Press-Republican

February 4, 2013

Historic Battle on Snowshoes to be re-created

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — TICONDEROGA — For the first time in 13 years, the legendary Battle on Snowshoes between Rogers’ Rangers and French forces will be re-created near Fort Ticonderoga.

The actual French and Indian War battle was near the present site of Ticonderoga Country Club, but the fort intends to put on its event in the forest surrounding the stone fortress.

The battle is part of a living history day at the fort from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.

‘SAVAGE FIGHT’

In 1758, Major Robert Rogers and his British rangers were on patrol near Fort Ticonderoga when they encountered superior French forces.

“The Battle on Snowshoes event re-creates the savage fight between Robert Rogers’ Rangers and a mixed French force of regular soldiers, militia and allied native warriors on March 13, 1758,” said Fort Ticonderoga Director of Interpretation Stuart Lilie in a news release.

“This event is designed to be a rich experience for both participants and visitors alike. It will investigate the myths and facts of Robert Rogers and explore why his exploits in the North Woods still fill the popular imagination today.”

The fort was under French control at the time, and the Rangers were out of Fort Edward.

Visitors will see the tree-to-tree fighting in a re-created Battle on Snowshoes.

“(They) can tour the French garrison inside Fort Ticonderoga in the middle of winter and walk through opposing pickets of British rangers and French soldiers, both well trained and adapted to frontier, winter warfare,” Lilie said. “The Rangers make a brave stand against superior odds, only to retreat through the deep woods.”

SURVIVED DEEP WINTER

Visitors will be invited to tour Fort Ticonderoga as it appeared in the winter of 1758 and meet Native American warriors, French soldiers and Canadians who delivered the Rangers’ worst defeat, Lilie said.

“See how Natives Americans and French soldiers alike survived the deep winter at this remote military post. More adventurous visitors can take a hike led by a historic interpreter through the uneasy quiet of opposed pickets of soldiers in the deep woods. In these tours, visitors can see how the Rangers kept a vigilant watch for subtle signs that might reveal their ferocious enemy.”

SEVERAL ACTIVITIES

The event schedule is:

10 a.m.: Site opens to visitors.

10:15 a.m.: Guided tour of Fort Carillon.

11 a.m.: Guided tour of Petite Guerre in the North Woods.

Noon: “New France’s Invaluable Indian Allies,” in the Mars Education Center, with guest presenter Ward Oles; explore politics, trade and the finer details of native crafts and decorative arts.

1:15 p.m.: Guided tour of Fort Carillon.

2 p.m.: Battle on

Snowshoes.

2:30 p.m.: “The Real French and Indians,” with Chris Fox, curator of collections, to examine artifacts recovered from the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga.

3:15 p.m.: Guided tour of Fort Carillon.

4 p.m.: Site closes to visitors.

ELUDED ENEMY

Event tickets are $10 a person. Friends of Fort Ticonderoga members and children ages 4 and younger are free.

In 2000, a re-creation of the Battle on Snowshoes by Schroon Lake author and historian Robert Bearor drew thousands of spectators to Ticonderoga.

Bearor had secured permission for his event to be held on the golf course at Ticonderoga Country Club, believed to be the site of the original battle.

Although not involved in the current re-creation, he has lectured on the controversy of Rogers’ Slide, when Major Rogers allegedly eluded pursuing Indians after the Battle on Snowshoes by appearing to slide down a high rock face from Bald Mountain to Lake George.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com