Each year the Surrender of Fort William Henry is honored by a wreath laying ceremony, a reenactment and the reading of the official Articles of Surrender on the museum’s lawn overlooking Lake George. According to Fort William Henry Museum Director Melody Viele, this annual anniversary focuses on the importance of the French and Indian War.
“The Colonies learned to fight during the French and Indian War,” says Viele. “It was the first event to unite the colonists. They joined together to fight the French. Later the British tried to recoup their expenses through taxes, which inadvertently led to the Revolutionary War.”
This 259th anniversary marks the defeat of Lt. Col. Monro to French Commander de Montcalm after an intercepted message revealed that there would be no hope of reinforcement for the British troops. Ten thousand French soldiers dominated the 2,300 British soldiers and Colonial militia. After the surrender many British soldiers lost their lives that later became known as “the massacre” of Fort William Henry.
“Re-enactors dress as the British and the French and perform the official fort surrender,” says Viele. “The Surrender is free and open to the public. Later that evening Dr. Bruce Dearstyne is speaking about his book The Spirit of New York.”
Dearstyne’s free lecture, held at the Fort William Henry Conference Center at 7 pm, focuses on special events that helped shape New York State as well as how James Fenimore Cooper combined fact with fiction to create his classic book, The Last of the Mohicans. For those unable to attend Dearstyne will be signing copies of his book at the Fort on August 13th.
The August 12th event starts at noon and is free. Those attending can receive $2 off museum admission.