Sunday, 29 March 2015 13:48

"Officers' Duel!: Camp Oswego, October 3, 1755" Planned for April 11

Written by
Steve Wapen Steve Wapen Submitted photo

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego is proud to present our first installment of the 2015 History Lecture Series featuring Steve Wapen who will present "Officers' Duel! Camp Oswego, October 3, 1755," on Saturday, April 11th at 1:30pm. The event is free and open to the public.

In September 1755 during a British Council of War held at Camp Oswego, General William Shirley decided to postpone his amphibious attack on the French at Fort Niagara due to inclement weather, widespread sickness, and allied Indian advice against an attack so late in the season. Understandably, the combined British and colonial forces at Oswego were greatly disappointed - and all was not tranquil in camp - even amongst the officer corps. Recently discovered archival records from the Public Records Office in London reveal a fascinating and untold story of military camp life. On Friday, October 3, 1755 Lt. Joel Whittimore of the 51st Regiment of Foot was maliciously assaulted by Lt. William Middlemore, also of the 51st. At approximately 1:00 am, Lt. Middlemore attacked Lt. Whittimore with his hanger (sword) inflicting wounds so serious that Lt. Whittimore asked Dr. Kirkland, the Camp Oswego surgeon, if he was going to live or die. Lt. Middlemore was subsequently court-martialed for his actions.

Why did Lt. Middlemore attack a fellow officer in the same regiment as part of a purported challenge and duel? How did senior officers respond to this unfortunate incident? What was the outcome of Lt. Middlemore's court-martial? Finally, what become of the victim - Lt. Whittimore?

Mr. Wapen, a native Oswegonian and a graduate of SUNY Oswego, holds masters degrees from Cornell University and the University at Albany. He has worked in human resources and labor relations for over 35 years in the Southwest, Midwest and Northeast. Wapen currently resides in Chaplin, Connecticut with his wife Sharon (LaMay), also from Oswego.

Also opening on April 11th:

On April 15, 1865 President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in the iconic Ford's Theater by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. On April 21st of that same year, Lincoln's body was placed on a train bound for Springfield, Illinois where he would be buried, but stopped in over 180 cities in seven states - including New York. In memoriam of this event, the H. Lee White Maritime Museum will be featuring a temporary exhibit between the dates of April 11 - 30, 2015 encompassing the items owned by New Yorkers that were used and worn during the funerals.

This exhibit is made possible through the generous support of George DeMass, who will also be conducting an ecumenical service in memoriam of President Lincoln Sunday, April 12th at 3:30 pm

For more information, contact the Museum at 315-342-0480, or [email protected] For all the latest events, be sure to check

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