OSWEGO – Come to the Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center on East First Street in Oswego for a compelling series of lectures about the War of 1812 along the New York-Canadian Frontier.
The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 7. There will be a meet-and-greet social with cash bar, a presentation of the painting of the U.S. Brig Oneida by Oswego artist Tim Ames, and early registration from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 5.
Ten speakers will talk about a variety of War of 1812 topics, including military training and battle analysis; maritime and military archeology; naval history; wartime society and commerce; espionage; and the art of war.
Noted historian Dr. Gary Gibson returns to the Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium with a new presentation. On Saturday, April 6, Gibson will discuss the two battles of Sackets Harbor: one in July of 1812 and the second in May of 1813.
“The British failed to achieve their objectives when they attacked this American naval base on Lake Ontario,” said Dr. Gibson. “However, subsequent events partially compensated them for their defeats and added to the cost of American victories. We will examine each of these battles and discuss the successes and failures on both sides to determine their effects on the war as a whole.”
Gibson has studied the War of 1812 on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River for more than 20 years.
He has authored several publications, including the second edition of his, “Service Records of U.S. Naval and Marine Corps Officers Stationed on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812.” Gibson has digitized much of the primary source material collected through his research and has made it available at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site in Sackets Harbor, New York.
Gibson is a retired computer scientist and has presented numerous papers on the results of his research at symposia and meetings in the U.S. and Canada. A trustee and past president of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Inc., he currently resides in Sackets Harbor with his wife Susan.
On Sunday, April 7, Lt. Col. Michael McGurty, superintendent of New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters New York State Historic Sites, offers an inside look at military training with his presentation, “Lambs Prepared for Slaughter: General Winfield Scott’s Training Camp at Buffalo in the spring of 1814.”
“Brigadier General Scott’s training camp had a profound effect on the American army that fought on the Niagara Frontier,” said Lt. Col. McGurty. “Many of the military leaders at the start of the War of 1812 were veterans of the American Revolution and time had made them overly cautious. Through the test of combat, they eventually stepped aside to allow younger and more aggressive soldiers lead the way out of the war and beyond.”
McGurty continued, “None were more ambitious than Brigadier General Winfield Scott. A natural leader and tenacious fighter, Scott was the catalyst behind this change in leadership. Through strict training and rigid discipline, he took soldiers with only basic skills and transformed them into a force worthy of the name regular.”
McGurty has been the superintendent of New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters New York State Historic Sites for almost three years. He wrote a history of the New Windsor Artillery Park, and is currently working on an account of the New Windsor Cantonment. An award-winning author, McGurty penned, “A Tolerably Decent Appearance: The Clothing of the Continental Army at the New Windsor Cantonment, 1782-83,” “The New Windsor Artillery Park, 1780-1781,” and “Notes on the Flank Companies of the Left Division, 1814.” He also designed “The Last Argument of Kings,” an exhibit on 18th century artillery at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site.
McGurty is a student of United States military history from the French and Indian War to the American Civil War. He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a former historic interpreter and educator at Old Fort Niagara. After serving two combat tours in Afghanistan, McGurty retired as a decorated officer from the United State Army Reserve.
The symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Old Fort Niagara Association, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, Alliance-NBT Bank, The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, Pathfinder Bank, SUNY Oswego Office of Business Relations, IHeartOswego, C & S Engineers, The Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Man in the Moon Candies, City of Oswego, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.
Registration for both days is $75 per person or $35 for students with a valid ID. The registration fee includes Saturday’s lunch 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 Franshisca Cedillo at 315-343-4711 for credit card payments Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Checks should be made payable to “Friends of Fort Ontario – 1812” and mailed to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 East Fourth Street, Oswego, N.Y. 13126.
Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters Hotel, 26 East First Street, Oswego. Please call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.
For more visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.
To follow War of 1812 commemoration activities or to learn more about the history of Oswego County, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/