Fort to restage 1776 Christmas riot involving US soldiers

Middletown Press

TICONDEROGA, N.Y. (AP) — The first Christmas at Fort Ticonderoga under the newly formed United States was a riot — literally.

Staff and volunteers at the upstate New York tourist attraction and museum will stage a re-enactment this weekend of what’s known as the Christmas riot of 1776, when Pennsylvania soldiers attacked Massachusetts militiamen.  

Curator Matthew Keagle says the Pennsylvanians derisively referred to as “buckskins” and the New Englanders didn’t get along early in the American Revolution. Wintertime boredom and alcohol didn’t help matters.

Tensions erupted into an all-out brawl the night of Dec. 25, 1776, when a Pennsylvania battalion attacked Massachusetts troops, pulling the “Yankees” from their huts and beating them, and even firing off a few musket shots in their direction.

Saturday’s restaging of the riot will be based on newly discovered accounts of the incident.

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