SACKETS HARBOR The organizers of a War of 1812 program here have brought out a big gun in the world of historians for two events in one day.
Author Alan Taylor won a 1996 Pulitzer Prize in American history for his book William Coopers Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic.
Mr. Taylor, a distinguished professor at the University of California at Davis, has written five other books. His most recent is The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels & Indian Allies.
Mr. Taylor will speak Aug. 3 at the battlegrounds in a tent off Hill Street. He will give his perspective on Sackets Harbors role in the War of 1812. The free talk, with limited seating, begins at 6 p.m.
The program is supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, the Battlefield Alliance and local sponsors.
The professor also will be a guest at a War of 1812 bicentennial celebration dinner party at DeVitos at Madison Barracks held after the battlefield talk. Reservations for the event are due by July 1. The cost is $30. For more information, contact the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Site at 646-3634.
Mr. Taylors The Civil War of 1812, published by Knopf in 2010, examines the political rupture of North America wrought by the conflict between the U.S. and Britain.
In addition to a conflict between nations, the War of 1812 was a conflict between closely related peoples, speaking a common language and recently divided by a very porous border, Mr. Taylor said in a press release. That overlap of peoples and the nearby border complicated the allegiances of people in New York and the adjoining British colony of Upper Canada.
Mr. Taylor noted that while some people were committed to fighting for one side, others shifted sides during the war, or tried to lay low, or engaged in smuggling and espionage.
The commanders of Sackets Harbor had their hands full, fending off disaffected civilians in their midst while awaiting a British attack from nearby Kingston, Mr. Taylor said.
A native of Portland, Maine, Mr. Taylor graduated from Colby College in that state and pursued graduate study at Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass., receiving his Ph.D. in American history in 1986. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Va., he taught at Boston University. Hes taught at UC Davis since 1994.
His Pulitzer Prize-winning book presents the story of two men, William Cooper and his son, the novelist James Fennimore Cooper, who embodied the contradictions that divided America in its early years. Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of new social forms and new stories that evolved with the expansion of our frontier, according to the books description.
Mr. Taylors talk kicks off the ninth annual War of 1812 Weekend in the village, featuring living history re-enactors from the U.S. and Canada. Those events are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 4 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 5.
At 1 p.m. on Aug. 4, a groundbreaking will take place for the memorial to the approximately 50 Crown Forces men killed during the Battle of Sackets Harbor on May 29, 1813, and buried in an unknown grave on the battleground. The finished monument is scheduled to be dedicated on Aug. 3, 2013.