U.S. and Canadian Speakers Featured at Oswego War of 1812 Symposium

OSWEGO – The Lake Ontario Conference and Event Center on East First Street in Oswego hosts the third annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium 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.

Dr. John Grodzinski and Col. Clayton Nans return to the symposium for back-to-back presentations this year. They join a panel of ten speakers, each discussing a variety of War of 1812 topics, such as military training and battle analysis; maritime and military archeology; naval history; wartime society and commerce; espionage; and the art of war.

On Saturday, April 6, Dr. Grodzinski presents, “To Obtain Ultimate Security to His Majesty’s Possession in America: The Failure of British Joint Strategy on the Great Lakes in 1814,” and Col. Nans introduces “U.S. Brig Oneida and the Establishment of the U.S. Navy on Lake Ontario.”

“The British government instructed their North American commanders to launch offensive attacks against the U.S. in order to eliminate bases from which attacks could be made into Canada,” said Dr. Grodzinski. “This was a new offensive strategy, and, for many reasons, the local commanders were unable to execute most of the tasks assigned to them. We will explore this topic, along with the strategic challenges Britain faced in conducting a war thousands of miles away from their homeland.”

Dr. Grodzinski is an assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. His interests include the era of smoothbore warfare, North American colonial conflicts and naval warfare during the age of sail. He is also the editor of the online War of 1812 Magazine and regularly leads battlefield studies on the War of 1812 and other conflicts. His study of British wartime strategic leadership, “Defender of the Canadas: Sir George Prevost and the War of 1812,” will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press later this year. He is also preparing a manuscript that will examine the conduct of the War of 1812 on the upper St. Lawrence River.

Col. Nans’ presentation explores the construction of the U.S. Brig Oneida and its role in the establishment of an American naval presence on Lake Ontario, as well as the conduct of naval operations during the War of 1812.

“In the wake of the ‘Chesapeake Leopard Affair’ of 1807 and the subsequent Embargo Act of December 22, 1807, it was necessary for the U.S. to establish a naval presence on the great lakes,” said Col. Nans. “This move would aid the enforcement of the Embargo Act and protect this stretch of the northern border should another war break out between the U.S. and Great Britain.”

Col. Nans is an amateur naval historian, model shipwright, and retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel. During his 28-year career in the Marine Corps, he served in numerous operational command and staff officer billets in the Second and Third Marine Divisions. He also participated extensively in the research, development, testing and acquisition of assault amphibian vehicles, and served as the military aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy Research, Development and Acquisitions. During his tour as commanding officer of the Assault Amphibian School at Camp Pendleton in California, Col. Nans founded the United States Marine Corps World War II and Korean War Assault Amphibian Museum, which won the 1996 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Magruder Award.

Col. Nans retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2004 and went on to serve as a senior military analyst for the Department of the Army. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, the Defense Systems Management College, and the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Currently, he lives in Sackets Harbor, N.Y. and is a member of the Nautical Research Guild as well as the U.S. Naval Institute.

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 symposium details, visit www.fortontario.com

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

To follow other 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/