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Title: Quaint and Historic Forts of North America
Author: Hammond, John Martin
Language: English
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      *      *      *      *      *      *



  With sixty-five illustrations from original
  photographs. Large octavo. Handsomely
  bound in cloth. Gilt top. In a box.
  A LIMITED EDITION, printed from type
  which has been distributed. $5.00 net.

  _The Outlook, N. Y. C._

  “A book of elegance in form,
  illustration, and subject.”



      *      *      *      *      *      *


  By courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society





Author of
“Colonial Mansions of Maryland and Delaware”

With Seventy-One Illustrations



J. B Lippincott Company
Philadelphia & London

Copyright, 1915, by J. B. Lippincott Company

Published November, 1915

Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company
at the Washington Square Press
Philadelphia, U. S. A.


An account of the most famous fortifications of North America
is, in reality, a cross section of the military history of the
continent; and whatever ingenuity there may be in this method of
presenting the conspicuous deeds of valor of the American people
will, it may be hoped, add interest to the following pages.

So many races of men have wrestled for the North American continent
in, historically speaking, so brief a space of time! We behold the
Indian in possession though we do not know who was his predecessor
in holding the land, though the mounds of the Middle West, notably
Illinois and Arkansas, point to a race of a higher culture and more
developed knowledge of building than the red men had. There come
the Spanish with their relentless persecutions of the natives.
There come the English, French, Dutch, Swedish. And the claims of
each clash, to at length give way--despite the military acumen of
the French--to the steady, home-building genius of the English.

Of the strongholds which the Spanish built to maintain their title
to this part of the world there remain such substantial relics
as the old fort at St. Augustine, annually visited by thousands
of people, and that at Pensacola, Florida. The French are best
remembered by their works at Quebec. Of the defensive works of
the Dutch, on the Hudson, or the Swedes, on the Delaware, nothing
remains. The English were not great builders of forts; they were
essentially tillers of the soil. The most important English
military work of early Colonial days in America was Castle William
(Fort Independence), Boston harbor.

To the French with their restless explorers and indefatigable
missionaries to the Indians must be ascribed the credit of most
completely grasping the physical conditions of the North American
continent and of formulating the most comprehensive scheme for
military defense of their holdings. The French forts extended in a
well-organized line from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence west and
south through the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi to the Gulf
of Mexico. They originated and executed, all things considered, the
most daring and comprehensive military project ever conceived on
the continent of North America.

In the preparation of this work it has given me great pleasure
and has clarified to a marked degree my conceptions of the larger
movements of American history,--especially in regard to the
topographical considerations governing these movements,--to have
visited the seats of early empire in this country and the various
centres of military renown in its later days. All of the places
described in this book are worth a visit by the sight-seer as well
as the historian--that is, they contain visible monuments of the
Past. I have, myself, taken the greater number of photographs which
illustrate the volume. Others have been donated or purchased, as
the credit lines will tell.

It is, perhaps, as well to state that this work has been done
with the knowledge of the War Department of the United States,
which has very kindly allowed me to reproduce some of the pictures
in its archives and has greatly helped me with my researches
in its public records. When I have visited those few points of
historic significance still occupied by the army I have been very
courteously shown all points of interest not of present military
value and have been allowed to photograph scenes which I desired to
record which would have no worth to an enemy of the country.

In carrying forward my work I have freely consulted historical
authorities, among which I would like especially to acknowledge
indebtedness to the writings of Francis Parkman, who in his many
volumes has made the days of Old France in the New World a living
reality; to John Fiske, “New France and New England;” to Reuben
G. Thwaites, “France in America;” to various publications of
the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society; to Agnes C. Laut,
“Canada;” to William Henry Withrow, “Canada;” to Randall Parrish,
“Historic Illinois;” to the Hon. Peter A. Porter, “Brief History
of Old Fort Niagara;” to Benson John Lossing, “Pictorial Field
Book of the Revolution;” to E. G. Bourne, “Spain in America;”
to Charles B. Reynolds, “Old St. Augustine;” to Loyall Farragut,
“David Glasgow Farragut;” and to various books of travel and
reminiscence, among which I would like to mention: S. A. Drake,
“Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast” and “The Pine Tree
Coast;” George Champlin Mason, “Reminiscences of Newport;” Irene
A. Wright, “Cuba;” A. Hyatt Verrill, “Cuba;” Helen Throop Purdy,
“San Francisco;” Ernest Peixotto, “Romantic California;” Adelaide
Wilson, “Savannah, Picturesque and Beautiful;” Mrs. St. Julien
Ravenel, “Charleston, the Place and the People;” and I have
received valuable help in material and suggestions from various
State historical societies, which have been uniformly courteous and
desirous to be of service.

I wish to express gratitude to various friends and individuals who
have helped me with suggestions or photographs, among whom I may
mention Messrs. Henry P. Baily, Lloyd Norris, William H. Castle,
Edward P. Crummer, Maurice T. Fleisher, James Prescott Martin,
Edward H. Smith, and Harold Donaldson Eberlein.

  September, 1915.      J. M. H.



  STRONGHOLDS OF THE PAST                                        1

  BOSTON HARBOR                                                 25

  HARBOR                                                        36

  TICONDEROGA, LAKE CHAMPLAIN, NEW YORK                         49

  CROWN POINT, LAKE CHAMPLAIN, NEW YORK                         66

  CANADA                                                        72

  NOVA SCOTIA                                                   84

  THE CITADEL AT HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA                           93

  FORT GEORGE, CASTINE, MAINE                                   98

  FORT FREDERICK, PEMAQUID, MAINE                              105


  FORT ONTARIO, OSWEGO, NEW YORK                               122

  ISLAND, MICHIGAN                                             131



  ISLAND, NEAR PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE                       161

  ON THE THAMES, CONNECTICUT                                   167


  FORT MCHENRY, BALTIMORE                                      180

  FORT MARION, ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA                          190

  CUBA                                                         201



  RHODE ISLAND                                                 222

  FORT MONROE, OLD POINT COMFORT, VIRGINIA                     232

  CAROLINA                                                     241


  FORT MORGAN, MOBILE BAY, ALABAMA                             257

  LOUISIANA                                                    263

  FORT SNELLING, NEAR ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA                      268

  WYOMING                                                      273




  CALIFORNIA                                                   295

  GETTYSBURG--THE “CRATER”                                     299

  INDEX                                                        305


  The Ancient Watch-tower of Fort Marion, St. Augustine,
  Florida                                           _Frontispiece_
    (By courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society)

  Mighty Louisburg To-day, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia:
      To Sea from the Ruined Walls                               2
      All That Remains Standing                                  2

  Water-front of Present-day Detroit                            16
      Where Indian Canoes and the Palisades of the French Were.

  Old Block-house, Fort Pitt, Pittsburgh, Pa.                   18
    (From a Painting in the Collection of the Pennsylvania
      Historical Society)

  Fort Independence from the Water, Boston, Mass.               26
      Floating Hospital in Foreground

  Fort Independence, Castle Island, Boston, Mass.:
      Fort Winthrop from Castle Island                          30
      Main Entrance, Fort Independence                          30

  Harbor Side, Fort Independence, Boston, Mass.                 34

  Entrance to Fort Columbus (Fort Jay), Governor’s Island,
        New York Harbor                                         36

  Fort Sites in Present-day New York City:
      Fort Washington Point. Fort Lee on Opposite Shore         38
      Where Was Fort Amsterdam; the Customs House               38

  Fort Lafayette, from Fort Hamilton, New York                  45

  Fort Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, New York                    51

  Interior Views of Fort Ticonderoga, N. Y.:
      The Mess Hall                                             62
      A Council Room                                            62

  Crown Point, N. Y., in Dead of Winter:
      Where the Flag Flew                                       66
      The Ruined Barracks                                       66

  The Heights of Quebec                                         72
    (By courtesy of Detroit Publishing Company)

  Guns, Parade and Ancient Officers’ Quarters, Fort Annapolis
        Royal, N. S.                                            84
    (By courtesy of The Boston Times)

  View from Citadel Hill, Halifax, N. S.                        94

  Old Martello Tower, near Halifax, N. S.                       96

  Fort Niagara, on Niagara River, N. Y.                        114

  The South View of Oswego on Lake Ontario                     122
    (From William Smith’s View of the Province of New York,
     London Edition, 1757)

  Fort Michillimackinac and State Park, Mackinac Island,
        Michigan                                               137

  Old Block-house and Mission Point, Fort Michillimackinac
        Reservation, Mackinac Island, Michigan                 139

  Fort Massac, on the Ohio (La Belle Riviere):
      Memorial Monument, Erected by Illinois Daughters
        American Revolution                                    142
      From the River                                           142

  Entrance to Fort Putnam, West Point, N. Y., in Winter        148
      Showing Tower of New Academy Chapel in Middle Distance

  Sketch Snap-shots of West Point’s Historic Memorials:
      Fort Putnam’s Rocky Interior                             152
      Kosciuszko Monument                                      152
      The North Wall, “Old Put”                                152

  Fort Constitution (Castle William and Mary), Great Island,
        near Portsmouth, N. H.                                 162

  A Distant View of Fort Constitution                          165

  Historic Points on the Thames River, Conn.:
      Fort Griswold, Groton                                    168
      Fort Trumbull, New London                                168

  Entrance to Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia                       174

  The Moat in Winter, Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia               178

  Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md.:
      A View from an Aeroplane                                 180
      The Guard-house                                          180

  Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md.:
      Looking Toward the Lazaretto                             182
      One of the Old Batteries in Place                        182

  Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md.:
      From This Point the Star Spangled Banner Flew            187
      The Entrance                                             187

  Col. George Armistead                                        188
      In Command of Fort McHenry During the Siege

  Moat and Entrance, Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Fla.          190
    (By courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society)

  Incline Leading to Ramparts, Fort Marion, St. Augustine,
        Fla.                                                   196
    (By courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society)

  Morro Castle, Havana, Cuba                                   203

  Fort San Carlos de Barrancas, near Pensacola, Florida        209
    (By courtesy of the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce)

  Fort Scott and the Golden Gate, Presidio Reservation, San
        Francisco, Cal.                                        216
    (By courtesy of R. J. Waters & Co.)

  Lime Rock Light-house, Newport Harbor, Looking Toward
        Fort Adams                                             222

  Glimpses of Newport’s Historic Defences:
      Parade, Old Fort Adams                                   225
      Present-day Aspect of Fort Greene                        225

  Panorama of Newport Harbor, R. I., Showing Fort Adams at
        Left Middle Distance                                   230
      Goat Island in Central Distance.

  Fort Dumplings, Conanicut Island, a Revolutionary Relic
        Near Newport                                           231

  From the Ramparts of Fort Monroe, Looking Toward Hampton
        Roads                                                  232
      Taken During the Jamestown Celebration by the United
      States War Department and Reproduced by Special

  Garden View of One of Monroe’s Ante-bellum Residences        234

  Fire!!!                                                      236
      Showing Shells Just Leaving Mortars, Fort Monroe, Va.
      This Remarkable Photograph Was Taken with Modern High
      Speed Apparatus by the Corps of Enlisted Specialists
      Stationed at This Post.
    (By courtesy of the War Department)

  Casemates of Fort Monroe, as They Were During the Civil War  239

  Fort Sumter, a Pile of Stone on a Sandy Shoal                242

  The Deserted Casemates of Fort Pulaski, near Savannah, Ga.   253

  Scenes of Desolation at Fort Pulaski, near Savannah, Ga.:
      Parade and Ramparts                                      256
      The Battered Eastern Salient                             256

  Old Stone Tower at Fort Snelling, near St. Paul, Minn.       268

  Ruins of the Alamo in 1845                                   280
      From a Sketch Upon Map of the Country in the Vicinity
      of San Antonio de Bexar Made by J. Edmund Blake,
      1st Lieutenant Topographical Engineers, U. S. A.
    (By courtesy of the War Department)

  Fort Keogh, near Miles City, Montana                         289

  Fort Yuma, California                                        296
    (By courtesy of the War Department)

  Scenes at Valley Forge, Pa.:
      National Memorial Arch                                   300
      Washington’s Headquarters                                300

  Two Views To-day of the “Crater,” Petersburg, Va.:
      The Slaughter Hollow                                     302
      The Entrance to the Tunnel                               302



The tourist on the coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia--for
in summer hundreds of people seek out this pleasant land for its
cheerful climate--may come upon a little bay on the easternmost
verge of the land where is a deep land-locked inlet protected from
elemental fury by a long rocky arm thrust out from the shore into
the sea. He will not be able to surmise from the present aspect
of his surroundings that this was the site of mighty Louisburg,
the greatest artificial stronghold (Quebec being largely a work
of nature) that the French ever had in the New World. Of this
massive and menacing fortress, which cost thirty million livres and
twenty-five years of toil to build after the designs of the great
Vauban, hardly one stone lies placed upon another and grass and
rubble have taken the place of the heavy walls. Standing on the
ground where New France’s greatest leaders stood it is difficult
to-day to picture the martial pomp which once must have claimed
this spot, to visualize, more particularly, the setting for the
farcical onslaught of the zealous New Englanders of 1744, under the
doughty Pepperell, in their greatest single military exploit.

The Treaty of Utrecht, which provided a basis of agreement for
France and England in the New World for almost half a century, did
not establish boundaries between the two countries and the contest
to determine the question was unceasing, though not officially
recognized. France busied herself in building fortifications and
was ready frequently to formally draw the sword; yet it needed the
outbreak of the War of The Austrian Succession in 1744, in far
distant Europe, to precipitate the American quarrel.

The news of the beginning of this conflict came to Duquesnel,
commandant of Louisburg, before it reached the English colonies,
however, and it seemed to him an essentially proper thing to do to
strike against the English. He accordingly sent out an expedition
against the English fishing village of Canseau, at the southern
end of the Strait of Canseau, which separates Cape Breton Island
from the peninsula of Acadia. With a wooden redoubt defended by
eighty Englishmen anticipating no danger, Canseau offered no
great resistance and was easily taken, its inhabitants sent to
Boston, and its houses burned to the ground. The next blow was
an unsuccessful expedition against Annapolis Royal. By these two
valueless strokes Duquesnel warned New England that New France was
on the aggressive.

[Illustration: To sea from the ruined walls

All that remains standing


Enraged by the attacks upon Canseau and Annapolis and with the easy
self-confidence which is a heritage of the children of the hardy
north Atlantic coast, the people of Massachusetts were prepared
for the suggestion of William Vaughan, of Damariscotta, that with
their untrained militia they should attack New France’s mightiest
stronghold. Vaughan found a willing listener in the governor,
William Shirley, who helped the enterprise on its way.

The originator of this astounding project was born at Portsmouth,
in 1703, and was a graduate of Harvard College nineteen years
thereafter. His father had been lieutenant-governor of New
Hampshire. Soon after leaving college Vaughan had betrayed an
adventurous disposition by establishing a fishing-station on the
island of Matinicus off the coast of Maine. Afterward he became the
owner of most of the land on the little river Damariscotta where he
built a little wooden fort, established a considerable settlement
and built up an extensive trade in fish and timber. Governor
Shirley was an English barrister who had come to Massachusetts in
1731 to practise his profession and who had been raised by his own
native gifts to the position of highest eminence in the colony.

On the 9th of January, 1745, the General Court of Massachusetts
received a message from the governor that he had a communication to
make to them so critical that he must swear all of the members to
secrecy. Then to their astonishment he proposed that they undertake
the reduction of Louisburg. They listened with respect to the
governor’s suggestion and appointed a committee of two to consider
the matter. The committee’s report, made in the course of several
days, was unfavorable and so was the vote of the court.

Meanwhile intelligence of Governor Shirley’s proposal had leaked
out despite the pledge of secrecy. It is said that a country
member of the court more pious than discreet was overheard
praying long and fervently for Divine guidance in the matter. The
news flew through the province and public pressure compelled a
reconsideration of the project. It was urged against the plan that
raw militia were no match for disciplined troops behind ramparts,
that the expense would be staggering and that the credit of the
colony was already overstrained. The matter was put to a vote and
carried by a single vote. This result is said to have been due to
one of the opposition falling and breaking his leg while hurrying
to the council.

The die was now cast and hesitation vanished. Shirley wrote to
all of the colonies as far south as Pennsylvania, but of these
only four responded: Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire
and Massachusetts, which blazed with holy zeal as, since the
enterprise would be directed against Roman Catholics, it was
supposed that heaven would in a peculiar manner favor it. There
were prayers in churches and families. New Hampshire provided 500
men, of which number Massachusetts was to pay and provide for 150;
Rhode Island voted a sloop carrying fourteen cannon and twelve
swivels; Connecticut promised 516 men and officers provided that
Roger Wolcott should have second rank in the expedition; and
Massachusetts was to provide 3000 men and the commanding officer.

This last condition was one of the hardest to fulfil, for, as
Governor Wanton of Rhode Island wrote, there was not in New
England “one officer of experience nor even an engineer.” The
choice fell upon William Pepperell, of Kittery, Maine (then a
part of Massachusetts), who though a prosperous trader had had
little experience to fit him for commanding an attack upon a great
fortress. Pepperell’s home is still standing at Kittery and is a
substantial structure as befitted its affluent master.

There was staying at Pepperell’s house at this time the preacher
Whitefield. Pepperell asked his guest for a motto for the
expedition. “_Nil Desperandum Christo Duce_” was suggested; and
this being adopted gave to the expedition the air of a crusade.

A novel plan was suggested, among others, to Pepperell by one of
the zealots of New England. Two trustworthy men, according to this
plan, were to be sent out at night before the French ramparts, one
of them carrying a wooden mallet with which he was to beat upon the
ground. The other was to place his ear to the ground and wherever a
concealed mine would give back a hollow sound was to make a cross
mark with chalk so that the New England boys would know where not
to walk when they attacked the fort. The French sentry meanwhile,
it was supposed, would be too confused by the unusual noise of the
thumping to take any action.

Within seven weeks after Shirley issued his proclamation
preparations for the expedition were complete. The force, all
told, numbered about four thousand men. Transports were easily
obtained in the harbor of Boston or in the towns adjoining. There
was a lack of cannon of large calibre, but it was known that the
French possessed cannon of large calibre, so cannon balls and
supplies to fit such guns were carried along, it being foreseen
that the army would capture sufficient of the French cannon to
supply its needs. Of other supplies there was a sufficiency and,
to overbalance the lack of any military training whatever in the
officers, Governor Shirley had written a long list of instructions
for the siege. These instructions, after going into such minute
directions as how to make fast the windows of the Governor’s
apartment at Louisburg, and outlining a complex series of military
manœuvres to be undertaken after dark by men who had no idea of the
country they would be in, ended with the words, “Notwithstanding
the instructions you have received from me I must leave you to act,
upon unforeseen emergencies, according to your best discretion.”

On Friday, April 5, 1745, the first of the transports arrived at
Canseau, the rendezvous, about sixty miles from Louisburg, and this
little post which had now a small French garrison changed hands
again. Captain Ammi Cutter was put in command with sixty-eight
men. On Sunday there was a great open-air concourse at which Parson
Moody preached on the text “Thy people shall be willing in the day
of Thy power.” Parson Moody’s sermon was disturbed by the drilling
of an awkward squad whose men were learning how to handle a musket.

For three weeks the expedition lay at Canseau waiting for the ice
to clear from the northern waters, and then, on the morning of the
29th, it set out expecting to make Louisburg by nine o’clock that
evening and to take the French by surprise as Shirley had directed.
The French, of course, had been aware all the time of the location
of the enemy and had even had intelligence from Boston when the
affair was first bruited about. A lull in the wind caused a change
in the plan of taking the French by surprise and it was not until
the keen light of the following morning that the New Englanders
saw Louisburg, no very great sight at that, as the buildings of
the town were almost completely hid behind the massive walls which
encircled them.

And now how were matters going on inside the mighty walls? Badly,
it must be admitted. The garrison consisted of five hundred and
sixty regulars, of whom several companies were Swiss, and of about
fourteen hundred militia. The regulars were in bad condition and
had, indeed, the preceding Christmas, broken into mutiny because
of exasperation with bad rations and with having been given no
extra pay for work on the fortifications. Some of the officers
had lost all confidence in their men and the commandant, Chevalier
Duchambon, successor to Duquesnel, was a man of hesitant and
capricious mind. It is thus to be seen that the fortress was
fatally weak within though in material circumstances it was the
strongest on the North American continent.

The landing of the provincial forces was accomplished creditably
about three miles below the fortifications. Vaughan then led about
four hundred men to the town and saluted it with three cheers, much
to the discomfiture of the garrison, which was entirely unused to
this kind of warfare. He then marched unresisted to the northeast
arm of the harbor where there were magazines of naval stores. These
his men set on fire and he the next day set about returning to the
main force.

The strongest outlying work of Louisburg was the Grand Battery
more than a mile from the town. As Vaughan came near this work he
observed therein no signs of life. One of Vaughan’s party was a
Cape Cod Indian. This red man was bribed by a flask of brandy which
Vaughan had in his pocket to undertake a reconnoissance, which he
carried through in a unique fashion. Pretending to be drunk, and
waving his flask around his head, the Indian staggered toward the
battery. There was still no life. The Indian entered through an
embrasure and found the place empty. Vaughan took possession and an
eighteen-year-old drummer boy climbed the flagstaff and fastened
thereon a red shirt as a substitute for the British ensign. Thus
also did the Massachusetts men acquire the cannon for which they
had been hoping.

It is difficult to understand how it was that the Grand Battery was
deserted. “A detachment of the enemy advanced to the neighborhood
of the Royal Battery,” writes the Habitant de Louisburg in his
invaluable narrative retailed by Parkman. “At once we were all
seized with fright and on the instant it was proposed to abandon
this magnificent battery which would have been our best defence,
if one had known how to use it. Various councils were held in a
tumultuous way. It would be hard to tell the reasons for such a
strange proceeding. Not one shot had been fired at the battery,
which the enemy could not take except by making regular approaches
as if against the town itself, and by besieging it, so to speak,
in form. Some persons remonstrated, but in vain; and so a battery
which had cost the King immense sums was abandoned before it was

The battery contained twenty-eight forty-two pounder cannon and two
eighteen-pounders. Several of these guns were opened upon the town
the next morning, “which,” wrote a soldier of New England in his
diary, “damaged the houses and made the women cry.”

In this good-natured fashion did the whole siege progress. It
is hardly possible to write about the informal procedure in an
orderly fashion. Accomplishing incredible tasks in fashions
opposed to all of the laws of warfare the New Englanders went
on with only rudimentary observance of discipline under their
merchant commander. While the cannon boomed in front the men behind
the lines wrestled, and ran races, and fired at targets, though
ammunition was short, and chased French cannon balls for exercise,
bringing back the cannon balls to be used in the guns. Some of the
men went fishing about two miles away. Now and then some of the
fishermen lost their scalps to Indians who prowled about the camps
of the besiegers.

At last the impossible happened. Discouraged by humiliating
failures and badly, though not fatally, battered, mighty Louisburg
surrendered. The strongest work of man in the New World had fallen
to ignorant New England fishermen! The soldiers of France received
the ridicule of the whole Old World and an effort was made from
Versailles to recover the point lost, but unsuccessfully.

Louisburg was restored to the French Crown in 1748 by the treaty
of Aix-la-Chapelle. It was to fall again to English arms in the
Seven Years War, which ended with the complete extinction of French
power in the New World; but with the account of this siege, which
was conducted painfully and formally in accord with the rules of
war, we need have no concern. The great fortress was then destroyed
block by block and Time has continued the work of demolition which
the English began.

While Louisburg and Quebec were great eastern strongholds of the
French in America, their centre of power in the far west was Fort
Chartres on the Mississippi River, at the mouth of the Kaskaskia
River, Illinois. Here they held gay sway over a wilderness empire
that included many Indian tribes and extended over thousands of

The first Fort Chartres was commenced in 1718 when Lieutenant
Pierre Dugue de Boisbriant, a Canadian holding a French commission,
accompanied by several officers and a large body of troops, arrived
at Kaskaskia by boat from New Orleans. A site was selected about
eighteen miles north of that little village and by the spring of
1720 the fort was substantially completed. It was a stockade of
wood strengthened with earth between the palisades. Within the
enclosure were the commandant’s house, a barracks, a store-house
and a blacksmith shop, all constructed of hand-sawed lumber.

Almost immediately a village of Indians and traders sprang up
around the place and the enterprising Jesuits built a church, St.
Anne de Chartres, where many a service was recited for motley
congregations of red and white. For thirty-six years this first
Fort Chartres flourished and during this time was the setting for
dramatic and pregnant happenings. Here, in 1720, came Phillippe
Francois de Renault, bringing with him five hundred San Domingo
negroes into the wilderness, thus introducing negro slavery into
Illinois. In 1721 the post was visited by the famous Father
Xavier de Charlevoix, in whose train was a young Canadian officer,
Louis St. Ange de Belle Rive, who was destined afterward to be the
commandant of the fort. Under the administration of the Sieur de
Liette, 1725-1730, a captain in the Royal army, the French forces
were engaged in armed pacification of the Fox Indians. Belle Rive
succeeded de Liette and under his sway the post became the scene of
social gayety.

In 1736 there left Fort Chartres a disastrous expedition against
the Chickasaw Indians on the far distant Arkansas River. The result
of this expedition was a defeat in which D’Artaguette, the leader,
de Vincennes, for whom the little town of Vincennes, Indiana, is
named, Father Senat, a Jesuit, and about fifteen other Frenchmen
were taken prisoners and held for ransom. The ransom not arriving,
the prisoners were roasted at a slow fire by their savage captors.
A second expedition against the Chickasaws in 1739 was somewhat
more successful.

By 1751 the fort was much out of repair and in this year there
came to command it a French major of engineers (Irish by descent)
Chevalier Macarty, who was accompanied by nearly a full regiment
of grenadiers. In 1753 the second Fort Chartres, a solid structure
of stone and one of the strongest fortifications ever erected on
the American continent, was commenced by Macarty and his men. In
1756 it was finished. The site chosen was about a mile above the
old fort and about half a mile back from the Mississippi River and
would seem to have been a strange selection for such a structure,
as it was low and marshy.

