Living History — French Indian War Comes Alive at Fort Niagara

Soldiers of the British 60th Regiment of Foot.

Soldiers of the British 60th Regiment of Foot.

Map-of-NiagaraOld 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.

Fort Niagara sits on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Fort Niagara sits on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Sunday's re-enactment, which took place on the sprawling park lands south of the fort,  showcased the failed attempt by the French to lift the siege.

Sunday’s re-enactment, which took place on the sprawling park lands south of the fort, showcased the failed attempt by the French to lift the siege.

British light infantry await the arrival of a French relief column.

British light infantry await the arrival of a French relief column.

A handful of re-eanctors played the role of the Iroquois.

A handful of re-eanctors played the role of the Iroquois.

French soldiers march on the British lines surrounding Fort Niagara.

French soldiers march on the British lines surrounding Fort Niagara.

The British emerge from cover and form up to fire on the approaching French.

The British emerge from cover and form up to fire on the approaching French.

British grenadiers.

British grenadiers.

French troops return fire.

French troops return fire.

After the French defeat, native warriors descend onto the fleeing enemy to take prisoners.

After the French defeat, native warriors descend onto the fleeing enemy to take prisoners.

7 comments for “Living History — French Indian War Comes Alive at Fort Niagara

  1. 8 July, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Great stuff but they should have moved the picnic tables 😉

  2. 8 July, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Esto se ve excelente, muy buenas fotografías.

    Saludos cordiales.

  3. Jerryboy
    15 July, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    awesome! i wish they would’ve posted more video on youtube!

  4. Gavin Lindahl
    25 July, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Hey, I was one of the Rangers who was in this reenactment. I’ve been trying to find a good source of photos. These are good, do you have anymore?

    • 25 July, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Yeah, I’ve got a few dozen. I could zip them. How big an attachment can you accept?

      • Gavin Lindahl
        25 July, 2013 at 9:55 pm

        I believe the maximum attachment size for Yahoo mail is 10 MB

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