On Saturday, October 20, at 1:00 p.m., historian Douglas Cubbison will present a program at the Mount Independence State Historic Site just across Lake Champlain in Orwell, VT on Burgoyne and the 1777 Saratoga Campaign of the American Revolution. The event, the annual Robert J. Maguire lecture, is offered by the Mount Independence Coalition.
Cubbison, who lives in Mission, Kansas, has done extensive research on Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne, and his book, Burgoyne and the Saratoga Campaign: His Papers, was published this June by the University of Oklahoma Press. The book includes an extensive introduction to the subject and many of Burgoyne’s papers, previously unpublished. Burgoyne had gathered these papers m for his defense when parliament was looking into his conduct during the northern campaign in 1777. Continue reading →
The Chimney Point, Mount Independence, and Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Sites have opened for the 2012 season. The Chimney Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain in Addison has reopened to the public after two years of closure due to the Lake Champlain Bridge construction project. This location is one of the most strategic on the Lake, important to Native Americans, the early French, and early American settlement.
In the historic tavern’s “ballroom” is a new exhibit, What Lies Beneath: 9,000 Years of History at Chimney Point, highlighting the archaeological findings from the 2009-2011 bridge and temporary ferry project. See evidence of earliest Native American habitation, the 1731 French fort, Moses Bradley’s 1790s redware pottery, and more.
The exhibit was prepared by the University of Vermont Consulting Archeology Program and guest curator Kate Kenney, Vermont bridge project archaeological monitor. Also new are several exhibit panels and media player exploring the history of the 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge. Bring a picnic and take a walk over the new bridge. The site is open Wednesdays through Sundays and Monday holidays, through October 8, 9:30-5:30. Admission is $3.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
Orwell’s Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark named after the Declaration of Independence, was built on Lake Champlain in 1776-77 to protect the American colonies against British invasion from the north. This year is the 235th anniversary of the American retreat from the Mount. The museum has state of the art exhibits and Revolutionary War artifacts, including two huge logs from the Great Bridge and a cannon recovered from Lake Champlain.
Six miles of scenic walking and hiking trails wind past archaeological sites. The nationally award winning Baldwin Trail with acclaimed interpretive signage, is suitable for outdoor wheelchairs and strollers. The annual Soldiers Atop the Mount encampment is moving this year to September 8 and 9 to commemorate the September 1777 American attempt to retake the Mount from the British. The site is open daily, 9:30 to 5:00, through October 8. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
The Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site is the location of Vermont’s only Revolutionary War battle. It is considered one of the best preserved battlefields in America, retaining most of its original setting. The 235th anniversary of the July 7, 1777, battle will be honored with the annual living history weekend on July 7 and 8. Enjoy other history and astronomy programs throughout the season. The site is open Thursdays through Sundays and Monday holidays, from 9:30 to 5:00. Admission is $2.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
These sites have scenic grounds for walking and picnics, and specialty museum shops with many books and other items. For more information about events visit: http://historicsites.vermont.gov/events/ Join the Vermont State Historic Sites on Facebook.
On Saturday, October 22, at 1:00 p.m., author Neil Godwin comes to the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell to talk about the subject of his acclaimed book, We Go as Captives: The Royalton Raid and the Shadow War on the Revolutionary Frontier, published last year by the Vermont Historical Society. Godwin will discuss the background of the Royalton Raid and some of the intrigues of the Revolutionary War in Vermont and the region. The event, the annual Robert J. Maguire lecture, is offered by the Mount Independence Coalition. Godwin’s book is one of the most successful recent publications of the Vermont Historical Society and offers new insight on the Royalton Raid of 1780 and the Revolution on the northern frontier. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
Doors open to the public at 12:30 p.m. The event is free. Donations are appreciated. Come enjoy a riveting afternoon. This is the last chance of the year to visit the Mount Independence museum, which closed for the season after Columbus Day.
The Mount Independence Coalition is the official friends group for the historic site and every year offers the Maguire lecture to present the latest and best research on the American Revolution or Mount Independence.
Mount Independence, one of Vermont’s state-owned historic sites, is a National Historic Landmark and is considered one of the least disturbed Revolutionary War sites in America. The site is located six miles west of the intersections of VT Routes 73 and 22A in Orwell, near the end of Mount Independence Road. Call 802-759-2412 for more information.
For more information about the Vermont State-Owned Historic Sites, visit www.HistoricVermont.org/sites. Be part of the conversation and join the Vermont State Historic Sites on Facebook.