Of the first Fort Chartres not a sign remains to-day, and its exact
site is a matter of disagreement. Of the second Fort Chartres the
old powder magazine is to be seen. The fort itself has succumbed to
the encroachments of the river, which cut away its bank even so far
back as to undermine the walls of the fort itself and, in 1772, to
cause the desertion of the structure by its garrison. The quarry
from which the limestone of which the walls were constructed was
obtained was located in the great bluffs four miles east of the
point. The finer stone with which the arches and ornamental parts
were faced came from beyond the Mississippi.

The fort covered altogether about four acres and was capable of
sheltering a garrison of three hundred men. The expense of its
erection was one million dollars, a sum of money only equalled in
those days by the expenditure for the fortifications of Louisburg,
Quebec, and Crown Point. It is generally believed that large
profits went to the commandant and to others interested in its

The command of the point in 1760 passed from Macarty to Nenon de
Villiers, who led the French and Indians against Washington at
Great Meadows in the skirmish which virtually was the opening
engagement of the French and Indian War, a part of his force on
this occasion being drawn from the garrison of Fort Chartres.

The veteran St. Ange de Belle Rive, stationed at Vincennes, took
charge of the fort in 1764 and had the melancholy distinction of
surrendering it to the English, October 10, 1765, when Captain
Thomas Stirling came from Fort Pitt with one hundred Highlanders of
the 42d British regiment,--a fitting distinction when one remembers
that St. Ange had been in command of the first fort shortly after
its establishment, and when there was no rival to French power in
all of the West.

A predecessor of Fort Chartres in making sure French dominion of
the West was Fort St. Louis, on Starved Rock, on the Illinois
River, about forty miles southwest of Chicago of to-day and not far
distant from the present-day city of Ottawa, Illinois. Of Fort St.
Louis there remains not a trace, but to its existence and to La
Salle, its intrepid founder, there will for centuries be a natural
monument--that great towering crag upon whose flat summit the
stronghold was built.

A natural phenomenon of great geologic interest, Starved Rock rises
directly from a level river plain. Its sides are as steep as castle
wall and attain a height of one hundred feet and more. The river
washes its western base and its summit overhangs the stream so
that water can be drawn therefrom by means of a bucket and a cord.
On three sides the pinnacle of the rock is inaccessible and the
fourth side might be held by a handful of men against an army. The
top of the cliff measures about two hundred feet in diameter and is

On this ideal site, in 1682, the French built Fort St. Louis. In
less than three months fourteen thousand Indians lay encamped on
the plains of the river within sound of the guns of the fort.
To-day the point is a pleasure park.

From Fort St. Louis many an exploring expedition pushed forth into
the wilderness and here many a treaty was concluded with savage
tribes. While frequently obliged to give up command temporarily
Henry de Tonti, La Salle’s very faithful lieutenant, was supreme
at Fort St. Louis practically from its foundation until its
abandonment in 1702. In 1718 a number of French traders were making
it their headquarters, but its military history ceased with Tonti’s

A predecessor even of Fort St. Louis was Fort Crevecœur--Fort of
the Broken Heart--which wore its poetic name for only a few months
after its construction in 1680, by La Salle, on the east shore of
the Illinois River, not far below Peoria Lake. Fort Crevecœur was
destroyed by mutineers during the absence of its commander, Tonti,
and was not rebuilt, Fort St. Louis succeeding to its mission. The
exact site to-day is a matter of dispute.

Fort Crevecœur was the fourth in La Salle’s comprehensive scheme
of a chain of fortifications to extend from Quebec, the centre of
French power, up the St. Lawrence, through the Great Lakes, across
the portage country which lay between the western lakes and the
headwaters of the navigable tributaries of the Mississippi and then
down the Mississippi to its mouth, thus hemming in the English to
their coast possessions east of the Appalachian range, and ensuring
the vast major part of the American continent to the French. The
other three of La Salle’s fortifications at this date were Fort
Frontenac, now Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Fort Niagara, commanding
the passage from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, and Detroit, commanding
the passage from Erie to Michigan.

The foundation of the city of Detroit thus needs no further
pointing out. Where La Salle’s tentative fortifications were the
city now presents a busy water-front, with steamers and factories
and great buildings where Indian canoes and the palisades of the
French once were.

Developments of this plan of La Salle’s, which was adhered to
tenaciously by the French for almost a century, until they fell
before the slow-growing mass of the English, were Michillimackinac
and a chain of posts along the Ohio River. Of this Ohio series the
most important element was the much fought over Fort Duquesne--the
objective of Braddock’s fateful march--later Fort Pitt, and now the
city of Pittsburgh.


  Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co.


Where Indian canoes and the palisades of the French were]

The visitor to Pittsburgh to-day will find on Fourth street,
midway between the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers, a little
block-house, more correctly a redoubt, sixteen by fifteen feet
in lateral dimensions and twenty-two feet high. The structure is
constructed of brick covered with clapboards and with a layer of
double logs, and contains thirty-six port-holes in two layers. This
little block-house is all that remains to-day of Fort Pitt. It
was built by Colonel Boquet in 1764 and was purchased by private
parties in the early days of Pittsburgh. In 1894 the property was
deeded by its owner of that generation, Mrs. Mary E. Schenley,
of London, to the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution, and is maintained by this organization to-day
for the benefit of the public.

The situation of Fort Pitt and its predecessor, Fort Duquesne, was
of immense strategic importance in the early days of the American
nation, the considerations which gave it value having operated in
the field of commerce in late years to make Pittsburgh notable as
a manufacturing and distributing centre. It stood at the gateway
to the Ohio River and the rich country which the Ohio waters, and
since it commanded the Ohio it commanded the key to the West.

These considerations were appreciated by the Colonial Virginians,
and in 1754 Captain William Trent was commissioned by Governor
Dinwiddie, of Virginia, to erect a fort at the juncture of the
Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers at the expense of the Ohio
Company. Captain Trent commenced his work in February, 1754, but
in April, 1754, surrendered to a detachment of French under Le

The French then commenced the erection of a fort of their own on
the extreme neck of land between the rivers. They finished their
work in the summer of that year and named it Fort Duquesne in honor
of Governor-General Duquesne, of Canada.

In the same year a force of English colonists, about 150 strong,
made a tentative advance against the work under the leadership of
our own George Washington, then a young man. Washington found the
post too strong for attack and became himself the object of hostile
attention from the French, being forced to fall back to Great
Meadows and to erect a temporary triangular earth fortification
there which he named Fort Necessity.

In 1755 it was the plan of the British ministry to concentrate its
forces in the colonies in three directions of attack against the
French. One blow was to be struck at Acadia; a second blow was to
be struck at Crown Point, and a third, under General Braddock,
an English-born officer of wide Continental experience, at Fort


  From a painting in the collection of the Pennsylvania Historical


Braddock’s unfortunate march began May 27, 1755, from Fort
Cumberland, Maryland (Cumberland, to-day), and of the details of
that disastrous journey little need be told in these pages as the
story is already familiar. Braddock had the bravery of his calling
and the arrogance and presumption of the European brought into
contact with provincials. He did not believe that anything very
good could come out of the colonies and did not hesitate to show
this attitude of mind. On the line of march he scorned to send out
scouts ahead as was necessary in fighting Indians. He insisted on
sending his Continental troops in solid order against an enemy who
fought behind trees and stumps in any kind of order that suited
his purpose. He committed all of the stupidities that vanity and
overweening self-confidence could dictate, and, when the French in
a despairing last-minute effort against overwhelming numbers had
found easy victory, gave up his life on the field of battle. He
was buried beneath the feet of the retreating troops so that their
steps should obliterate from the fiendish enemy the location of his
last resting place.

The English loss in this battle was 714 men killed and a shattering
of their military prestige with all of the Indian people of the
borderland. The French loss was 3 white men killed and 27 Indians.
The access to their influence amongst the savage tribes because of
their unexpected victory was much.

Fort Duquesne fell to the English in 1758 when 7,000 men under
Brigadier General John Forbes slowly and circumspectly proceeded
against it. The French deserted the post after attempting to
destroy it and the English took possession November 25 of that
year. A new fort was commenced under Forbes which stood on the
Monongahela side of the city at the south end of the present West
Street and between West and Liberty Streets. It was occupied in
1760 and was completely finished in the summer of 1761. The stone
bomb-proof magazine stood until 1852 when the Pennsylvania Railroad
built its freight terminal here.

Of the remainder of the line of French forts along the Ohio River
there are no relics left, though memorials have been established
at several points. The first of this Ohio River chain was Presque
Isle on Lake Erie, now the little city of Erie, Pennsylvania. For
some years after French domain in the New World Presque Isle was of
importance and, indeed, for some years after the Revolution.

The post was taken by the English in 1759, and in 1763 fell a
victim to Indian attack as a corollary to the Pontiac conspiracy
which had as its object the complete extinction of English life
in the West. The fort, a rectangle of earth and wooden palisades,
stood on the west bank of Mill Creek and at the intersection with
the shore of the lake. Here the veteran Indian fighter, General
Wayne, died in 1796. In 1876 the State of Pennsylvania erected
a block-house on the site of the old fort as a memorial. This
block-house is now included in the grounds of the Pennsylvania
Sailors and Soldiers’ Home.

From Presque Isle there was a portage to Fort Le Bœuf, now the
little city of Waterford, Pennsylvania. Fort Le Bœuf stood at High
and Water Streets, Waterford, though there is at this point no sign
of its existence. It was erected in 1753 and fell before Pontiac’s
far-reaching conspiracy in 1763.

Venango, the next of the French line of forts east of Pittsburgh
(Duquesne), was the fore-runner of Franklin, Pennsylvania, and
stood at Elk and Eighth Streets. Of Venango, too, no sign remains.
It fell to the Indians in 1763.

South of Pittsburgh the English had a post at Brownsville, on the
Ohio River, Pennsylvania, built in 1754, and known as Redstone
Old Fort. The French had Fort Massac to which about one thousand
troopers retired after the evacuation of Fort Duquesne. Later
years also saw small fortifications developed on the Ohio River,
some holding the potentialities of future greatness such as that
at the falls of the Ohio River, which was to be the nucleus of the
settlement of the present-day city of Louisville, Kentucky.

At the south end of Lake Erie during the French occupancy of the
West stood Fort Sandusky which has given its name to the City of
Sandusky of to-day. On the Maumee River, Indiana, was Fort Miamis,
Miami of to-day.

In the early days of the French there had been a trading post at
the site of the future great city of Chicago, but it remained for
the United States, in 1803, to establish a formal fortification
here, Fort Dearborn, of bloody memory. Fort Dearborn, as every
good Chicagoan knows, or ought to know, stood at the southern
approach to the Rush Street bridge and extended a little across
Michigan Avenue and somewhat into the river, as it now is. The
ground rose into a little mound yielding a fine view of the
surrounding flat prairie land. Here the pioneer soldiers erected
a rude stockade of logs fifteen feet in height and enclosing
a space sufficiently large to contain a small parade ground,
officers’ quarters, troop barracks, guard house, magazines and two
block-houses, one at the northwest and the other at the southeast
corner of the palisade. This rude structure with its small garrison
was the seed of the present-day great city.

Upon the outbreak of the War of 1812 General Hull, who was
commanding the American army of the border, ordered the evacuation
of Fort Dearborn, as the place was too remote to be adequately
defended and as its possession meant no access of strength to
the United States. There were at this time in the garrison four
officers and fifty-four non-commissioned officers and privates
under the leadership of Captain Nathan Heald. The wives of the two
senior officers were with them and a number of the privates had,
also, their families, so that the stockade contained twelve women
and twenty children.

Though an experienced soldier, Captain Heald seems to have
misjudged the temper of the hostile Indians surrounding his
post and to have too easily accepted their assurances of
non-interference with the garrison as it left the fort. At all
events, on August 15, 1812, Captain Heald evacuated his fort, and
though the Indians allowed the little company--a long cavalcade--to
proceed as far as the end of present-day Eighteenth Street
without molestation, they then fell upon men, women and children
indiscriminately. Of the company of Americans only a handful

In 1816 Fort Dearborn was rebuilt and regarrisoned but after the
Black Hawk war fell into disuse, and in 1837 was abandoned by the
army. It was used for various purposes by different departments of
the Federal government until 1857, when it was torn down except
a small building which stood until the great fire of 1871. A
commercial building now occupies the site which is commemorated by
a small bronze tablet set into the wall by the Chicago Historical
Society in 1880.

At the foot of Eighteenth Street at the point where the attack upon
the devoted column commenced, a beautiful bronze monument has been
erected depicting a scene from the massacre.

Fort Gage, Illinois, memorable as the first objective of George
Rogers Clark in 1778, stood at the historic little village
Kaskaskia, of French foundation, on the Kaskaskia River near the
confluence of that stream with the Mississippi. In shape an oblong,
280 feet by 251 feet, constructed of squared timbers founded upon
heavy earthwork, Fort Gage was never heavily garrisoned. It was
the point to which the British retired when the crumbling walls
of Fort Chartres would no longer hold them. In 1772 the garrison
consisted of one officer and twenty soldiers. In 1778 when Clark
reached the spot there was not a British soldier on duty and the
fort was in command of a Frenchman.

Fort Clark, Illinois, was erected in 1813 on the site of the future
city of Peoria, Illinois, and about where the Rock Island depot
now stands. For several years it gave its name to the locality and
was a post of importance garrisoned by rangers and United States
troops. At one time it sustained a severe Indian attack.

The foundation of Cincinnati, Ohio, was Fort Washington, which was
in existence until after the War of 1812.




That Bostonians are thankful people truly appreciating their public
blessings is amply proved by the way in which they turn out to Fort
Independence, Castle Island, now a part of the Marine Park of their
city, for the fresh air and unexciting recreation it offers. Other
citizens of other cities create parks from their historic places
and, then, content to know that they have them when they want them,
allot the day and night watchmen entire seclusion in these domains.
With Bostonians it is different: On any bright and cheering day
throngs can be found at the old fort, of various classes and of
widely sundered poles of thought; but joined together in one great
common heritage, a capacity for making use of that which they have
and of taking their pleasure in a devout and noiseless manner not
to be seen amongst the habitants of any other great American city.

It is a pleasant place, Castle Island, and the air there on a sunny
day sweeping in from the great reaches of Boston’s environing
waters is a true elixir. The views in various directions are
entrancing, showing, in one direction, wide expanses of blue
with dim islands in the distance and cottony clouds overhead;
in another, the shipping and sky-line of Boston harbor and the
jumbled city. Geographically stated, Castle Island is a body of
hard, rocky land, most of which is occupied by the historic old
fort, and it is situated three miles from the head of Boston Harbor
and two hundred yards from City Point, South Boston, to which it
is connected by a wooden causeway. On the mainland, close at hand,
lies Boston’s famous Aquarium, where the flying fishes play!

Viewed from the head of the causeway, the fort is a very gay and
martial figure though in sober earnest it has never fired a shot
in anger in its life. Structurally speaking, it is a pentagonal,
five-bastioned enclosure whose granite walls occupy all of the
crest of the eminence which makes up the island. To the right, from
this stand-point, one sees running off a long thin shallow strip
of gravelly sand, which geologists assert has been a gift from the
sea since the erection of the fort. Originally, they say, the main
portion of the island was larger than it is now; so what was taken
from one place seems to have been added on to another.


Floating Hospital in Foreground]

Passing over the causeway one sees to the left hand, across a
ribbon of water, the island which Fort Winthrop crowns in a very
modest and inconspicuous fashion. Passing over a draw-bridge one
enters the reservation and finds one’s self beneath the shadow
of the walls of the fort and on the historic ground which its
predecessors and itself have held in fief for many, many years.
Benches may be found here and there for the rest-seeking
wayfarer, but if one is inspired to wander around the walls he will
find many interesting sights, and will be increasingly struck by
the strength and formidableness of the abandoned military work,
highly suggestive of the time when this island was the seat of
military power of his Majesty, the King of England, in his colonies
in America.

Historically speaking, Fort Independence is one of the oldest
fortified spots in America and it was of exceeding great dignity
in the early days of this country. But four years subsequent to
the incorporation of the town of Boston, an interesting event
which took place in 1630, Governor Winthrop and a party of his
Puritans visited the island and, we are told, were detained by the
ice without shelter for a day and a night. Nevertheless so well
able were they all to detach themselves from their personal petty
feelings that they each subscribed five pounds sterling of Great
Britain from their own pockets in order to raise the place to the
dignity of a fortified point. Two “Platforms” and a fort were to be
erected, these platforms being in the nature of bateaux with guns
mounted upon them. In the July following their adventure, which
had taken place in early spring, they induced the legislature to
consent to fortifying the place. The first fort has been described
as a “castle with mud walls.” The masonry was of lime made from
oyster shells.

In 1644 the arrival of a French man-of-war in the harbor of Boston
so alarmed the citizens of the province that the fort which had
gone into decay was rebuilt at the expense of six neighboring
towns. It was now constructed of pine trees, stone and earth, was
50 feet square inside and had walls 10 feet thick.

In 1665 the fort was repaired and enlarged,--the spirit of military
preparedness which had been awakened by the Frenchman’s arrival
having evidently been kept up. A small castle was added with brick
walls and three stories in height. There was a dwelling-room on
the first floor of this “castle”; a lodging-room above; a gun-room
over the latter furnished with “six very good saker guns” and
three lesser guns were mounted upon the roof. In this same year
occurred an event which gave rise to much curious speculation at
the time and is retained in legend. On the 15th of July a stroke
of lightning entered one of the rooms of the fort, killed Captain
Richard Davenport, the commanding officer, and did not enter the
magazine, only a step away, beyond a thin partition, where there
was stored enough gunpowder to have blown the fort beyond the seas.

Still the spirit of fire had its due, for in 1673 the fort was
burned to the ground. In the year following a new fort of stone
was erected. It had four bastions, mounted thirty-eight guns and
sixteen culverins, in addition to a water battery of six guns, and
was a very imposing work indeed.

In 1689 the people of Boston, favoring the Cromwellians in England,
seized the royal governor, Edmund Andros, and placed him in
confinement. They took possession of the castle and appointed Mr.
John Fairweather commander to succeed Captain John Pipon.

But all dissension is smoothed down by the hand of Time. Under
the administration of Sir Williams Phipps, an appointee of King
William, the fort was named Castle William and the Crown donated a
large sum of money toward the erection of a stronger structure. The
ordnance then became 24 nine-pounders, 12 twenty-four pounders, 18
thirty-two pounders, and 18 forty-eight pounders; and the bastions
became known by the names of the “Crown,” the “Rose,” the “Royal,”
and the “Elizabeth.” This augmentation of strength was the more
necessary as a French invasion of the New England colonies was

And so we run on through the years: In 1716 Lieutenant Governor
William Dummer, a well-known name in the history of Massachusetts,
assumed command of Castle William, agreeable to orders from
the Crown, and thereby incurred the ill-feeling of the general
court of the province which heretofore had had prerogative in
the appointment of a commandant. In 1740 the fort was repaired
in anticipation of war with France and a new bastion mounting 20
forty-two pounders was created and named Shirley bastion.

Ordnance presented by the King arrived in 1744; a second
magazine was built in 1747; and a third added during Shirley’s
administration. In 1747 a riot occurred in Boston and the governor
took refuge at the Castle. Upon assurance that his authority would
be sustained the governor returned to the city two days after his

On the 15th of August, 1757, Governor Pownal arrived to assume
the government of the province. Sir William Pepperell, conqueror
of Louisburg, held command of Castle William. In accordance with
custom Sir William surrendered the key of the castle to the new
executive and said, “Sir, I hand you the key of the province.” Not
outdone at all, Governor Pownal replied, “Sir, the interests of the
province are in your heart. I shall always be glad, therefore, to
see the key of the province in your hands.” Thus the doughty old
warrior was maintained in his command until his death in 1759.

In this same year died Captain Lieutenant John Larrabee, who had
lived for fifty years on the island in the service of the Crown.
In 1764 the Castle was used as an inoculation station during the
ravages of a plague of smallpox which swept the little city.


Main Entrance


It was about this time that the fort began to take part in the
events with which Boston is associated before the outbreak of the
American Revolution. Stamps by which revenue was expected to be
raised from the colonies were brought to Boston in 1765 and for
security were lodged in Castle William. Vigorous opposition
in America caused the repealment of the act of which they were
intended to be the tokens of enforcement and they were taken back
to England at the expiration of not many months. These, it will
be seen, were not the stamps which figured in the famous Boston
Tea Party, but they were of the same nature. The maintenance of
a large force of military at Castle William by the Crown in the
years immediately following this was a source of irritation to the
patriots of the day, and had an influence in determining the events
which brought about the separation from the Mother Country.

Captain Sir Thomas Adams, who died on board the frigate _Romney_,
was buried on Castle Island October 8, 1772, and his obsequies were
conducted with great pomp. In removing earth to Fort Independence
thirty years later his corpse, enclosed in a double coffin highly
ornamented, but upon which the inscription had become illegible,
was dug out, and, no one discovering at the time whose remains the
coffin contained, it was committed to the common burying ground
at the south point of the island where its resting-place was soon
not to be distinguished from that of the common soldiers which
surrounded it.

With this coffin necessarily others were removed, and one was
favored with an inscription which betrayed, we may assume, either
native simplicity or British sarcasm. It read: “Here lies the body
of John, aged fifty years, a faithful soldier and a Desperate Good

It does not appear that the force quartered on the island was
engaged in the first two battles of the Revolution. The commandant
of the castle had been sent in February, 1776, to seize powder and
other military stores at Salem; but he was delayed at the ferry by
the militia until the objects of the depredation had been moved
beyond his reach. He returned peaceably to the island. The same
officer was ordered from Castle William at this time with five
hundred men to draw the Americans, by a false attack, from their
posts at Roxbury. The attack did not succeed and the burning of
five or six houses in Dorchester was the only result.

In the meantime a formidable force of Americans was concentrated
in the vicinity of Boston under Washington; so General Howe, the
successor of General Gage, evacuated the town March 17, and the
British fleet dropped below the Castle. The embarkation had been
a scene of confusion and distress, it being the 27th of March
before the transports were able to put to sea. At their departure
the British troops threw into the water iron balls and shot, broke
off the trunnions of the ordnance given to Castle William in 1740,
destroyed the military stores and battery apparatus which they
could not take with them and finally blew up the citadel, leaving
the island a mass of ruins. Part of the British fleet lay in the
lower harbor until June, when it was harassed by American troops
under General Lincoln and raised the blockade of Boston Harbor
after the exact duration of two years. With the British troops the
seat of the war was removed from Massachusetts, and Castle Island
was thenceforth, unmolested, in American possession.

Colonel John Turnbull was the officer sent by General Washington
to take possession of the island after the evacuation. Lieutenant
Colonel Paul Revere was stationed on the island from 1777 to 1779.

At the conclusion of the Revolution it was enacted by the
legislature of Massachusetts that all criminals of the State
under sentence of confinement should be removed to Castle Island.
Pursuant to this law convicts were sent to the island, and
though their number never exceeded ninety their audacity taxed
the vigilance of the garrison; they made several bold, fruitless
efforts to escape, and in their mutinies some were killed and
some wounded. Others met their death while endeavoring to form
subterranean passages. Stephen Burroughs, whose extensive forgeries
gave him great notoriety, here learned the art of a nailer, and in
his published memoirs has publicly boasted of his Castle Island

It was with reluctance that the legislature of Massachusetts could
bring itself to the cession of the Castle to the United States
government, but the State was nevertheless willing to sacrifice the
partial advantage to the public good and, October, 1798, passed an
act by which the transfer was accomplished.

In 1799 President Adams visited the fort and was received with
due honors. It was at this time that the name was changed to
Independence. With regard to this, Captain Nehemiah Freeman wrote:
“The baptism was not indecorous and the godfather (President Adams)
is certainly unexceptionable; but Fort Independence must count
some years before he can entirely divest his elder brother of his
birthright; and though the mess of pottage might have been sold
in 1776 yet the title of ‘The Castle’ is rather endearing to the
inhabitants of Massachusetts and is still bestowed by the greater
part as the only proper appellation.”

A new fort was now planned and constructed under the direction of
Lieutenant Colonel Louis Toussard, who was inspector of all of
the posts of the Eastern seaboard. The first stone was laid May
7, 1801, and the whole superstructure was raised from an original
design not influenced by the structure standing hitherto. On the
23d of June, 1802, the national colors were first displayed at
the new fort. The work was a barbette fortification and was not
materially different from the present-day structure.


The five bastions of the fort were named, in 1805, as follows:
First, “Winthrop” after Governor Winthrop, under whose auspices
the first fort was built; second, “Shirley,” who repaired Castle
William, erected other works and made it the strongest fortified
point in British America; third, “Hancock,” after the first
governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, under whose
administration new works were thrown up; fourth, “Adams,” after
John Adams, who bestowed its present name upon the fort and
collected materials for its construction; fifth, “Dearborn,” after
General Dearborn, Secretary of War, under whose auspices Fort
Independence was actually rebuilt.

In 1833 the garrison was withdrawn and the post given over to the
Engineers Department for constructing a new work, in effect a
modernification and improved edition of the former structure. Work
was prosecuted at intervals during the succeeding eighteen years.
The post was regarrisoned July 4, 1851. The garrison was finally
withdrawn November 25, 1879, and Fort Independence went out of

Not long after that the island was deeded to the city by the
Federal War Department for use as a public park. That it could ever
be of service as a fighting man now in its old age is extremely
improbable. The defence of Boston depends upon batteries located at
a far greater distance from the city.

To the north from Fort Independence can be seen the island upon
which Fort Winthrop is situated and in the distance at the mouth
of the harbor can be seen dimly the site of Fort Warren. Both of
these posts have reached a dignified age, but neither has years or
historical importance approximating that of their big brother.



