Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 4 - Fort Ticonderoga

When my Dad talked about this History Field Trip and what he wanted us to see he said we needed to see Fort Ticonderoga. When we looked on the map and saw that it was a 4 hour drive from Boston we thought that it was a strange request. But since it was on his desired itinerary we made it happen.  After visiting Salem on our third day we drove through New Hampshire and into Vermont. After a good nights rest we headed to the fort for day 4 of our trip.

We parked near the gardens and walked through them first. There were a number of gardeners putting in the crops. They had snow here only a few weeks ago so Spring planting was just going in.

 This is the walkway in the Kings Garden.
 A fountain in the center of the King's Garden.

 Gate leading out to the river.

The red star on the map shows that We are in New York but the other side of that river is Vermont.

The gardens were lovely!

The gardens were hosting some sort of fencing competition. It was fun to watch for a bit.

 We walked up the hill from the gardens to reach the fort. We ran into some soldiers who were busy building some huts that would be their Winter quarters.  Most soldiers didn't live in the fort. Most camped around the fort.
 Cannons, cannons everywhere!

This fort was originially built by the French and called Fort Carillon.  The British then captured it during the French and Indian War and renamed it Fort Ticonderoga which means place between rivers. This fort is located between Lake George and Lake Champlain and controls the portage road which was used by troops to transfer from one river to the other.

Every year the fort decides what year they want to reenact. Sometimes they are French, some years they are British. This year they were supposed to be French but since it was Memorial Day weekend they were American and the American Flag flew over the Fort.

 We watched some soldiers parade about for a bit.

They taught us about their muskets, how to load them and how they shoot them.

Evidently when they would stand in rows they would be tight together to make sure they didn't shoot each other. The row behind would be a half step over from the one in front and elbows were touching. That way they would know exactly where the others were.

Then we headed into the fort itself to explore the buildings.

 More cannon along these walls.

 Soldiers barracks.

We caught sight of and heard the drums and fife as they came into the parade grounds.

 The museum inside one of the buildings showed us all sorts of Weapons so I guess you could call it the armory. But mainly it taught the history of this fort.

I loved this painting showing Henry Knox transporting the cannon from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston to help with the battles there.

This man took us on a "tour" but mainly he just talked. He told us all about the history of the fort.
It is always difficult to "see" battles when they are described without a map or something to look at but he did a great job giving us an overview of the fort's history.

In some of the other buildings they had some craftsmen. We saw leather workers making harnesses and shoes. Somehow I didn't get a picture of them.

 These tailors were making waistcoats for soldiers.

Here is some of the defenses of the fort.

After a visit to the gift shop we decided to make the trek to the top of a nearby mountain, Mount Defiance. so we could look down onto the fort.

We really couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting and lovelier weather for our hike up to the top. The green amazed us. California has been so dry and brown for months it was such a change to see so much green around us.

 Here we are at one of the look outs.
 All the way at the top now.

 A few shots of the view from the top.

 I made it to the top too. And since I never seem to be in any pictures I am trying to master taking a selfie with my regular old point and shoot. Sometimes they turn out but almost always I am squinting.

The same man from our tour at the fort was at the top to tell us the history of the mountain we were standing on and about the fort again. His history lesson was so much better while standing up on that mountain. It was like we had a map laid out before us and we could actually see how the different battles played out because not only could we see the fort and Lake Champlain but we could also see the other side of the mountain and see how the portage road/river linked the two lakes (Champlain and George). And how the fort was very strategically important for the French and the British. For the Americans not so much (The fort defends from invasion from the south and the American's really needed to defend themselves from invaders from the North during their conflict with the English) except that it gave them the cannon they needed to fight the British.

We were really glad we made the hike to the top of Mount Defiance it was the finishing touch to a lovely day at Fort Ticonderoga.

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