Journey way back to the ancient past, before the invention of the bow and arrow, to experience how people the world over hunted big game by coming to the 16th Annual Northeast Open Atlatl Championship September 17 and 18, 2011, beginning at 10:30 AM on Saturday and 10:00 on Sunday, at the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, Vermont. The competition is based on the ancient hunting technique of using an atlatl (spear thrower). Atlatlists of all skill levels are welcome. Demonstrations of flint knapping, bow making, hafting stone points, fletching atlatl darts, cordage making with natural materials, and other aspects of Native American life will take place on Saturday. Food will be available. Watch or participate in this colorful event, with exciting but friendly competition between novices, enthusiasts, and some of the best in the world, and from the young to young at heart. The event, co-sponsored by the Vermont Archaeological Society, is one of the highlights of September’s Vermont Archeology Month. The event, sponsored by the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, is being held for the second year at Mount Independence due to the ongoing construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge.
The main competition is on Saturday from 10:30 to 3:30. Contestants test their prowess in using the atlatl to “hunt” mammoth, bison, and other “wild” game targets, shoot at modern day bulls-eyes in the International Standards Accuracy Competition (ISAC), and compete in a distance challenge. The atlatl is a shaped wooden stick that acts as an extension of the throwing arm, to hurl spears or darts with greater accuracy, energy, and speed. Winners in each category compete in a shoot out at the end of the afternoon for the title of Grand Champion. Call 802-759-2412 for an atlatl championship registration form or download one online. Competitor fee is $5.00 for each day.
An atlatl-making workshop ($65 fee) will be held September 16 from noon to 5:00. Pre-registration (802-759-2412) for the workshop is required. The Vermont Archaeological Society is offering a day long flint-knapping workshop both days, and on Saturday a hands-on demonstration of Northeastern pre-contact pottery making. To sign up for either of these, call 802-644-5675 or email email@example.com
On both Saturday and Sunday there will be showings of the film, Champlain: The Lake Between, at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30. Sunday morning, starting at 10:00 a.m., is a smaller International Standards Accuracy Competition. Afterwards, at about 11:45, is a master coaching class offered by champion atlatlists for children and interested adults. Also starting at 10:00 are the flint-knapping and Woodland pottery workshops.
The site is open 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM. Admission for each day, including the museum and trails, is $5.00 for adults, free for children under 15.
The Mount Independence State Historic Site is located at 497 Mount Independence Road, six miles west of the intersections of VT Routes 73 and 22A, in Orwell. It is open daily through October 10 from 9:30 to 5:00. For more information about this event, call 802-759-2412.
It was 235 years ago this July that American soldiers began building one of the largest Revolutionary War fortifications in the country—on what would become known as Mount Independence in Orwell, Vermont. An event commemorating this anniversary and experience the Revolutionary War and the road to American independence will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, as the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, Vermont, presents the annual “Soldiers Atop the Mount” living history weekend. Dedicated reenactors recreate this exciting period in American history in an event that is fun for the whole family. Admission is $6.00 for adults and free for children under 15, and includes the museum and all activities. The public is invited to visit the American and British tent camps, talking with reenactors whose units portray some of the actual units that garrisoned Mount Independence.
On Saturday, the camps open at 10:30 with ongoing demonstrations of camp life, a history scavenger hunt, and special children’s activities. During the day children and the young at heart can learn how to drill, visit the camps, attend Mistress Davenport’s School, and enjoy music from the Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife & Drum Corps. At 1:00 p.m. experience the artillery demonstration and at 2:00 p.m. witness the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence. In the afternoon see how the soldiers would have made fascines, bundles of wood used in military construction. At 3:00 p.m. is the narrated military tactical demonstration with military action encircling the audience.
On Sunday the camps open to the public at 10:00 and the history scavenger hunt is on.
At 11:30 or attend Mistress Davenport’s School, and experience the narrated military tactical demonstration at 1:30. The camp closes at 2:00 pm. At 2:30 site interpreter Paul Andriscin will give a short talk in the auditorium on the construction of Mount Independence. Call for details.
American forces built Mount Independence in 1776 and 1777 to defend New England and Lake Champlain from the British enemy in Canada. On the night of July 5 and 6, 1777, the Northern Department of the American Army withdrew from Mount Independence in Orwell and Fort Ticonderoga, as British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne sailed down the lake pursuing his plan to split New England off from the rest of the United States. Following the Battle of Hubbardton on July 7, the British and Germans occupied Mount Independence until November of that year.
Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark, is near the end of Mount Independence Road six miles west of the intersection of Vermont Routes 22A and 73 in Orwell. It includes an air conditioned visitor center and museum and nearly six miles of hiking trails. It is open daily through October 10, 9:30 to 5:00. Call (802) 948-2000 for more information or visit www.HistoricVermont.org/sites.
Photo: American Revolutionary War Soldiers firing at Mount Independence. Courtesy Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.
Vermont’s Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site will present a Battle of Hubbardton living history weekend on July 9 and 10 to honor the July 7, 1777, Revolutionary War battle, the only one fought in Vermont. More than 400 re-enactors will be on hand, making it one of the largest events at Hubbardton site in years. During the Battle of Hubbardton soldiers from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire fought in a decisive rear guard action to halt the British army and allow the main American army under Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair to withdraw southward to safety from Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. Events at Hubbardton saved St. Clair’s troops and led to the American victory in October 1777 at the Battle of Saratoga, considered a turning point in the Revolutionary War and in world history.
The weekend offers activities for all ages and interests, including visiting the museum. Organizers expect a large contingent of re-enactors, who portray American, British, and German soldiers and their families. Vistor will be able to walk through their tent camps, see the tactical and artillery demonstrations, camp life activities, courts martial, learning how to drill, and guided camp and battlefield tours. Mistress Davenport will set up her popular school and storytelling. There will also be a children’s activity tent and many sutlers (the traveling shopkeepers of the time) will set up sutler row, with a colonial shopping experience for the public. Local groups will provide a food concession stand both days.
Saturday afternoon will include a military tactical on the slope of Monument Hill, weather permitting and the weekend highlight will be the battle on Sunday morning, with troops forming-up about 7:30 a.m. The extended tactical demonstration begins at 8 a.m. Around 9 a.m. the start of a symbolic Revolutionary relay across Vermont to Windsor’s Old Constitution House, will celebrate a 234th anniversary of Vermont’s Constitution. The modern relay will carry to the constitutional delegates in Windsor the news about the battle and withdrawal from Mt. Independence and Fort Ticonderoga.
The site opens at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Sunday’s events start about 7:30 a.m. Admission each day is $5 for adults and free for children under 15. There will be plenty of nearby parking and a “people mover” from the parking area to the central location for those who wish to ride. The event is offered by a partnership of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Living History Association, and the Hubbardton Historical Society with support from many other Hubbardton organizations and area Scouts and businesses.
The Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site is located on Monument Hill Road 6 miles off VT Route 30 in Hubbardton or 7 miles off exit 5 on US Route 4 in Castleton. Carefully follow the signs. The site is regularly open Thursdays through Sundays and Monday holidays through Oct. 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the Battlefield or this event, call 802- 273-2282.
A donation of four important manuscripts describing the American attack on Mount Independence on September 18, 1777 was recently made to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. The collection of four letters was drafted by American Brigadier General Jonathan Warner and relate to Colonel John Brown’s raid on Ticonderoga. The donation was discovered and organized by Dr. Gary M. Milan and made possible by the generous support of George and Kathy Jones. After the American army at Ticonderoga was forced to evacuate with the approach of the British army under General John Burgoyne in July 1777, Burgoyne left a small force of British and German soldiers to garrison Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence as the bulk of his army pursued the American army southward. In mid September two 500-men forces were ordered to test the defenses of the two posts and on September 18, the forces converged on the sleeping garrisons.
These documents detail the actions around Mount Independence offering on-the-spot reports of the engagement. The beginning of the skirmish near Mt. Independence is described “Our advanc’d party met with a small piquet guard of the Enemy’s about 1 mile from their lines who after the first fire retired leaving around them a few tents, blankets, packs, &c”. A few minutes later “We…heard a brisk firing from Ticonderoga side… It is supposed by many that Colo Brown has got possession of the Batteries upon the large Mountain call’d Mount Defiance.” These documents shed new light on the only time that the two posts were directly fired upon in battle and the last military engagement to occur at Fort Ticonderoga in its final months as an active military post.
Illustration: Jonathan Warner by Joseph Blackburn.
Author Willard Sterne Randall will give a talk on Ethan Allen, one of Vermont’s best known historic figures, on June 18 at 1 p.m., at the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, VT. Randall’s new book, Ethan Allen: His Life and Times, which W.W. Norton will be coming out with later this summer, is the first comprehensive biography of Allen in a half century. In this talk and the book, Randall uses new source material to strip away the myths about Ethan Allen, heroic rebel, and reveals a complex character, defender of settlers to the Green Mountains, public spirited, but also self-serving and self-interested.
Randall, whose previous book was Benedict Arnold, is a noted Vermont author and historian and teaches history at Champlain College.