  Even Governor’s Island, once a smiling garden, appertaining
  to the sovereigns of the province, was now covered with
  fortifications, inclosing a tremendous block-house,--so that
  this once peaceful island resembled a fierce little warrior
  in a big cocked hat, breathing gunpowder and defiance to the
  world!--Washington Irving, “Knickerbocker’s New York.”

The graceful little island of Washington Irving is described in a
recent publication of the government printing office at Washington
after the following eloquent fashion: “Irregular in form but
approaches nearly the segment of an oblate spheroid, its longest
diameter being from north to south, and about 800 yards in length.
The transverse diameter is about 500 yards. It has an elevation
above high-water mark of 20 feet, and its face is smooth and green,
with a rich carpet of grass.”

On the top of the highest feature of this smooth, green face with
its rich carpet of grass is Fort Columbus, more properly known by
its ancient name of Fort Jay.


No doubt you will find it hard to visualize the importance of Fort
Jay. It is the head-quarters of the Department of the East of the
army of the United States, you may be told. Yes, you will answer
indifferently, it is a quiet little place, not nearly so noisy
as the roaring forties of Broadway; it keeps to itself and is a
sort of annex to the foot of the city to prevent the sea-ward
view from the Battery being without variety! Yet once on a time,
not much more than a hundred years ago, Fort Jay was of so great
importance to the city that the citizens all, rich men, poor men,
beggarmen, and thieves (then, too), turned out in a body to build
up the place overnight.

The first point of land ever occupied in New York by the Dutch was
Governor’s Island, we are told on the excellent authority of Joseph
Dankers and Sluyter, of Wueward, in Frusland, in “A Voyage to The
American Colonies in 1679-80”: “In its mouth (East River) before
the city, between the city and Red Hook on Long Island, lies Noten
Island (Governor’s Island) opposite the fort, the first place the
Hollanders ever occupied in the bay. It is now only a farm with
a house and a place upon it where the governor keeps a parcel of

The fort here referred to was not Jay but Fort Amsterdam, later
Fort George, of historic memory, which stood on Manhattan where the
Customs House of New York City now is. “Red Hook on Long Island”
later was fortified, too, forming one of the line of defences
captured by the British from the Americans in their descent upon
New York in the early days of the Revolution. The Indian name for
Governor’s Island was Pagganck, and Noten--as above written,--or
Nutten, or Nooten, came about from the abundance of nuts which
could be found on the island.

[Illustration: Fort Washington Point. Fort Lee on Opposite Shore

Where was Fort Amsterdam; the Customs House


In 1637, the redoubtable Wouter Van Twiner, first governor of
the colony under the New Amsterdam company of which he had been
a director, secured for his personal use the island. It is fair
to look at this gentleman inquisitively. “The renowned Wouter
(or Walter) Van Twiller was descended from a long line of Dutch
Burgomasters,” says Washington Irving, “who had successively dozed
away their lives, and grown fat upon the bench of magistracy in
Rotterdam; and who had comported themselves with such singular
wisdom and propriety that they were never either heard or talked
of--which, next to being universally applauded, should be the
object of ambition of all magistrates and rulers ... many a
dunderpate, like the owl, the stupidest of birds, comes to be
considered the very type of wisdom. This, by the way, is a casual
remark which I would not for the universe have it thought I apply
to Governor Van Twiller. It is true he was a man shut up within
himself, like an oyster, and rarely spoke except in monosyllables;
but then it was allowed he seldom said a foolish thing. So
invincible was his gravity that he was never known to laugh or even
to smile through the whole course of a long and prosperous life.
Nay, if a joke were uttered in his presence, that set light-minded
hearers in a roar, it was observed to throw him into a state of
perplexity. Sometimes he would deign to inquire into the matter,
and when, after much explanation, the joke was made as plain as a
pike-staff, he would continue to smoke his pipe in silence and
at length, knocking out the ashes, would exclaim, ‘Well, I see
nothing in all that to laugh about.’

“The person of this illustrious old gentleman was formed and
proportioned as though it had been moulded by the hands of some
cunning Dutch statuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur.
He was exactly five feet six inches in height, and six feet five
inches in circumference. His head was a perfect sphere and of such
stupendous dimensions that Dame Nature with all her sex’s ingenuity
would have been puzzled to construct a neck capable of supporting
it; wherefore she wisely declined the attempt and settled it
firmly on the top of his backbone just between the shoulders.
His body was oblong and particularly capacious at bottom; which
was wisely ordained by Providence, seeing that he was a man of
sedentary habits and very averse to the idle labor of walking. His
legs were short but sturdy in proportion to the weight they had
to sustain; so that when erect he had not a little the appearance
of a beer-barrel on skids. His face, that infallible index of the
mind, presented a vast expanse unfurrowed by any of those lines and
angles which disfigure the human countenance with what is termed
expression. Two small gray eyes twinkled feebly in the midst, like
two stars of lesser magnitude in a hazy firmament, and his full-fed
cheeks, which seemed to have taken toll of everything that went
into his mouth, were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky red,
like a Spitzenberg apple.”

After the seizure of the colony by the British in 1664, the
island became a perquisite of the governor’s office, a sort of
retreat from care for the occupant of that harassed position,
and was developed into a smiling garden. At this time it became
known as Governor’s Island, the name that has become its official
designation on the charts of the present day.

The first immigrants to New York under the English were assigned by
the council to Nutten Island for detention until the presence or
non-presence of contagious disease in their ranks could be proved.
These immigrants were about fifty Palatines who had been driven
from their home land by the war between Louis XIV and Holland and
Austria. Subsequently 10,000 followed these first fifty unfortunate
exiles. The island thus became the first quarantine station of the
city of New York.

During the wars of the Spanish Succession until the Treaty of
Utrecht in 1713 the people of the colonies of British North America
were in constant dread of attack by the French navy and during
this time it was urged continually that Governor’s Island should
be changed from a garden to a fortified spot. Notwithstanding this
fact the successive executives Slaughter, Fletcher and Cornbury did
nothing toward carrying out the desires of their subjects.

It was a happy-go-lucky, careless era. Indeed when one looks back
upon the perils of the early colonies and how they were survived it
is like looking back upon the perils of childhood and wondering
how one ever managed to get through. The colonies “just growed,”
which is true of a variety of things in this world, no doubt.

During Governor Cornbury’s administration, fifteen thousand pounds
(a value in present day terms of far beyond seventy-five thousand
dollars) was appropriated for building a fort upon Governor’s
Island, but Governor Cornbury used the money to build a pleasure
house instead, to which he and succeeding governors might retire
from press of business.

Governor Cornbury, we may believe, was an edifying addition to the
staid burgher circles of old New York. He was a small, shrimpish
man, we are told, and inordinately vain. Being a cousin to her most
Christian Majesty, Queen Anne, to which circumstance he owed his
appointment, and having been assured that he resembled her hugely
in appearance, he was in the habit of dressing himself like a woman
and posing upon the balcony of his home--that New Yorkers might be
thrilled by a reflection of royalty. Despite his royal connections
his household was most impecunious and his wife gained a reputation
for borrowing things which she had no intention of ever giving
back. Whenever the executive coach would be seen going the round of
the streets on social duties bent, the good wives who might expect
visits from her ladyship would say, it is said, “Quick, put away
that fancy work and that vase” (or this and that), “Kathrine! Her
ladyship is about to call upon us.”

Father Time strolled on through the terms of the various royal
governors noting their idiosyncrasies and continually hearing the
cry that Governor’s Island should be fortified, but not by any of
these gentlemen did he discover action taken. It was not until
after the Continental Congress, October 6, 1775, directed that
means should be immediately devised to make New York defensible
that the little city one morning woke up to find that there were
rudimentary fortifications on Governor’s Island. Of course these
fortifications were supplementary to the fort on the main island
upon which the city chiefly depended, Fort George. This was the
name the English had given to Fort Amsterdam’s successor, an
enlarged and strengthened edition of its original.

Of little avail did all of these works prove, however, for the
English, after the battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776, were
easily masters of the Americans in that part of the world. On
August 30th, Admiral Howe sailed up New York Bay and anchored
near the island, and the city of New York passed into British
possession, not to be surrendered until the close of the war.

The little force of men on Governor’s Island under the command
of Colonel Prescott abandoned the place on the approach of the
British. One man was injured by a bullet in the arm as they were
pulling away from the island. The place was garrisoned by the
British during their occupancy of New York and was fortified more
extensively than it ever had been before.

The site of all of these works was the site of present-day Fort
Columbus or Fort Jay.

After the Revolution the value of Governor’s Island as a place of
fortification was not taken advantage of and the works were allowed
to fall into decay. In 1784 Governor Clinton leased the spot to a
certain Dr. Price as the site for a hotel and race course. This
course was open during 1785 and 1786 and had staged upon it many
exciting trials of speed.

We have seen Governor’s Island as a flowery retreat for the
governors of New York from the cares of office, and we have looked
in upon it in the charge of the rough soldiery of England. We now
see it as the scene of the dissipations of the rabble and the lusty
young sports of the old city. Yet another day is in store for the
historic spot.

After the retirement of Washington from the presidency the
irritation between France and this country became intense, and
fears were entertained of conflict between the European nation and
its young former protégé. Agitation began once more in New York
for the building up of the defensive works on Governor’s Island.
Pressing recommendations were made to the federal authorities.
The story may be taken up and carried on here in the words of a
government report:

“The Secretary of War reported, December 19, 1794, that one
bastion commanding two low batteries had been undertaken and was
in a considerable state of forwardness, but observed that the
works being only sodded would not stand very long. On January 18,
1796, the Secretary reported to the Senate that Governor’s Island
had been fortified with a fort made of earth and two batteries,
under its protection, partly lined with brick masonry; that there
had been erected two hot air furnaces, a large powder magazine
and a barracks for the garrison; on February 10, 1797, that no
alterations had been made since January 1796, except in the repairs
and such additions as could he made to the garrison. During this
time there had been expended by the general government on the
fortifications of the island as follows: 1794, $1,327; in 1795,
$6,866.54; in 1796, $1,124.

“But now the apprehension of a French invasion caused such clamor
for protection among the people that immediate attention by the
general government was bestowed upon properly fortifying Governor’s
Island. Thirty thousand one hundred and seventeen dollars was
at once appropriated to be expended upon the fort, which now
became known as Fort Jay. Such was the fervor of the day that the
professors and students of Columbia College went in a body to
Governor’s Island and worked on the fortifications with shovels and


“Liberal appropriations were made by Congress in the three
succeeding years for completing and improving the fort. In 1799,
Congress appropriated $30,116.18; in 1800, $20,124; in 1801,
$10,338.05. No further improvements were made until 1806, when
Fort Jay with the whole of its buildings was demolished except
the walled counterscarp, the gate, the sally-port, the magazine,
and two barracks; all the rest was removed to give place for a
work of durable materials. On the site of the old fort a new one,
Fort Columbus, was erected, an inclosed pentagonal work with four
bastions of masonry, calculated for one hundred guns, being of
the same shape on three sides as Fort Jay, with the addition of
fourteen feet on each side, and on the north side of a ravelin,
with two retired casemates. Such was Fort Columbus when it was
completed in 1809.”

Despite the flurried haste of New Yorkers to have the fort
completed, despite the unprecedented exertions of the Columbia
students with shovels and wheelbarrows, Fort Columbus, or Jay as it
has been rebaptized of recent years in military circles, has never
been in active service.

Indeed, during the war of 1812, only three years after its
completion, the need of a post farther out to sea than this called
for the erection of that quaint little brick strong-box just off
present-day Fort Hamilton known as Fort Lafayette. It was called
originally Fort Diamond but was renamed in honor of the great
Frenchman on his visit to this country in 1824. Overshadowed by its
great modern neighbor (Fort Hamilton), the little fortification is
rarely observed, but it is still in active service and might give
good account of itself if called upon to do so, better account in
fact than its sire nestling close to America’s greatest city.

Not far from Fort Jay on Governor’s Island is a little work whose
name is not unfamiliar to New Yorkers. It is Castle Williams.
Begun in 1807, it was completed in 1811 and as a military weapon
has never been of service to the city which it was created to help
protect. As a landmark in the harbor, however, it has acquired some
little distinction solely through merit of the years, just as some
men live through an entirely commonplace youth and middle age to
become in their last years notable figures in their communities as
classmates of Father Time.

At about the time that Castle Williams was being constructed, a
similar work was in erection just off the Battery, Manhattan, on
a ledge of rocks now a part of the city itself. This was Fort
Clinton, which is the Castle Garden, or Aquarium, of the present
day. Fort Jay and Castle Williams, Fort Clinton and the Battery
were the outing places of New Yorkers before the Civil War. To the
Island or the Battery did the residents of the city repair for air
and recreation on holidays and Sundays. An illuminating picture of
this phase of the city’s life is drawn by Abram C. Dayton in his
“Last Days of Knickerbocker Life in New York.”

“Castle Garden, the legend says,” he writes, “was created to
protect the city against invasion. Whether these invaders were to
be New Jersey Indians armed with bows and arrows or Staten Island
pirates bent upon destruction with popguns and firecrackers is not
related; but it is certain a very limited force would have been
required to effect an entrance through its brick walls. About the
time we write of its loud-mouthed armament had been removed” (about
1860): “it had been placed by special orders from somewhere on a
peace footing. It was neither a concert saloon, an opera house, nor
a receptacle for needy immigrants; but the old white-washed barn
was devoted to the restaurant business on a very limited scale,
as ice cream, lemonade, and sponge cake constituted the list of
delicacies from which to select. The ticket of admission required
to pass its portcullis cost one shilling; but that was a mere form
instituted to guarantee perfect decorum, for it was redeemed as
cash in exchange for either of the above specified articles of
refreshment. At the close of a summer day its frowning battlements
were crowded with listeners eager to catch a strain of martial
music wafted from Governor’s Island.

“Rabineau’s swimming bath was moored to the wooden bridge which
connected the old fort with the Battery grounds; and on its roof
protected by an awning might be seen, after banking hours on summer
afternoons, substantial citizens comfortably seated and refreshing
themselves after their bath with the sea breeze, accompanied by
mint julep and sherry cobblers.”

Prior to 1852, Fort Columbus was for several different short
periods of time empty of troops, but since that year it has always
contained a garrison. In addition to being the head-quarters of
the Department of the East, the old post is now used as a military
prison and as a landing-place for the aërial branch of the army.

A visit to Governor’s Island to-day is a pleasant excursion for a
stranger in new New York and the port would be a new sight for most
New Yorkers, so unfamiliar are familiar places to those who are
closest to them. One must have a pass from the military authorities
at the island to go through the old works, but this can be secured
upon written application without great difficulty by any citizen of
the United States.

A fine figure of a place Fort Columbus seems to be,--rather a
braggart in its way! It spreads out, girded by its “dry moat,” over
the crest of the hill on which it is placed, in a truly threatening
attitude. But one does not need to be told that this is hollow
sham. A single shell from a modern engine of war would, no doubt,
finish all of its pretensions.

Looking from its sunny interior beyond its battlemented walls one
can see the airy fabric of New York’s marvellous sky-scrapers
against the eastern sky, a poignant contrast to the old stronghold.
Age and youth! In this comparison the fort has that advantage which
always inheres in years, it has seen youth grow from infancy and it
knows the quick passing of all things.



One could desire to be at the bold promontory of Ticonderoga in
1609, when the virgin woodside gazed anxiously at Samuel Champlain,
that intrepid French adventurer, as he fired his bell-mouthed
musket against the mystified Iroquois. The echoes of the discharge
of this ancient firearm were seldom allowed to die in these
wildernesses until the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, until
the complete ascendency of white man over red had been established.

Standing upon the ramparts of the old fort one may to-day easily
imagine himself in a virgin forest world. Civilization has set her
hand upon Lake Champlain, but her work is not obtrusively near to
the fort. The hills to the rear are still wooded; the waters, to
front and sides, are clear; and the same blue bends over all. The
immediate surroundings are little different from those in which
Champlain fought his opera-bouffe fight and inaugurated the long
struggle between red men and white in this part of the world.

We must remember that in 1609 the French had already taken hold of
New France. They had a querulous, contumacious baby of a colony on
the Saint Lawrence at Quebec and to this point came many curious
red men. With some of these red men the French had formed alliance.

One tribe of these allies had seen the thunderous cannon and guns
of the French and had suggested that these weapons be taken out and
turned upon some of the ancient enemies of that tribe. The idea had
appealed to Champlain as eminently a clever one, and with eleven
other Frenchmen armed with arquebuses and clad in light armor he
had set out, on the 28th of June, with three hundred amiable red
people. The party proceeded up the Saint Lawrence as far as the
river which afterward became known as the Richelieu and here paused
for feasting and a carouse. During the course of this ceremony
three-quarters of the Indians became huffy over a trifle and left
for their homes in a hurry, reducing the expedition to eleven
Frenchmen and seventy-five Indians.

As the expedition proceeded the Indians consulted their tutelary
spirits. A small circular tent would be raised of skins over
saplings and into this would crawl the medicine man with shudders
and groans. A grand commotion would be heard and then the voice of
the spirit would speak in a thin, treble squeak. The tent structure
would dance violently around and the savage spectators would feel
that their divinity was having a very busy time.


At length the French and Indians approached the lake which was
to bear the name of the white chief, and made their way upon it
in canoes. They came to a promontory of land which bore the
resounding Iroquois name of Ticonderoga, or “meeting of waters,”
in recognition of the fact that the waters of Lakes George and
Champlain come together at the base of the eminence. Here they met
a flotilla of skin canoes bearing a large war party of Iroquois and
the issue of this little trip of Champlain’s may now be said to
have been fairly joined.

The Iroquois, not being much given to fighting on water, paddled
to land, while the invaders decided to spend the night in their
canoes. All night long the air resounded with yells and epithets
and bandied menaces, but, at length, morning broke and put an end
to the unseemly clamor. The Frenchmen were concealed in the bottoms
of canoes until a dramatic moment should arrive to show themselves.
Their companions landed and now that they had come to their desire
were filled with terror of the Iroquois, calling loudly for
Champlain to come forth and destroy his opponents with thunder
and lightning. The doughty Frenchman, feeling secure in his armor
and his arms, threw aside the skins which covered him, and strode
forth like a white god in shining raiment. The gallant Iroquois
were filled with consternation at the sight of him. Raising his
arquebus, into which he had stuffed four balls, he fired at short
range, slaying two chiefs and wounding one. A second shot caused
the defenders to break and flee, and this gave Champlain’s allies
opportunity to kill and capture to their hearts’ content.

The expedition made its way back to Quebec filled with exultation.
Thus did Ticonderoga come upon the pages of history.

This engagement of Champlain’s--incidental as it seems--had
far-reaching consequences in the destiny of France in the New
World. By the slaughter of the Iroquois Champlain mortally offended
the Five Nations, which was an all-powerful Indian confederation,
incurring an enmity never remitted. The alliance of the Long House
with the English was one of the factors that helped to turn the
scale in their favor in the long contest for balance of power which
the years brought about between France and England in the New World.

On this very same day of July, 1609, while Champlain’s arquebus
was frightening the solitudes of this leafy part of the wild New
World, a little vessel known as the _Half Moon_ was in anchor on
the New England coast while the carpenter fitted a new foremast. A
few Weeks later the _Half Moon_ was in the Hudson and had come to
anchor above present Troy in the precincts over which the warriors
of the Long House kept watch. Thus does the Muse of History play
different parts with two hands.

Time passed and French and Indian war parties again and again
went by the point of land on which Ticonderoga now stands, bent
on marauding and harrying the English villages. Lake Champlain
and Lake George had become part of the great highway between
French world and English world. Finally, in 1735, Crown Point, the
fore-runner of Ticonderoga, was established by the French as an
organized centre of power and an outpost thrown toward the English.
Twenty years after this Ticonderoga came into prominence.

The year 1755 was a doleful one for the English colonies. It was
the year of Braddock’s defeat. In January, Shirley, governor
of Massachusetts, proposed an attack on Crown Point. The other
colonies were taken with the idea and raised levies of men and
funds. A heterogeneous army was the result under the leadership
of William Johnson, of New York, with the rank of Major-general,
separately bestowed upon him by each of the colonies taking part.
His selection was due not only to his immense personal popularity
but to his influence in the Long House of the Five Nations as well,
no other white man of his time having so much authority with the
dwellers in the forest. Of white men he had altogether about eight
thousand and he had his Indian allies.

That in an army which included men from Massachusetts, New York,
Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire there should be some
bickering and disagreements was inevitable, but, at length, the
column reached the foot of Lake George, which had become known to
its French acquaintances as Lac le Sacrement. Now it received a new
baptism. “I have given it the name of Lake George,” wrote Johnson
to the Lords of Trade, “not only in honor of His Majesty but to
ascertain (assert) his undoubted dominion here.” Lake George it has
been ever since. A camp was made where, after a time, Fort William
Henry was built, and a most unmilitary camp it was, if we can
believe the accounts of contemporaries. Though a dense forest gave
cover for an enemy to its very borders, no effort was made to clear
away the trees. Painted Indians lounged around, traders squabbled
together, and New England clergymen preached to the savages long
Calvinistic sermons.

Meanwhile the French at Crown Point were preparing a surprise for
Johnson. Large forces under the German Baron Dieskau had come
up, and Dieskau had assumed command of the united troops. He had
no thought of waiting to be attacked. He told his men to be in
readiness to move at a moment’s notice. Officers were to take
nothing with them but one spare shirt, one spare pair of shoes, a
blanket, a bearskin and provisions for twelve days. The Indians
were to make up their minds not to take scalps until the enemy
had been entirely defeated, because the operation of taking a
scalp was too lengthy a proceeding, and kept them from killing
other men. Then Dieskau moved on to a promontory which commanded
both Lake Champlain and Lake George. It was a high wooden mount
with a magnificent view of the waters; in short, our old friend

The German baron for a time made camp here, the first formal
military occupation of this point, but at length, being misinformed
by an American prisoner, who had been threatened with torture, as
to the force Johnson had, he prepared to move in haste and with
deadly intent against the American colonials. News of Braddock’s
defeat had just then become general information, and throughout
the ranks of the ignorant white men of the French party and of all
their savage allies ran an unwarranted contempt for English bravery
based on accounts of that lamentable massacre. Dieskau left a part
of his force at Ticonderoga, and embarking with the rest in canoes
and bateaux made his way through the narrow southern part of Lake
Champlain to where the town of Whitehall now stands, a point at
which they pitched camp.

The close of the next day found them well on toward Johnson and
on the day after that the battle of Lake George took place. It is
unnecessary to go into detail about this. The first part of the
day went against the Americans, who had foolishly sent out against
Dieskau, when they received word of his approach, an insufficient
number of white and red forces; but the end of the day found the
Americans victorious. Dieskau was badly wounded and was a prisoner.

The story goes that a delegation of chiefs waited upon Johnson
while Dieskau was in his cabin. The unwilling guest made some
comment about them to his host after their departure. “Yes, they
wish to be allowed to burn you,” was the response. Johnson took
extraordinary pains that the French leader should not fall into the
hands of his savages, and Dieskau died a peaceful death as a result
of his wounds several years later, midst the civilization of Bath,
England, whence he had gone in hopes of being benefited by the

Johnson commenced now to build Fort William Henry at one end
of Lake George, and the French, quickly recovering from their
set-back, began building at the other end, on the site of Dieskau’s
camp, the famous Fort Ticonderoga. The building of the French fort
consumed the greater part of 1756 and 1757, and was consummated
under the reign, in Canada, of Vaudreuil.

The original plan of Fort Ticonderoga was of a bastion fort, but
afterwards star-shaped outer walls, following plans of the great
Vauban, were added. The French built solidly in their various
military works, and Fort Ticonderoga was an enduring and strong

We have seen Fort William Henry and Fort Ticonderoga started
as rivals. The survivor of these two was Ticonderoga, and the
destruction of Fort William Henry was the occasion of one of the
saddest and most horrible massacres in American history. In 1757
the Marquis de Montcalm, chief of the French king’s forces in
Canada, was at Ticonderoga and with him was the Chevalier de Levis
with about eight thousand regulars, Canadians and Indians. The
troopers and the irregular forces were camped around the walls of
Ticonderoga near the lake and in the rear of the fort where the
eminence of land on which the fort stands continues in a gentle
plateau before commencing its descent. A colorful, picturesque
camp it was, with its red Indians, its half-breed whites, and its
careless soldiery. The officers and gentlemen of consequence were
lodged in the fort where they ate in the mess hall and lounged and
smoked and drank at leisure.

With his eight thousand men Montcalm set forth on the first of
August, 1757, across the little neck of land which divides Lake
Champlain from Lake George, leaving a small detachment to hold
the fort, and made his way along Lake George to near Fort William
Henry. His Britannic Majesty’s stronghold was solidly built and was
in command of a capable officer, Lieutenant Colonel Munro, a brave
Scotchman, but its garrison was insufficient, and reinforcements
were never sent. Montcalm attacked.

So well did the little band of beleaguered men contest their
position, that when inevitably they surrendered very favorable
terms were offered. It was agreed that the English troops should
march out with the honors of war and be escorted to Fort Edward
by a detachment of French troops; that they should not serve for
eighteen months, and that all French prisoners captured in America
since the war began should be given up within three months. The
stores, munitions, and artillery were to be the prize of the
victors, except that the garrison, in recognition of its bravery,
was to retain one field-piece. The Indian chiefs were consulted
in the making of these terms and agreed to them by shaking of the

When the capitulation took place, a scene very different from that
which had been anticipated was to be viewed. The Indians, excited
by the presence of so many captives, as they considered the English
prisoners of war, were not to be restrained and, though measures
were taken to hold them in rein, fell upon the helpless men and
women and butchered them mercilessly.

The morning after the massacre soldiers were set to work destroying
all that remained of Fort William Henry.

