Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Prize Raffle Final Call

Time is running out!  This is the Final Call to Purchase Raffle Tickets in support the Friends of Fort Frederick by post.  The List of Prizes in order of Drawing are:

The Lang Lyman Style Shot Pouch.
The Fiorillo Backwoods Hunting Pouch
The Wulff Series of Autographed Books
The DeJonge Custom Bonnet
The Leach Samois Style Folder
The Siedeman Haversack & Market Wallet Set
The Browder Leather Canteen

In addition to those prizes previously featured, the following items have been recently donated.  Decriptions on the blog to follow:

The Kobuck Tumpline
A Rare Copy of Sons of a Trackless Forest
The Kobuck Fingerwoven & Beaded Legties.

Ticket Requests  & Payment must be recieved by mail on or before Tuesday January 22nd. Late arrivals or payments after the tickets sell out will be returned uncashed after the event.   Availability updated nightly, Rules and Info posted here.   

Featured Sponsor: Longhunter Leather Company

Our next featured sponsor is Longhunter Leather Company.  Longhunter Leather Company generously donated one of their popular Leather Canteens. Their current catalog describe their canteens as follows:

Our canteens hold approx. 28 to 32 oz., dyed in Walnut med to a dark-brown, are fully lined with pure beeswax, have a hemp strap with leather tabs and stoppers carved out of sassafras or apple wood. They are very functional and durable, with proper care will serve to meet your historical reenacting or trekking needs.

For more information or to view their entire catalog, click here.

Featured Sponsor: The Corp of Light Troops

 Our next featured sponsor is  The Corp of Light Troops.  The Wisconsin based reenactment group generously donated the beautiful hand-sewn linen haversack and market wallet set featured in the photos.

The Corps of Light Troops reenacts British Light Infantry and Colonial Rangers of the F&I War and Pontiac's Uprising. Their current impressions include Tute's Company of Roger's Rangers, Balfour's Company of Gage's Light Infantry, and The 55th Regiment Company of Light Infantry.

For more information, or to contact The Corps of Light Troops, click the following link.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

VA Rangers

In 1755, far removed from the scouts reconnoitering French Carillion for Sir William Johnson, another famous Provincial was coordinating Rangers deployments further south.  

To Captain Baylis, of the Prince-William Militia, will give you this; and leave you a reinforcement of twenty men—with these, and the Detachment of your own company, which has now certainly rejoined you; you will be sufficiently able to send out several scouting parties: And it is my desire, you do your utmost to scour these parts, and protect the people.

You will deliver Mr Baylie what carpenters tools you have in the Fort: as he has orders to build a small Fort at the Mouth of Little Capecapon. I am &c.


May 12th 1756.

N.B. Take Receipts for the several Tools you deliver the Officers.

To Captain William Cocks, of the first Company of Rangers; and Captain John Ashby, of the Second Company.

You are hereby ordered, to remain with your Companies at George Parkers’ Plantation, where you are to erect a Stockade Fort; in building of which, you are to follow Lieutenant Bacons Instructions; he being sent to direct and plan the same. As  is intended for the protection of the Country People, there is no doubt but they will assist all in their power, especially in providing Tools which, without, you may meet with some difficulty. If Lieutenant Bacon should apply for an Escort to conduct him to Captain Ashby’s Company, or to any other place, to which it may be dangerous travelling without—you are to see that he is allowed it: you are to send a trusty Sergeant with proper powers &c. for Recruiting, in order to complete your Company. You are to be very careful to see that no irregularities are committed by your Company, that strict Discipline is observed, and that great pains be taken to inculcate morality and good Harmony, among the Men.
You are to build Barracks therein for your men, and a Magazine for the Reception of the Stores which are to be sent hither: also, to receive necessaries for your own Company.
You are to collect all the Publick Arms and Horses, which you may hear of in the parts adjacent to you, and secure them until they are called for. You are to transmit me the first day of every month, a particular Return of the State of your Company, relating to the variations that may have happened; as also an exact account of your proceedings since your last Return. Besides  these, you are to send me a weekly Return, signed by yourself and Officer, of the State of your Company. You are to provide yourself upon the most reasonable terms, with such Tools as you find absolutely necessary to carry on the work. You are to receive provisions for immediate use, according to my order at Pearsalls and you will hereafter be supplied from this Fort with what you want. By return of the Waggons which came up with Major Lewis’s party, you will receive about eight hundred weight of Flour; and of  that you are to be particular in seeing no waste is committed &c.

N:B. Captain Ashby’s Company is stationed at Sellar’s and McCrackins; at the direction of Lieutenant Bacon.

A keyword search of the George Washington Papers is a great place to start tracking primary source information regarding VA Rangers during the F&I, or Continental Rangers during the AWI.

For a general overview on VA rangers during the F&I War, click here.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Battles on Snowshoes?

