March 14, 2011
Symposium Shows War of 1812 Military Strategies
"Attack of Fort Oswego, on Lake Ontario, North America." May 6, 1814. Drawn by Captain Steele and engraved by R. Havell & Sons, c. 1814. Capt. Steele was on board one of the British ships and an eyewitness to the attack. Image is courtesy of the Collection of Paul Lear.
OSWEGO - Come to the American Foundry on state Route 104 West in Oswego for an intriguing series of lectures about Oswego County's role in the War of 1812. The day-long symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.
Five speakers will talk about War of 1812 topics, such as military and naval logistics, genealogy and grave marker research, militia and soldiers, the Battle of Oswego and William Cooper's Ark.
Noted local historian Paul Lear will speak at the Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium. His presentation will address the Battle of Oswego in 1814.
"The audience will learn new information and insights about the great British amphibious assault on Oswego that nearly changed the course of the War of 1812," said Lear. "If not for the quick thinking of Major General Jacob Brown, who sent the 3rd U.S. Artillery to Oswego, and its stubborn defense led by Lt. Colonel George Mitchell, vital naval supplies and stores destined for Sackets Harbor, where an American fleet was under construction, would have surely been captured by the British."
Lear added, "If that had happened, the U.S. Navy would not have been able to maintain pace with the Royal Navy's shipbuilding efforts and would have lost the battle for naval control of Lake Ontario. This would have left the State of New York primed for invasion by veteran British troops arriving from Europe after the defeat of Napoleon."
Lear received a master's in public archeology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor's in anthropology history from SUNY Albany. He now serves as the site manager at the Fort Ontario State Historic Site. His previous experience includes work as an interpretive programs assistant at New Windsor Cantonment, Washington's HQ in Newburgh and at the Fort Ontario State Historic Site. An historical archeologist, Lear previously worked for the New York State Museum Cultural Resource Survey and the Archeology Unit of the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites. Lear also serves on the boards of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and the Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council.
Dr. Gary Gibson is another distinguished historian who will be at the symposium to present his lecture "A Duty Troublesome beyond Measure" - Military and Naval Logistics on the Canadian Frontier during the War of 1812.
"Supplying the fleet and army at Sackets Harbor along the traditional route of the Mohawk River, Oneida Lake and Oswego River was an integral strategy of the campaign," said Gibson, an expert on naval affairs on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. "An interesting way to look at the situation is to compare American and British logistics and flush out the common problems that both sides faced."
Gibson holds a doctorate in computer science from the California Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Case Institute of Technology in Ohio. He now serves as vice president and chief administrative officer for Velocity Servers, Inc. an Internet telecommunications company. A self-employed consultant and historian, Gibson is also the owner and president of G Systems in Sackets Harbor.
Gibson has long held an interest in history and has written much on the topic. For nearly twenty years, he has explored the naval War of 1812 on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. His numerous historical papers and publications include: "Spies! Espionage and Intelligence on the American-Canadian Frontier, 1812-1815," "Secret Weapons of the War of 1812," "The United States Navy at Sackets Harbor, 1810-1834," and "A Select Bibliography of Sackets Harbor and the Untied States Navy on Lake Ontario During the War of 1812."
Gibson is a member on the Board of Trustees of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Inc. and on the Board of Directors of the Sackets Harbor Area Cultural Preservation Foundation, Inc.; both located in Sackets Harbor, New York.
Supporters of the War of 1812 Symposium include: Friends of Fort Ontario, Inc., Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, City of Oswego, Continental Arms Collectors Association, Inc., The Palladium-Times, Oswego Harbor Festivals, Inc., The Oswego County Heritage Foundation, The Half-Shire Historical Society, Daughters of the War of 1812, and the H. Lee White Marine Museum.
To follow War of 1812 Commemoration activities or to learn more about the history of Oswego County, go to visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/.
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