As the Union Jack flew over Fort Stanwix, Haudenosaunee warriors danced, the 60th Regiment of Foot drilled on the parade ground, and children played Graces on the ravelin. Music wafted up to the bastions, where cannon blasts sent shock waves far afield. Constant streams of civilians were questioned by the commandant as to their request to enter the fort. An accommodating officer by nature, he penned passes to all who entered his office in the casemate.
This is not a description from 1758 but one of the recent “French and Indian War Encampment: Clash of Cultures” weekends at Fort Stanwix National Monument. Park rangers and reenactors joined forces in telling the visiting public about the people and events of the war which established British domination over the rich resources of North America.
One visiting family, with strong British sympathies, unexpectedly “turned in” their French relative as a spy. The fort’s commandant, hampered by the language barrier, eventually struck an accord with the spy, agreeing to his release in exchange for him gathering information on the French forces at Fort Niagara, 190 miles to the west. To date, he has not returned with any reconnaissance but he did say, with a broad smile as he left the fort, he thoroughly enjoyed British hospitality – in perfect English.