LAKE GEORGE The British lined up along the entrance to the old courthouse in Lake George, facing the French and Indian troops as their superior officers pounded on the door demanding attention. It was the kickoff of the 250th anniversary celebration of the siege of Fort William Henry, demonstrated on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16.
More than 1,200 reenactors came to Lake George for the event, dressed in period costumes as British, French and of course, Indians.
Lake George Supervisor Louis Tessier emerged from the courthouse and addressed the opposing troops, now encamped in town.
Be it known to all men that the town board of the Town of Lake George, NY, takes pleasure in conferring the Freedom of the Town on said forces.
It was the custom of the day for military leaders to get permission to use their bayonets and march through the streets of the towns in which they did battle.
This freedom is conferred in memory of all those members of said armies and said allies in honor of their gallant service to their respective monarchs during the 1750s, Tessier said.
The British marched down Canada Street, stopping traffic while drivers and passengers hopped out of their vehicles and scrambled for cameras, followed by the French and Indian forces. They went back to their respective encampments in Battlefield Park, where the reenactors spent the weekend in authentic tents.
On Saturday, both forces lined up on opposing sides of the field for inspection by state Sen. Betty Little, Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Thomas and other notables.
Cannons roared throughout the day as the opposing forces demonstrated how the French tried to rout the British forces from their encampment just outside of Fort William Henry.
The fort was built for 500 people, and there were 2,300, so they had an entrenched encampment just outside, said George Neumann, who enthusiastically narrated the events. The French had about 8,000 militia.