Record numbers attend annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium

More than 250 people gathered to enjoy a weekend of history talks, demonstrations, art and literature during the third annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium, which was held April 5-7.

Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen formally opened the symposium by unveiling a painting of the U.S. Brig Oneida by local artist Tim Ames.

“The energy in the room was electric as War of 1812 passions still run high some 200 years later,” said Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear, chairman of the event. “There was a heated exchange between two speakers with opposing views about British Governor Prevost’s abilities and movements during the war; in particular, the September 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh. The audience was mesmerized as they watched these two heavyweights of War of 1812 history engage in such a lively debate.”

Eleven speakers from across the U.S. and Canada explored a variety of War of 1812 topics, including military training and battle analysis, maritime and military archeology, naval history, wartime society and commerce, espionage, and the art of war.

Participants also discovered engaging exhibits, living history demonstrators and historical authors who presented and signed their works.

Also at hand was a crew from WCNY-TV to interview participants and document the symposium for an upcoming program.

Lear added, “We’ve taken an important step toward developing Oswego County’s heritage tourism potential. Many people came in from out-of-town and are spreading the word of our history and hospitality around the U.S. and Canada. Even our speakers commented that they plan to promote our event in their own travels on the lecture circuit.”

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