"By Land and By Sea"- The Jacobites Invade Fort Ontario!
By Chris Timm
The weekend of September 1st to 2nd, Fort Ontario, in Oswego New York, was transformed into Scotland. An event called "I Am Come Home" brought forces from the Army of King James to this unique site for a weekend re-enactment focusing on the early stages of the 1745 Jacobite rising.
Saturday started with a landing by Prince Charles courtesy of the tall ship Sara B acting as the French ship Du Teillay. But prior to that, just as happened with the Prince on his journey from the continent in 1745, his ship was chased by the English. The 71' ketch Royaliste provided the opposition. But as was the case with history, the guns of the Royaliste could not stop the Sara B. Once safely anchored off shore, a skiff was dropped and the Prince was taken ashore to be greeted by his loyal highlanders.
Later that day, the forces emboldened by the arrival of the Prince attacked the fort which was acting as Ruthven Barracks. As happened in 1745, the Crown Forces were able to successfully repel the attack. Later in the day, highland games were held for both adult and youth participants. The evening witnessed a lively ceileigh with a large contingent of the public coming back to enjoy the beautiful, star-filled night sky.
Sunday, a period correct Presbyterian church service was held then it was time for the Jacobites to strike a blow for King James. This day the fort would be designated as Fort Inversnaid, a Crown Force garrison in the highlands at the time. With an artillery piece in tow, the forces loyal to the Stuarts were able to breach the main gate and fight their way into the fort. The Crown Forces retreated back into the barracks where they put up a spirited defense. Finally, with smoke billowing out of their refuge, the Union Jack was lowered and the Crown Forces marched out to surrender. Another bastion of King George falls to the highlanders!
"I Am Come Home!" was the first event of its kind held at the fort and the first dealing with this part of the rising for the Army of King James. The site was simply superb; well suited to this type of event. A good turnout by an enthusiastic public made it even better. Congratulations go to Paul Lear and his excellent staff for putting on a fantastic event. Fort Ontario is a beautiful site on the shore of Lake Ontario with nice grounds and lovely stone buildings. It was perfect for this type of occasion.
Due to the success of the weekend, and the potential for it to be even better, another event has been planned for August 29 to 30, 2008. Again it is anticipated that there will be sea elements with tall ships, multiple assaults on the fort, a plan for civilian artisans and traders plus highland hospitality.
For further information on this event, or for the 1745 Jacobite Rising time period in general, visit our website at www.1745rising.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org