Old Fort Niagara is preparing for war this Independence Day weekend when hundreds of re-enactors from across New York state and the Northeast recreate the 1759 siege of Fort Niagara with one of the historic site's most popular and largest events - the French & Indian War Encampment. The Encampment runs Saturday, July 3, through Monday, July 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"The French & Indian War was a pivotal turning point in the history of Fort Niagara as the British gained control of the fort from the French," said Robert Emerson, executive director, Old Fort Niagara. "Our three-day encampment closely follows the course of events as they unfolded in July 1759, giving visitors a sense of stepping back into the 18th century with plenty of interactive activities, artillery bombardments and battle re-enactments scheduled throughout the weekend."
Throughout the weekend, a living history encampment recreates the siege with re-enactors portraying British and French forces and Native American warriors. Highlights include various artillery bombardments, extensive battle re-enactments, living history camps, recruiting demonstrations, Native American dance, local craftsmen goods, military music and children's games.
The original siege of Fort Niagara during the French & Indian War began on July 6, 1759, as a British army of 2,400 soldiers and 1,000 Iroquois warriors surrounded Fort Niagara. The 600 French defenders held the post for almost three weeks as the British bombarded Fort Niagara with batteries of cannon and mortars daily. The last hope for the French was an army of 1,500 from the Ohio Valley, but on July 24 they encountered the British a mile south of the fort in what became known as The Battle La Belle Famille. On July 25, 1759, the French surrendered Fort Niagara to the British.Admission to OFN for the French & Indian War Encampment is $13 per person. Children under age 6 are free. For more information, visit www.oldfortniagara.org or call 745-7611.