From the site administrator’s desk:
SOLDIERS ATOP MOUNT INDEPENDENCE
Orwell,Vt.— New this year, the annual Soldiers Atop the Mount Revolutionary War living history weekend at the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, Vermont, will be held on September 8 and 9, 2012, changed from the traditional late July date. It was 235 years ago, in September 1777, that the Americans daringly tried to take back Mount Independence from the British and Germans who had occupied it since July of that year.
Dedicated reenactors and the historic site invite you to commemorate this stirring time. Witness demonstrations of military tactics, camp life, colonial crafts, cooking, and more. Meet and greet the soldiers and their families. Some of their units portray Revolutionary War units that garrisoned Mount Independence. On Saturday afternoon, be prepared to be moved by the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence and renaming Rattlesnake Hill “Mount Independence.” Attend Mistress Davenport’s schoolhouse and story time. The weekend includes artillery firing, music by the Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife & Drum Corps, and a guided tour to the southern battery, where part of this September 1777 raid took place. Walk in the exciting footsteps of history!
On Saturday, the camp, in a new location near the picnic area, opens at 10:00. Call for details. Admission is $6.00 for adults and free for children under 15, and includes the museum. Water and light snacks will be available for purchase in the museum shop.
American forces built Mount Independence in 1776 and 1777 to defend New England and Lake Champlain from the British enemy in Canada. On the night of July 5 and 6, 1777, the Northern Department of the American Army withdrew from Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga, as British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne attempted to split New England off from the rest of the United States. Following the Battle of Hubbardton on July 7, the British and Germans occupied Mount Independence until November.
A sudden raid before daybreak on September 18, 1777, began four days of skirmishing and assaults. British Brigadier General Powell refused American Lt. Col. John Brown’s request to surrender. This was the major skirmish in the history of Mount Independence. In the Mount’s southern battery area, archeological discoveries of musket ball scatter and a grenade confirm the heavy fire during this raid.
Although the Americans were unable to reclaim their fortifications, they did rescue prisoners, captured supplies and watercraft, and forced the British to send reinforcements here rather than to Burgoyne, who surrendered in October after the battles of Saratoga.
Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark, is near the end of Mount Independence Road six miles west of the intersection of Vermont Routes 22A and 73 in Orwell. It includes an air conditioned museum and nearly six miles of hiking trails. It is open daily through Columbus Day, 9:30 to 5:00. Call (802) 948-2000 for more information.