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Feb. 14, 2012

Historians Discuss Naval Control of Lake Ontario
and the Role of the U.S. Marines
at Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium

March 31 at the American Foundry -

BATTLE OF SACKETS HARBOR - Painting by H. Peabody Flagg depicts the first Battle of Sackets Harbor in 1812. The original oil on canvas painting, c 1904, hangs in the Flower Memorial Library in Watertown. Image appears courtesy of Flower Memorial Library.

OSWEGO, NY - The American Foundry on state Route 104 West (behind Fajita Grill) in Oswego hosts the second annual Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium Saturday, March 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event commemorates the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Several noted historians will present information about military tactics and how the war affected communities along the northern frontier of New York State.

Dr. John Grodzinski will lead off the program to discuss "The Command of the Lake: The Application of Seapower on Lake Ontario, 1812 - 1815."

"During the War of 1812, the control of the inland seas of North America and in particular, Lake Ontario, proved as vital to the achievement of British war aims as it was to the United States in securing its goals," said Dr. Grodzinski. "Lake Ontario was a theater far removed from the high seas that navies were accustomed to, but one which witnessed the establishment of the most powerful naval force ever assembled on the inland waters of North America."

Dr. Grodzinski is an assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. His interests include the North American colonial conflicts and naval warfare during the sailing age. He is also the editor of the online "War of 1812 Magazine" and leads battlefield studies on the War of 1812 and other conflicts.

The U.S. Navy, Army, and Marine Corps all played important roles during the War of 1812. Col. Clayton F. Nans will speak about the little known but significant service provided by the Marines.

"Relations with the army and navy were often difficult at times as the Marine Corps struggled to establish its own unique identity and ensure its survival during a period of economic austerity," writes Col. Nans. "Despite this, the Marines fought with distinction and won a legacy of valor during the War of 1812, which led to their continued service and growth as the navy expanded during the 19th century."

Col. Nans brings his expertise as an amateur naval historian, model shipwright, and retired Marine colonel. During his 28-year career in the Marine Corps, Colonel Nans served in numerous operational command and staff officer billets in the Second and Third Marine Divisions. During his tour as commanding officer of the Assault Amphibian School at Camp Pendleton, he founded the United States Marine Corps World War II and Korean War Assault Amphibian Museum. This museum won the 1996 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Magruder Award.

After leaving the Corps in 2004, Nans went on to serve as a senior military analyst for the Department of the Army. Currently living in Sackets Harbor, Colonel Nans is a member of the Nautical Research Guild as well as the U.S. Naval Institute.

The symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, and Fort Ontario State Historic Site with support from the Daughters of the War of 1812, City of Oswego, The Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Heritage Foundation, Oswego County Historical Society, Half-Shire Historical Society and Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

Registration is $25 per person and $15 with valid student ID. The registration fee includes lunch and workshop materials. Advance registration is required and may be paid by credit card through the Fort Ontario State Historic Site. Contact Jon Zella at 315-343-4711 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by e-mail at fortontariointern@gmail.com. Checks should be made payable to Friends of Fort Ontario Inc. and mailed to Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 East Fourth Street, Oswego, N.Y. 13126.

For accommodations and visitor information, go to visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322. To follow the War of 1812 activities or to learn more about the history of Oswego County, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/.

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