Big anniversary weekend for regional history

Historical re-enactor in Ogdensburg, NY. Photo: Slabcity Gang, CC some rights reserved

Given a choice, armies of yesteryear preferred to skip winter campaigns. But sometimes they soldiered on through snow and ice. This was the case 200 years ago, when a significant battle in our region took place on February 22, 1813.

All sorts of events and re-enactments are taking place this weekend to commemorate the Battle of Ogdensburg – also known as Prescott’s raid on Ogdensburg in Canada.

On the U.S. side of the river, be sure to check out Fort de la Présentation, at Lighthouse Point, Ogdensburg.

Forsyth’s Rifles will have a starring role in reproducing the battle, even though history demands they must lose and withdraw. Canadian participants include the Grenville Militia, the Glengary Light Infantry Fencibles along with related demonstrations at Fort Wellington – just across the river in Prescott, Ontario.

Todd Moe presented more of the back story in conversations with participants like Michael Whittaker during the 8 o’ clock hour this past week.

A look at various myths from that battle was presented in this National Post article. Ron Dale, Parks Canada’s War of 1812 bicentennial manager, asserts that much of the looting in Ogdensburg was done by (gasp!) the ladies of Prescott! 

“…Since the border had never stopped Canadians from socializing with Americans, Mrs. Jones of Prescott knew where Mrs. Smith of Ogdensburg stored her best china.”

Speaking of re-enactments, while it’s probably wise to keep your day job, here’s a recent  ‘help wanted’ post you just don’t see every day:

The Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene are looking to host an early 19th Century/War of 1812 encampment in conjunction with this two day TALL SHIPS® 1812 Tour event and are looking specifically looking for the following:

  • British & American Military Units, Individuals & Encampments
  • Long Boat Crews and Boats with Cannons/Naval Encampments
  • Fife and Drum Groups
  • Period Demonstrators, Artisans, Entertainers and Merchants
  • Native, Voyageur, Buckskinner Units, Individuals & Encampments
  • Artillery Crews and Cannons/Artillery Encampments

If you have a special unique 19th century talent not listed above we would also like to hear from you!

Like it or not, here in Canada there’s a healthy chunk of funding and government support to commemorate the War of 1812. Most re-enactors and history buffs do their shtick for love. So it’s sort of a minor miracle when compensation is offered.

The ad is for an event coming up in  late August. Full details and contact info are listed on the Feb 19th newsletter from the Council of Heritage Organizations of Ottawa (CHOO).

According to web info on “Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2013” that program:

…will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the major military events of the War of 1812 that took place in the Great Lakes. The series is also dedicated to promoting awareness of the Lakes’ ecosystems and fresh water conservation. The series will sail to all five Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. There will be point-to-point races, more than ten ports, wonderful hospitality, and millions of visitors.

But, where, pray tell, are the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene? In South Georgian Bay, of course. Georgian Bay is a lovely area, it starts roughly 100 miles due north of Toronto. My family enjoyed a camping/hiking trip there in 2002. I would go back in a heartbeat. (Too bad I am not a period blacksmith. Or washer woman.)

As for reenactment by the season, gee, I don’t know…winter frostbite? Or summer heat stroke and mosquitoes! It sounds pretty challenging. But it has a certain appeal to some, as you can see in this video. Back in December,”Man of War” author Charlie Schroeder told NCPR’s Betsy Kepes, one of his favorite re-enacting experiences was rowing a bateau (cargo boat) down the St. Lawrence as part of “The Big Row“.

Happy anniversary to those making history come alive in Ogdensburg and Prescott this weekend!

If there’s any particular aspect to these events you’d like to highlight, please share more in the comment section.

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2 Comments on “Big anniversary weekend for regional history”

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  1. please forward the time of the reenactment activities.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Judy–
    The schedule of events for the whole weekend is at this link:
    which appears in the article on the text “events and re-enactments” in the second paragraph.

    Dale Hobson, NCPR

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