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Bicentennial of Second Battle of Sackets Harbor to be celebrated Wednesday

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SACKETS HARBOR — The village will mark the legacy of one of its most important moments Wednesday as it commemorates the bicentennial of the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor.

The May 29, 1813, battle, in which American forces fended off a fierce British offensive, is listed by the National Park Service as one of the 20 most significant battles of the War of 1812.

The village during the war was a major shipbuilding site and an important base of operations for American forces on Lake Ontario.

In addition to honoring the battle’s history, the village will commemorate the centennial of the unveiling of the monument honoring military forces killed that day.

“With the two added together, it makes for a symbolically important day not only for Sackets Harbor, but really for the nation,” said Constance B. Barone, Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site manager.

Mrs. Barone said a large amount of planning went into re-creating many of the proceedings as they were when the monument was unveiled, an event that drew 3,000 people.

In 1913, a military chaplain from Madison Barracks gave the invocation, and on Wednesday it will be provided by a Fort Drum chaplain. Hundreds of students from the village will sing “America the Beautiful,” mirroring what took place at the unveiling.

Some of the descendants of the four youths who did the 1913 unveiling will be in the village on Wednesday to follow in their ancestors’ footsteps.

“We’re really tying in the past with the present,” Mrs. Barone said.

The monument was first placed by the now disbanded Northern Frontier Chapter of Jefferson County, United States Daughters of 1812. Jacque-Lynn Schulman, fourth vice president of the national organization, will be in attendance, and an open invitation is out to all of the organization’s members.

Mrs. Barone said plans were to have a representative of the secretary of the Navy on hand for Wednesday, but they fell through because of budget concerns.

Mrs. Barone said in 1913, the secretary’s representative was a pre-presidential Franklin D. Roosevelt, then assistant secretary. Also in attendance at the 1913 event was then-U.S. Sen. George H. Cobb, who was born in the village.

Events will be scheduled throughout the day across the village, from exhibition openings to an archaeology presentation.

“I think there will be a nice flow to the day,” Mrs. Barone said. “There’s something for everybody to find of interest.”

A full list of events in the village Wednesday includes:

n Dawn — A collection of cards will be placed on the battlefield site, creating a Field of Honor. All are invited to help place the cards.

n 10 a.m. — The “Weapons of the War” exhibit will open in the Lieutenant’s House Gallery, West Main Street.

n 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — A 200th anniversary commemorative envelope and stamp will be sold at the Lieutenant’s House.

n 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. — The monument to the battle, first displayed in 1913, will be rededicated.

n 3 p.m. — “The War of 1812 Archaeology and Sackets Harbor” exhibition will open at Hall House, Washington Street.

n 7 p.m. — “Archaeology and the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor: Why the Militia Deserves its Due” will be presented by historian Matt Kirk at the Battlefield Site barn.

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