Wednesday, November 13, 2019: Fort Loudoun
Since my study of the French and Indian War has focused on locations further north, closer to the Canadian border, our first scheduled virtual field trip to Fort Loudoun in Tennessee intrigues me. Hopefully this experience will add to our understanding of this prelude to the Revolution. Fort Loudoun describes this hook-up like this:
During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the British Colony of South Carolina felt threatened by French trade activities in the Mississippi River Valley. To counter this, the colony sent the Independent Company of South Carolina to build and garrison what became Fort Loudoun in 1756. Located in present-day Tennessee, this post acted as a deterrent to the French and temporarily strengthened ties between the British and Overhill Cherokee. However, this alliance would fall apart in 1759, leading the Cherokee to besiege and capture the fort in 1760.
This lesson will introduce participants to the complex diplomatic relationships between the English and Native people of the South Eastern United States through the story of Fort Loudoun. Participants will interact with staff dressed in 18th-century clothing, learn about the different people who lived at the fort during its four-year existence and discuss the life of a soldier in the king's service during the French and Indian War.
Last year, we took advantage of the opportunity to visit Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. We were able to ask questions about artifacts and architecture, and our tour guide was very knowledgable. Here is how the folks at Monticello describe this virtual field trip:
Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd president of the United States of America. The revolutionary ideas of this man of the Enlightenment were instrumental in the creation of the United States. His home in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an architectural icon, with its neoclassical design drafted by Jefferson himself. But Monticello was also a working plantation, and the home to hundreds of enslaved people. The Founding Father who wrote “all men are created equal” was also a lifelong slave owner. Using images, props, and Google Streetview, a Monticello educator will introduce students to Thomas Jefferson’s world.
At the end of our session, we also met Tom Plott, who portrays the good doctor. Mr. Plott spoke to the class about the importance of accurate research and study when presenting a real historical figure to the public.
The time and character of this year's session has yet to be determined. We may get a second go with Dr. Craik, or we may get to visit with another figure from Mount Vernon (perhaps a Martha Washington or an enslaved person).