On Saturday, July 26, at 2 p.m., tall ships, gunboats, cannon, and re-enactors will follow in the waves and footsteps of American and British forces who defended and attacked Oswego in a desperate struggle for control of Lake Ontario. Royal Navy warships and gunboats will unleash broadsides and pound outnumbered and vastly outgunned American troops and sailors determined to defend Fort Ontario. The British will be met at the shore by Americans who will be pushed back to the fort as they were on that fateful day in 1814.
With Old Glory nailed to the flagpole, the 3rd U.S. Artillery, Light Artillery, and U.S. Navy will make a final stand before being flanked and driven from the fort at bayonet point after a brief but bloody struggle.
Dr. Gregory Baran, a physician in civilian life, portrays a British Army surgeon who will present interactive displays and lead lively discussions of medical practices of the War of 1812. Dr. Baran will explain the theory and practice of bloodletting, leaching, brain surgery, blistering, purging, as well as amputations necessitated by horrific battlefield wounds.
During the 1814 Battle of Oswego, more than 40 American and 90 British soldiers, marines, and sailors were killed and wounded. Lear warns that "props and descriptions are graphic!"
Children's history interpreter Shari Crawford will return on Saturday and Sunday of Harborfest to conduct interactive games, toys, and other fun activities for younger visitors.
"Stilts, bat and trap, hoops, cup and ball, cat and mouse, and more will prompt children to drop their video games and get some good old-fashioned exercise," said Lear. "Other activities will include artillery and musket demonstrations, historical merchants, displays, drills, camp life, and more."
On Saturday only a $6 parking fee will be charged in lieu of regular admission. The fort will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East Fourth Street in the City of Oswego. For more information contact Lear at (315) 343-4711.
For accommodations and Oswego County visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or call 1-800-248-4FUN (4386).
On Saturday, July 26, 2014, at 2 p.m., the May 5-6, 1814 Battle of Oswego will be reenacted at Fort Ontario and Oswego Harbor. Graphic depicts "Attack on Fort Oswego, Lake Ontario, North America. May 6th, 1814, Noon." By John Hewett. Etched by Robert Havell, London. 1 May 1815.
Paul Lear, Superintendent
Fort Ontario State Historic Site