LAKE GEORGE Exactly 250 years and two days before last Saturday, Aug. 11, British forces surrendered Fort William Henry to the French and that ceremony was meticulously commemorated on Saturday afternoon at the same spot it originally happened.
Village Mayor Robert Blais said that about a year ago, they learned about a descendant of the Marquis de Montcalm, the commander of all French forces in Canada.
The descendant, Georges Savarin de Marestan, a French Baron, came with his translator, Andre Gousse from Quebec. He was treated to a special band concert on Thursday night in his honor and on Friday night, he and local dignitaries had dinner at the Montcalm Restaurant.
He stood in front of the beautiful picture of General Montcalm, Blais said. Everyone was in period dress and the restaurant was set in period with tall candles on the tables. Blais said that on Sunday, Aug. 12, de Marestan traveled up the lake aboard the Mohican to TIconderoga on his way back to Montreal and his home in Perpignan, France, near the Spanish border.
Before the commemoration, Robert Flacke, owner of Fort William Henry, said how interesting it was that 250 years ago, two of the biggest empires in Europe tested their military skill in the wilderness that was Lake George.
They were worthy adversaries, Flacke said. The surrender was quite formal as were the rules of warfare back then. To the best of our knowledge, the surrender took place right on this spot.
Tom Nesbitt, secretary of the state French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration Commission, narrated the surrender as reenactors, including de Marestan as Montcalm, played out the surrender.
This was the only time in history that this many Indians were organized together by the French, Nesbitt said. They wanted to share in the glory and plunder of defeating the British.