OSWEGO – On Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., historically uniformed, dressed and accoutered volunteers will gather at Fort Ontario State Historic Site to re-create the July 5 to 6, 1759 French attack on Oswego.
Once again the French, under the Chevalier de la Corne, will achieve surprise when their scouts overrun a British woodcutting party, but lose momentum when their Sulpican Priest Abbe Piquet stops the main force of attackers to pray for victory, thus providing the panicked defenders time to roll flour and pork barrels into a defensive line.
If successful, de la Corne would have stopped the foodstuffs and ammunition stored at Oswego from being advanced to the British army besieging the French at Fort Niagara, leaving the redcoats and provincials high and dry in the wilderness.
A few weeks later Fort Niagara fell to the British, followed by Quebec in September. In the summer of 1760, Lt. General Jeffrey Amherst gathered an army of 10,000 troops and native allies at Fort Ontario and launched the final campaign of the French and Indian War in North America against Montreal which fell in September.
Artillery demonstrations will be conducted on the ramparts at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Saturday lectures include a program on army sutlers by members of Captain Quinton Kennedy’s Detachment at 11:15 a.m., and another by Robert Nipar on British Military Engineering at 11:30 a.m.
Dr. Richard Weyhing, of the SUNY Oswego History Department, will be the keynote speaker and will discuss the facts and fiction involving French and Native American alliances during the French and Indian War.
Dr. Weyhing is an expert on the French and Indian fur trade and relations during the early 18th century and is a member of the board of the Friends of Fort Ontario.
Sutlers will offer reproduction 18th century goods including men’s and women’s clothing, fabrics, hats, pottery, flints, musket tools, buttons, axes, knives, kettles, pots, games, and a vast array of fascinating and useful items.
Most sutlers have kept up with the times and take plastic schillings and francs.
Historian Shari Crawford will conduct her popular 18th century children’s interactive games including hoops, stilts, bat and trap, graces, cat and mouse and many other activities which will encourage children to forget their video games and enjoy good old-fashioned outdoor fun.
Appropriate music for the event will be provided by the group “Liaison’s Plaisante’s,” who will perform period pieces.
Formal performances are scheduled for 12:15 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Friends’ member Steven Perkins will provide running color commentary on the battles, and his wife, Sara Perkins, will conduct candle-making demonstrations.
Author Leif HerGesell will be at hand to sign copies of his fiction book entitled, “Indians, Rogues, and Giants, the Tale of Lt. St. Crispin Mull,” available for purchase in the post museum shop.
Ernest Tschanz and George Mandery will set up a display of 18th century nautical objects just outside the entrance of the fort.
The public is encouraged to bring picnic lunches and take in the scenic views of Lake Ontario from the ramparts, while enjoying the sights and sounds of Fort Ontario’s rich and colorful history.
Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in the city of Oswego.
The fort is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m.
From July 1 to Labor Day, the fort will operate seven days a week, and then revert to the earlier schedule until Columbus Day.
For this event, the fort will open at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Regular admission will be charged.
For more information about the event or the fort, go to www.nyparks.com or www.fortontario.com or contact Paul Lear at 315-343-4711 or [email protected].gov