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International War of 1812 Symposium Features Acclaimed Speakers

OSWEGO – Audiences will hear from top experts on the War of 1812 during the fifth annual Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium scheduled for April 17, 18 and 19 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego.

This year’s Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium, scheduled for April 17, 18 and 19, offers another distinguished panel of historians for talks about the war that helped secure America’s independence. Donald E. Graves (pictured) will return to the event to discuss the bicentennial in Canada and the U.S. Photo by Kelly Jordal, Oswego County Tourism.
This year’s Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium, scheduled for April 17, 18 and 19, offers another distinguished panel of historians for talks about the war that helped secure America’s independence. Donald E. Graves (pictured) will return to the event to discuss the bicentennial in Canada and the U.S. Photo by Kelly Jordal, Oswego County Tourism.

“This is another banner year for the symposium in being able to provide such a high caliber of presenters,” said Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear, chairman of the Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium Committee. “This group is a powerhouse in history circles around the world and we are really fortunate to be able to welcome them here.”

Dr. Donald Hickey, award-winning author and professor of history at Wayne State College in Nebraska, will kick off the event at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday, April 18.

His presentation, “Forgotten Conflict: Why the War of 1812 Matters Today” examines why the War of 1812 is forgotten today and why it deserves to be remembered. His synopsis goes on to add that while it might have been a small and inconclusive war, its political, military, diplomatic, and cultural legacies were profound and lasting.

Dr. Hickey was dubbed ‘the dean of 1812 scholarship’ by The New Yorker in 2012 and received the Samuel Eliot Morison Award from the USS Constitution Museum in 2013 for promoting public understanding of the War of 1812. He has written eight books on the war, most notably, “The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict,” and “Glorious Victory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans,” due out this year.

Later in the morning, at 11:10 a.m. on Saturday, April 18, military historian Donald E. Graves will discuss the recent celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 in Canada and the U.S.

In his lecture, “A Plague on Both Their Houses: A Critical Examination of the War of 1812 Bicentenary in Canada and the U.S.,” he will compare what the bicentennial was hoped to be to what it actually was, and provide sharp comment on national foibles and myths.

Considered Canada’s foremost expert on the War of 1812, Graves is a member of the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s Advisory Committee on the Bi-Centennial of the War of 1812. He is the only non-American member of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Scholarly Advisory Committee on Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields and the only non-British member of the Heritage Advisory Board of the Royal Armouries of Britain.

Graves has authored or co-authored at least a dozen books and articles, and has worked as a historian for Parks Canada, Canada’s National Historic Sites Service, the National Library and Archives of Canada, and the National Defence Directorate of History. He was the lead heritage advisor on the preservation of the Chippawa battlefield of the War of 1812 and served as a historical consultant for a number of documentaries on the war, including a production by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in 2011.

The next authority on the War of 1812 to take the podium is retired U.S. Army Maj. Dr. Richard Barbuto, author, professor and deputy director of the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

At 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 19, Dr. Barbuto presents, “In 1814 We Took a Little Trip: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans,” for listeners to hear about a remarkably improbable event at the end of the campaign.

After two years of war with Great Britain, arguably the world’s most powerful nations, it was in the Battle of New Orleans that the glorified British Army suffered an epic defeat and sky-rocketed Andrew Jackson, commander of the makeshift American defense, to national acclaim.

Dr. Barbuto has served the U.S. Army for 23 years, completing tours in Germany, Korea, and Canada; where he also served as an exchange instructor at the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Toronto, Ontario. He specializes in the U.S. Army in the early republic and the War of 1812 and has written several books and articles on the subject as it happened along the Canadian border. Currently, he is working on a study of New York State in the War of 1812.

The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 19. Students will present research papers in the second annual student competition to open the symposium at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17.

Registration for both days is $75 per person or $35 for students with a valid ID.

The registration fee includes Saturday’s lunch, refreshment breaks on Saturday and Sunday and workshop materials.

One-day registration is also available: $50 for Saturday, including lunch or $25 for Sunday. For students with a valid ID, one day rates are $23 for Saturday, including lunch or $12 for Sunday.

Advance registration is required and may be paid by check or credit card through the Friends of Fort Ontario. Contact Paul Lear at 315-343-4711 for credit card payments Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Checks should be made payable to “Friends of Fort Ontario – 1812” and mailed to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego, N.Y. 13126.

Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters Hotel, 26 E. First St., Oswego. Please call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.

The symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, SUNY Oswego Office of Business Relations, IHeartOswego, the Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Man in the Moon Candies, Oswego County Today, City of Oswego, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

For a complete schedule and to download a registration form, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/war-of-1812-symposium/.

For more visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.