  • Jan - June 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • July - Aug - 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sept - Dec - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Please note: Ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing time.

 

Support the Fort

Old Fort Niagara is operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association, an independent, not-for-profit organization established in 1927. We do not rely on tax dollars. Instead, the Fort is funded through a combination of admission fees, museum shop sales, and charitable contributions.

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