The year that followed the massacre--1758--brought the most
formidable looking and least effective of all of the attacks
against Ticonderoga. The English, thoroughly incensed at the loss
of Fort William Henry, had set themselves with determination to
destroy Ticonderoga and to this end had raised a great force of
regular soldiery, provincial militia and those invaluable irregular
border troops of which Roger’s rangers are a good example, and
had placed them under the command of General Abercrombie. The
whole body lay encamped in June, 1758, at the head of Lake George,
within easy striking distance of the terrible French stronghold. It
numbered nearly fifteen thousand men, all told. Montcalm’s forces
were not one-fourth so numerous and the great French leader was
sadly sure of disaster to himself and his men.

That disaster did not, indeed, fall upon the French as the outcome
of this undertaking on the part of the British is to be ascribed
primarily to the unfortunate choice of a leader which they had
had made for them and to Providence, which early in the campaign
removed from their midst the only military talent which they seem
to have possessed. Abercrombie was a political heritage of corrupt
powers in England, where the government had undergone a great
reconstruction since the horrors of Fort William Henry, and had
been kept in authority solely on account of pressure which could
be brought to bear at home. Lord Pitt had appointed as second in
command of the expedition one of the few military geniuses of
his age,--as all of his contemporaries admitted,--the young Lord
Howe, elder brother of the more famous Sir William Howe, who later
commanded His Majesty’s forces in America against the rebellious
colonies. “The noblest Englishman that has appeared in my time
and the best soldier in the British army,” said Wolfe, of him. In
a minor skirmish at the very first of the reconnoitring around
Ticonderoga he was killed by an Indian’s bullet, and the English
troops were left to flounder on from one blunder to another.

The last part of the march against Ticonderoga was commenced on the
morning of July 4 and by July 6 the soldiers were at the head of
Lake George and in touch with the enemy in Ticonderoga just over a
ridge of woods.

The ridge of land on which Ticonderoga is situated continues
northwest without the sharp decline that marks its topography in
every other direction. Along this spine, then, the English attack
might be expected, so in this quarter Montcalm had had barriers
built of fallen trees, laid together so as to form a zig-zag
parapet nine feet in height and with a platform behind, from which
the French soldiers might shoot without exposing themselves. Along
the entire front of this barricade the ground was strewn with
sharp-pointed boughs. Obviously it was not a position that infantry
could take without the aid of artillery.

Yet, under Abercrombie’s command, the English advanced against
this work without waiting for the cannon which they had with them
to be brought up. Between noon and nightfall of July 7 they made
six gallant assaults without result. A perfect hades of shot and
flame those logs became. The scene has been described by one of
Roger’s rangers who took part in the action, and his description,
found in an old letter, was published a decade ago in Harper’s
Magazine, by one of his descendants. “The maze of fallen trees with
their withered leaves hanging broke their ranks and the French
Retrenchment blazed fire and death” he wrote. “They advanced
bravely up but all to no good purpose and hundreds there met their
death. My dear Joseph I have the will but not the way to tell you
all that I saw that awful afternoon. I have since been in many
battles and skirmishes but I have never witnessed such slaughter
and such wild fighting as the British storm of Ticonderoga. We
became mixed up--Highlanders, Grenadiers, Light Troops, Rangers
and all, and we beat against that mass of logs and maze of fallen
timber and we beat in vain. I was once carried right up to the
breastwork, but we were stopped by the bristling mass of sharpened
branches, while the French fire swept us front and flank. The
ground was covered deep with dying men and, as I think it over now,
I can remember nothing but the fruit bourne by the tree of war, for
I looked upon so many wondrous things that July day that I could
not set them downe at all. We drew off after seeing that no human
valour could take that work. We Rangers then skirmished with the
French colony troops and the Canada Indians until dark while our
people rescued the wounded, and then we fell back. The Army was
utterly demoralized and made a headlong retreat during which many
wounded men were left to die in the woods.”

On the day following his victory Montcalm had a great cross planted
in the battle-field bearing words, composed by himself, which have
been translated by Parkman as follows:

      Soldier and chief and rampart’s strength are nought;
      Behold the Conquering Cross! ’Tis God the triumph wrought.

The old fort was to fall into English hands the next year, however,
when Amherst, commander-in-chief of the English forces in America,
advanced against it with a force of British and Americans. Montcalm
had hurried to the defence of Quebec with the greater part of his
force and Ticonderoga was in the command of Boulemarque, a capable
officer, but one no more able than any other man to accomplish the
impossible. He could not hold the position with the inconsiderable
force he had against that opposed to him. A stroke of Providence
was not to be anticipated a second time. So, while the British
encamped under the walls of the fort prepared to attack it the next
day, Boulemarque set a fuse to the powder magazine and marched his
men out. There was a great explosion and a rending of walls, and
Ticonderoga’s besiegers knew that the fort was their prize.

[Illustration: The Mess Hall

A Council Room


Through the rest of the French and Indian War, which was from this
time forward a tale of uninterrupted success for the British arms,
Ticonderoga played no part except that of a garrisoned English
possession. Its walls were repaired where Boulemarque’s match
had shattered them.

The prestige of the fort had now become such that in the fermenting
first days of the outbreak in the colonies against the Mother
Country it was conceived that the seizure of the place would have
an immense moral effect in the colonies. A sturdy Vermont man,
Ethan Allen, with his Green Mountain boys, was given the task of
seizing it. In early spring, 1775, Allen approached the old Indian
stronghold now held by merely a handful of British, who had no
idea that the Americans were in action against them. One cannot
depreciate the tenacity of purpose and hardiness which carried
Ethan Allen and his men through the inhospitable wilderness to
success in their enterprise, but the military valor of the action
was not great. With his men Allen crept up to the unsuspecting
stronghold, seized the sentry, and, while his men scattered through
the fort making prisoners of its inmates, thundered at the door of
the commanding officer: “Open in the name of the Great Jehovah and
the Continental Congress.” While knowing little of the Continental
Congress, the officer submitted to the inevitable.

The news of Allen’s exploit was spread through the colonies and
was a determining influence with many undecided Americans. His
resounding phrase has been repeated by school-boys many times
since and is perhaps more familiarly associated with the name of
Ticonderoga than any of the great exploits which have marked its

For a time the Americans held on to the fort. In 1776 a large force
was concentrated here, since it guarded that very vital means of
access to the heart of the colonies which the British persistently
tried to make use of. It was from this point that in 1776 Benedict
Arnold set forth with a small fleet of vessels to attack Sir Guy
Carleton at Valcour Island. Though the American fleet was almost
entirely destroyed, it, nevertheless, set back the plans of the
British one year and delayed their projected invasion from the
north that long.

In 1777 Burgoyne invested the fort and, by dragging some guns to
the top of Mount Defiance, an eminence which commands Ticonderoga,
caused General Arthur St. Clair of the American forces to evacuate
the place. Burgoyne occupied the fort for a passing visit but was
soon on his way into the colonies by the ancient trail which war
parties for generations had trod, fortunately, for the colonies, to
meet defeat and loss of his army at the battle of Saratoga.

The fort remained in the hands of the British until after the
surrender of Yorktown, though Colonel Brown of Massachusetts made
a brave effort to take it once more. During the War of 1812 it
listened to the guns of McDonough’s improvised fleet in action with
the British, but it had no active part in this action or in this
war, itself.

In 1806 the property on which the old fort stands was leased from
Union and Columbia colleges by William F. Pell of New York, it
being a part of a State grant to these institutions. Mr. Pell built
a summer cottage for himself and, in 1816, purchased the land. The
cottage was destroyed in 1825 and a second building known as the
Pavilion was erected. The Pavilion is still in use and has never
been out of the Pell family.

The walls of Ticonderoga, the fort, were not greatly prized by the
early holders of this Pell tract and it remained for the present
head of his generation, Mr. Stephen H. P. Pell, to appreciate
the historic value of the old place and to set about a work of
restoration and repair. The foundations of the walls were still
solid and some of the old buildings were still standing when, in
1909, Mr. Pell began his work of rebuilding. The original plans
of the fort were secured from the French government. The work of
rehabilitation has been carried forward in strict accordance with
authorities. Historic points in the grounds surrounding the fort
have been marked with tablets and monuments and each year sees an
increasing number of visitors coming to Ticonderoga to inspect this
history-filled place.



It would be hard, gazing upon Crown Point to-day, to realize
the storms and terrors it let loose upon the English colonists
not quite two hundred years ago. Girt by the smiling waters of
one of America’s most beautiful lakes, overtopped by a verdant
mountain, and gazing out upon green fields in the shade of
majestic woodlands, all of the atmosphere of the place is one of
peace and aloofness from the pain of human suffering. Yet the
name “Crown Point” was a sinister thing in the early days of the
English colonists, particularly in the northern provinces. The
New England matron putting to bed her infant Stephen Brewster or
little Praise-the-Lord Jones, or the Dutch vrouw in the country
round about Albany with her little Van Rensselaer Tasselwitch, had
but to utter this dreadful name, “Crown Point,” to bring her child
into the most docile state of apprehension. From Crown Point went
forth the scalping parties of French, Indian and half-breeds, which
preyed upon the borders of the English colonies, carrying wrack and
horror wherever they went. A glad and beautiful place, it nourished
in its heart an evil spirit.

[Illustration: Where the flag flew

The Ruined Barracks


The settlement of the Crown Point district by the French began
soon after the opening of the eighteenth century. The beautiful
lake which bears the name of its discoverer had been known in
France for more than a century, and the country which lay between
Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario--all that wilderness stretch of
northern New York of to-day--had been charted with a fair degree
of exactness, as well. The riches of the region were well sensed.
Accordingly, a large and important province was planned by the
French political geographers whose eastern boundary should be the
Connecticut and whose western boundary should be Lake Ontario.
North was the St. Lawrence River, and the southern confine was
rather misty, except that it was determined that it should be all
that could be kept from the English. The metropolis and capital
of this fine project was to be a place situated at that peculiar
bend in Lake Champlain where there was a projecting tongue of land,
making a fine site for settlement, fortification and development.
In other words, it was to be Crown Point, or Pointe de Couronne,
as the French had it. A body of settlers was sent over about 1729,
and in 1731 a fortification was commenced at the tip of the Crown
Point peninsula which was named Fort Saint Frederic. The remains of
this fortification are barely visible on the lake side of the point
to-day near the Champlain Memorial light-house. And now a few words
as to the geography of this part of Lake Champlain.

The lake, as all know, is a long, narrow tongue of water. About
mid-way down it is constricted to even more than its usual
slender width (“slender” as proportioned to the length) and the
water is carried off at a sharp angle to the east. Just before
the constriction, however, there is a protuberance, and on the
west shore of this protuberance, or bay, there stands to-day the
thriving little foundry town of Port Henry. Directly across the
water from Port Henry, and at the point where the lake makes a
sharp bend to the east, is a long, narrow point of land, and this
is Crown Point. Crown Point has water on two sides of it. Though
only a short distance from Port Henry by boat, it is quite a long
distance by land, for, then, one must drive down to the base of the
peninsula and work out to the point along the five-mile extent of
the peninsula. The lake on the east side of Crown Point peninsula
is so narrow that a cannon could easily fire across it. Behind Port
Henry, that is, on the west side of the lake, is a precipitous
mountain-side. The Point, therefore, was well protected in the days
when cannon were with difficulty to be found in America and when
they could not be transported easily through the wilderness of the
New World. It could only be approached by water or by the long,
narrow strip of land which joined it with the mainland, and either
one of these approaches it could master very easily.

The first fort on Crown Point, Fort Saint Frederic, was a little
five-pointed star-shaped fort. Though small in size, it played a
far larger part in events than the mighty successor which the years
brought and which we shall presently come to. Fort Saint Frederic
was for twenty-five years the only French stronghold in this part
of the world. In 1756 Ticonderoga was begun. In the council-rooms
of old Saint Frederic what strange visitors might have been seen,
what bizarre juxtapositions of Old World and New, of sophistication
and savagery! During all of its life the little fort was a
rendezvous for Indians. Here, too, the Baron Dieskau made himself
at home before setting out on the expedition, unfortunate for
himself, against Johnson on Lake George. Here might have been seen
Montcalm and other of the mightiest and craftiest warriors of old
France in the new.

Except as a centre for Indians and a council hall for white and
red, the little fort did not ever take part in fighting. When the
English finally advanced in force against the strongholds on Lake
Champlain, Ticonderoga was the point which bore the brunt of the
onslaughts. First, Johnson came against these two hornet nests of
French and Indians and accomplished little. Then Abercrombie made
his futile and disgraceful try (“Mother Nabercrombie” he was long
afterward known in the colonies). Finally the two forts fell before
the large force which Amherst, in 1757, brought against them and
as a result of the need of men at Quebec which had depleted their
strength beyond the power of resistance. Fort Saint Frederic, like
Ticonderoga, was deserted without a shot being fired, though its
departing commander tried to destroy it by fusing the magazines.

Under the British the old French fort was dismantled and allowed
to fall into decay. So well did the situation of Crown Point
appeal to the British, however, as a place of fortification and so
important was a hold upon Lake Champlain deemed, that the British
began the construction of a massive fortress, on the most approved
model, which was completed as far as it was ever carried within the
course of a few years after Amherst’s occupation of the point and
which cost ten millions of dollars. This is an outlay which would
be large even to-day. The jagged ruins of the walls of this fort,
which never fired a shot in anger, are what one sees now on Crown
Point when paying the old place a visit.

When Ethan Allen took Ticonderoga with his Green Mountain boys,
Crown Point also fell to the Americans without resistance. It came
passively into English hands again and after the Revolution was
allowed to fall into decay.

Not far from the remains of Crown Point fort is the beautiful
and large monument to Samuel Champlain, known as the Champlain
Memorial. It takes the form of a light-house and is most solidly
and durably constructed. Erected through the joint subscription
of the States of Vermont and New York, the monument is, as well, a
tribute to public spirit. In character the light-house is memorial
of the past rather than symbolic of the future; a heroic statue in
bronze of Champlain faces the east and at the base of the statue
is Rodin’s “La France,” presented to the States of New York and
Vermont for this undertaking by France.




That hardy mariner, Jacques Cartier, sailed up the St. Lawrence
River in 1535, but it was not until 1608, when Champlain’s vessel
brought the first permanent colonists of New France, that Quebec
was founded. The storm-tossed little caravel entered the St.
Lawrence in the early summer of that year. Champlain landed his
miscellaneous following, built “L’Habitation,” as he named the
first official residence in Quebec, and laid the foundations of
a small fort, an act portentous of the stirring events which the
future held calmly waiting their turn and which were to give Quebec
so conspicuous a place in the military annals of the New World.

The first fortifications were little more than gun platforms placed
at an advantageous position so as to command the river. Their site
became the location of Castle St. Louis and is to-day the eastern
end of the Dufferin Terrace. So it is easy to remember where
Champlain laid the foundations of the new city.


  By courtesy of Detroit Publishing Company


The new seat of power was shortly to see its master exerting his
authority in a way not to be lightly mistaken. Treachery was
plotted by some among Champlain’s followers, who planned to
assassinate their chief and sell his new city to the Spaniards.
News of this move was brought to Champlain’s ears. He caused the
ringleaders to be seized by his soldiers and hung in the fort
until dead. In this fashion the stronghold saw its first acts of
violence. Scurvy marked the passage of the first winter in the New
World of the little fort’s defenders, and by the spring only the
most hardy were alive.

The years which came between 1608 and 1629, the date of the first
formal siege of Quebec, brought enlargement and strength to both
the fort and the city. During this period both had been frequently
surrounded by hostile Indians, who feared the white man’s guns too
much to attempt an attack by storm but who prowled around beneath
the very ramparts of the fort seeking for unwary adventurers who
might be without the gates. The control of the little colony in
France had passed through various hands, but always the chief
executive in the New World had been its founder, the rugged
Champlain. The year 1629 finds the little colony in the possession
of the Company of the 100 Associates, an organization founded by
His Excellency, Cardinal Richelieu, and of which His Eminence was
himself a member, and the winter of this year finds the colony in
its usual desperate straits, beleaguered by winter and by savage
foe and deserted in all but name by its sponsors in France.

In the spring of 1629 the inhabitants of Quebec were gladdened by
the intelligence that a fleet had been discerned from Cap Tourmente
in the mouth of the river and that it was even then approaching the
city. It was supposed that this was the long-wished-for squadron
of relief ships and that all would be prosperity and good cheer
in the town for a time now. The citizens assembled on the walls
of the fort to descry the distant sail, when word was brought by
a friendly Indian that the looked-for vessels, far from being
messengers of peace, were, in fact, emissaries of war; that they
were English, and that they had just burned and pillaged a fishing
village in a care-free, happy-go-lucky fashion on the way up the
river. War had been declared between England and France and Quebec
had not received word of it! Joy was changed to woe.

The next day emissaries arrived from Sir David Kirke, the English
admiral in command of the fleet, demanding the surrender of the
town and the fort, but Champlain, believing that help would soon
arrive from France and not being of the temper, anyhow, which
quickly gives up, turned these messengers away with words of
defiance. The first siege of Quebec was now begun.

To tell the truth it was an informal sort of matter, anyhow,
this first siege of Quebec. The English vessels pounded away at
the town for a day or two in a casual fashion and then drifted
down the river. The French, on their part, had but fifty pounds
of powder and were very careful about wasting any of this. Time
passed and still no aid came from distant France. At length the
intelligence which Champlain had been dreading was brought to
him. The long-awaited French relief ships had entered the mouth
of the St. Lawrence only to be overcome and seized by the English
blockader. Hope had now departed, and when, in July, three English
ships sailed up to the town, Champlain and his sixteen soldiers
watched them apathetically because they knew that they, themselves,
could do no more. Quebec was surrendered to the English and on
July 20, 1629, the English flag for the first time flew over the
little settlement. Said one of Kirke’s captains: “There was not in
the sayde forte at the tyme of the rendition of the same, to this
examinate’s knowledge, any victuals save only one tubb of bitter

It was not until 1632 that Quebec was restored to the French by
the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, and during its three years of
English occupancy the point had made no progress. The Indians did
not like their rough, new associates and trade had languished. Even
the fort was in sad condition.

The summer of 1632 saw the little settlement in French hands and
under the guidance of Emery de Caen, a fiery French Huguenot.
The next year found the colony once more in the direction of the
veteran Champlain. It is not clear why de Caen was given power
for this one year. On Christmas Day, 1635, the Father of New
France passed peacefully away in the fort which had seen so many
of his earthly activities. His body was laid to rest in a “chambre
particulier,” according to old record. Late investigation inclines
to the belief that Champlain’s last resting place was a niche
hollowed out of the stone half way down Mountain Hill in full view
of the strand on which his early “Habitation” was built.

The successor of Champlain, M. de Montmagny, a Knight of Malta,
rebuilt of stone Champlain’s fort shortly after his arrival in
1636, and Castle St. Louis had now a most martial appearance. Close
to the castle was the Jesuit presbytery, this close conjunction
of church and Mars well typifying the union of powers which held
authority in the colony. All public functions were religious in
character and the black-robed priests held the balance of power in
the council-room.

Throughout the quarter century following Champlain’s death the
threat of Iroquois marauding hung over the little city and in
1660 Castle St. Louis witnessed a strange spectacle. It was the
burning at the stake by the French of an Iroquois captive as a
retaliation against the savages for their outrages. The Indian met
his fate with fortitude, but reviled his captors unceasingly and
predicted a dire future for the city. At length death put an end to
his sufferings and his predictions. His spirit, according to the
priests who were standing by, winged its way to the place of the
redeemed, having been freed from sin by the fiery ordeal through
which its body had passed.

Time went its way and brought the second siege of Quebec to Castle
St. Louis. The bold and impetuous Frontenac was now at the helm of
state and it was due to a three-headed expedition of his against
the English colonies that this second siege was brought about.
Incidentally, this expedition may be looked upon in another light
as the opening blow in that long struggle between New France
and New England which was to result in the extinguishing of the
latter power in the New World. Three war parties set out from the
fortifications at Quebec, Montreal and Three Rivers. The first
reached the Dutch settlement of Corlaer (Schenectady) on the Hudson
and brought about the horrible and historic Schenectady massacre.
In similar fashion the other parties fell upon towns in New
England. The northern English colonies which had hitherto been kept
asunder by jealousies united against a common foe and equipped an
expedition which was to set forth from Massachusetts against Quebec.

The vessels of the fleet consisted of thirty-two ships ranging
in size from the _Six Friends_, a roisterer of the seas which
had been engaged in the dangerous West India trade, and mounted
forty-four guns, to humble fishing smacks. The commander was
William Phips, afterward Sir William Phips, a strange favorite
of Fortune whose adventurous and large-fisted career carried him
through gold-seeking in the Spanish Main, knighthood from the
British Crown, and the governorship, by royal appointment, of
Massachusetts. Volunteers were called for and nearly four thousand
men responded to the call. Provisions were laid in for four months
and all was ready for the start.

After waiting so long in Boston for help from England that winter
was almost at hand, Sir William at length gave the order to sail
and the New England armada was launched upon its career. Its only
lacks were a pilot who knew the St. Lawrence River, a sufficiency
of gunpowder and a commander competent to direct the expedition.
The eventual failure of the undertaking was not hard to forecast.

The fleet anchored a little below Quebec in the autumn of 1690.
Frontenac was ready and waiting for it. A messenger was sent from
the fleet to the French governor demanding surrender. He was taken
in a canoe to the landing place and blindfolded. Then he was
directed up the steep streets and crooked stairs of the little
city by a devious path to Castle St. Louis where Frontenac, with
his aides in full uniform, was waiting to receive him. During his
progress onward he was jostled and pushed to make him think that
there were immense crowds of people in the little city, and hoarse
orders were shouted near his ear to imaginary soldiery. At length
he stood in the council-room of our little fort and the bandage
was taken from his eyes. The scene of splendor before him at first
filled him with confusion, but he quickly recovered poise and
delivered his message.

“No,” returned Frontenac, “I will answer your general only by the
mouths of cannon, that he may learn that a man like me is not to be
summoned in this fashion. Let him do his best and I will do mine!”

During the short and futile siege which followed, the cannonading
between the vessels of Sir William’s fleet and the French
fortification was so terrific that experienced military officers
declared that they had heard nothing like it. At length the
besiegers sailed away baffled and the furious little fort grumbled
down to another season of peace. Phips reached Boston in November,
and the rest of his fleet straggled in one by one, such as were not
lost in the storms of the perilous Nova Scotia coast. Frontenac, in
celebration of the deliverance of Quebec, established the little
church of Notre Dame de la Victoire which stands in Quebec as a
memorial of those days.

The beginning of the eighteenth century saw the fortifications
of Quebec strengthened and enlarged. Vauban, the great engineer,
furnished the plans which were carried out under Frontenac’s
personal supervision. For twenty leagues around, the habitants
were pressed into service and even the gentlefolk of the colony
volunteered for work with pick and spade, so eager was the
sentiment to carry out Vauban’s plans. A line of solid earthworks
was extended on the flank of the city from Cape Diamond to the
St. Charles River, and now for the first time the summit of Cape
Diamond was fortified, this redoubt with sixteen cannon being the
foundation of the present-day citadel of Quebec. In the foundation
of the new work a copper plate, discovered at the demolition of the
old walls in 1854, was buried bearing the following inscription:

  In the year of grace 1693 under the reign of the Most August,
  Most Invincible and Most Christian King, Louis the Great,
  Fourteenth of that name, the most Excellent and Most Illustrious
  Lord, Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac, twice viceroy of all
  New France, after having three years before repulsed, routed and
  completely conquered the rebellious inhabitants of New England,
  who besieged this town of Quebec and who threatened to renew
  the attack this year, constructed, at the charge of the King,
  this citadel, with the fortifications therewith connected, for
  the defence of the country and the safety of the people and for
  confounding yet again a people perfidious towards God and towards
  its lawful king. And he has laid this first stone.

In 1709 the sturdy colonists of New England planned another
expedition against Quebec. This time the home government had
promised to help. But arrangements were delayed and it became
late autumn before the expedition was ready to set out. Under the
circumstances a fight against the frigid winter of Quebec as well
as its stone strongholds was not to be considered.

The next attempt upon the little city took place in 1711, when a
strong fleet under Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker set sail from Boston
on the 30th of July. Under a different commander this effort might
have resulted in success to the British arms, but Admiral Walker
scorned all advice and drove his big frigates on so recklessly
amidst the dense fogs and sharp reefs of Newfoundland, that eight
battleships were beaten to pieces by the waves and rocks. Eight
hundred and eighty-four people, thirty-four of them women, were
drowned. Admiral Walker sailed ignominiously back to Boston, and in
Quebec the happy French changed the name of their little church of
Notre Dame de la Victoire to that of Notre Dame des Victoires.

Yet the persistence of the English was at length to have its way.
In 1720 the walls of Quebec were enlarged and made mightier,
and the citadel, largely in the form in which it exists to-day,
was erected. Vaudreuil, the last governor of New France, loudly
proclaimed that the city was impregnable. In 1759 came the
expedition of Wolfe against Quebec, the final outcome of which and
the method of attack, with Wolfe’s heroic death on the Plains of
Abraham, is a story that every schoolboy knows.

This conflict was the first in which the citadel took part.
The mighty works in which Vaudreuil trusted so loudly had
been overcome on their first trial, while the high-perched,
precariously-placed little “Castle,” which Champlain had first
built and which his successors had altered to suit their times, had
withstood innumerable Indian attacks and had seen three assaults
by Europeans fail against it. The spirit of the men who manned the
forts had changed with their times.

There is another tale of siege and Quebec which is not widely
familiar and yet which all Americans should know. It is the story
of Montgomery’s expedition during the Revolution--an expedition
in which he lost his life and in which Benedict Arnold played a
conspicuous part.

Richard Montgomery was a lieutenant in Wolfe’s army and was
thoroughly familiar with Quebec. At the outbreak of the War of
Independence he was deputized to lead an army up the Hudson and
by the familiar approach along the Richelieu River and the St.
Lawrence to Quebec. Benedict Arnold led another force through the
tangled forests of northern Maine and New Hampshire, reaching
Quebec ahead, even, of Montgomery. The combined forces laid
siege to the city through the winter, and in the most desperate
assault of all, one in which Wolfe’s feat of scaling the cliff was
attempted, Montgomery lost his life. After six months the United
States troops departed, confessing failure.

