Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY held its annual reenactment of the famous siege and battle from the French Indian War (1754 to 1763) this past weekend. MilitaryHistoryNow.com was there to take in the sights and sounds of the three-day event and managed to get these images.
More than 200 re-enactors in authentic period costume helped tell the story of the decisive three-week standoff, which took place in the summer of 1759.
At the time, Niagara was one of the more distant and isolated outposts of North America. Despite this, its location on the eastern bank of the lower Niagara River at the shore of Lake Ontario made it a vital link in a chain of fortresses that connected Quebec with the Ohio Valley. The British knew that if they could snatch Fort Niagara, a wedge could be driven between New France and the interior of the continent.
In July of 1759, a force of 2,000 redcoats, 1,000 American militia and more than 900 native warriors threw a cordon around the 500-man garrison. Word of the crisis got out and a French relief force was quickly organized and marched in from the west to rescue Fort Niagara. It was ambushed and destroyed by the British and Iroquois a mere stone’s throw away from fort’s embattled ramparts. Their last hope dashed, the French commanders surrendered.
Britain would control Fort Niagara through the American Revolution and briefly recapture it during the War of 1812.