On Labor Day weekend, “Old Fort Niagara presents 1812: The Forgotten War,” a living history program about the fort’s role in the War of 1812. Special programs include early 19th century soldier life, an 1812 field surgeon, military music, blacksmithing, laundry, dress-making and tailoring, silversmithing, cooking and foodways, children’s games, musket and artillery firings and tactical demonstrations.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, Dr. Richard V. Barbuto will present a special talk on the 1813 campaign. In 1812, Congress declared war against the British Empire to redress grievances such as seizing American ships, cargoes and sailors. The U.S. invaded Canada in three widely separated locations, but was turned back with heavy losses. In 1813, the Madison administration focused its main efforts on Lake Ontario. Initially, at York (now Toronto) and Fort George (across from Fort Niagara), the Americans enjoyed success, largely due to excellent Army-Navy cooperation. However, American momentum was stopped cold in a meadow near Stoney Creek. This presentation outlines the strategy, tactics, personages and results of this failed American campaign.
Barbuto was born and raised on the shores of Lake Erie in Dunkirk. Graduating from West Point in 1971, he served as an armor officer for 23 years in Germany, Korea, Canada, and other U.S. posts. He earned a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Kansas and was the deputy director of the department of military history at the Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for 12 years. Barbuto has written several books and numerous articles on the War of 1812 and is a frequent speaker at history conferences and public venues. His fourth book, “New York’s War of 1812: Politics, Society, and Combat,” was recently published. “The 1813 Campaign” is his eighth presentation at Old Fort Niagara.