Authentically uniformed troops depicting the military forces of King George II of Great Britain and King Louis XV of France will re-create scenes of the French and Indian War during a three-day encampment beginning today at Old Fort Niagara.
The encampment is the largest in a series of summer programs, which will continue daily through Labor Day at the restored fort on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River.
Several hundred participants from various parts of the United States and Canada will display uniforms, equipment and lifestyles of the European regular soldiers, colonial militia and Native American warriors who fought for control of a North American empire between 1754 and 1763.
During the encampment some participants will live in the Fort Niagara barracks and some in tents.
While the soldiers are drilling and recreating tactical maneuvers, the women and children will play the parts of camp followers who accompanied every 18th century army into the field. Activities will be continuous from 9:30 a.m. to about 4:15 p.m. today, Sunday and Monday.
The French and Indian War, actually part of a world-wide conflict usually known as the Seven Years War, saw the Niagara Frontier pass from French to British control.
The British bombarded the walls during a 19-day siege until the French surrendered on July 25, 1759. The fort then remained in British hands until it was turned over to the United States in 1796.
Uniformed military interpreters will conduct daily cannon firings, drills and flintlock musket demonstrations for the rest of the summer. The domestic lives of soldiers, their wives and children will be demonstrated in an 18th century barracks.
The historic Fort Niagara Lighthouse, still in operation, is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily throughout the summer.
The Old Fort Niagara Association, which operates the fort, has elected the following directors, who will serve until 1993: David J. Bertuca of East Aurora; John Burtniak, Thorold, Ont.; Mrs. Joseph DiCamillo, Lewiston; Mark Francis, Niagara Falls; Reinhold C. Ferster, North Tonawanda; Robert Irwin, Buffalo, and W. Kirk Hastings, David Levine and Marion Lutts, all of Youngstown. Elected to complete a term ending in 1992 was James W. Currie of Lockport.
The fort opens at 9 a.m. daily throughout the year. Gates close at 7:30 p.m. daily from July 1 through Labor Day, and earlier during the rest of the year.