Battle Reenactment: Defiance & Independence

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Defiance and Independence at Fort Ticonderoga

Join Fort Ticonderoga for this two-day battle reenactment and witness the epic 1777 siege of American-held Ticonderoga. As General Burgoyne tightened the hold on Ticonderoga, see how American soldiers and artillerymen held the line in the name of liberty. Watch the story unravel around you as the roar of muskets and cannon erupt.

Unique events make each day a different experience – culminating in dramatic cannon attack from the summit of Mt. Defiance

Featuring nearly 500 historical re-enactors, this is the largest battle re-enactment of the year at Fort Ticonderoga. The battle will highlight the events of the summer of 1777, when Fort Ticonderoga’s American garrison is outflanked by a British invasion force advancing from Canada.

The Surprising American Retreat:

All weekend, through special programs, Ticonderoga brings to life the unforeseen American retreat and British capture of Fort Ticonderoga in July 1777. Watch, learn, and experience first-hand as the armies battle across the historic landscape at 1pm both Saturday and Sunday, during two unique battle scenarios. This intense two-day battle re-enactment will portray General Author St. Clair’s decision to evacuate Ticonderoga and how it constructed British General John Burgoyne’s advance towards Albany.

A Defining Story Brought to Life:

“The opportunity to witness the battle as American soldiers retreat back from their entrenched camp under the powerful British drive, is an immersive educational experience you won’t find anywhere else,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga’s President and CEO. “Our guests will watch the battle unfold, discover the diverse forces that caused the retreat, and get to personally meet with soldiers of both armies including the Fifes & Drums, the Rear Guard, the Continental Artillery, and British Regulars.”

“Reprieved from a siege in 1776 by the onset of winter, Ticonderoga including Mount Independence faced General John Burgoyne’s northern army of British, Loyalist, and German soldiers in July 1777,” said Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga’s Vice President of Public History and Operations. “General St. Clair’s army was formed from Massachusetts and New Hampshire regulars and militia, who put up a strenuous defense. Observe this battle firsthand and witness the struggles and successes from both sides of the conflict.”

Where a Goat Can Go, A Man Can Go!

On Saturday at 6:30 p.m. a gun crew from the Royal Artillery will haul their cannon to the summit of Mount Defiance, aiming at the Ticonderoga Peninsula located below. Guests can thrill at the incredible feat and discover the details of this decisive stroke and witness a cannon demonstration in the evening light of the beautiful summit. An additional ticket for this program is required and must be purchased at the base of Mount Defiance.

Sunset Boat Cruise:

Day 1 only, enjoy a relaxing summer evening on the Carillon tour boat with a glass of Colonial-inspired punch to set the mood. Listen to stories of armed schooners and prohibition-era rum-runners fire your imagination during a trip around Lake Champlain. Absorb the natural beauty of the lake, set between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, while witnessing a cannon firing demonstration plunging down on Ticonderoga from Mount Defiance. This event requires pre-registration and an additional ticket, which can be purchased at Fort Ticonderoga or in advance by calling 518-585-2821.

Schedule of events:

Saturday July 21st

9:30 AM Fort Ticonderoga opens to visitors

10:00 AM Inspection of the Armies (Parade Ground and British Camp)
Watch as the American officer of the day inspects the Continental Army’s guard details before they take up their fortified positions around Fort Ticonderoga. See their advanced guard inspected inside the British shelter before marching to harass and observe the Continental Army’s pickets.

10:15 AM Key to the Continent Guided Tour (Begins at American Flag)
Could Ticonderoga have been held by the Continental Army in 1777? Was its loss a disaster or a prudent retreat? Create your own answers to questions that have enthralled officers and armchair generals alike for 241 years. Explore how two decades of military occupation culminated with rich cultures and characters at Ticonderoga in 1777.

10:30 AM Carillon Boat Cruise (Carillon Boat Dock)
Get a front row seat for the siege of Ticonderoga. Between floating bridges, flotillas of bateaux, and a whole British naval fleet, the fight for Ticonderoga played out on Lake Champlain as well as the mountains that surround it. Don’t miss this unparalleled chance to get a new perspective on the fight for independence on one of the most historic waterways in America. An assortment of beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks available for purchase! Additional ticket required.

