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On 'Snowshoe Patrol' at Old Fort Niagara

by jmaloni
Mon, Jan 16th 2012 11:50 am
French Soldiers lead the prisoners to Montreal.
French Soldiers lead the prisoners to Montreal.
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by Wayne Peters

There wasn't enough snow to use snowshoes on Old Fort Niagara's annual "Snowshoe Patrol" Saturday, but the cold and small amount of snow on the ground was much better than the muddy grounds this winter has served up so far.

After getting a glimpse of life during the winters of long ago, guests learned about the history of snowshoes from Carol Rogers, of the New York State Parks interpretive staff. Following the lecture, the guests gathered outside the fort's Visitor Center, where they learned French soldiers had taken them prisoner, and they would be marched to Montreal.

At Montreal, patrons would be used as slave labor in the production of cocoa, to be used for hot chocolate. As the group was marching through the woods, they came upon a camp with two British scouts in it. The scouts were run off and the French soldiers picked through the camp to see if they could steal anything useful. Before they could finish their plundering of the camp, a large number of British scouts came out of the woods, and after a pitched woods battle, the prisoners were rescued. Everyone then retired to the camp and hot chocolate was served to guests and soldiers alike.

The event was a fun way to get outdoors and learn about the life and hardships of life in the past.

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