2015-07-25 / News

Rogers Rangers History Program Is This Weekend

Fort Michilimackinac’s celebration of its 300th anniversary will continue Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26, with a special program honoring Major Robert Rogers, one of the fort’s most famous British commandants, and the Rangers military unit he served with. Major Rogers served in the British army from 1755 to 1777 and built a reputation as a talented leader, raising and commanding Rogers’ Rangers, a group known as rugged frontiersmen who used guerilla warfare tactics during the French and Indian War.

Visitors to the fort will be able to learn about Major Rogers, his unit, and his time at Fort Michilimackinac. The Jaeger’s Battalion of Rogers’ Rangers reenactment group from Grand Rapids will join the fort staff to present live demonstrations of military skills from the 1760s and camp life at the fort.

“This is not something we typically mention too much in our daily tours,” said Mackinac State Historic Parks museum historian Craig Wilson. “We usually focus on the 1770s, the American Revolution, and its impacts on Michilimackinac’s fur trade.”

During the French and Indian War, Rogers’ Rangers were known as a unit that thrived in harsh winter climates where others failed. Major Rogers was given a command because of his success against the French and took part in several battles in the Great Lakes region. After the war ended in 1763, he was appointed commandant of Fort Michilimackinac in 1766. He sent out expeditions from the fort in search of the supposed Northwest Passage, a water route believed to link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and while the passage was never found, the missions opened up new trade opportunities for the British. Major Rogers’ time as fort commandant saw him make both many friends and many enemies, and he became a controversial figure. His time here, Mr. Wilson explained, saw him accused of treason and almost court-martialed before his ultimate acquittal. Mr. Wilson said fort staff would talk about the events leading to the court-martial attempt and how it affected Major Rogers, his wife, and the fort’s other soldiers.

All activities at the fort are included with a regular admission ticket. The scheduled of events will be the same on Saturday and Sunday. The Michilimackinac: 300 Years tour will take place at 10 a.m., with a Trial of Robert Rogers tour at 3 p.m., and a Michilimackinac History Tour at 5 p.m. A presentation about Mr. Rogers’ time at the fort will be in the church at 1:30 p.m. A “Michilimackinac at Work” demonstration will be from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. A Tactical Military demonstration will be at 12:45 p.m. and a baaga’adowe game at 1 p.m.

Musket firing demonstrations will be held at 10 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m., with cannon firing demonstrations at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. Cannon drill activity demonstrations will take place at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. A men’s fashion show will take place at the parade ground at 11:30 a.m. with a women’s fashion show at 2:30 p.m.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2015-07-25 digital edition