From that time to this the military history of Quebec has been
uneventful. In the early part of the nineteenth century old Castle
St. Louis, which had stood so many storms and assaults, succumbed
to fire. The site is now an open square with some relics and a fine
view over the river.

The great citadel of Quebec rises three hundred and fifty feet
above the river and covers nearly forty acres. The portion of the
works overlooking the St. Lawrence is called the Grand Battery,
while the surmounting pinnacle of the citadel is known as the
King’s Bastion. From the King’s Bastion a most glorious panorama
is spread out before one, embracing the city, the great river,
hundreds of miles of forest and farm land, the Laurentian mountains
in the distance in one direction and the green hills of Vermont far
away in another.

All of the old works of Quebec have been retired from active
service in a military sense. The city is protected by modern
fortifications in other quarters.

Two memorials record two great events in the history of the
citadel. The chief is the Wolfe-Montcalm monument erected just
behind the Dufferin Terrace in a little green enclosure known as
the Governor’s Garden. The second is a simple tablet set up in the
face of the cliff on the river-front below the citadel, marking the
spot where the United States General Montgomery fell in the winter
of 1775.



More by accident than by design the Sieur de Monts, in 1604, with
his oddly assorted band of adventurers on the foggy Bay of Fundy,
steered into the rocky entrance which leads into the beautiful
landlocked basin of present-day Annapolis in Nova Scotia. One of
his followers, the Baron de Potrincourt, was so enchanted by the
beauty of the scene that he asked a grant of land here. This was
given him, and upon this land in the next year he built himself
first a fort, then a house, and then several more houses. This was
the beginning of Port Royal, now known as Annapolis, the second
oldest fortified place in the Western Hemisphere.


  By Courtesy of The Boston Times

N. S.]

The voyager to-day may repeat de Monts’s experience and with no
design to do that, too. Fogs wrap the eastern and western coasts
of Nova Scotia in an impenetrable blanket most of the time. The
traveller who sails,--let us say,--from St. Johns, New Brunswick,
for the Annapolis Basin, crosses sparkling waters, and then, as he
enters the mountainous cleft which gives entrance to this beautiful
bay, comes into the belt of mist which obscures all of the coast.
He hears the fog horn on the point at the entrance,--which de
Monts did not hear,--and then suddenly, like an apparition, the
land looms into view; there is a lane of shrouded, uncertain
water, between towering misty headlands; and, then, he is beyond
the mists. Annapolis Basin, bright and blue with soft clouds
overhead, like a highland lake, lies before him. At the far head
of the Basin, where the delicate horizon merges into the sky, is
Annapolis. It is not hard to understand Potrincourt’s enthusiasm
for this beautiful spot. It is hard to understand how de Monts
himself could have passed over this locality in favor of the barren
Isle St. Croix for his first settlement, for this is what he did.

The winter of 1604 was passed by the little colonizing expedition
at St. Croix--the sandy island which is now the boundary line
between Canada and Maine. Potrincourt went back to France with de
Monts to secure supplies and settlers for his own pet project,
whose setting was Annapolis Basin, and returned with his chief in
June, 1605, to find that the companions they had left behind them
at St. Croix had had a sorry winter. The whole settlement was then
moved over to Potrincourt’s Port Royal. This was the beginning of

The makeup of de Monts’s expedition was thoroughly typical of
the colonizing bodies sent out by France in that day. There were
men of the noblest blood of France, of whom our Potrincourt was
a conspicuous example, and there was, also, the sweeping of the
offscouring of the most dissolute cities of the Old World. The
motives which inspired these different men were no doubt as mixed
as the character of the men and as pleasant a theme of speculation,
but with this we will have nothing to do. The second winter of de
Monts’s adventurers, even at sheltered Annapolis, was severe, and
it was with joy that the men saw the spring of 1606 arrive and
bring with it the little ship from France which annually brought
supplies and new blood from the Old World.

In this ship there was one arrival who must be given a special
consideration. A poet-lawyer,--a strange combination, at
that,--Marc Lescarbot eventually was to write his name in fame as
the author of one of the earliest histories of New France, one of
the most authentic records in existence of the early adventures of
the French in the New World; but in our regard of him now we must
consider the high spirit and bold emprise which he brought with him
to cheer his companions and to help them through the rigors of this
early settlement. A rhymester of some skill, he tuned his lyre to
the most trivial events to keep his associates in good spirits, and
in this last endeavor displayed an ingenuity which cannot help but
endear him to all generations which like brave deeds done in blithe
ways. He organized the Ordre de la Bon Temps, the only requirements
for membership in which were presence in the little colony, and
the duties of whose members were on successive days to provide a
banquet for their brethren. There was formality attached to the
office, too. Theatrical masques were gotten up and odd tasks were
devised for all Knights of the Merry Time. Lescarbot infused a
brave spirit into even the most dreary of the odd crew which made
up this colony. We can picture the merry adventurers in their rude
little fort engaged in their pranks of drollery thousands of miles
away from home and with inhospitable wilderness and bleak shores
for environs.

The charter of the colony was revoked in 1607, by one of those
pleasing inconsistencies of royalty which inspire in the student
of the past so thorough a belief in the theory of the divine right
of kings, and the brave Order of the Merry Time to a man, with
retainers and family vessels, embarked upon the skittish little
vessels in which they entrusted themselves to the Atlantic and
sailed back to France. It was not for three years that any of them
returned, but in 1610 perseverance on de Potrincourt’s part had
triumphed over royal pudding-headedness once more, and in that
year he came back again to his colony. It is related that he found
everything in Port Royal exactly as he had left it, not a lock or
a bar in the little fort having been disturbed by the Indians, who
displayed, in addition to their honesty, another engaging trait of
fidelity to friendship by the many manifestations of joy which they
made at having with them again their friends, the Frenchmen. Not
again was Port Royal to be entirely deserted.

In 1613 the Jesuits of Port Royal, a class to themselves, abandoned
the place and attempted the settlement of a picturesque inlet
on Mount Desert Island on the coast of present-day Maine, their
inlet still bearing the name of Frenchmen’s Bay. The freebooting
Argall, a piratical seafarer from the new colony of Virginia far
south on the Atlantic Coast, heard of this settlement and descended
upon it in force. Most of the French were killed after a brave
but ineffectual resistance, and fire and axe were given to their
settlement. In the following year this Argall heard of the presence
of Port Royal, for news travelled slowly in those days, and
proceeded against that point after completing his work of pillage
at Mount Desert and St. Croix. Taking the little place by surprise
with a superior force, he scattered the inhabitants, burned the
village, and razed the fort to the ground. Potrincourt, a survivor,
returned to France and fell fighting at the siege of Mery in the
following year.

From this time until the signing of the treaty of St.
Germain-en-Laye in 1632, Port Royal and Acadia were held in the
hands of the British, and during this time occurred that odd
experiment of Sir William Mackenzie to make of Acadia a New
Scotland or Caledonia. The Scottish knight obtained the concession
of the Acadian peninsula from King James in 1621 and founded a
colony on the site or very near the site of Port Royal, building
a fort at this point. Charles I renewed the charter granted by
his predecessor, and created an order of minor nobility known as
the Knights Baronets of Nova Scotia. It became Mackenzie’s idea to
establish in the New Caledonia the feudal institutions of the Old
World. His colony was not a success even during its short life, and
in 1632 Port Royal passed by treaty to the French, thus putting an
end effectually to New Caledonia and its Knights Baronets of the
dissolute Charles’s erection.

The see-saw between French and English was once more to incline in
the English favor as regards Acadia. The cession of this peninsula
to the French had always been looked on with disfavor by the New
England colonists, because it gave their hereditary enemies a
secure base from which to send out privateering expeditions against
their shipping. In 1654, Cromwell the Protector dispatched a force
to ensure the subjugation of the Dutch on the Island of Manhattan.
Peace with Holland was concluded by England before this purpose
was effected, and it was then determined to turn these arms to
the reconquest of Acadia. An expedition was accordingly fitted
out secretly in Massachusetts and dispatched upon its mission.
The French forts on the Penobscot and at St. John were speedily
reduced. Le Borgne was at Port Royal with one hundred and fifty men
but he attempted little resistance and the post once more came into
English possession.

Until 1667 Port Royal was in the hands of the English, and then by
the Treaty of Breda the whole of Acadia was returned to the French.
During their occupancy the English had spent large sums repairing
the fortifications in Acadia under their control, and in this
undertaking the importance of Port Royal was duly recognized.

For the next generation the French made Port Royal their base, and
the place acquired an evil reputation with the English because of
the marauding sea expeditions which proceeded from out of there.
Finally, in 1690, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts raised a
levy and empowered Sir William Phips to go against the ancient
stronghold. This doughty gentleman was successful in his mission
and the port was in English hands again--this time hands of

After the departure of their enemies the French rebuilt Port Royal
and it became, once more, a busy shipping point and the haunt of
privateers. It is not difficult to-day to appreciate the fine
strategic value of Port Royal, set at the head of its beautiful
landlocked basin, but it is difficult, to-day, as the river now
stands, to appreciate how vessels of any burthen could go up to its
wharves. But at that time, doubtless, the river had not filled up
to the degree that it has to-day.

In 1704 and again in 1705, the pertinacious New Englanders went
upon futile expeditions against Port Royal, each time being
driven off without much loss and each time evincing a singular
lack of spirit in their enterprise, a lack of spirit all the more
remarkable when one considers the undertakings which they faced
and carried through at other times in their history. The taking of
Port Royal seems to have become a sort of obsession with them--a
theme for an idle hour, a pet worry which they would take up
when all other worries failed them. Finally, in 1710, before the
onslaught of a combined force of Her Majesty Queen Anne’s soldiery
and New England militia, Port Royal fell to the English for the
last time, bravely and gallantly fighting against overwhelming
odds. Its spirited commandant, M. Subercase, with a famished army
of one hundred and fifty men, marched out through the ranks of
three thousand five hundred enemies and the red flag of England
was raised where the white one of France had flown. Port Royal was
renamed Annapolis in honor of the English sovereign, and Colonel
Vetch, with four hundred and fifty men, occupied the fort. Though
it was endangered by French arms several times thereafter, the
little fort was never again out of English possession.

The sod ramparts of the fort have been carefully maintained and are
to-day the cherished possession of Annapolis--or Annapolis Port
Royal, as its inhabitants, making an odd mixture of its names,
prefer to call it. From them one may gaze down the placid little
river over a scene very like that upon which its French and
English commanders looked on their separate turns and different
generations. It is difficult really to visualize the events through
which the little fort has passed, but if one considers that its
history goes as far back beyond the days of the American Revolution
as the beginning of the twentieth century comes this side of the
Revolution, one begins to perceive how big is its historical
background as events go in America.

The officers’ quarters,--a quaint, sturdy, low building,--and the
magazine are still standing in the fort at Port Royal, both very
ancient and very suggestive edifices, neither one as ancient as the
walls of the little fort.



The province of Acadia had been in English possession for nearly
half a century when, in 1749, the powers that were in the Mother
Country decided that Annapolis, the little game-cock city of the
peninsula, whose history went back to 1605, was not a fitting place
for the capital of the province. Its harbor, while beautiful and
secure, was not large enough for the purposes that England had in
mind; moreover, it was on the western side of the peninsula, so
that to get to it from Europe one must pass around Cape Sable and
up the foggy Bay of Fundy. And so we find that the home authorities
projected a new city, which was to be the capital of the province
and whose location was to be the magnificent harbor of Chebucto
on the east coast of Acadia. That they did not go astray in their
anticipations of the future is proved by the present-day Halifax,
Nova Scotia’s principal city, the child of the plans of these
Englishmen of 1749.

The value of Chebucto as a harbor had been known for many years
before this time, we may assume. It had been for many years a
rendezvous for British vessels in American waters. When D’Anville’s
misfortuned fleet of French men-of-war was scattered by the
elements, its remnants came together in Chebucto Bay. That there
was some form of settlement on the shores of the bay ere this
time is highly probable, but the existence of human life in
any organized form here, if such existence there was, has been
completely over-shadowed in retrospect by the magnitude of the
enterprise by which the present-day Halifax was founded.

As a consequence of its last war there were in England numbers of
young and able-bodied men set suddenly at liberty who had been
engaged in military or semi-military pursuits. Liberal inducements
were offered these people to go to the projected metropolis. A free
passage, maintenance for a year was promised, and grants of land
varying from fifty to six hundred acres were given. The Imperial
Government voted the sum of forty thousand pounds to help defray
expenses. This sum was increased to four hundred thousand pounds
before five years had passed. The Hon. Edward Cornwallis was
appointed and the protection of British institutions and laws was


The fleet on which the colony set sail entered Chebucto Bay in the
month of July, 1749. There were thirteen transports, conveying
nearly three thousand settlers. These were men of good stock, and
the vigor with which they attacked the problems before them was
sufficient evidence of this fact. Streets were promptly laid out,
a civil government was organized, and the entire population got to
work on the practical issue of providing shelter for themselves
and their families. Houses were built, and, last, but not least,
in that day and generation a fort was erected on the rounded top
of the hill around which they had plotted their town. This was the
forerunner of the citadel of Halifax of to-day. Around the entire
settlement was built a high palisade.

The early history of Halifax did not include sieges or sustained
attacks by an enemy, but it was in the atmosphere of unrest and
conflict from its first days. While the French residents of Acadia
had not been molested in their possession of land in Nova Scotia,
they had never taken the oath of allegiance to England. Among them
were many turbulent spirits who incited the Micmac Indians of the
country to outrages against English people and who took part in
these outrages themselves in the disguise of savages. Moreover,
the French had pressed the boundaries of Canada as close to the
boundaries of Acadia as they dared, and they continually tried to
foment ill feeling amidst the simple Acadian peasants against the
English. The story of the days between the conquest of Acadia by
the English and the final peace between France and England in the
New World is one of partisan warfare, of forays and minor sieges
and attacks by land and water.

All of these things went on around Halifax, and enemy vessels
even slipped into her harbor in bold dashes upon rich covey or
unsuspecting foe. From Halifax went forth Lawrence at the order
of Governor Cornwallis to oppose the French at Beasejour, now
Cumberland, where the French had built a fort on what they claimed
was their own ground. Lawrence built another fort on the opposite
side of the little stream of Missigouache, which the French claimed
to be the boundary between the rival domains, and went back to
Halifax for reinforcements. His building the fort was opposed by
the French skirmish, and the blood shed in this little skirmish was
the first blood to flow in combat between France and England in Old
World or New since the treaty of Aix la Chapelle.

In the council rooms of the citadel at Halifax the order to
deport the French peasantry, or Acadians, was debated. From the
government house here went forth the orders that this act should
be done. The story of the deportation of the Acadians and of their
sufferings has been told many times in prose and very beautifully
by Longfellow in verse.


During the American Revolution and during the War of 1812, Halifax
was the centre of activity of the British naval forces, and so it
has continued to this day. During the War of the Revolution and the
War of 1812 merchant vessels were brought to this port to be sold
as prizes. During the great European war of this time of writing
merchant vessels suspected of carrying contraband and seized by
the British in the American Atlantic waters have been taken to
Halifax to be passed on by a prize court.

The citadel of Halifax is not one of its prime defences to-day.
It has become more of a public park than a strong arm for battle.
From its walls magnificent views of the harbor of Halifax can be
obtained, one of the most splendid harbors in the world, to-day as
stimulating to enterprise as in the days when Chebucto Bay was cast
for the part of a great port by the Lords of Trade of England.



The little town of Castine, on the Penobscot River, Maine, is a
favorite resort for summer visitors, who are attracted by its
fine air, its abundance of sea food, and its accessibility to
the interior of the country. These same considerations together
with the fine strategic location of Castine Peninsula at the head
of Penobscot Bay, guarding the entrance to the Penobscot River,
influenced the French adventurers of three hundred and more years
ago to plant their settlement of Pentagoet and to build a fort in
this very vicinity. Traditions of the settlement and grass-covered
ruins of the fort are still to be discovered at Castine.

In the course of the years there came here the British at war
with the colonies, and His Majesty’s forces built Fort George,
an important post in its day and one of the best preserved
Revolutionary works in New England. These ruins are the scene of
pilgrimage of hundreds of people annually--merry parties from the
summer colonies which dot the shores of Penobscot Bay or from Mount
Desert Island, around the corner as the land lies from Castine.

The remains of Fort George might even to-day be, with no
disproportionate labor, put into condition for defence. The fort
was a square bastioned work protected by a moat excavated down to
solid rock. Each bastion was pierced with four embrasures. Though
no buildings now remain inside the fortress, the position of the
barracks, magazine and guard-house may easily be traced.

Standing on the ruined wall of Fort George, one can easily discern
in what features lay its strength and importance. The approach on
three sides is by steep ascents, and especially is this the case
to the south or seaward, the quarter from which attack might be
expected. The shape of the peninsula is seen. Very similar to the
peninsula on which Portland is situated, it is a large swollen
heart of land hung to the mainland by a cord from the north. To
the south the eye has a wide prospect, bounded in the distance by
the blue mountains of the Camden range. To the west is Brigadier’s
Island, and blue water where Belfast lies in the distance. To
the north Fort Point can be seen with the granite walls of the
never-completed Fort Pownall, begun by Governor Pownall in 1759.
North of east is more water and the distant solitary Blue Hill.

The military history of Fort George reflects no great credit on
American sagacity, though it throws into strong light the national
aggressive spirit. The first four years of the American Revolution
passed very peacefully in Maine (then a part of Massachusetts),
though its hardy seamen and backwoodsmen were not backward in
joining the fighting forces to the south. Then, in 1779, the
British powers in Halifax decided to carry the war into the
northern colonies. Accordingly, in June of that year, Colonel
Francis M’Lean was despatched from the aforesaid port with nine
hundred men to seize and fortify the well-known peninsula of
Castine or, as it was then known, Penobscot Peninsula. He landed
on the 12th of June, and with great energy commenced to establish
himself firmly in his position.

The news was immediately carried to the Massachusetts fathers at
Boston. Hancock was then Governor and General Gates commanded
the Eastern Department of the colonies, with headquarters at
Providence. With that cocksureness for which the Puritan colony
has been distinguished since its foundation, the rulers of
Massachusetts at Boston put their heads together without notifying
Gates, the Continental Congress, or the leaders of the war in this
country, and resolved to push an expedition against M’Lean. An
embargo of forty days was put upon vessels in Massachusetts ports,
so that transport possibilities could not put to sea, and a large
land and naval force was raised.

The army was commanded by Solomon Lovell; the fleet by Captain
Saltonstall of the _Warren_, a fine frigate of thirty-two guns.
Peleg Wadsworth was second in command to Lovell, and Paul Revere,
of Longfellow’s poem, was in charge of the artillery. The land
forces numbered about twelve hundred men, and this number might
be augmented by three hundred marines from the fleet. There were
enough guns of large calibre and other supplies of war. The fleet
was formidable in appearance and equipment, but it was entirely
lacking in discipline and co-ordination, as was shortly to be seen.

The force appeared off Castine on the 25th of July, 1779, and
found the fort unfinished and thoroughly unprepared for defence.
M’Lean despatched messengers to Halifax for aid, and kept busily
on with his defences. Two bastions had not been begun and the two
remaining, with the curtains, had not been raised more than four
or five feet. Captain Mowatt, a thoroughly-hated British naval
officer, and the bombarder of defenceless Portland, was in the
harbor with three light vessels with which he took position to
prevent a landing on the south side of the peninsula. A deep trench
was cut across the isthmus connecting with the mainland.

No landing could be made except beneath the precipitous bluff, two
hundred feet high, on the west.

On the third day the Americans succeeded in landing and in
securing a position on the heights. Instead of making a final
assault upon the unfinished fort now, however, they dallied where
they stood, threw up earthworks and fought out a wordy battle
amongst themselves as to how to go ahead. The commanding officers
disagreed on any one plan, so, finally, at this late date, they
appealed to General Gates for instructions. Two weeks passed and
Sir George Collier arrived with a British fleet to relieve his
beleaguered countrymen. The Americans were obliged to take to their

General Wadsworth retired to his home near Thomaston, not a great
distance from Castine, and was captured by a British detachment
sent out from the fort for the purpose. His escape from the fort
with a companion, Major Burton, is one of the interesting minor
episodes of the history of that point. Suffice it to say that
General Wadsworth on a dark night managed to get over the walls by
the aid of a torn blanket and reached the mainland. Eventually he
made Portland and safety.

For the remainder of the Revolution the British were at Castine,
from whence they went forth on many expeditions of depredation.
The loss of this little peninsula became a serious consideration,
indeed, to the Americans.

During the War of 1812 Castine once more became a British
stronghold, when, in 1814, the American defenders gave up the post
to a force which made it a centre for plundering coast towns east
and west, levying forced contributions, and destroying ship-yards.
At this time Bangor was taken, Belfast visited, and Hampden
pillaged. After a stay of eleven months the British left Castine
in April, 1815. In the neighborhood of the fort they left a
reputation for gayety, their stay having included a round of balls,
teas, and dinners.

The history of Castine as a fortified point under New France
commences with the re-occupation of Acadia, Nova Scotia, under
Richelieu’s strong direction. Castine, or Pentagoet, as the French
called it, was an extreme outpost against the English and was
to be maintained at all costs. In 1654, however, it fell to the
conquering hand of Sedgwick, a Massachusetts officer who reduced
all French posts in Acadia. Sedgwick describes it as a small
well-planned work mounting eight guns. It was not until 1670 that
the French flag was again unfurled over Pentagoet, and, at this
time, it is shown in old records that the place was considerably
enlarged and strengthened, only to fall, in 1674, to buccaneers
from San Domingo, who carried off Chambly, the commander, and held
him to ransom.

The next Frenchman whom we find at Pentagoet was that strange
product of sophistication and savagery, the Baron St. Castine.
Vincent, Baron St. Castine, came to America with his regiment in
1665, and the wild life of the great forests seems to have called
him from the first. When his regiment was disbanded shortly after
its arrival in this country, Castine plunged into the forests and
took up life in the fashion that the Indians lived it. He joined
the tribe of the Abenakis, a mighty people of that day, and become
so high in their favor that he married the daughter of the chief,
Madocawando, an implacable foe of the English. In 1685 we find
Castine in command at Pentagoet with his dusky followers around
him. He never changed his wife, though we have reason to believe
that, like Sir William Johnson, of later times, he found pleasure
in many coppery enchantresses. Toward the close of this century his
fort and trading post was captured and destroyed by the English,
and the Baron himself, it is believed, returned to his native
France. His half-breed son, by his Indian wife, for many years
carried fire and sword against the English and was a picturesque
figure in the wars of the Massachusetts border.



The English clenched hand which answered the brandishing of the
French mailed fist at Pentagoet, now Castine, was Fort Frederick at
Pemaquid, that anciently-known peninsula which marks the entrance
to the Kennebec River. Parts of the walls of old Fort Frederick are
still standing, its entire outlines are plainly to be discerned,
and it is a favorite point of visit with the many people who make
their homes in this part of the Maine coast during the summer

Pemaquid, itself, is one of those long arms of rock which are
characteristic of the Maine coast. A good word picture of the
locality has been painted by S. A. Drake, the chronicler of Maine
coast history. “A belt of rusty red granite stretches around
it above low water mark,” he writes, “and out into the foaming
breakers beyond. Pastures pallid from exhaustion and spotted
with clumps of melancholy firs spread themselves out over this
foundation. In the extreme corner of this threadbare robe there is
a light-house. You look about you in vain for the evidences of long
occupation which the historic vista has opened to you in advance.”

While there have been many wild reports that the settlement on
Pemaquid antedated that on Massachusetts Bay, itself, there is
lacking weight of historical evidence to support this contention.
Pemaquid was visited by Captain John Smith in 1614, but that
doughty mariner makes no mention in his account of his visit of
having seen any Europeans at the place, as he undoubtedly would
have done had his vision encountered any such settlers. William
Bradford, the conscientious chronicler of early Plymouth doings,
tells us that in 1623 “there were also in this year some scattered
beginnings made at Pascataway by Mr. David Thompson, at Monhegan
and some other places by sundry others,” and it is very conceivable
that Pemaquid Point might properly be included amongst these “some
other” places. In 1625 we find Samoset, the famous chieftain of
Pilgrim days, selling to a certain John Brown land at Pemaquid, the
sign-manual Samoset used, according to his custom, being a bended
bow with an arrow fitted to the string.

In 1630 there were certainly the beginnings of a settlement at
Pemaquid and the foundations of a fortress. Shortly after this time
the locality was visited by Dixy Bull, one of the freebooters of
that day, who pillaged the place in leisurely and thorough fashion.
Another settlement was developed and this shared the fate of its
predecessor during the evil days of King Philip’s War. But the
close of King Philip’s War brought better days to Pemaquid, when
the government of New York, under royal letters patent, assumed
control of that place and constructed a strong timber redoubt
there with a bastioned outwork. This was to provide a rallying
point for the frightened settlers. It was completed in 1677 and
garrisoned by soldiers from New York. The fort was known as Fort
Charles and the town around it, which was built up on the site of
the old settlements, was known as Jamestown. Under the new régime
a military government was established, of which the commandant of
the post was the head. The free living inhabitants of the post were
irked at being under strict martial rule.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Breda, Acadia had been returned
to France and with it Pentagoet (Castine) and the possession of
the Penobscot River. The French, in the general fashion which they
affected, declared that the Kennebec and the country tributary
thereto belonged to Acadia. This contention the English disputed.
We have, therefore, the rival powers at their two extreme
outposts,--the French at Pentagoet and the English at Pemaquid,--in
violent opposition to each other.

