News Releases

July 22, 2009

Revolutionary War Comes Alive At Vermont State Historic Site

Weekend At Mount Independence Features Military Demonstrations; Music; Tours

ORWELL, Vt. — The American Revolution will come to life the weekend of July 25 and 26 when the site of the largest colonial fortification hosts two days of re-enactments, demonstrations, and living history activities.

The annual "Soldiers Atop the Mount" Revolutionary War Weekend at Mount Independence begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, and runs through 4:00 p.m. Sunday, July 26.

"This event is one of our most popular programs," said Regional Historic Site Administrator Elsa Gilbertson. "The re-enactors, as well as the sights, sounds, and smells of the Revolutionary War, really help bring history to life."

This special weekend features exciting and interesting activities and demonstrations for all ages. Re-enactors depicting both Americans and the British will offer demonstrations on military tactics, colonial life, camp life, Mistress Davenport’s Schoolhouse with storytelling and fun hands-on activities, medicine, and colonial crafts.

At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday is the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, and the recreation of the christening of Rattlesnake Hill with the new name—Mount Independence.

The Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife & Drum Corps, featured in many area parades, will be providing music throughout the weekend. On Sunday afternoon at 3:00 will be an illustrated program on Revolutionary War history.

Constructed in 1776 and 1777 on a rugged peninsula jutting into Lake Champlain, Mount Independence was perfectly positioned to defend the southern lake and New England against British attack from Canada.

On the night of July 5 and 6, 1777, the American Army under General Arthur St. Clair withdrew from Mount Independence in Orwell and Fort Ticonderoga, after British General John Burgoyne sailed down the lake planning to split New England off from the rest of the colonies.

Faced with a British force more than twice his size that had occupied high ground from which they could bombard him, St. Clair abandoned the fortifications without a fight, and two days later at the Battle of Hubbardton soldiers from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire fought in a decisive rear guard action to halt Burgoyne’s army.

The fact that these actions preserved the army and led to the stunning American victory in October at the Battle of Saratoga didn’t prevent an outraged Congress from officially censuring St. Clair for the loss of the forts. He argued that his conduct had been honorable; demanded review by a court martial; and was ultimately exonerated.

Tickets are $6.00 for adults and free for children under 15. This includes admission to the event, the museum, and access to all the trails.

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 and is one of the nation’s best-preserved Revolutionary War sites.

It includes an air conditioned visitor center and museum and nearly six miles of hiking trails, including the award-winning Baldwin Trail, which meets outdoor standards for handicapped accessibility and features new interpretive signs.

Call (802) 948-2000 for more information or visit

Source: Division for Historic Preservation
Last Updated at: July 22, 2009 15:17:17