Final preparations being made for this weekend’s Battle of Ogdensburg

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OGDENSBURG — During his nearly 30 years as a re-enactor at the annual Battle of Ogdensburg commemoration, Timothy Cryderman said he is always pleasantly surprised when first time visitors tell him they had no idea of the role the community played in early American history.

“I meet people all of the time that didn’t know it happened,” Mr. Cryderman said. “They don’t realize that history did happen right here, very significant history that affected St. Lawrence County and New York state and the country.”

This year’s Battle of Ogdensburg celebration will take place Saturday and Sunday, and as it has done in past years, the event will include War of 1812 re-enactors from both Canada and the United States as they fight their way through the streets of downtown Ogdensburg.

Mr. Cryderman, a member of Forsyth’s Rifles Inc., is also a member of the Fort la Presentation Association, and a re-enactor who has been part of the Battle of Ogdensburg celebration since 1991. In those 27 years, he says he has watched the event grow and gain recognition outside the area as one of the most exciting and realistic period battle reenactments in the region.

“We had a great turn out last year,” he said. “I think people are finally started to realize the role this area played in the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812.”

This year marks the 205th anniversary of the British attack across the frozen St. Lawrence River from Prescott, Ontario.

The Saturday and Sunday battle is sponsored by Fort la Presentation Association in conjunction with Forsyth’s Rifles and the Fife and Thistle of Morristown.

An open house is set for the Sherman Inn on Franklin St. from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. The first stage of the commemorative battle will take place Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Riverside and Franklin streets and ends at State and Ford streets.

Making the battle as realistic and fun as possible is an annual goal, according to Mr. Cryderman. He said in Ogdensburg’s case it is aided by the fact he and other reenactors involved are using a map of the original battle more than 200 years ago.

“The streets that we are fighting on are the streets that they fought on,” he said. “We have a copy of a map that was made by one of the British officers right after the battle was over. It shows all of the known troop movements while the battle progressed.”

The original Battle of Ogdensburg began on a cold Feb. 21 in 1813, when British troops and local militia crossed the ice of the St. Lawrence to attack the garrison at Fort La Présentation. The battle did not end well for the Americans, who lost control of Ogdensburg.

The British burned the boats and schooners frozen in the river ice, and carried off artillery and military stores, according to historians.

This year’s Battle of Ogdensburg commemoration features a Canadian educator speaking on the “Strategic Context of the War of 1812”, as well as an English Country dance and open house at Sherman Inn.

The battle continues on Sunday at Van Rensselaer Point, at the Fort la Presentation grounds. All events are free and open to the public. For more information about the weekend’s events visit www.fort1749.org.

IF YOU GO

Here’s the weekend schedule:

Saturday — 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Open house at Sherman Inn, 615 Franklin St., featuring historical displays.

1:30 p.m. — Battle re-enactment begins at corner of Riverside and Franklin St. and ends at State and Ford streets.

3 p.m. — Lecture – The Strategic Context of the War of 1812 with David Moore at the Sherman Inn.

7:30 p.m. — English Country Dance at the Sherman Inn.

Sunday — 10:30 a.m. wreath laying at Sheriff York’s grave at the Ogdensburgh Cemetery.

1:30 p.m. — Battle at Van Rensselaer Point.

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