Posted by George A. Bray III on June 29, 1999 at 10:16:10:
In Reply to: F&I Encampment at Fort Ticonderoga posted by Sarah M. on June 29, 1999 at 04:01:38:
: Hi again --
: ANOTHER amazing weekend (but don't worry, it wasn't as good as the Gathering). That F&I Encampment at Fort Ticonderoga was really splendid. First, touring the fort was really interesting because it was covered with people with period costume and weapons, making it so much more REAL. The fort itself was in ruins at the turn of the century and has been redone very nicely, with an interesting museum. It all makes you conscious of the fact that Montcalm really walked on the stones of the parade grounds!!
: After touring the fort, Donna and I strolled through the "encampment" -- really, a real encampment, with the hillside covered with tents. For those of you like us for whom this is all new and unexplored, let me tell you -- these people take it SERIOUSLY. They cooked over open fires with cast-iron pots, drank out of peuter mugs or Williamsburg pottery, used wooden bowls and spoons, hung lanterns outside the tents, ...
: So wandering the tents, wondering how in the heck we were going to find Clabert (because we hadn't secured a time or place to meet), Donna and I were making a lot of noise when a voice called out to us, and it was him. Serendipity was at work that moment, because we wouldn't have recognised him, as his face was painted -- he was one of the Indians. So we met the famous Clabert Menard, aka "Clabair". You should all meet the famous Clabert -- what a sweetie!!! He was so hospitable. He introduced us to some of the others, and we learned some things about reenactments, the clothes, and more. Very interesting stuff.
: The "fight" itself was amazing to watch, as the French soldiers with their Indian allies took position on one side of the field, while the British soldiers including the 7' tall Grenadiers, the Rangers, the Highlanders (Black Watch), and the Indians allied to the British, manoeuvered on the other side. Cannons and muskets were fired on both sides, and slowly the British side moved up the field. The French took the high ground, but couldn't hold their ground and had to retreat. And just as the battle in 1955, gave way and surrendered to the British. Horrah!
: Donna and I kept thinking how much Soldier #2 would have loved it. He probably would have told them all how to do it right, being the only one trained properly by Dale Dye!
: After the battle, we found Clabair again, and I purchased (as did Donna) one of his wonderful wampum bracelets. If you don't have one yet -- men as well as women -- go to his website and see them. Donna and I LOVE ours!! I strongly recommend them.
: Later in the evening, we manoeuvered ourselves to stay for the festivities (as the encampment was staying on for the next day), when we got to see everyone spend the evening in their authentic characters. I must say that the Indians seemed to be having the most fun. When the French sat in small groups (and by the way, many WERE French, come down from Canada -- and the commands to the army were in French) and the British sat in small groups, the Indians all came together and had a rousing game of lacrosse. All of them had a go, on a rotational basis. Later, they all sat around the campfire singing fabulous Indian songs to the beat of a drum and dancing with the music.
: We left at 11:30pm long before the festivities were over. WHAT FUN THAT WAS!!
: THANKS ***SOOOO MUCH*** to Clabert/Clabair for being such an excellent host!
Glad you enjoyed the event from the perspective of a visitor. I was there and sorry we did not meet. Matter of fact I was at the Indian singing and all in the evening. I probably noticed you somewhere but did not know it. And I talked to Ken on a couple of occasions as well. He is doing remarkably well considering what he went through and it was great to have him back in the fold.
I will be at Fort Niagara this weekend commanding the 20th anniversary of the event and 240th of the actual siege. Of course, at Ticonderoga, they celebrated the 240th of Amherst taking the fort from the French. Got to say, 1759 was a great year.
Take care and hopefully next time you are about we will get to meet.
George A. Bray III
Major, Rogers' Rangers
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