Saturday, May 26, 2012


While on vacation back east we drove an hour from my folk's house on Lake Champlain to Fort William Henry at the southern end of Lake George, which was built there to control the overland passage to the Hudson River valley. Fort William Henry was the scene of fierce fighting during the French and Indian war and serves as the setting for much of James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans. Although the original fort was burned by the French in 1757 it has been rebuilt exactly according to specs, and the entire fort is peppered with amazing displays and exhibits. It was very well done, and opened up our eyes to a very interesting period in the country's history.

Looks about right...heh, heh, heh.

Here we are in the dungeon.
We were literally the only tourists in the fort on the day we went so we had the place all to ourselves. They run tours every hour on the hour. We were a little early so we took our time walking through the exhibits and practicing our archery with plunger tipped arrows in the parade ground. At noon our tour guide, who was dressed in the authentic trappings of an 18th century British soldier, appeared to give us a tour of the fort.
He demonstrated how to load and fire "brown bess" and then let the kids hold it to see how heavy it was.
"Is you from the bank? 'Cause Pa says to shoot anybody from the bank!"
Watch out!

Better let a professional handle that. Bring it, Frenchy!
Following the musket demonstration we mounted the ramparts and were treated to the firing of a cannon. That would prove to be the highlight of the trip for the kids. It was a real BOOMER! So loud you could feel it through your sneakers and into the very marrow of your bones. I can't imagine what madness it would have been to be inside the fort with all of those big guns BOOMING away day and night. The only thing more maddening would be to be on the receiving end. Of course the French were similarly pounding away at the forts inhabitants with deadly mortar fire that exploded over the fort and rained down death from above. They had several displays crammed full of mortar fragments unearthed at the sight. Some were as big as dinner plates. That's a tough business.
Miles loved the cannons.

Following the tour, which really was wonderful, they took the kids down to the recruiting office where they signed up to fight the French in return for one of the King's shillings, a wooden coin with "Fort William Henry" on it.

Learning their new trade as soldiers.

This picture looks like Miles is urging me to join in the charge, but, in fact, he was telling me that he didn't want me to take his picture.
Charge! (Our guide fired his musket a second time, BOOMEROOSKI, much to the delight of the kids and here you can still see the smoke from the gunpowder hanging in the air.)
Sarah disarming Miles.

"Step right up and mark your X."

Mom helped Miles sign his enlistment papers despite being an avowed pacifist.

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