In 1688, Sir Edmund Andros, Governor of Massachusetts, made a
sudden descent upon Castine, the town, and plundered the place.
Castine, the man, incited his friends the Abenakis and soon had
the border in a blaze. He planned a retaliatory descent upon
Pemaquid. Spies were sent to New Harbor, an outpost of Pemaquid,
and preparations were made to move in force.

In August, 1689, the war party, led by Castine in person, landed on
the eastern shore of Pemaquid Peninsula without being discovered.
The attack was planned with care. The main village lay about a
quarter of a mile from the fort. The farms where most of the
inhabitants were at work were three miles from the fort. One band
of the assailants was to throw itself upon the fort and village,
and another to cut off the village from the farms.

The plan was carried out without a hitch. The men at the farms ran
for the fort and were shot down or taken prisoners. The assailants
next turned their attention to the fort. The big rock in back of
the fort, which makes so conspicuous a feature of the locality
to-day, was occupied by savages, who fired down upon the defenders
of the stronghold, and the attack was pressed fiercely from other
quarters. For twenty-four hours Weems, the commander, held out.
Then, when fourteen out of his garrison of thirty had been wounded,
he surrendered on condition that the occupants should be free to
leave unmolested. Fort and village were set on fire and Pemaquid
for the second time had been swept out of existence.

Under Sir William Phips, who acted by royal instruction, Pemaquid
was rebuilt and regarrisoned in 1692. Unlike the old fortress,
the new one was built of stone in a most substantial and enduring
fashion, and so enlarged as to take in the high ledge of rock
which had been the vulnerable point of the old defences. The
new work was known as Fort William Henry. Cotton Mather, the
indefatigable chronicler of that period, speaks of it as follows:

  William Henry was built of stone in a quadrangular figure, being
  about 737 foot in compass without the walls and 108 foot square
  within the inner ones. Twenty-eight ports it had and fourteen (if
  not eighteen) guns mounted, whereof six were eighteen-pounders.
  The wall on the south line, fronting to the sea, was twenty-two
  foot high and more than six foot thick at the ports, which were
  eight foot from the ground. The greater flanker, or round tower,
  at the western end of this line, was twelve foot high. The wall
  on the east line was twelve foot high, on the north it was ten,
  on the west it was eighteen.

Impoverished Massachusetts demurred at having to pay the bills for
the work, but Phips drove the State to meet the obligation.

The ruler of New France at this time was the energetic and
far-sighted Frontenac, who believed that he must reduce the new
English fortress or himself lose his hold on his Indian allies.
With characteristic promptness he set out about the task that
he had visioned. Two ships and some hundreds of savages were
despatched to take the fort. The fort had been forewarned through
the heroism of a young New Englander, John Nelson, who faced
the Bastile or death by the headsman’s hands to get word to his
brethren in New England of the expected expedition. The garrison
was on its guard and so the expedition miscarried.

Frontenac was not the man to be put off with one reverse, however,
as the New Englanders should have realized but did not. In August,
1696, Iberville, with two war-ships and a mixed force of French and
Indians, appeared before Fort William Henry and took the garrison
completely by surprise.

There were about one hundred men in the fort under the command of
Captain Pascho Chubb. Castine and his Indians who are supposed to
have landed at New Harbor, two miles away, set up entrenchments in
the rear of the fortress (where the cemetery is), thus cutting off
the garrison on the land side. Cannon were landed and batteries
erected on adjacent shores and islands. With so much energy did the
besiegers work that their batteries opened fire at three o’clock of
the afternoon following the day on which they appeared before the

To the first summons to surrender Chubb returned a defiant answer,
but when the first shells began to burst within his lines he seems
to have lost his courage. Intimidated, in addition, by Iberville’s
threat to show no quarter if he persisted in resistance, he
hastened to throw open his gates to the foe. The Indians, hard
enough to keep in order, anyhow, found one of their race in irons
in the prison of the fortress and immediately began a slaughter
of the surrendered English. This outbreak was restrained with
difficulty, and the English were loaded on ships and sent to Boston.

Two days were consumed by the French in destroying the
fortifications at Pemaquid and they then set sail for St. John’s
River, narrowly escaping destruction by a fleet sent out from
Boston in pursuit.

The next attempt to fortify Pemaquid was made in 1729, when Colonel
Dunbar was sent over with a royal commission to rebuild the fort at
the charge of the English crown. This work he set himself to with
a right good will, and he called his fort Fort Frederick in honor
of the Prince of Wales, father of George III. Fort Frederick stood
until the opening of the Revolutionary War, when the inhabitants of
Pemaquid destroyed the works rather than man them, advancing the
unique argument that since the people were not strong enough to
defend them they were a source of weakness rather than strength!

That the inhabitants of this coast were not lacking in spirit is
shown, however, by an incident of the War of 1812, which may be
told here. The enemy’s cruisers kept the whole coast in alarm
because of their frequent depredations against defenceless points.
One day one of these cruisers hove to in New Harbor and a barge
fully manned put out for shore. A small militia force had been
stationed by the Americans at old Fort Frederick and this force was
hastily summoned. The English barge drew near. It was hailed by
an old fisherman who warned the British officer not to attempt a

“If a gun is fired the whole town will be destroyed,” replied the

Not a single gun, but a number of them, answered this threat. The
rocks of the shore bristled with fowling pieces and ducking-guns
and all manner of fire-arms. The barge drifted helplessly to sea,
its occupants badly wounded, and the master of the war-ship, after
taking his helpless men on board, sailed away to Halifax.

Old Fort Frederick, in 1814, saw the beginning of the historic
combat between the vessels _Boxer_ and the _Enterprise_, in which
the _Enterprise_, U. S. A., commanded by Lieutenant Burrows, was



The main building of old Fort Niagara, “The Castle,” is probably
the oldest piece of masonry in the State of New York, having been
constructed by the French in 1726. The stone-work of the barracks,
a structure 134 by 24 feet with walls only eight feet in height,
goes back to 1757, and in this year was, also, built the magazine.
The bake-house, replacing a former one on the same site, was put up
by the British in 1762 and the two stone block-houses by them in
1771 and 1773.

In the two hundred and eighty-eight and a half acres of the
government reservation here one is in touch visibly with the Past.
And what deeds of the Past these old stone buildings might tell if
they were given power of speech!

The name Niagara is of Iroquois origin, as are so many names of
New York State, and is of ancient application to the river and the
falls which bear them. The falls of the Niagara are indicated on
Champlain’s map of 1632 and in 1648 are spoken of by the Jesuit
Rugueneau as “a cataract of frightful height.” It is certain that
the indefatigable emissaries of the order of which he was a member
had penetrated to the region of the great falls before this. In
1678 the falls were visited by the Friar Louis Hennepin, who drew
a curious picture of them, still preserved, and gave a more curious
and exaggerated description.


  Copyright, Detroit Publishing Company


In the year that the good Friar Hennepin was paying his respects
to Nature’s great wonder, Robert Cavelier Sieur de la Salle was
building his fort at Frontenac, now Kingston, Canada West, and in
1675 King Louis XIV, that brilliant and indefatigable monarch of
France, whose legislative labors in opposition to race suicide
in Canada justly earned him the title of the Father of Canada,
bestowed upon our cavalier a large grant of land near his fort.
La Salle, inspired by the brilliant discoveries of Marquette and
Joliet in the region farther west than that wherein he had his
bailiwick, determined to explore the lands south of Ontario and
to connect the territories which he hoped thus to acquire with
Quebec by means of a series of posts. Empowered by his royal master
with letters warrant to embark upon this form of enterprise, he
crossed over Ontario, picked out a settlement point at, or near,
the present Lewiston, New York, and commenced the building of a
small vessel on Cayuga Creek above the falls, the supplies for this
vessel being carried from his little settlement near Lewiston,
below the falls, and in the direction of his main base at Fort
Frontenac. At the same time he commenced the construction of a
small fort at the mouth of the Niagara River, which would guard the
approaches to his work farther in the interior and would also
serve as one of the chain of posts by which he hoped to secure to
France the territory which he meant to acquire.

This little fort on Niagara Point at the mouth of the Niagara River
was kept up by La Salle during the remainder of his career in the
New World, and was continued by the Marquis de Nonville, Governor
of New France, who, in 1687, raised it to the dignity of a “fort
with four bastions.” At this time it was in the command of Troyes
with 100 men. Soon after this the little place was besieged by
Senecas, and while the four bastions and the other defences beat
off the savage foe, the garrison perished almost to a man from
the ravages of disease. Shortly after the point was abandoned
and allowed to fall into decay. During the succeeding years of
misfortune to the French the fort was filled only with weeds and
vines and savage visitors,--early prototypes of present-day tourist
throngs,--and it was not until 1725 that the place was reoccupied
and rehabilitated.

From this time for many years Fort Niagara was a little city in
itself and for a long time the greatest point south of Montreal or
west of Albany. The fort, proper, covered about eight acres and
had its ravines, ditches and pickets, curtains, counterscarps and
covered way; stone-towers, laboratory and magazine; mess-house,
barracks, bakery and blacksmith shop. For worship there was a
chapel with a large dial over the door to mark the course of the
sun. “The dungeon of the mess-house, called the black hole, was a
strong, dark, and dismal place; and in one corner of the room was
fixed the apparatus for strangling such unhappy wretches as fell
under the displeasure of the despotic rulers of those days. The
walls of this dungeon, from top to bottom, had engraved upon them
French names and mementos in that language. That the prisoners
were no common persons was clear, as the letters and emblems were
chiselled out in good style.”

The immense strategic importance of the post was not lost on the
English. It guarded approach to the treasured winter regions of the
great lakes with their store of furs, and it furnished a fine base
for negotiations with the Indians of New York State and the keeping
of them in a state of disaffection with the English.

In 1755, during that series of preliminary conflicts which marked
the beginning of the great battle royal between France and England
for the possession of the New World, an expedition against Niagara
was fitted out by Governor Shirley, of Massachusetts, and proceeded
under his command as far as Oswego. Thus far it went and no
farther, for sickness and desertion thinned the ranks of the men,
and unfavorable weather, as well as the presence of the French in
strength at Frontenac just across the lake, rendered unwise further
advance in the Governor of Massachusetts’ project. It was not for
four years, 1759, that the arm of the English was used in strength
against the busy, ancient fort.

In this year General Prideaux, a capable officer, with Sir William
Johnson, of New York, as his second in command, was despatched
with a force of English colonial troops and Indians against the
post. Fort Niagara was garrisoned by 600 French soldiers under
the command of Captain Pouchot, a chevalier of the order of St.
Louis. About a mile up the river was a little wooden stockade
commanded by the half-breed Joincaire-Chabert, who with his brother
Joincaire-Clauzonne and a clan of Indian relatives had long been
a thorn in the side of the English in influencing the powerful
Five Nations against them. But Sir William Johnson was beginning
to have that ascendency over this savage federation which was to
be so great an aid to the English from this time forward and had
with him now 900 warriors of this clan to lead against the French.
So Joincaire closed up his little stronghold and joined his forces
to those of Pouchot, the combined strength of the two by no means
being sufficient to beat off the English attack.

There was another resource upon which Pouchot confidently relied,
however, and this was prospect of help from the back countries
controlled by the French. By order of Vaudreuil, the Governor
of New France, the French population of the Illinois, Detroit
and other distant posts had come down the Lakes, a motley and
picturesque throng, to help maintain the ascendency of France in
the New World. They were now gathered at various posts of the
French back country, and no sooner did Pouchot learn that the
English were about to attack him than he sent messengers to summon
all of these forces to Niagara.

The siege began with the clumsy lack of forethought which seemed
to mark all military operations of those days, which depended
chiefly upon native courage and final enthusiasm of assault to
carry through than wise foreplanning. The English trenches were
so unskilfully laid out that they were raked by the fire of the
fort. However, the English at last got down to business and their
batteries commenced to play upon the French. A prematurely bursting
shell from one of the coehorns killed Prideaux at almost the first
discharges of the bombardment and the command fell upon Sir William
Johnson, who proceeded with an enheartening energy to carry on the
good work. At the end of three weeks the rampart of Fort Niagara
was breached, more than 100 of the soldiery therein had been killed
and the garrison was in extremity. Yet Pouchot fought on valiantly,
resting upon the arrival of reinforcements from the French and
savage forces which he had summoned. At length a distant firing
told him that these were near.

Pouchot went with an officer to the bastion next to the river
and listened anxiously to the firing which told him that his
reinforcements were in conflict with the English and trying to
cut a way through to the beleaguered stronghold. For a time he
heard the sound of battle and then all was still. At length a
friendly Indian who had passed unnoticed through the lines of the
English came to the French commander. “Your men are defeated,” he
said in substance. Pouchot would not believe him. Nevertheless it
was true and this fact was the death-blow to French hold of Fort
Niagara. In the articles of surrender shortly afterward drawn up,
it was specially stipulated that the French should be protected
from the Indians as they feared that the massacre of Fort William
Henry would be avenged upon them. Johnson was able to restrain his
lawless allies and, though the fort was given to pillage, no French
lives were taken after the surrender.

From this time until the close of the American War of Independence
the post remained in English hands. During the Pontiac War of 1763
the Indians made an unsuccessful attack upon it and its garrison
frequently took part in small skirmishes with lurking unfriendly
Senecas in the woods around the post. Heavily garrisoned by the
English during the Revolution, it served as a base for the war
parties which frequently devastated the State of New York. Both the
expedition led by Colonel Butler, which culminated in the massacre
at Wyoming, New York, in 1778, and that which laid waste Cherry
Valley in the same year, started from Fort Niagara.

That the American forces were not unaware of the evil dominance of
this post on the far western border of New York, we cannot doubt,
as one of the objects of the expedition led by General Sullivan
against the Indians in 1779 was the destruction, if possible, of
Niagara; but this campaign ended only with the destruction of
Indian villages. Subsequent to the declaration of peace between
England and America, the point was held by English troops until it
was taken over by an American garrison in 1796, probably having
the distinction of being the last post surrendered by the English
to the Americans in the United States. In 1799, in anticipation of
another Indian war, the post was heavily reinforced.

A description of Fort Niagara between 1805 and 1814 has been given
by a daughter of Dr. West, surgeon to the post during those years.

  It was then surrounded on three sides with strong pickets of
  plank, firmly planted in the ground and closely joined together;
  a heavy gate in front of double plank, closely studded with
  iron spikes. The fourth side was defended with embankments of
  earth under which were formerly barracks, affording a safe
  though somewhat gloomy retreat for the families of soldiers, but
  which had been abandoned and the entrance closed long before my
  remembrance, having been so infested with rattlesnakes that had
  made their dens within that it was hardly safe to walk across the

The last chapter in the history of the fort was not a glorious
one, though thoroughly typical of the desultory character of the
conflict between Great Britain and the United States which is known
as the War of 1812. The official declaration of the imminence of
hostilities reached Fort Niagara, June 26, 1812, and preparations
were immediately undertaken to strengthen and defend the work.
The fort was then under the command of Captain Leonard, United
States Artillery, with 370 men. During the night of December 19,
1813, the English, 500 strong, under Colonel Murray, crossed the
river, captured the sentinels and took the work by surprise,
killing 65 of the American garrison and taking prisoner almost all
of the remainder, with a loss to themselves of five men killed
and wounded. A disgraceful side of the matter is that none of the
American officers were at their posts at this time, but were off
junketing somewhere in the country near by. Twenty-seven cannon
of large calibre, 3000 stand of small arms, and a large amount
of clothing, garrison equipage, and commissary stores fell into
the hands of the British, who, as well, destroyed the villages of
Lewiston and Buffalo, besides all of the dwellings on the lake as
far as Eighteen-Mile Creek.

The capture of Fort Niagara was shortly afterwards characterized
in the following terms by General Cass who was ordered to the
frontier: “The fall of Niagara was owing to the most criminal
negligence; the force in it was fully competent for its defence.”

The English held Niagara until the close of the war and surrendered
it to the United States in March, 1815. The career of the point
from that time to the present has been merely one of growing old



It was in 1722 that Oswego, New York, was made the site of an armed
camp and, at that, it was more through the stubborn determination
of Governor Burnet of the colony that the thing should be done than
through any willingness of the staid burghers of the State Assembly
to co-operate with their executive in schemes leading to future
good. As a matter of fact, Governor Burnet is said to have paid the
bill for establishing his little fort out of his own pocket, though
he may have made this sum up in some other direction--authorities
do not tell us this kind of thing! Yet this little post was to
become one of the most decisive factors in determining the result
of the conflict between France and England for the New World, the
flags of three Christian nations were to fly over it at different
periods, and warriors white, red, French, English and colonial were
to struggle for its possession. So much grows out of so little!


General Shirley _in 1755 Strengthen’d & inlarged this_ Fort _and
erected two others; one Westward 170 Square with a Rampart of
Earth & Stone. Another on the Opposite side of the Bason, 470
Yards distant from the_ Old Fort. _This which is called the_ East
Fort, _is built of Logs and the Wall is surrounded by a Ditch. The
Projection of the Rocks, renders the Channel at the Entrance into
the_ Onondaga River _very Narrow, and our Vessels are generally
warp’d from the Lake into the Bason_.


  1. _The River Onondaga_
  2. _The Lake Ontario_

From William Smith’s view of the Province of New York, London
edition of 1757]

One of the earliest mentions of Oswego in the history of the
colonies is that in 1687 the Onondaga Indians presented a petition
to the mayor and common council of Albany, that busy little trading
post, requesting them to establish a trading post and fort at this
point. The mayor and common council evidently thought that this
was too wild an undertaking; for no defences existed there when, in
1696, the restless Frontenac landed at Oswego Point on a punitive
expedition against the Five Nations and built himself a little
stockade fort before pressing on to fruitless victory into the
interior of the country.

The strategic importance of the location to the English was not
lost on these astute empire builders, giving access as it does
with the Hudson Valley by way of the Oswego River, through Oneida
Lake, to the headwaters of the Mohawk River, or giving access to
the Susquehanna Valley by way of the Oswego River, Lake Onondaga
and the head of the Susquehanna. During the governorship of Lord
Bellemont, in the province of New York, the establishment of a post
at Oswego was contemplated, and material was even ordered from
England for the purpose, but it remained for Governor Bellemont’s
successor to carry out in effect what had been before done in

In 1727 Governor Burnet called the attention of the councillors of
the province to the fact that he had established a post at Oswego
(the name was borrowed from the Iroquois), and added that he had
sent a captain, two lieutenants and sixty soldiers to the point and
that he intended to keep a force there always.

This announcement came to the ear of the governor of New France and
so incensed him that he sent a letter to Governor Burnet asking
that official why, in opposition to the plain stipulations of the
Treaty of Ghent which forbade the erection of works of defence or
offence, he had constructed and manned this fort. Governor Burnet
replied by calling attention to the French building of “Oneagorah”
or Niagara, thus showing that the practice of justifying a soiled
pot by pointing to a black kettle is of ancient foundation. Anyhow,
Governor Burnet went cheerfully on with his fortifying of Oswego,
though Governor Beauharnais sent several expeditions to harass and
deter his workmen.

This first fortification at Oswego was of a very simple character.
Beauharnais complained that it was “a redoubt with galleries and
full of loop-holes and other works belonging to fortifications,”
but Burnet merely says that the “walls were four feet thick of
large good stone” and finds no other details to dilate upon.
In 1741 the colony authorized the expenditure of 600 pounds,
sterling, to “erect a sufficient stone wall at a proper distance
around the trading house at Oswego, either in a triangular or
quadrangular form, as the ground will best admit of, with a bastion
or block-house in each corner to flank the curtain.” Later on we
find that complaints were made to the General Assembly that the
contractors who had the job in hand were using clay instead of
stone and that they were skimping their work fearfully in order to
line their pockets generously. This is one of the very earliest
public scandals of New York State and one that seems to have eluded
the muck-raker so far.

The post was abandoned between the years 1744 and 1755 as, on the
outbreak of hostilities with Canada, its occupants feared that they
could not in their exposed and unsupported position withstand an
attack in force from Quebec.

As the years went on, however, the post of Oswego became
increasingly valuable to the English and they in turn became far
more able to hold their own. Situated as it was between Niagara
and the ocean,--between the back country of the French and their
metropolis of Quebec,--it fairly broke the back of the long
wriggling French line of settlements, which extended from the mouth
of the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Mississippi.

In 1755 the English authorities agreed upon a plan of invasion
of Canada and resolved to make Oswego their base of operations.
Accordingly Colonel Shirley, of Massachusetts, with his own and Sir
William Pepperell’s regiments, with some New Jersey and New York
militia, in addition, made his way to Oswego, arriving there about
the end of June, 1755. They were prevented by sickness and ill luck
from proceeding against Niagara as had been their intention, and
the one great thing that they accomplished was the rehabilitation
of the old fort. They also commenced a fort on the west side of
the river, which they called Fort Ontario, and Fort Ontario has
survived to the present day. An extract from the “Gentleman’s
Magazine” of 1756, New York Colonial Documents, gives an idea of
this undertaking:

  When it was determined that the army at Oswego should go into
  winter quarters, they began a new fort upon the hill upon the
  east side of the river, about 470 yards from the old one; it is
  800 feet in circumference and will command the harbor; it is
  built of logs from 20 to 30 inches thick; the wall is 14 feet
  high and is encompassed by a ditch 14 feet broad and 10 feet
  deep; it is to contain barracks for 300 men. On the other side of
  the river west from the old fort another new fort is erecting;
  this is 170 feet square. A hospital of frame-work, 150 feet by 30
  feet, is already built and may serve as a barrack for 200 men,
  and another barrack is preparing of 150 feet by 24.

The second new fort noted in this extract is Fort George, a rude
structure and one not fitted long to stand against the elements.

Another result of Shirley’s expedition was to cause the French,
who had been rather inactive, to bestir themselves. In the fall of
1755 they heavily reinforced their posts, sending to Fort Niagara
a lively young Captain named Pouchot. In 1756 this observant man
despatched a memorial to his superiors at Quebec, setting forth
that the English at Oswego were not on the alert, or in force, and
that the capture of the post was a feasibility. The authorities at
Quebec thought well of this idea, so well in fact that Montcalm,
himself, who was at Fort Frontenac,--newly arrived in New France to
take over the command of the military forces of the whole French
new world,--took charge of the expedition, which was organized on
Captain Pouchot’s suggestion.

Before proceeding in force against Oswego, Montcalm ordered De
Villiers to proceed with 700 men to the headwaters of the Oswego
River and to observe the enemy at Oswego. This force advanced
rapidly, surprised and took Fort Bull, on Wood Creek near the
head of Oneida Lake, and destroyed a large amount of provisions
destined for Oswego. On May 7, 1756, a party of Indians set out
from Fort Niagara, made a descent upon some ship carpenters near
Oswego, and returned to Niagara with twelve scalps. These repeated
successes, joined with Braddock’s defeat, produced a profound
effect upon the Indians and caused the Iroquois Federation to side
for the time with the French. Throughout the early summer of this
year Montcalm’s men continued to harass the garrison at Oswego,
capturing many stores of provisions designed for Fort Ontario.
Montcalm hurried his preparations, so that by August he was ready
to march against Oswego with 3000 men well equipped. He landed on
Four-inch Point, east of Oswego, on August 11, and marched to a
swamp a short distance in the rear of Fort Ontario, where he gave
charge of the engineering operations now developing upon his
expedition to Captain Pouchot.

Pouchot constructed a road through the swamp in one night and
opened up with a battery upon Fort Ontario at sixty paces distance.
The garrison fled in disorder across the river to the old fort.
Montcalm sent a strong force to cross the river above to cut off
retreat and opened fire the next morning with a battery on the
river bank. Colonel Mercer, the English commander, was killed and
his men soon surrendered. The spoils of the conqueror were 120
cannon, 9 vessels of war in process of construction, and a great
quantity of provisions and munitions of war.

There now occurred another one of those horrible massacres which
fouled the name of the French through their inability to control
their savage allies. The prisoners numbered 1700, many of them
civilian employees in the ship-yards, and Montcalm had pledged
their safety. Notwithstanding this, more than a hundred were killed
by the savages, either quickly or by the slow process of torture.
The French losses in the siege were 30 killed and wounded, and the
English killed in fighting numbered 150.

The artillery of the English forts at Oswego was removed to
Fort Niagara and the forts were dismantled. The forts remained
unoccupied until 1759, when the English advancing to the attack of
Fort Niagara left a force of 500 men here to protect their rear
and keep open their lines of communication. The French advanced
against this small command and would have taken it by surprise
had not a priest insisted upon speaking to the troops before they
went into battle. The English became apprised of the approach of
the French during this delay and sallied out to attack them, with
victory in the subsequent battle crowning their efforts.

In 1760 General Amherst strengthened the forts at Oswego and left a
large force here which became valuable in the war against Canada.
This was one of the few fortunate moves that this general made.

Fort Ontario was also an important base for the British during the
war of American Independence. In 1777 the English Colonel St. Leger
gathered 700 men here and was joined by Brant with 700 Indians. The
combined forces marched to besiege Fort Stanwix at the head of the
Mohawk River, but were defeated and pursued back to their base,
where they hurriedly embarked for Montreal.

In 1783 General Washington prepared an expedition under Colonel
Willett to capture Fort Ontario. The command assembled at Fort
Stanwix and marched for Oswego. When within a few miles of the fort
their presence was discovered and made known to the British by some
wood-cutters, and Colonel Willett, on learning that his chance of
taking the post by surprise was gone, marched back to Fort Stanwix
without making an attack. Peace was soon declared and no further
operations were conducted.

The post was transferred to the United States in 1796, with the
other frontier posts which Great Britain had held. From then until
the outbreak of the War of 1812 it was allowed to fall into decay,
and at the beginning of that conflict was but partially armed and
quite unable to withstand an enemy. The English, hearing of its
condition, and hearing, moreover, of the presence in the fort of
large quantities of stores of all kinds, sent a fleet with 3000 men
against the place.

