The War of 1812 Revisited at Conference

Historians in the News

The Fort La Présentation Association of Ogdensburg, NY is sponsoring a War of 1812 War College Saturday, May 2, 2009.

The daylong series of five seminars will examine aspects of the war affecting Sackets Harbor and Ogdensburg, NY and Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

“We have lecturers from New York and Ontario who are experts in their own right on the history and archaeology of the War of 1812,” said Project Director Doug Cubbison. “Their presentations are not only for academics and historians. These talks will interest military re-enactors, history buffs and the public that wants to know more about our history.

The Fort Association is offering the lectures and related activities, including a continental breakfast, buffet lunch and sit-down dinner, for only $55.

There will be displays on the archaeology of the War of 1812, on 1812 Marines and by the Fort La Présentation Association. A midday concert of early 19th-century music by the Excelsior Cornet Band is scheduled.

The speakers are consulting archaeologist Dr. Timothy Abel, past Executive Director of the Jefferson County Historical Society; Dr. Gary Gibson of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance; Major John R. Grodzinski, Department of History, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario; Mr. Donald E. Graves, a widely published military historian from Carleton Pace, Ontario; and Mr. James Reagan, author and Managing Editor of the Ogdensburg Journal.

“The War of 1812 has received minimal scholarly and popular attention in the United States, but is viewed with public and academic interest in Canada,” said Cubbison. “The War College is intended to reveal some of the profound effects the conflict had on the growth and development of northern New York State.”

Ogdensburg experienced the war on a number of occasions. The most devastating was Feb. 22, 1813 when Lt. Col. ‘Red George’ Macdonnell of the Glengarry Light Infantry led a reprisal raid across the frozen St. Lawrence from Prescott, Upper Canada (Ontario). The aggressive 1st US Rifle Regiment under Captain Benjamin Forsyth was driven out of the town. American military stores and shipping that could not be taken back to Canada were burned.

The War of 1812 War College will be held at the Freighthouse Restaurant in Ogdensburg. The former railroad station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located on the 1813 battlefield and is adjacent to the Fort de La Présentation archaeological site.

The Fort La Présentation Association plans to develop the War of 1812 War College into a two-day annual event leading to the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Details on the War College can be found at www.fortlapresentation.net or requested by calling 315-394-1749.

Over the past 250 years, the flags of France, England, and the US have flown above Fort de La Présentation and its successors during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

The Fort La Présentation Association intends to commence rebuilding the 1749 French fort in 2010.

The New York Council for the Humanities has generously contributed to the War of 1812 War College.

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