Re-enactment will mark bicentennial of 1814 cable carry

Watertown Daily Times

The above photo depicts the 2006 cable carry re-enactment in Ellisburg. The event was held as practice for this year’s bicentennial, to be carried out next weekend from Ellisburg to Sackets Harbor.

SACKETS HARBOR — Elaine J. Scott, Henderson historian, insists that the significance of the War of 1812 cable carry is often downplayed.

“It’s a really important story,” said Ms. Scott, recording secretary with the Henderson Bicentennial Committee. “From what we understand, the movement ended the War of 1812 on this frontier. Once the supplies got to Sackets Harbor, they were able to equip a warship and the British did not have anything comparable.”

History buffs will have a chance to learn all about the event’s significance today and June 7 and 8 with the bicentennial cable carry re-enactment.

The 1814 cable carry began with the Battle of Big Sandy Creek, fought during the night of May 29. At the time, equipment was being moved from Brooklyn to Sackets Harbor for armament of the frigate USS Superior, which would carry 66 heavy guns and have a crew of about 700 men.

“This would have been the largest frigate in the American Navy during the War of 1812,” said Patrick Wilder, committee member. “The ship would drive the British off of Lake Ontario and back to Kingston and upper Canada.”

But before all that could occur, the Americans had to move the supplies up Lake Ontario. A skirmish occurred in Sandy Creek when Americans and Oneida Indians ambushed British forces.

The first part of the re-enactment at 10 a.m. today will honor those fallen in the Battle of Sandy Creek. Crowds will gather at the South Landing Bridge, Ellisburg, where the battle occurred. Sandy Creek town and village historian Charlene Cole will be the host.

“I’m going to talk about the whole battle,” Ms. Cole said. “In the other part of the presentation the Daughters of the War of 1812 will place a wreath.”

The bigger part of the event will be held June 7 and 8.

In 1814, rather than risk another battle on the water, the Americans obtained help from militia members and local farmhands to move the rest of the material by land. This included carrying an estimated 9,000-pound, 600-foot-long and 22-inch-thick cable intended for the USS Superior’s anchor line and rigging. Although the actual event occurred over the course of four days, the trip for the re-enactment has been cut to two. “At any one time 200 men could pick this up,” Mr. Wilder said.

The re-enactment of the two-day event will begin at 8:30 a.m. June 7, with a ceremony to honor the 19 fallen British and Oneida Indians. A ceremony by the Historical Association of South Jefferson will commence at 9 a.m. at the Department of Environmental Conservation parking lot on Route 3, South Landing. Following that, volunteers, including about100 Boy and Girl Scouts, will set out for the day on their 10.7-mile walk to conclude just before 4 p.m. A 19.8-mile march will follow on Sunday, concluding about 3 p.m. in Sackets Harbor.

A full schedule of events is available at

Anyone interested in taking part in the event is welcome to attend.

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