The British force appeared before the town May 5, 1814. The
Americans prepared a battery on shore and gallantly repulsed
efforts at landing, until at length the British, through pure force
of numbers, were able to accomplish this first step. The Americans
then retreated up the river in good order, burning the bridges in
their rear. Their number was 300. The British, baffled in taking
any prisoners, burned the barracks, spiked the guns and retired.
The American loss was 6 killed, 38 wounded and 24 missing. The
British loss was 235. From that time to the present Fort Ontario
has remained in possession of the United States.

The years saw the town of Oswego grow up around Fort Ontario. The
fort was rebuilt of wood in 1839 and of stone in 1863. In 1901 the
garrison was withdrawn and the old fort is now a public reservation
for the use of the citizens of Oswego, its days of military life
probably ended forever.



It was a conjunction of the Church and the State which began the
career of Fort Michillimackinac, more than three centuries ago,
at Saint Ignace, a point on the Canadian side of the Straits of
Mackinac; the Church in the person of the restless Father Marquette
and the State in the form of its indefatigable military servant,
the Sieur de la Salle. In 1673 Father Marquette established the
mission of Saint Ignace in a thriving village of the Ottawas, who
were, Francis Parkman tells us, among the most civilized tribes of
the American natives. Two years later La Salle visited the place
in the _Griffon_, the first vessel to sail the Great Lakes. This
barque the indefatigable Frenchmen had just constructed on Cayuga
Creek just above Niagara Falls.

The beginnings of a fort were already made when La Salle came to
St. Ignace, that is, a palisade had been erected. Its defenders
were Indians. La Salle sent the _Griffon_ back to civilization for
supplies and rigging for a second sailing vessel. Fortunately for
history, which would have lost one of its most picturesque figures,
he decided to remain, himself, at Saint Ignace and not to accompany
his beloved _Griffon_ on its round trip. That bewildered little
ship was overcome by the fury of one of the lakes. At least it
never returned, or was heard of, and reasonable surmise is that it
found its haven beneath the waters. La Salle filled in his spare
hours at Saint Ignace in the casual practice of his profession,
by completing and strengthening the puny defences which Father
Marquette had caused to be erected. Thus came into existence the
first Fort Michillimackinac.

Indian tradition concerning the name Michillimackinac is curious.
It relates that Michapous, chief of spirits, sojourned long in
the vicinity of the Straits of Huron, on a mountain on the border
of the lake. Here he first instructed man to fabricate nets and
to take fish therein. On the island of Michillimackinac he left
spirits named Imakinakos and from these legendary possessors came
the name Michillimackinac which means Great Turtle. The tradition
is not altogether clear. Suffice it to be assured that the word
is of Indian origin, and doubtless its patient originators were
thoroughly well pleased with it.

The next distinguished visitor to Saint Ignace was La Motte
Cadillac, whose name is spread so generously around all of this
lakeside region of Michigan and whose errand was to strengthen the
fort which La Salle had erected on Father Marquette’s foundation.
Useless labor this proved to be, for the growing importance of
Detroit and the determination of the French to build up this
point at the expense of the more northern and less accessible
trading-post caused Saint Ignace to wane in importance and its
stockades to be unoccupied.

In 1712 the little settlement was moved bodily to the southern side
of the straits at the point where Mackinaw City now stands and the
second Fort Michillimackinac was erected, destined to a far more
eventful history than the first. Time ran on. The French lost their
grip of the New World and surrendered Michillimackinac with other
places to the English. Let us see how the little place looked in
English possession. Parkman has well described it:

  Doubling a point he sees before him the red flag of England
  swelling lazily in the wind and the palisades and wooden bastions
  of Fort Michillimackinac standing close upon the margin of the
  lake. On the beach canoes are drawn up and Canadians and Indians
  are lazily lounging. A little beyond the fort is a cluster of
  the white Canadian houses roofed with bark and protected by
  fences of strong round pickets. The trader enters at the gate,
  and sees before him an extensive square area surrounded by high
  palisades. Numerous houses, barracks, and other buildings form a
  smaller square within, and in the vacant space which they enclose
  appear the red uniforms of British soldiers, the gray coats of
  Canadians, and the gaudy Indian blankets mingled in picturesque
  confusion; while a multitude of squaws with children of every hue
  stroll restlessly about the place. Such was Fort Michillimackinac
  in 1763.

A peaceful spot this was for the scene of bloody savagery which
was shortly to be enacted in its precincts. The Indians who
were neighbors of Michillimackinac had never become reconciled
to the Englishman’s presence in their wilderness. Many of these
savages had fought with the French against the English and had
lost relatives or friends in battle, thus laying the foundations
for blood feuds which in the Indian custom could only be wiped out
with blood. In addition to that, their leaders were conspirators
with the great Pontiac in his aim to push the English back
beyond the mountains whence they had come and to restore the
forests to the savages. When news came in the spring of 1763 of
Pontiac’s activities around Detroit, the Ojibwas and Ottawas near
Michillimackinac determined that they, too, must taste of blood.
The massacre of the garrison of this post was planned.

The Indians’ plans were laid well but they should not have had the
uncontested success that they did have. All accounts point to a
great measure of carelessness and lack of sufficient estimation of
his neighbors on the part of the unhappy commander of the garrison.
This officer was Captain Etherington and with him were about
thirty-five men and the full complement of under-officers. Several
times Etherington was warned that the red-skins were plotting
mischief, and his own observation might have acquainted him with
this fact as well. Yet with true British phlegm he waved aside
all suggestions that were made to him and even went so far as to
threaten to punish any one who disturbed his garrison with stories
of impending disaster. It is not remarkable that the Indians found
him unprepared.

On the morning of the fourth of June the weather was warm and
sultry. It was his majesty King George’s birthday and for this
reason there were festal arrangements at the fort. The soldiers
were allowed liberty to wander where they would, in or out of the
stockades, and the Indians had permission to play a game of ball
in honor of the day. As time went on the fort became filled with
Indians, chiefs and humble followers of the ranks, old hags, young
women and children.

The hour for the ball game approached. This game of ball, or
baggataway as the red men called it, was a favorite with the
Indians. It was very much like the lacrosse of the present day, in
fact was the original of that game. There were two goals and the
players attempted to toss a ball through one of these two goals
with sticks. They were not allowed to use their hands to throw the
ball, so the game required a degree of skill as well as agility and

The Ojibwas and the Sacs, two rivals of long standing, were the
contestants and excitement ran high. Captain Etherington, with one
of his lieutenants, was lounging at the gate of the fort whooping
on the Ojibwas, for he had promised them that he would bet on their
side. Suddenly the ball arose in the air in a graceful curve and
fell within the walls of the fort. The players, an excited mob,
burst after it yelling. Suspecting nothing, Etherington stepped
aside with a laugh to let the howling mass sweep in the walls of
the citadel.

The Indians’ stratagem had been completely successful. Before
he knew what was being done, Etherington, with his lieutenant,
was seized and bound, while the Indians, reinforced by their
comrades amongst the spectators of the game, seized tomahawks
which the squaws had concealed beneath their blankets and fell on
the hapless members of the little garrison. There commenced one
of those familiar scenes of butchery with which border tradition
and the accounts of witnesses who escaped have made us familiar.
Men were stricken down and held between Indians’ knees while they
were scalped, still alive. Women and children were slaughtered.
Bodies of both sexes were mangled. Frenzied red warriors scooped
up handfuls of blood and drank it in gulps. Soon the chapter was
ended. Only a few of the little garrison--kept, like Etherington,
on account of rank or for some particular reasons--were left alive.


  Copyright, Detroit Publishing Company


From this day for four years Fort Michillimackinac was without a
garrison. Then, with the subjection of the red tribes, the English
came back to their border posts and Michillimackinac was once
more filled with soldiery. In the early days of the Revolution
the walls of the fort were strengthened and the garrison was

The strategic location of the fort had never been advantageous
for purposes of defence, however, so in November, 1779, Major de
Peyster, fearful of attacks by the Americans, moved his garrison
over to the little island of Michillimackinac and built the third
Fort Michillimackinac, that which is standing to-day. The location
which Major de Peyster chose was on the southeastern portion of the
island, which is three miles wide and seven miles long, and there
is a fine harbor at the point chosen for the location of the fort.
This third fort Michillimackinac was occupied by the British on
July 15, 1780, but was not used by them during the Revolution. In
1796 it was turned over to an American garrison as the sequel of
an extensive correspondence between the young new nation and its
tenacious old mother country.

As it was necessary to know what disposition to make of her
newly-acquired border forts, the United States at the close of
the eighteenth century despatched a certain Uriah Tracy to visit
the frontier of the country and report on the condition of the
fortifications there. His letter about Michillimackinac, preserved
in the War Department files, gives a picture of the place in
December, 1800. The body of the letter follows:

  HON. SAMUEL DEXTER, Secretary of War:

  In consequence of your predecessor’s request to visit post in
  the Western territory I proceeded to Plattsburg ... and on to
  Michillimackinac. Our fort at Michillimackinac is one of our most
  important posts. It stands on an island in the straits which lead
  from Lake Michigan into Lake Huron four or five miles from the
  head of the strait. Fort Michillimackinac is an irregular work
  partly built with a strong wall and partly with pickets; and the
  parade ground within it is from 100 to 125 feet above the surface
  of the water. It contains a well of never-failing water, a boom
  proof used as a magazine, one stone barracks for the use of the
  officers, equal if not superior to any building of the kind in
  the United States, a good guard-house and barracks for soldiers
  and convenient store-houses for produce, etc., with three strong
  and convenient block-houses. This post is strong both by nature
  and by art and the possession of it has a great influence with
  the Indians in favor of the United States. The whole island on
  which the fort is situated belongs to the United States and is
  five or six miles in length and two or three miles in width. On
  the bank of the strait adjacent to the fort stands a large house
  which was by the English called Government House and was kept by
  the British commander of the fort which now belongs to the United

  The island and the country about it is remarkably healthy and
  very fertile for so high a northern latitude.


The breaking out of the War of 1812 found only 57 soldiers under
Lieutenant Porter Hanks at Fort Michillimackinac. Moreover, the
federal authorities at Washington neglected to notify several of
their border forts that war had been declared. Accordingly when
Captain Roberts, in command of a British force consisting of
English soldiers, volunteers and Indians to the number of about
900, descended upon the little post, Michillimackinac was not in
the attitude of resistance.


  Copyright Detroit Publishing Company


Thus captured by the British, the post was a most important
stronghold for them during the continuance of the conflict between
the two countries. Not only did it give them a base of great
strategic possibilities, but its easy capture had an immense moral
effect upon the Indian tribes round about, bringing many of these
tribes to the British aid and being the direct cause of much of the
Indian trouble that Americans suffered on the western frontier at
this time.

The English set to energetically fortifying the point as soon as
they had assumed charge. A hill-top back of Fort Michillimackinac
became the site for a block-house which is standing to this day,
and the walls of Mackinac were strengthened and made greater. A
letter from R. McDouall, the British commander, of date July 17,
1814, says:

  I am doing my utmost to prepare for their (the American)
  reception. Our new works on the hill overlooking the old fort
  are nearly completed and the block-house in the centre will be
  finished this week, which will make the position one of the
  strongest in Canada. Its principal defect is the difficulty of
  finding water near it, but that obviated and a sufficient supply
  of provisions laid in, no force that the enemy can bring will be
  able to reduce it.

The Englishman’s opinion of the invulnerability to attack of his
block-house was proved by events and was evidently shared by the
Americans, for, when they came in force against Michillimackinac,
they attacked from a different quarter. The American forces were
under the command of Colonel Croghan and Major Holmes, who was
beloved throughout the American army for his engaging personality
and many fine qualities. During the short and unsuccessful attack
Holmes was mortally hurt. At the conclusion of the war, when
Michillimackinac and its new block-house were surrendered by
Great Britain to the United States, the name of this talented
young officer was applied to the block-house. The surrender of
Michillimackinac took place July 18, 1815.

From the date of its surrender until 1895 Fort Michillimackinac was
regularly garrisoned by United States troops, but in this latter
year the garrison was withdrawn and the works were left in the
charge of a caretaker. The block-houses were in rather dilapidated
condition and the grounds had become overgrown when, in 1909, the
Mackinac Island State Park Commission of Michigan was created and
in the hands of this organization the old fort has fared well. The
block-house has been restored and the grounds of the fort and its
buildings have been maintained at the public expense. Every year
Michillimackinac is visited by sight-seers and the island is a
popular summering place for many.



The far too far-seeing French in 1702, in furtherance of their
design of dominion in North America, despatched a detachment of
about thirty men from Kaskaskia under the temporal command of M.
Juchereau de St. Denis and the spiritual direction of fiery Father
Mermet to establish a trading post, mission and fort, as near as
convenient to the mouth of the Ohio River to guard the southern
access to this vital means of travel. The result of this expedition
was the establishment of Fort Massac, the site of the future little
city of Metropolis, Illinois.

Consider the map as it is to-day, showing Metropolis and the
surrounding country, and see the fine position that Fort Massac
had in the day of its establishment: It was about thirty-six miles
above the mouth of the Ohio, quite far enough up to be out of the
reach of any flood of that great torrent and also to be beyond the
convenient call of marauding expeditions which might be making the
Mississippi their route north; it faced to the south the mouth of
the Tennessee River and was not far from where the Cumberland and
Wabash rivers joined their courses to the Ohio, and thus it had
fine trading advantages. Therefore it is not to be wondered at
that for a time the new post flourished mightily. Juchereau traded
and Father Mermet preached to satisfied savages and Frenchmen.

Of Father Mermet’s work it has been said that his gentle virtues in
every-day life and his fervid eloquence in the spiritual rostrum
made him beloved and respected by all.

  At early dawn his pupils came to church dressed neatly and
  modestly each in a deer-skin or robe sewn together from several
  skins. After receiving lessons they chanted canticle; mass was
  then said in presence of all the Christians, the French and the
  converts--the women on one side and the men on the other. From
  prayers and instructions the missionaries proceeded to visit
  the sick and administer medicine, and their skill as physicians
  did more than all the rest to win confidence. In the afternoon
  the catechism was taught in the presence of the young and old,
  when every one, without distinction of rank or age, answered the
  questions of the missionary. At evening all would assemble at the
  chapel for instruction, for prayer and to chant the hymns of the
  Church. On Sunday and festivals, even after vespers, a homily was
  pronounced; at the close of the day parties would meet in houses
  to recite the chaplets in alternate choirs and sing psalms till
  late at night. Saturday and Sunday were the days appointed for
  confession and communion and every convert confessed once in a
  fortnight. The success of this mission was such that marriages
  of the French immigrants were sometimes solemnized with the
  daughters of the Illinois according to the rites of the Catholic


(Erected by Illinois Daughters American Revolution)

From the River


Tradition says that the site of Massac had been used by de Soto
for a palisade in 1542, but whether this is true there is no
positive evidence to prove. Juchereau’s settlement consisted of
a palisaded fort, a trading house, several log cottages and the
chapel which Mermet christened “Assumption,” and this name was
applied to the entire settlement for some years. The name “Massac”
did not originate until half a century later. For a time, indeed,
the point was known as the “Old Cherokee Fort.”

Juchereau was removed from Massac and went to the southern waters
of the Mississippi, where he found many large “fish to fry” which
need not be described in this chapter, and the good Father Mermet
was taken back to Kaskaskia. Deprived of its mainsprings in this
fashion, the little post began to languish and shortly came to
grief because of rising disaffection among the surrounding Indians.
The place was abandoned by the French fleeing for their lives and
leaving behind them thirteen thousand buffalo skins which were
eagerly seized by the Indians from whom they had been purchased
at the rate of munificence usual to those days. Tradition has it
that the post was re-established by adventurers shortly after its
abandonment and was used as a trading centre pure and simple, but
the once lively little foundation of Juchereau and Mermet was not
again conspicuous in the events of that border until the French and
Indian War of 1756-63.

During this time it was a rendezvous for the French on the Ohio
River and was their last defence in the campaign of the English
which finally wrested La Belle Riviere from the lilies of France.
In 1756 French soldiers landed here in force, threw up earthworks
and erected a stockade with four bastions mounting eight cannon.
Henceforth in French records the site was known as Fort Massac. In
1763, by the terms of the Treaty of Paris, Massac became an English
possession together with all of the rest of the French strongholds
in North America, but it was not until the spring of 1765 that the
troops of France finally marched out from the fort. The English
during the thirteen years that they held the Illinois country never
occupied the point with troops.

The event in which Fort Massac played a part, which was to have
the greatest influence in its section, took place, however, not
during its French and Indian days, but later, when the American
colonies were asserting their independence of the Mother Country.
All of the Illinois country was held then by His Majesty’s troops,
but it was common information that the French inhabitants of the
conquered country were not extraordinarily well disposed to their
rulers and that the garrisons of the English strongholds here had
been largely reduced to aid the fight on the eastern sea-coast.
Accordingly it entered the head of one George Rogers Clark, a
daring borderman of twenty-six years, Virginian by birth, that it
would not be an impossible task to take from the English by force
the country which they had in this manner seized from the French.
June, 1778, saw him landing at Fort Massac, then ungarrisoned, with
a small body of men, and this same day probably saw the American
flag unfurled for the first time west of the Ohio River, as it is
confidently believed that Clark brought a copy of the new standard
with him. From Fort Massac the expedition set out and achieved the
ends which its commander forevisioned with many deeds of daring.
It opened the gates to American settlement of all the northwest
country of the United States.

Fort Massac was not occupied by troops until 1794, when, in view
of probable collision with Spain and France, Washington despatched
Major Thomas Doyle, of the United States Army, to rebuild and
occupy the post. This was done and for some years it was of
importance. In 1797 about thirty families had settled in the
neighborhood, Captain Zebulon Pike being in command of a garrison
of eighty-three men. At different times General Anthony Wayne and
James Wilkinson occupied the fort as their head-quarters. In 1812
it was garrisoned by a Tennessee volunteer regiment, but at the
close of that conflict the fort was evacuated once more.

In 1855, according to an account of Governor Reynolds, of Illinois,
Fort Massac was in good condition. The walls, 135 feet square, were
strong and at each corner was a stout bastion. A large well of
sweet water was within the fortress and the walls were palisaded
with earth between the wood.

The site of old Fort Massac is to-day a State park and the Illinois
chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution have restored
the old fort as far as possible to the form that it bore at the
time of the Revolution. It is additionally interesting as being
the sole survivor of that long line of forts with which the French
hoped to hold the Ohio River.



The long trough of land which runs 384 miles from New York to
Montreal, consisting of the Hudson River Valley, Lakes George and
Champlain and the Richelieu River Valley, is without doubt the
most vital of American natural highways and its importance has
been recognized from the earliest days of American history. The
French in the days when the lilies of France waved over half of
the American continent sent their war parties down this depression
to prey upon the English settlements, and hence came about the
building of Ticonderoga at the northern entrance to the long march.
The American colonists years afterward, when they had need to
defend the southern mouth of the valley, fortified West Point and
its neighboring points and crags, their first cover being taken at
Peekskill some three or four miles south of West Point. It will be
remembered that in 1777 came about that menacing campaign in the
Hudson in which the British from the south under Sir Henry Clinton
and in the north under General Burgoyne attempted a juncture of
forces at Albany, the intention being to divide the American
colonies along the line of the historic Hudson Valley and then to
reduce each half at leisure while the British fleet prevented any
efforts at union by way of the sea-coast. Burgoyne surrendered in
October of that year at Saratoga, which is roughly half way between
Lake George and Albany, but to Sir Henry Clinton, whose campaign
was one of disaster to the Americans, a few moments may be given in
profitable speculation.

The American forces opposed to Clinton on the lower Hudson
consisted of about 1200 Continentals under the command of the
choleric old General Israel Putnam and were concentrated several
miles south of West Point, where three forts had been built at
great expense earlier in the year. Fort Independence was on the
east side of the Hudson just north of Peekskill; Forts Clinton and
Montgomery were on the west side directly opposite, Montgomery
being the more northern of the two. South of the location of the
forts stood Dunderberg Mountain, outpost of the highlands of the
Hudson. The river was obstructed by a boom and chain opposite Fort
Montgomery and protected from British approach by two frigates on
the northern side of the chain.


Showing Tower of New Academy Chapel in Middle Distance]

Forts Clinton and Montgomery were under the command of General
James Clinton, brother of the recently-elected Governor George
Clinton of New York, at this moment attending a session of the
legislature at Kingston. Hearing of the approach of the British
against the forts, he adjourned the legislature and hastened to
his brother’s assistance with such militia as he could gather.

This completes the convocation of the Clintons in this engagement;
Sir Henry Clinton, in command of the British forces, General James
Clinton, in command of the two western forts; and Governor George
Clinton, hastening to the aid of brother James at Fort Clinton.

The approach of the British caused General Putnam to place his
Continentals on the eastern shore behind Peekskill and to bring
over from the western shore a large force to reinforce his own.
The British galleys advanced far enough up the river to prevent
communication between the two American bodies, and it then became
plain that it had been the hope of the English commander to cause
the Americans to divide their forces by making a feint at the
eastern shore where Putnam supposed that the strength of the
British would be. The Americans had played into his hands. On the
morning of the 6th of October Sir Henry Clinton landed his main
forces on the western shore, and by sending a detachment around
Dunderberg Mountain managed to attack Forts Clinton and Montgomery
from the rear while another force engaged them from the south.

The result of this engagement was that while the Americans fought
pluckily they were overcome by the British, with a loss of 250
killed, wounded and missing, as opposed to the British casualty
list of 40 killed and 150 wounded, and that the two western forts
fell into the hands of the English. The boom and chain across the
river were destroyed, and the British fleet sailed up the river and
attacked Fort Constitution on Constitution Island opposite West
Point. Fort Constitution was hastily abandoned.

Such a signal success on Sir Henry Clinton’s part should have
caused him to push quickly on to effect a junction with Burgoyne,
who had written him of his desperate straits at the northern end of
the Hudson, but, having done this much, the English knight seemed
to think that nothing more was expected of him, for, beyond sending
a marauding expedition up the Hudson as far as Kingston, he made no
further northern advance and retired to New York with his entire
force. Had he joined Burgoyne in time to prevent the capitulation
of the latter, it is probable that the whole history of this
country would have been written in another fashion from that date.

Fort Constitution, which held so short an argument with the British
fleet opposite West Point, was the first fortification of the
series of works which lie in the vicinity of West Point. In August,
1775, a committee appointed by the State of New York and consisting
of Isaac Sears, John Berrien, Christopher Miller, Captain Samuel
Bayard and Captain William Bedlow, began the erection of forts and
batteries in the vicinity of West Point. As an adviser to this
committee Bernard Romans, an English engineer, was employed, and
under his direction Martelaer’s rock, now Constitution Island, was
chosen for the site of the principal fortification. The fort, which
was commenced under Romans’s supervision but finished by another
military architect, was named Constitution and cost altogether
about $25,000. The remains of the fort are still visible on the
island, the outlines of the walls being discernible, with the
location of the principal point.

After the retreat of Sir Henry Clinton from before West Point,--a
voluntary retreat, it should be observed,--the Americans saw that
they must strengthen their defences at this place. Anxious to
have the passes here strongly guarded, General Washington wrote
to General Putnam, asking that he would give his most particular
attention to the matter. Duty called Putnam to Connecticut and
little was done in the matter until the arrival of General
Macdougal, who took command on March 20, 1778, by whom West Point
was approved as the location of the principal defences.

There now comes upon the scene the Polish patriot Kosciuszko, who
had been appointed to succeed a French engineer, La Radierre,
in the Hudson Highlands and who had taken up his new duties
coincidentally with the arrival of General Macdougal. Kosciuszko
pushed forward the construction of the works with great vigor.

The principal redoubt was constructed of logs and earth, was 600
feet around within the walls, and its embankments were 14 feet high
with a base of 21 feet. The work was situated on a cliff which
rises 187 feet above the river, and upon its completion in May
was named Fort Clinton. The remains of Fort Clinton are carefully
preserved to-day and comprise that line of grass-covered mounds
which edge the eastern side of the plateau on which West Point
Academy is situated. In the midst of these quiet green mounds
stands a monument to Kosciuszko, erected by the corps of cadets
of 1828. From the ruins a beautiful view of the Hudson is to be
obtained, though the new buildings of the Academy cut off much
which formerly was contained in the view from this point.

To support Fort Clinton works were constructed and batteries placed
on the hills and mountains of West Point. On Mount Independence,
which overhangs the military school, a strong fort was built and
named, when completed, Fort Putnam, in honor of the sturdy patriot
of Connecticut.

[Illustration: Fort Putnam’s Rocky Interior

Kosciuszko Monument

The North Wall, “Old Put”


The remains of Fort Putnam, or “Old Put,” as it came to be known
in the neighborhood, were for many years the scene of picnickers’
journeys up the steep hill-side whose crest it crowns and for many
years were allowed to lie in a condition of disorder and decay. Of
recent years the United States Government has taken in hand the old
works and has restored them to as near their original condition
as can be learned. The walls have been rebuilt where necessary and
the brick casemates relaid. The result is that Fort Putnam to-day
is the best preserved and most interesting of the souvenirs of the
war-like days of West Point.

A rocky, inhospitable looking, irregular stone enclosure, Fort
Putnam to-day gives one a very good idea of the stern, rude
conditions with which our forefathers labored in the founding of
our republic. From the walls of the fort a most enchanting prospect
is to be gained from any direction, enchanting to either the lover
of beautiful natural scenery or to the lover of historic memorials;
for the Hudson Valley and its towering hills lie out before one
to any point of the compass. Upon the points of these high hills
were located batteries and strong works in the days when Putnam
was young, each battery and work with its quota of rough colonial
militia determined to fight to the last man against the trained
soldiers of Europe. South of Fort Putnam were two small works known
as Fort Wyllys and Fort Webb upon the eminences to be seen from
“Put.” On the crown of Sugar Loaf Mountain was a redoubt known as
South Battery.