January 15, 1757. Agreeable to orders from the commanding officer at Fort Edward, I this day marched with my own Lieutenant Mr. Stark, Ensign Page of Captain Richard Roger's company, and fifty privates of said companies, to Fort William Henry, where we were employed in providing provisions, snow-shoes, &c, till the 17th, when being joined by Captain Spikeman, Lieutenant Kennedy and Ensign Brewer of his company, and fourteen of their men, together with Ensign James Rogers and fourteen men of Captain Hobbs's company, .....  we began our march on the ice down Lake George, and at night encamped on the east-side of the First Narrows ... The 19th we marched three miles from our encampment further down the lake, and then took the land, and, upon snow-shoes, travelled northwest about eight miles from our landing, and three from the lake, where we encamped.

-Excerpts from the Journals of Major Robert Rogers.

Our soldiers make great progress in walking on snow-shoes, but men, not accustomed to them, find them very fatiguing. These inventions are made of hoops of hickery, or other tough wood, bended to a particular form, round before ; and the two extremities of the hoop terminate in a point behind, secured well together with strong twine ; the inward space is worked, like close netting, with cat-gut, or the dried entrails of other animals. Each racket is from three quarters to one yard in length. At the broadest part, which is about the center, where it is fastened by thongs and straps to the person's foot, it is about fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen inches ; a light lively man does not: require them so large as he who is more corpulent and less active ; the hard-soled shoe is not at all suitable to them ; they must be used under mogosans, as well, for the sake of the wearer's feet, to keep them warm and preserve them from the snow, as that they will not bind on so well, nor be so soon worn out. The uncouth attitude, in which men are obliged to walk, is what renders them laborious the body must incline forward, the knees bend, ancles and instep remain stiff as if the joints in those parts were completely ossified, and the feet at a great distance asunder; by this description, which is the best I can give, the reader may form to himself a lively idea of the snow-ssioes, or snow-rackets, so fre quently mentioned in the course of this Journal...

- John Knox, December 1759, A Historical Journal of the Campaigns in North America, vol 2

"RACKET is also a kind of snow shoe, or machine, which the savages of Canada bind to their feet, to enable them to walk more commodiously on the snow; made much in the manner of a tennis-racket. Its figure is a lozenge, of which the two obtuse angles are turned off. It is bound about with very fine thongs of leather, the mashes of which are much smaller and closer than those of our rackets. In the middle is fitted a kind of shoe lined with wool or hair, to be tied on to the ancle [sic]."

- A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences; Comprehending All the Branches of Useful Knowledge", 2nd Edition, Volume IV, A Society of Gentlemen, 1764

After struggling thro' the snow some hours, we were obliged to halt to make snow shoes, as Mr. and the guide had left theirs at arriving upon the ice. Here we remained all night, without any blankets, no coat, and but a single waistcoat each, for I gave one of mine to Mr. , who had laid aside his green jacket in the field, as I did likewise my furred cap, which became a mark to the enemy, and probably was the cause of a slight round in my face ; so that I had but a silk handkerchief on my head, and our fire could not be large, as we had nothing to cut wood with. Before morning we contrived, with forked sticks and strings of leather, a sort of snow shoes to prevent sinking entirely; and on the 15th, followed our guide west all day,....

- Excerpt from the Henry Pringle Letter describing his ordeal.   Journals of Major Robert Rogers, Hough Edition 1883.

Snowshoes, along with ice skates and ice creepers were indispensable equipment for northern ranging during the 18th C.    For more information, see this 18th Century Material Culture Resource Center link , or this interesting article on Snowshoes in New France.      The above image is The March of Roger's Rangers by Frederick Remington (1896).

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Exercise in Scout marches & Bush fiteing...

About this time Lord Loudoun sent the following volunteers in the regular troops, to be trained to the ranging, or wood-service, under my command and inspection; with particular orders to me to instruct them to the utmost of my power in the ranging discipline, our methods of marching, retreating, ambushing, fighting, &c. that they might be the better qualified for any future services against the enemy we had to contend with, desiring me to take particular notice of each one's behavior, and to recommmend them according to their several deserts, viz.

                            -Rogers' Journal, 1757

17th pleasant Day for this Climat Major Rogers this Day exercised his men in Bush fiteing which drew a great Number out of y‘ Camp, to view them.

The Rangers exercise in Scout marches & Bush fighting which made a very pritty figure.

                           - The Journal of Dr Caleb Rea. 1758

A third of your garrision is to be trained to go into the woods when necessary...

                            -The Thomas Gage Papers.  1759

Register today to Join our immersive event.  Garrison historic Fort Frederick and train for the woods-service.  Actually exercise in Scout marches & Bush fighting that you might be better qualified in the ranging discipline.

For event details click here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Featured Sponsor: De Messenmaker

Our next featured sponsor is De Messenmaker, the Traverse City, Michigan based knife maker that specializes in 17th and 18th C cutlery.

De Messenmaker has generously donated a Samois style folder for our charity auction. These folders were common French trade good items throughout the century, and became so popular they were eventually imported by British traders and copied by manufacturers in England.

An excellent overview of this style knife can be found in the article "French Knives in North America: Part 2" by Kevin Gladysz and Ken Hamilton,  in the Oct / Nov 2011 issue of Journal of the Early Americas.

The De Messenmaker Folder will be the Fifth prize drawn.   To contact De Messenmaker or to view more of their work, visit thier Facebook page:

Prize Raffle rules and details can be found at the "Prize Raffle" link above.