Youngstown, N.Y. – Old Fort Niagara will present its annual “Soldiers of the Revolution” re-enactment on August 13 and 14 with regional re-enactors who will share the history of the British-held fort and surrounding frontier during the American Revolution from 1775-1783.
Activities at the fort begin daily at 10 a.m. and continue through 6 p.m., and everything is included with regular admission to the fort. Highlights include: history tours at 11 a.m. to educate visitors about the fort’s role in the American Revolution; fifes and drums performing at 1 p.m.; battle demonstrations at 2 p.m.; children’s recruiting demonstrations to join the wooden-musket army as Loyalists or Rebels at 3 p.m.; and 18th century games with the soldiers at 3:30 p.m.
Fort Niagara was under British control during the American fight for Independence. While the fort did not see any direct armed conflict during the war, its location on the Niagara River and Lake Ontario served as a busy, strategic hub for information sharing and troop movement. It also served as a gathering place for colonists who were loyal to King George III and a staging point for numerous raids against the American colonies in New York and Pennsylvania.
“Soldiers of the Revolution” Daily Schedule
10:00 a.m. Formation and Colors Ceremony
10:30 a.m. British and American Manual Exercise
11:00 a.m. Special Tour: Fort Niagara in the American Revolution
Noon Artillery Firing Demonstration
1:00 p.m. Music of the American Revolution
1:30 p.m. Musket vs. Rifle Demonstration
2:00 p.m. Battle Demonstration
2:30 p.m. Prisoner Ransom
3:00 p.m. Recruiting Demonstration
3:30 p.m. 18th Century Games
4, 5 and 6 p.m. Musket Demonstration
The Officers’ Club, just outside the fort's footprint, will be open during "Soldiers of the Revolution" from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. for tours and access to the World War II display. The Lighthouse will also be open from noon to 3 p.m.
The cost to attend the event is regular admission to the fort ($12/adult, $8/child ages 6-12, free/children 5 and under) and is free to members of the Old Fort Niagara Association.
Old Fort Niagara’s Revolution theme continues as part of its daily summer programming through August 12. Members of the interpretation department have developed weekly programs that bring events from 1775, 1778 and 1780 to life. To insure authenticity, much of the clothing and equipment has been hand-sewn or hand-made by our interpretive staff.
Each week, visitors to the fort will learn something different about Fort Niagara’s role in the American Revolution, including:
- Making strategic relationships with the Native people of the Six Nations following the news of the battles of Lexington and Concord.
- Preparing for a potential attack by the American “rebels” whose unexpected success makes the British concerned that Niagara will be targeted.
- Fort Niagara as a gathering place for British loyalists seeking refuge from British King George III.
- The fort’s role in preparing for additional raids on the Mohawk Valley.
- The experiences of Native refuges who wintered here and are recovering from the bitter winter of 1779-80.
The summer program also includes regular musket and artillery demonstrations, field music, trades demonstrations, and orientation tours to the fort throughout the day.
Now through Oct. 10 Lighthouse Open to the Public (12pm-3pm)
Sat. & Sun., Sep. 3-4 RE-ENACTMENT War of 1812 Encampment
Sat., Oct. 15 & 22 Haunted Fortress
Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is located in Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, N.Y., which is 14 miles north of Niagara Falls via the northbound Robert Moses Parkway (Niagara Scenic Parkway). The fort is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in July and August. Admissions end 30 minutes before closing. Old Fort Niagara is a Registered National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association (a not-for-profit organization) in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Photos courtesy Lee Gugino.