10:45 AM Ropes, Levers, Pulleys, and Gins (Demonstration Area)
See how common farmers and typical tradesmen used human-powered simple machines and complex ‘engines’ to move even the heaviest of guns at Ticonderoga.

11:00 AM March to the Recreated Redoubt (Begins at American Flag)
Follow the American military musicians as they provide a musical escort from Fort Ticonderoga to the recreated redoubt for a cannon demonstration.

11:15 AM Cannon Demonstration (Recreated Redoubt)
Watch a cannon and its crew in their element, holding the British Army back with shots fired from the earthen walls of an earthen fortification known as a redoubt. Explore how the science of gunnery and field fortification were applied in the defense of Ticonderoga in July, 1777.

12:00 PM Battle Briefing: Your Guide to the Re-enactment (Begins at American Flag)
Join this must-attend tour to better understand the battle. Explore Ticonderoga in July of 1777 and discover how American forces held off a huge British siege for nearly a week.

12:30 PM Fife & Drum Parade to Re-enactment (Begins at American Flag)
Follow the massed fifes and drums from the Continental Army up to the Heights of Carillon, renamed Liberty Hill by the Americans, where American cannon kept Burgoyne’s Army at bay.

1:00 PM Re-enactment Battle: Evacuate Mount Hope (On the Heights of Carillon)
Watch as American soldiers retreat back from their entrenched camp on Mount Hope with the British advanced guard in hot pursuit. See Continental regular soldiers and militia keep their order and discipline despite attacks from loyalists, native warriors, and British infantry and cannon. Is General St. Clair consolidating his force or exposing his Achilles heel?

1:30 PM the Enemy All Around Us- The Siege Begins (Recreated Redoubt)
After British forces drive in the American pickets from Mount Hope, see how the American artillery answered back. Watch as cannon lining the fortification open up against the advancing British forces. Hear the deafening sound of cannon fire as the siege of Ticonderoga begins!

1:45 PM Meet the Soldiers of Two Armies (Recreated Redoubt)

Fifes & Drums
In a war of shot and shell, discover how military music was a vital tool in the army. From regulating a soldiers’day, to rushing men from their tents to take their stations in battle, discover the roles and sound of the army’s fifes & drums.

The Rear Guard
What was it like to be on the front line opposite British regular soldiers and native warriors? Discuss with these Continental regular soldiers and militia what it was like to stand their ground in order to allow the rest of the army to retreat to safety.

Continental Artillery
Whether firing their cannon to hold strategic heights around Ticonderoga or saving an evacuating army, the fate of American soldiers was in the hands of Major Ebenezer Stevens’ artillery. Discover how this new corps of professional artillerymen distinguished themselves and how tools like the chisel and paintbrush were just as important as shot and shell.

2:15 PM “Chocolate and the Army at Ticonderoga” (Begins at American Flag)
Explore how sutlers followed the army, selling all sorts of comforts to soldiers, including the ingredients for this delicious chocolate beverage. Proceed into the Mars Education Center to try samples of this historic beverage as you learn the incredible story of chocolate in the Colonial world.

3:00 PM Key to the Continent Guided Tour (Begins at American Flag)
See 10:15 am description.

3:30 PM Carillon Boat Cruise (Carillon Boat Dock)
See 10:30 am description.

4:00 PM Mount Defiance: Witness to History Tour (On Top of Mount Defiance)
Oh, the stories this graceful hill could tell overlooking Fort Ticonderoga! Ascend to summit of Mount Defiance to get the birds-eye view of this epic military landscape and learn how this height shaped Fort Ticonderoga’s history.

5:00 PM Fort Ticonderoga closes to visitors

6:30 PM Sunset Boat Cruise (Carillon Boat Dock)
Enjoy a relaxing summer evening aboard the Carillon tour boat. Begin your cruise with a glass of Colonial-inspired punch to set the mood, and then let stories of armed schooners to prohibition-era rum runners fire your imagination during your trip on Lake Champlain in this 1920s-style vessel. Revel in the natural beauty of this lake set between the Adirondack and Green Mountains. An assortment of beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks available for purchase! Additional pre-registration and additional ticket required.

