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Arthur St. Clair: General, governor, president

Ever wonder what would have happened if the television news show 60 Minutes had been around during the Revolutionary War? How would George Washington have handled an interview after his army spent the winter at Valley Forge? Would anti-war factions have accepted Washingtons report on combat operations in a war that seemed to drag on and on?

Find out when the Revolutionary War comes to life at the Mount Independence State Historic Site on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m. during, An Investigation into the Revolutionary Mind: What Were You Thinking, Arthur St. Clair?

The program, which commemorates the 230th anniversary of the American withdrawal from these major northern fortifications during the Revolution, features historian Paul Andriscin interviewing Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair (pronounced Sinclair), the commander of Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga, portrayed by Ennis Duling; and Private Austin, portrayed by Mike Austin.

The three will discuss just what happened as British General John Burgoyne and his British troops advanced and the Americans abandoned Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga.

St. Clair was born in Thurso, Caithness County, Scotland, on March 23, 1736. He attended the University of Edinburgh briefly and later studied medicine under Dr. John Hunter in London. He purchased a commission as an ensign in Britain's 60th Royal American Regiment and then served in Canada under Jeffrey Amherst and James Wolfe.

St. Clair married Phoebe Bayard of Boston in 1760 and resigned his British commission in 1762 when he purchased a sprawling estate in the wilds of the Ligonier Valley of Pennsylvania.

He commanded Fort Ligonier, from 1767-1769, and was appointed surveyor of the Cumberland District in 1770; he was designated by Pennsylvania Gov. William Penn as agent of the colonial government in his region in 1771. He was appointed justice of Westmoreland County court (Pa.) and served as secretary to a congressional committee at the Treaty of Pittsburgh in 1775. Soon after the treaty signing he was commissioned colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia and in the Continental Army. He commanded the Second Pennsylvania Battalion in an abortive raid on Canada. Then St. Clair was appointed brigadier general when he served with Washington's forces in the battles of Trenton and Princeton in 1776-1777. He was promoted to major general in 1777.

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