The program is sponsored by the Mount Independence Coalition, the official friends group for the Mount Independence State Historic Site. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 15- it includes the program, visiting the museum, and access to the grounds and trails.
Mount Independence, one of Vermont’s State-owned Historic Sites, is a National Historic Landmark and one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War sites in America. It is located along the shore of Lake Champlain and near the end of Mount Independence Road, six miles west of the intersections of VT Routes 22A and 73 in Orwell. The site is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 10. Call 802-948-2000 for more information.
The Mount Independence and Hubbardton Battlefield Vermont State Historic Sites open for the 2011 season on Saturday, May 28, at 9:30 a.m. Both sites have scenic grounds for walking and picnics, and popular specialty museum shops with many books and other items.
The Chimney Point State Historic Site and grounds in Addison will be closed to the public for the 2011 season due to the ongoing construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge. The site will be open for the bridge opening celebration weekend, at a yet to be determined date this fall. The popular annual Northeast Open Atlatl Championship, September 16 to 18, will be moved again this year to Mount Independence in Orwell.
Orwell, Vermont’s Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark named after the Declaration of Independence, was built on Lake Champlain in 1776-77 to protect the American colonies against British invasion from the north. This year is the 235th anniversary of the start of construction, as well as of the Mount Independence-Hubbardton Military Road.
The museum’s exhibits include a talking hologram sculpture and exciting Revolutionary War artifacts from the site, including two huge logs from the Great Bridge and a cannon recovered from Lake Champlain. Six miles of scenic walking and hiking trails wind past archaeological sites. The nationally award winning Baldwin Trail is suitable for outdoor wheelchairs and strollers, and has acclaimed interpretive signage.
The season begins on Saturday, May 28, at 8:00 a.m. with the favorite annual Early Bird Nature Walk, led by bird expert Suzanne Wetmore. Other special events include nature and history programs and the annual Soldiers Atop the Mount encampment on July 23 and 24. The site is open daily, 9:30 to 5:00. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
The Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site is the location of Vermont’s only Revolutionary War battle. It is considered one of the best preserved battlefields in America, retaining most of its original setting, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. At noon on May 30 there will be a simple Memorial Day commemoration.
The annual living history weekend, with the battle reenactment, is July 9 and 10, with many other nature and history programs and hikes throughout the season. The site is open Thursdays through Sundays and Monday holidays, including Memorial Day, from 9:30 to 5:00. Admission is $2.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
Less well known than his cousin Ethan Allen, Seth Warner was nevertheless one of the leaders of the Green Mountain Boys, and the Revolutionary War hero still boasts hotels, hiking shelters, and fire companies named after him. On Saturday, October 16, at 1:00 p.m. the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell hosts the program, “Sidelined by History: Seth Warner, Green Mountain Boy.”
“Clifford Mullen, a long time Revolutionary War re-enactor and retired U.S. Army non-commissioned officer, will tell the story of Seth Warner and his exciting military career during the American Revolution,” said Elsa Gilbertson, Regional Site Administrator for the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. The event is co-sponsored by the Mount Independence Coalition. This is the annual Robert Maguire Program, named in honor of Robert Maguire for his important efforts in preserving Mount Independence. Doors open to the public at 12:30 p.m. Admission is free- donations are appreciated.
Mullen will share finds from his recent original archival research on Warner, his men, and their Revolutionary War service, Gilbertson said.
Col. Seth Warner was one of the three American officers in charge during the Battle of Hubbardton, and played key roles at various points during the war.
In the summer of 1777, British General John Burgoyne and his British army were trying to cut off New England from the rest of the colonies, and forced the Americans to abandon Mount Independence and nearby Fort Ticonderoga.
On July 5, 1777, faced with a British force more than twice his size that had occupied a position from which they could bombard him with impunity, American General Arthur St. Clair withdrew from the fortifications without firing a shot and moved the army toward Castleton.
The British army pursued the American forces and in the resulting Battle of Hubbardton on July 7, 1777, soldiers from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire fought a savage rear guard action, with Warner commanding part of the American force.
While the battle ended with an American retreat, the British were too battered to continue their pursuit and the rest of the colonial army escaped, paving the way for the victory later that summer at the Battle of Bennington, where Warner and his men turned the tide of the fight.
A monument in his honor is a key feature at the Bennington Battle Monument State Historic Site in Bennington.
The Mount Independence State Historic Site is one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War sites in America. It is located near the end of Mount Independence Road, six miles west of the intersections of Vermont Routes 22A and 73. Regular hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.