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Rebels, redcoats face-off this weekend

ORWELL Those interested in learning more about Vermonts role in the American Revolution will have an opportunity to get personally acquainted with it this weekend. The Mount Independence State Historic Site will host Soldiers Atop the Mount, the annual living history weekend featuring Revolutionary War re-enactors on Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20. On the night of July 5-6, 1777, the American Army under General Arthur St. Clair withdrew from Mount Independence in Orwell and Fort Ticonderoga, as British General John Burgoyne sailed down the lake pursuing his plan to split New England off from the rest of the United States. Faced with a British force more than twice his size, 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 Burgoynes British army. The fact that these actions preserved the army and led to the stunning American victory in October at the Battle of Saratoga didnt 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. Visitors can walk through the American and British camps and talk with the men and women from re-enactment units that portray some of the actual units that garrisoned Mount Independence. Admission is $6 for adults and free for children under 15, and includes entrance to the museum and all activities. 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 nations 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 www.HistoricVermont.org/sites Schedule Saturdays Activities 10:30 a.m.: Camps open with ongoing demonstrations of revolutionary military camp life including the childrens special activities tent and a history scavenger hunt. 11:00 a.m.: Learning how to drill the American way for children and the young at heart. 11:30 a.m.: Guided tours of military camps. 1:00 p.m.: Artillery Demonstration. 2:00 p.m.: Reading of the Declaration of Independence. 2:15 p.m.: A short performance by the Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife & Drum Corps. 3:00 p.m.: A narrated military tactics demonstration. Sundays Activities 10:00 a.m.: Camps open and history scavenger hunt begins. 11:00 a.m.: Artillery demonstration. 11:30 a.m.: Guided tours. 1:30 p.m.: A narrated military tactics demonstration. 3:30 p.m.: Site interpreter Paul Andriscin will give an illustrated program, What the Soldiers Carried and Why, in the auditorium. Directions: To reach the site, take Route 73 west from Orwell and take the first left turn. This is a paved town road that forks; take the right fork. The road will turn to gravel and go parallel to Lake Champlain. Once again the road will fork; take a sharp left hand turn towards a small marina. The parking lot for the historic site is on the left at the top of the hill.

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