Fort Ontario, Oswego featured in War of 1812 documentary

Fort Ontario State Historic Site and its superintendent, Paul Lear, will be featured in a documentary titled “Losing Ground: The Race to Preserve War of 1812 Battlefields in New York State,” at 9 p.m. Feb 10 on WCNY.

The documentary was produced by WCNY Public Television of Syracuse and brings together some of the nation’s foremost War of 1812 experts to reflect on preserving War of 1812 sites for future generations.

The program re-airs at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 on WCNY, 2 p.m. Feb. 17 on WCNY, 7 p.m. Feb. 17 on World, and 9 p.m. Feb. 23 on World.

“Lake Ontario was the main theater of action during the War of 1812 and Oswego was a major forwarding point for supplies and ordnance used to support the fleet at Sackets Harbor and army operations on the Niagara frontier,” said Lear, who chairs the Oswego County War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee.

The footage of Fort Ontario was filmed last September when Lear led a walking tour of the battlefield and described the British attack on Fort Ontario during the spring of 1814.

That topic will be explored in depth April 4 through 6 at the fourth annual Oswego War of 1812 Symposium to be held at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St., Oswego.

The public television documentary is hosted by Timothy Davis-Reed, a veteran of more than 150 episodes of series television, including six seasons on the Emmy-winning hit “The West Wing” and two seasons on “Sports Night.”

Now 200 years later, celebrations across New York state and Canada commemorate the veterans and battlefields of the War of 1812. But with each passing year, there is less and less physical evidence of this significant part of New York history.

As the population grows and unchecked development expands, preservationists worry that the lands that played a vital role in U.S. history are disappearing at an alarming rate. Once they are gone, so too are the opportunities of enrichment for generations of future Americans.

The program features top battlefield archaeologists as they walk through the hollowed grounds of 1812 sites from Oswego to Plattsburgh, and Ogdensburg to Sackets Harbor.

Experts include Dr. Alan Taylor, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; James Lighthizer, president, Civil War Trust; Keith Herkalo, author, historian and president of the Battle of Plattsburgh Association; Matthew Kirk, archaeologist and New York Council for the Humanities speaker; and Constance B. Barone, site manager, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Historic Site.

For registration information on the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium, contact Paul Lear at 343-4711.

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