6:30 PM “Where a Goat Can Go, A Man Can Go…” (On Top of Mount Defiance: Admission Required)
Drive up Mount Defiance to watch as gun crew from the Royal Artillery haul their cannon up to the summit, aiming them on the fort below. Hear the details of this decisive tactical stroke and thrill at a cannon demonstration in the evening light on this historic prominence. Additional ticket required (or use token from daytime visit).

Sunday July 22nd

9:30 AM Fort Ticonderoga opens to visitors

10:00 AM Inspection of the Armies (Parade Ground and British Camp)
Watch as the American officer of the day inspects the Continental Army’s guard details before they take up their fortified positions around Fort Ticonderoga. See their advanced guard inspected inside the British shelter before marching to harass and observe the Continental Army’s pickets.

10:15 AM Key to the Continent Guided Tour (Begins at American Flag)
Could Ticonderoga have been held by the Continental Army in 1777? Was its loss a disaster or a prudent retreat? Create your own answers to questions that have enthralled officers and armchair generals alike for 241 years. Explore how two decades of military occupation culminated with rich cultures and characters at Ticonderoga in 1777.

11:00 AM Musket Demonstration (Demonstration Area)
Earthworks defined the American defense of Ticonderoga. See a guard of soldiers behind a wall of earth create a rolling fire to hold their ground. Discover how bullets, powder, fascines and earth were the tools of the American soldiers’ trade.

11:15 AM Evacuating Stores (Begins at Demonstration Area)
Experience the chaos and confusion of the Continental Army’s evacuation of Ticonderoga. Watch the army’s quartermasters order soldiers to load up guns, clothing, and food immediately. With time ticking, see what supplies were vital, and what must be left behind.

11:30 AM Loading Bateau (In Front of Pavilion next to the King’s Garden)
Cannon, tents, barrels, and boxes all made their way onto boats to be hauled off in the retreat. Watch as cranes and ropes hoist supplies onto small bateaux. Learn how these flat bottom boats successfully hauled off thousands of pounds of material.

12:00 PM Battle Briefing: Your Guide to the Re-enactment (Begins at American Flag)
Join this must-attend talk to better understand the battle. Explore Ticonderoga in July of 1777 and discover how American forces held off a huge British siege for nearly a week.

12:30 PM Fife & Drum Parade to Re-enactment (Begins at American Flag)
Follow the massed fifes and drums from the Continental Army’s rear guard to the recreated redoubt.

1:00 PM Re-enactment Battle: “We Must March Back” (Recreated Redoubt)
After being on guard all night, the Continental Army’srear guard holds their ground in order to allow the rest of the army, including the wounded and the baggage, to retreat by boat. With the order to retreat, the rear guard begins to pull back, with the British advanced guard right on their heels.

1:30 PM Raise the King’s Colors (Parade Ground)
Fort Ticonderoga falls once more into British hands. Join the British advanced guard as they enter Fort Ticonderoga, quickly surveying what they have captured. Discover with them evidence of a hasty American retreat from this old historic fort. By land or by water? How would you pursue the Continental Army?

2:00 PM Re-enactment Battle: “Boats deeply laden with cannon, tents, provisions, invalids and women” (King’s Garden)
Watch the American Rear guard hold its ground as the army’s sick soldiers, women, and children evacuate by boat. Watch the last soldiers of the Continental Army march off towards the bridge in this strategic retreat.

3:00 PM Key to the Continent Guided Tour (Begins at American Flag)
See 10:15 am description.

3:00 PM Carillon Boat Cruise (Carillon Boat Dock)
See 10:30 am description.

4:00 PM Mount Defiance: Witness to History Tour (On Top of Mount Defiance)
Oh, the stories this graceful hill could tell overlooking Fort Ticonderoga! Ascend to summit of Mount Defiance to get the birds-eye view of this epic military landscape and learn how this height shaped Fort Ticonderoga’s history.

5:00 PM Fort Ticonderoga closes to visitors