OSWEGO – Commodore Isaac Chauncey’s success commanding the U.S. naval forces on the Great Lakes and several accounts of espionage during the War of 1812 are among the topics to be presented at the third annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 5, 6 and 7, at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego.
The symposium will include one and a half days of lectures by distinguished historians on different aspects of the War of 1812 and the critical events that took place along Lake Ontario.
Award-winning War of 1812 author and Ontario, Canada resident Sandy Antal will tell the story of Commodore Isaac Chauncey’s successful command of the naval forces on Lake Ontario and show how the American victories in the west were a direct result of Chauncey’s defenses.
“Given the wide-ranging nature of War of 1812 operations, individual engagements often emerge as a series of isolated events. It is not generally known that after the capture of Detroit, Major General Isaac Brock, by public proclamation, ‘ceded Michigan to the British crown,’” said Antal. “President Madison responded by taking two important steps. First, he directed vigorous naval preparations on the lakes, and second, he committed virtually unlimited funds to the recovery of the Michigan Territory.”
The retrieval of Michigan and the removal of the Anglo-Native threat in the west were both a direct consequence of Chauncey’s former assaults.
In the spring of 1813, British defenders on the Detroit River frontier were left severely handicapped, resulting in their defeats on Lake Erie and at the battle of Thames.
Antal shares his research and narratives of his personal compositions at the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium on Saturday, April 6.
He is an authority in the western theatre of the War of 1812 and his first work, “A Wampum Denied: Procter’s War of 1812,” was honored as the “Choice Award” by the American Library Association.
He has presented all over the world and appeared in several TV documentaries.
Antal served in the Canadian Forces for 20 years and is a graduate of Western, Carleton and Toronto universities.
Matthew J. MacVittie is the assistant curator of history for the Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse and a Master of Arts candidate of military history at Norwich University.
On Sunday, April 7, he will present his research from several of his narratives based on the living history, and the critical role of espionage in the United States and Canada during the War of 1812.
MacVittie is a resident of Syracuse who has served in numerous administrative and educational roles with the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
He was also the executive director of the John Wells Pratt House Museum in Fulton, N.Y.
Since 2003, he has researched and published a number of articles on the War of 1812.
“Since the beginning of warfare, intelligence and espionage have played a critical role and the War of 1812 was no exception,” said MacVittie. “From the Niagara River, both the Americans and British employed spies throughout the course of the war.”
Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear will moderate the symposium.
The weekend kicks off Friday, April 5 with an informal reception and presentation of the original painting of the U.S. Brig Oneida by Oswego artist Tim Ames.
Speakers on Saturday include Dr. Timothy Abel, Dr. Peter Rindlisbacher, Dr. Gary Gibson, Jonathan Moore, Col. Clayton Nans, Sandy Antal, and Dennis Connors. Sunday’s program features Constance Barone, Lt. Col. Michael McGurty, and Matthew MacVittie.
The symposium concludes on Sunday with a speakers’ roundtable and discussion.
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 E. First St., 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.