A series of on-going reports from Tim
Cordell, with the expressed approval of the folks at Fort William Henry!
Your on-the-scene, AND behind-the-scene, companion!
Lake George has frozen over early this winter. From a half mile out on the lake ice I stand and look south at Fort William Henry. She sits there black and low, riding out the worst time of the year. What I am seeing and feeling is exactly what our ancestors saw and felt in January of 1757. The effect of this on me justifies, to my mind, the existence of Fort William Henry in our time.
My name is Tim Cordell and I have been invited by Rich & Elaine to submit reports from Fort William Henry. My correspondence will update you on the affairs of Fort William Henry as well as other local places portrayed in
The Last of the Mohicans. I am a featured storyteller at Fort William Henry, an associate of Bateau Below and a member of the New York State Archaeological Association-Adirondack Chapter.
In the fall of 1952 two men observed the mound of the long buried Fort William Henry. The land had never been disturbed. Fearing that a motel or other construction would cause the site to be lost forever, they decided to preserve it. The Fort William Henry Corporation was formed with the intent of rebuilding the fort. Harold Veeder and Alden Shaw saved an American shrine.
The original fort lasted 20 months. The rebuilt fort has lasted 48 years.
Recent archaeology in the fort courtyard has determined that the west barracks is slightly off of the original foundation. This was an exciting discovery because the archaeologists were uncovering undisturbed artifacts. What impressed me was the fact that I was seeing charred wood from Montcalm's burning of the fort. The fire was so intense that some of the bricks unearthed were distorted-actually twisted! This was the reality of the history that we read about and watch in the movie. No romance in this ground, rather, the stark evidence of the ferocity of the destruction.
When I give my talks in the fort courtyard I like to point out to my listeners that as we look out over the curtain walls we can see the land forms in the distance that are exactly what the garrison saw so many years ago: French Mountain to the east, Rattlesnake Cobble and Prospect Mountain to the west. From our vantage point no houses or parking meters disrupt the view. It works.
I visited Bunker hill a few years ago. It's a small grass covered knob on the side of a road. A large obelisk sits on top and when you look out from the "summit" you see thousands of brownstone tenements and a million people. I couldn't get a feel for the place as it once was. At Fort William Henry I most certainly can.
This New Year's Eve I was invited to a friend's house. We sat around, played Celtic music and had a good time. Outside there was a deep covering of snow and it was very cold. My friend's house sits just off of the Fort George Road and directly on what I believe is the massacre site. I mentioned this to the party guests and they appreciated it. So, in the new year, we toasted those who served and those who died literally beneath our
Happy New Year and warmest regards to all;
Lake George, N.Y. - January 17, 2001
Tim Cordell LEFT: During a belt axe demo -
RIGHT: Posing with one of his works, a Ranger portrait
THE FORT DISPATCHES:
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... FIRST DISPATCH - February
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... SECOND DISPATCH -
March 25, 2001
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... THIRD DISPATCH
- May 13, 2001
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... FOURTH DISPATCH
- June, 10, 2001
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... FIFTH DISPATCH - September 29, 2001
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... SIXTH DISPATCH - January 12, 2002
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... SEVENTH DISPATCH - March
FROM THE RAMPARTS ... EIGHTH DISPATCH - June
FROM THE RAMPARTS ...
- November 10, 2002
FORT WILLIAM HENRY ... The Siege & Massacre
FORT WILLIAM HENRY ... Digging for Clues
DEATH OF LORD HOWE
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