In addition to the construction of Forts Clinton and Putnam and
their supporting batteries, Fort Constitution was strengthened
and re-garrisoned, and between West Point and Constitution Island
was stretched a huge iron chain, links of which are preserved in
the museum at West Point. The chain was manufactured by Peter
Townshend, of the Stirling Iron Works, Orange County, and was made
of links two feet in length and in weight over 140 pounds each.

At the close of 1779 West Point was considered the strongest
military post in America, and a large quantity of gunpowder,
provisions and munitions of war was collected there. These
considerations, in addition to the strategic value of the place,
made of it a great prize for the enemy, who tried in various ways
to seize it for his own. Yet the great menace to the place lay not
without, where the British soldiers were, but within, and the story
of that fact is one of the saddest things of American history.

The treason of Benedict Arnold had its setting at West Point,
though its foundations were laid months before he assumed command
of this important locale. Indeed, at the moment of Arnold’s
appointment to the command of West Point, the American general had
been in correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton for eighteen months.

It is supposed that the defection of Arnold and his plans for the
surrender of West Point began in Philadelphia during the winter of
1778, when he was appointed governor-general of that city after the
evacuation by the British. Fond of show and feeling the importance
of his station, he began to live in style far beyond his income,
and pecuniary embarrassments began to multiply around him. He
lived in the mansion that had once sheltered William Penn (and
which is still standing), kept a coach and four, and gave splendid
banquets. When impatient creditors began to press him for funds, he
resorted to devious ways of raising money. So open did the scandal
become of his indecent use of his position for private gain that
charges were laid against him before Congress implying abuse of
power, and the whole matter was handed over to Washington to have
tried before a military tribunal. The verdict in the trial was
rendered January 26, 1780, after a lengthy consideration of the
case, and two of the four charges against Arnold were sustained.
Washington was ordered to reprimand the officer, convicted by
a jury of his peers, and did so in as kind a fashion as ever a
reprimand was given. Indeed, at the time, Washington, himself, came
in for censure because his reprimand was so ambiguously worded
that it might be construed to praise the impetuous warrior who
had fought for the new republic rather than to reprove the errant
administrator. However, from this time it is supposed that Arnold
planned to benefit himself and to deal the American cause a vital

The military importance of West Point being plain, it was equally
plain that the British would be willing to pay handsomely for
its surrender. Arnold settled upon the place as the prize that
his treachery should hold out to the English, and by various
pieces of wire-pulling succeeded in having himself appointed
its commander-in-chief. The general opinion of this American
leader then was that he was headstrong and self-willed but not
characterless. His impetuosity and violence were esteemed good
qualities, which fitted him for the work of the soldier while they
unfitted him for administrative duties. His good will toward his
fellow-countrymen was not doubted. In August, 1780, Arnold took
command of West Point and made his headquarters in a rambling old
house which had belonged to Colonel Beverly Robinson, Colonel
Robinson having espoused the English side of the quarrel during the
Revolutionary War and having been obliged to take refuge in the
English lines in consequence.

The chief correspondent of Arnold in the English ranks was
Major André, and for a long time Sir Henry Clinton did not know
the identity of the American general with whom André was in
communication. To his missives Arnold affixed the signature of
Gustavus and wrote in the character of a commercial correspondent
of a business house. André on his part signed his letters John

The general plan by which Clinton was to take possession of West
Point through Arnold’s connivance had many ramifications, but its
chief text as concerns us was that Clinton should make a strong
demonstration against the post and that Arnold, after a weak
defence, should yield it to him. The final negotiations which
touched the amount of money which Arnold was to receive for his
treachery were concluded by Clinton through the intermediation
of André, who assumed the guise of a spy in order to carry out
his commander’s behests. It was while returning from this trip to
Arnold’s headquarters and but one day before the drama was to be
consummated that André fell into the hands of American forces and
the papers which he bore were brought to light.

The morning of the 24th, the day set by Arnold for his surrender
to Clinton, dawned bright and fine. Washington was expected at
Arnold’s headquarters from Hartford. As he sat at breakfast
Arnold received a message from Colonel Jameson, stationed to the
south, which contained the intelligence not that the British were
approaching, but that a Major André had been captured. Hastily
asking to be excused, Arnold made his way to the room of his young
wife, the beautiful Margaret Shippen, of Philadelphia, and bade
her a brief farewell; then he let himself out of the house by a
back way and took a short path to the water-shore where he summoned
a boatman and had himself rowed to the British fleet. Washington
arrived at Arnold’s headquarters in time to gather up the loose
ends of things and prevent the dreadful catastrophe that the loss
of the strongest of the American positions would have meant.

It has been claimed that the influence of Arnold’s wife, who was
of a Tory family and had been an ardent British sympathizer before
her marriage, had much to do with Arnold’s desertion from the
cause he had first embraced. There is no evidence to finally set
at rest this conjecture. Margaret Shippen had many friends amongst
the British officers and Major André was the chief amongst these
friends, but there is no reason to believe that she was base at
heart, that she was not devoted to her husband, or that she could
not realize how utter would be his undoing. After his downfall she
rejoined him in New York and shared with him patiently all of the
contempt and odium that were his portion for the rest of his life,
from American and English alike.

The military academy at West Point was established by Act of
Congress which became law March 16, 1802. The establishment of
such a place had been proposed to Congress by Washington in 1793,
and even before the close of the Revolution he had suggested such
an institution and had even fixed on West Point as the location.
Little was done in the matter even after the act of Congress of
1802, until in 1812, by a second enactment, a corps of engineers
and teachers was organized and the school actually started. The
beautiful buildings of the Academy are the fruit of the last
generation’s labor.

Stony Point lies south of West Point, separating Peekskill Bay on
the north from Haverstraw Bay on the south. Opposite is Verplanck’s
Point. The river here is very narrow. In 1779 Clinton had strongly
fortified Stony Point, thus cutting off West Point’s communications
from the south and establishing a strong base from which to proceed
against that place. Washington saw that Stony Point must be

To carry out his bold scheme--for the spot was deemed impregnable
to assault--he called upon General Anthony Wayne--“Mad”
Anthony--and asked him if he would undertake such a commission.
“General, I’ll storm hell if you’ll only plan it,” Wayne is said to
have replied.

The situation of Stony Point was a fortress in itself. At high tide
it was practically an island, the ravine on the shore side through
which the railroad passes now-a-days being then a marshy inlet of
the river. From the river the rock rose precipitously, and was at
its highest point 700 feet above tide.

The assault was made under cover of darkness, July 15, 1779, the
American forces advancing secretly under the guidance of an old
negro who had learned the watchword of the fort for that night.
This watchword was, “The Fort’s Our Own.” The phrase has been
carved above the doorway of the reservation, where it may be seen
by all visitors to-day. One by one the sentries were approached and
overpowered, and the Americans were almost within the walls before
their presence was discovered. By two o’clock on the morning of
July 16 the fort was the possession of the assailants.

The stores of the English were destroyed and the post was evacuated.

Stony Point is now a public reservation of the State of New York.
The battle-ground is in charge of the American Scenic and Historic
Preservation Society, which has marked the locality of the redoubts
and of interesting points.




The records of the War Department at Washington say that Fort
Constitution reservation “contains twelve acres. It is situated on
a rocky projection in the Piscataqua River at the entrance to the
harbor of the City of Portsmouth. It is about three miles below
the city on the west side of the river, on the eastern end of
‘Great Island,’ being the most eastern end of New Hampshire. It was
formerly an English fort called ‘William and Mary’ and was occupied
by United States troops in 1806.”

The location of Fort Constitution may be fixed more exactly by
saying that it is very close to Newcastle, one of the outlying
dependencies of Portsmouth. A long low stone structure thrust
out on a wave-washed spit of rock, its picturesque appearance
stimulates the fancy of every visitor who approaches Portsmouth by

Adjoining the fort is a light-house erected in 1771, and on a
rocky eminence overlooking the fort is a ruined martello tower of
striking aspect.

The history of Fort Constitution goes back to the early beginnings
of settlement on the New England coast. In 1665 the commissioners
of King Charles II began to erect a fortification on the point
here, but were halted by the prohibitions of the Massachusetts
fathers. In 1700 there existed a fort on Great Island and probably
on the site of the present structure. This fort was visited by the
Earl of Bellemont and declared by him incapable of defending the
river, notwithstanding the fact that it mounted thirty guns.

A new defensive structure was planned by Colonel Romer, who
recommended as additional works a strong tower on the point of
Fryer’s (Gerrish’s) Island and batteries on Wood and Clark’s
Islands. His main plans were carried out and with slight
alterations formed the fortification which was known at the time
of the Revolutionary ferment as Castle William and Mary, its name
sufficiently emphasizing the period of its conception. While Castle
William and Mary had an honorable career in a passive fashion
during the French wars by frightening off French descents upon the
flourishing little city which it guards, it does not spring into
the lime-light until 1774, when it becomes the scene of the first
capture of arms made by the Americans in the struggle against the
Mother Country.


In the year we have under consideration the Governor of New
Hampshire was the able and passionate Sir John Wentworth. An
account of the seizure of the supplies at Fort William and Mary may
be succinctly given by means of extracts from Sir John’s letters
of that period, a series of which was published in 1869, in
the “Historical and Genealogical Register” by the Honorable John
Wentworth, of Chicago.

In a letter to the Earl of Dartmouth, dated Portsmouth, December
20, 1774, Governor Wentworth says:

  On Tuesday the 13th instant, in the afternoon, one Paul Revere
  arrived with letters from some of the leaders in Boston to
  Mr. Samuel Cutts, merchant, of this town. Reports were soon
  circulated that the Fort at Rhode Island had been dismantled and
  the Gunpowder and other military stores removed up to Providence
  and ... it was also falsely given out that Troops were embarking
  at Boston to come and take possession of William and Mary Castle
  in this harbour. These rumors soon raised an alarm in the town;
  and although I did not expect that the people would be so
  audacious as to make any attack on the castle yet I sent orders
  to the captain at the fort to be upon his guard.

  On Wednesday news was brought to me that a drum was beating about
  the town to collect the populace together in order to go and take
  away the Gunpowder and dismantle the Fort. I immediately sent
  the Chief Justice of the Province to warn them from engaging in
  such an attempt. He went to them where they were collected in
  the centre of the town near the townhouse, explained to them
  the nature of the offence they proposed to commit, told them it
  was not short of Rebellion and intreated them to desist from it
  and to disperse. But all to no purpose. They went to the island
  and, being joined by the inhabitants of the towns of Newcastle
  and Rye, formed in a body of about four hundred men and the
  Castle being in too weak a condition for defence (as I have in
  former letters explained to your lordship) they forced their
  entrance in spite of Captain Cochrane who defended it as long
  as he could; but having only the assistance of five men their
  numbers overpowered him. After they entered the Fort they seized
  upon the captain and triumphantly gave three huzzas and hauled
  down the King’s colours. They then put the captain and men under
  confinement, broke open the Gunpowder magazine and carried off
  about 100 barrels of Gunpowder but discharged the Captain and men
  from their confinement before their departure.

  On Thursday, the 15th, in the morning a party of men came from
  the country accompanied by Mr. (Gen. John) Sullivan one of the
  New Hampshire delegates to the Congress, to take away the cannon
  from the Fort, also. Mr. Sullivan declared that he had taken
  pains to prevail upon them to return home again; and said, as
  there was no certain intelligence of troops being coming to take
  possession of the Castle, he would still use his utmost endeavors
  to disperse them.

  While the town was thus full of men a committee from them came
  to me to solicit pardon or a suspension of prosecution against
  the persons who took away the Gunpowder. I told them I could
  not promise them any such thing; but if they dispersed and
  restored the gunpowder, which I most earnestly exhorted them
  to do, I said I hoped His Majesty may be thereby induced to
  consider it an alleviation of the offence. They parted from me,
  in all appearance, perfectly disposed to follow the advice I had
  given them; and having proceeded directly to the rest of their
  associates they all publickly voted ... to return home....

  But, instead of dispersing, the people went to the Castle in the
  night headed by Mr. Sullivan and took away sixteen pieces of
  cannon, about sixty muskets and other military stores and brought
  them to the out Borders of the town.

  On Friday morning, the 16th, Mr. Folsom, the other delegate,
  came to town that morning with a great number of armed men
  who remained in Town as a guard till the flow of the tide in
  the evening when the cannon were sent in Gondolas up the river
  into the country and they all dispersed without having done any
  personal injury to any body in the town.


  Copyright, Detroit Publishing Company


On the Fourth of July, 1809, an explosion of powder took place at
Fort Constitution in which four men and three boys were killed and
a number of bystanders wounded. The cause of the explosion was the
carelessness of a sergeant with a lighted fuse, and the unlucky
hour that he chose for his celebration was a time when his colonel
(Colonel Walbach) had a number of guests to dinner. None of the
diners were injured, and a quaint contemporary account tells their
natural distress at various of the phenomena around them. “One poor
fellow,” says this account, “was carried over the roof of the house
and the upper half of his body lodged on the opposite side near the
window of the dining-room; the limb of another was driven through
a thick door over the dining-room leaving a hole in the door the
shape of the foot.”

The appearance of Fort Constitution to-day is not very warlike and
it does not play a very active part in the city’s defences. The
walls of the older part of the fort are of rough stone topped with
brick. Over the arch of the sally-port here is a date, 1808. These
walls have been partly enclosed by unfinished walls of granite of
later construction.

The martello tower, to which reference has already been had, was
constructed during the War of 1812 and was begun one Sunday morning
while two British cruisers were lying off the Isle of Shoals. Its
purpose was to prevent a landing on the beach at the south side of
the main work. An assault on that work was not attempted at the
time, but who can say that the promptness of the New Hampshiremen
in thus adding to their defences in the face of the enemy did not
have its moral value in forestalling an attack? The tower had three



The sunny waters of the Thames at New London, Connecticut, present
a smiling aspect, and from the high flag-staff of trig little Fort
Trumbull the stars and stripes float gaily. Across the river on
the hill above the little town of Groton is the State reservation
containing the remains of Fort Griswold, with rough zig-zag paths
approaching the summit of the hill. Adjacent to Fort Griswold is
the stone monument which commemorates the Fort Griswold massacre.
Many sunny years will not wipe out the memory of the bloody deeds
of that violent hour.

Fort Trumbull is situated one mile from the mouth of the Thames
River and one mile and a half below the little city of New London,
with whose history it is associated. A modest work of substantial
construction, it covers only thirteen acres and is so restricted
for living space that it cannot accommodate a full garrison
within its walls. Fort Griswold is a work of far more ancient and
rougher construction. It is not garrisoned to-day and has not been
garrisoned for many years, though in the fighting days of the two
forts it was the more important of the two places.

The little village of New London is a favored watering place for
many in summer and its safe and accessible harbor has made it
desirable as a haven for the storage of summer light craft during
the winter months. These same considerations hold true of Groton
on the other side of the river. Thousands of visitors every summer
go over the historic defences of Fort Griswold or gaze upon the
equally historic site of Fort Trumbull.

The erection of two forts was begun in 1775 by the citizens of New
London and Groton, one on the west side of the Thames which was
designated in the correspondence of the time as a “block-house
with embrasures,” and the other, a more pretentious work, on the
east side of the river and designated at once “Fort Trumbull.” In
1776 Washington directed General Knox to examine the harbor of New
London. This gentleman carried out his commission in workmanlike
fashion and reported that the harbor was a safe and well-protected
retreat for vessels in any wind that blew. The harbor is three
miles long and seldom encumbered with ice.

[Illustration: Fort Griswold, Groton

Fort Trumbull, New London


In that same year Captain Shapley was ordered to take command
of Fort Trumbull, and Colonel William Ledyard of Fort Griswold
on Groton Hill. Later, Ledyard was placed in command of the two
positions. In 1777 he revised, strengthened and enlarged Fort
Trumbull, and in 1778 performed this same work upon Fort Griswold.
Under his direction, in 1779, strong works were thrown up on Town
Hill, New London. Finally, in 1780, the assembly of New London
ordered his accounts paid.

The successful operations of the Continental forces in Virginia
in 1781 caused Sir Henry Clinton to cast about for some means of
distracting his opponents and of recalling Washington from the
South, preferably by some deed of enterprise in the North. He fixed
on New London as the scene of operations, as he had heard that
there were many stores in the little town, and as the leader of the
expedition he picked out Benedict Arnold, the traitor, who had just
returned from scenes of pillage on the James River, Virginia. The
choice of Arnold may have appealed to some saturnine sense of humor
in Clinton, as Connecticut, it may be remembered, was Arnold’s
native State and New London not far from the scenes of his boyhood.

The little works at New London and Groton, despite the
conscientious efforts of Colonel Ledyard, were not positions of
much consequence. Fort Trumbull, we are told, was merely a strong
breastwork of three sides, and open in the rear, mounting eighteen
12-pound guns and three 6-pound guns. Its garrison numbered
twenty-three men. Fort Griswold was somewhat more formidable, being
“an oblong square with bastions at opposite angles, its longest
side fronting the river in a northwest and southeast direction, its
walls of stone 10 or 12 feet high on the lower side and surrounded
by a ditch; in the wall pickets projected over for 12 feet; above,
a parapet with embrasures and within a platform for cannon, with a
step to mount to shoot over the parapet with small arms.”

In addition to these,--the main defences--there was the little
work on the summit of Town Hill, New London, which mounted six
small-bore guns and which had become known by the airy title of
“Fort Nonsense.”

It being manifestly impossible to hold Fort Trumbull with a force
of twenty-three men, the Americans, on the approach of Arnold
and the British, took all of their forces and placed them in
Fort Griswold. At its best the garrison of this point was not as
numerous as the attacking body and it was made up of untrained
militia gathered at the moment’s call.

The result of the battle, when battle was finally given, was a
foregone conclusion. The British soldiery landed September 6,
1781, and advanced in force. The plucky American garrison tried
desperately to hold back the onslaught, fighting most of the men
in sight of their own homes, but without effect. After a sharp
engagement the fort was taken and the conclusion of the combat was
a signal to Arnold’s forces for an indiscriminate slaughter of the
Americans, many of whom had thrown down their arms. Of the 160 men
making up the garrison all but 40 were killed or wounded, and the
vast majority of them after resistance had ceased. The wounded,
contemporary testimony asserts, were placed in carts under Arnold’s
direction and dumped over the edge of the hill here which is very

The British then entered Groton and New London and set them on
fire. Arnold finally led his forces back to New York.

To commemorate the gallant defence of Fort Griswold and the
terrible scenes which it had witnessed, the State of Connecticut
began the erection of a monument on Groton Heights in 1830 and
carried the shaft to the height of 127 feet. At this height the
monument rested until 1881, when it was carried eight feet higher.
On the face of the shaft is a tablet which bears the following

  This monument was erected under the patronage of the State of
  Connecticut, A.D. 1830 and in the 55th year of the independence
  of the United States, in memory of the brave patriots who fell
  in the massacre at Fort Griswold on this spot on the 6th of
  September, A.D. 1781, when the British under the command of the
  traitor Benedict Arnold burnt the towns of New London and Groton
  and spread desolation and woe throughout this region.

Various spots in the little grounds of the fort have been marked
with tablets. The grounds are carefully maintained and are open to
visitors at all times.

Though no effort was ever made to rebuild Fort Griswold, a like
fate did not befall Fort Trumbull. At the outbreak of the War
of 1812 the embankments of Fort Trumbull were nothing but green
mounds. A formal work was commenced, leaving the old block-house
inside the new lines. During this war the fort was often threatened
but never attacked.

An anecdote which shows the spirit of the locality is retailed by

  When the British squadron which drove Decatur into the harbor of
  New London in 1813 menaced the town with bombardment the military
  force that manned the forts were deficient in flannel for cannon
  cartridges. All that could be found in New London was sent to the
  forts and a Mr. Latham, a neighbor of Mrs. Anna Bailey’s, came
  to her at Groton seeking for more. She started out and collected
  all the petticoats of little children that she could find in
  town. “This is not half enough,” said Mr. Latham on her return.
  “You shall have mine too,” said Mrs. Bailey as she cut with her
  scissors the string that fastened it, and taking it off gave it
  to Latham. He was satisfied, and, hastening to Fort Trumbull,
  that patriotic contribution was soon made into cartridges. “It
  was a heavy new one but I did not care for that,” said the
  old lady while her eyes sparkled. “All I wanted was to see it
  go through the Englishmen’s insides.” Some of Decatur’s men
  declared that it was a shame to cut that petticoat into cartridge
  patterns; they would rather see it fluttering at the mast-head of
  the _United States_ or the _Macedonia_ as an ensign under which
  to fight upon the broad ocean.

The present Fort Trumbull was begun in 1839 on the foundations of
its two predecessors and finished at a cost of $250,000. Part of
the old block-house of the first Fort Trumbull is still preserved
in the confines of the present fort.


[1] Lossing, vol. i, p. 617.



A visit to Fort Mifflin, Mud Island, on the Delaware River,
Pennsylvania, to-day reveals a star-shaped fort of familiar pattern
and of most substantial construction. It has the distinction of
being within the corporate limits of one of the largest cities on
the continent of North America,--Philadelphia,--yet a more deserted
or forlorn looking spot it would be hard to imagine. Without
benefit of policemen or any of the familiar marks of a great city,
it might well serve in a “movie” for an ancient stronghold in a
desert waste and may have been discovered by some enterprising
movie manufacturer before these words are in print. Not always
quiet, however, Fort Mifflin was the scene of one of the heaviest
cannonadings of the War of Independence, when it sturdily held off
the combined English naval and land forces until its own walls were
reduced to powder.

The ground on which the Fort Mifflin of to-day stands was deeded
to the Federal government by the State of Pennsylvania in 1795,
and the present works were commenced in 1798. As the strategic
advantage and the ease of fortification of the point had been amply
demonstrated during the Revolution, a large and strong fortress was
built and garrisoned until changing conditions of warfare caused
its importance to be a thing of the past and its garrison to be
withdrawn in 1853. During the Civil War the fort was garrisoned by
a volunteer regiment and served as a detention place for prisoners
taken during that conflict, but this structure saw no service in
this war and, indeed, has never fired a shot in anger. After the
Civil War the place was deserted, though the government has ever
since kept a care-taker there. The government land reservation
includes over three hundred acres. In other parts of the island are
more modern government stations, but in these we have no present

The old fortification is surrounded by a deep moat over which
are bridges leading to its three sally-ports. Only one of these
entrances is open now. Passing through the thick walls of this
entrance, one finds one’s self facing a large parade ground, which
is surrounded by quaint, old-fashioned structures--the barracks and
officers’ quarters of a by-gone day. On the south of the parade
is a very charming little Georgian chapel, through whose broken
window-panes pour in damp winds.


In the casemates of the old fort were confined Morgan’s men
during the Civil War. It is a dark and dismal trip to the damp
rooms in which these men were confined, as one goes through
narrow subterranean corridors beneath the thick walls of the
fort. One comes to a large cavernous chamber lighted from above
by a single narrow slit. At one end of this chamber is an open
fire-place. On the walls are scribbled numerous names and messages
from Morgan’s men. It might perhaps be an interesting matter to
copy down these names and messages, if one had the patience and
time to do so, but hardly a task within the province of this
chapter. May be the room was cheerful enough in the days of its use
with the big fire-place containing a roaring fire, but it is dismal
now, in all conscience!

From the walls of Fort Mifflin there is a fine view of the Delaware
River. Natives of the neighborhood say that the marshes round about
yield fine gunning during the season. Directly across the Delaware
from Fort Mifflin--the river being about a mile wide, here--are
the remains of Fort Mercer and the outworks which made up this
strong little post in the days of the Revolution. Fort Mercer
and its earthworks are preserved by the nation, forming a public
reservation which annually receives many visitors.

The ancient Whitall house--a two-story building of red brick--still
stands at Fort Mercer, reminding one of the intrepid old lady
who occupied it during the battle. Old Mrs. Whitall was urged to
flee from the house but refused, saying, “God’s arm is strong and
will protect me; I may do good by staying.” She was left alone
in the house and, while the battle was raging and cannon-balls
were driving like sleet against her dwelling, calmly plied her
spinning-wheel. At length a twelve-pound ball from a vessel in
the river, grazing the American flag-staff (a walnut tree), at
the fort, passed at the north gable through a heavy brick wall,
perforated a partition at the head of the stairs, crossed a
recess, and lodged in another partition near where the old lady
was sitting. Conceiving Divine protection a little more certain
elsewhere after this manifestation of the power of gunpowder, the
old lady gathered up her spinning implements and with a step as
agile as youth retreated to the cellar, where, not to be pushed out
of her house by any circumstance, she continued her spinning as
industriously as before. When the wounded and dying were brought to
her house to be cared for, she went industriously at the work of
succor, not caring whether she tended friend or foe. She scolded
the Hessians vigorously for coming to this country on a work of
butchery, and at the same time ministered to their sufferings.

The third American redoubt lay farther down the river at

It will be recalled that Howe, with his English regulars and
Hessians, spent the winter of 1776-77 in New York with occasional
forays from that point. In July, 1777, after a trial of wits with
Washington in northern New Jersey, he embarked his troops and set
sail to the south. Washington’s uneasiness as to the whereabouts of
his foe was set at rest after three weeks by hearing of the landing
of Howe at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. There then ensued the
battle of the Brandywine and that series of skirmishes which ended
in Howe’s taking possession of Philadelphia, then the capital of
the country, with the removal of the American official papers to

To secure his position and keep his lines open in Philadelphia,
however, it was necessary for Howe to take the American positions
at Billingsport, at Fort Mercer and at Fort Mifflin. The works at
Billingsport fell quickly before a surprise attack, and it now
remained to take Mifflin and Mercer.

The garrison at Mercer consisted of two Rhode Island regiments
under Colonel Christopher Greene. At Mifflin there was about the
same number of the Maryland line under Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel
Smith. The American fleet in the river consisted chiefly of galleys
and floating batteries, and was anchored off the present League
Island. It was under the command of Commodore Hazlewood.

Count Donop, with 1200 picked Hessians, was sent by Howe to take
Fort Mercer. On the morning of October 24, he appeared before the
little fort. Though the Americans had only 400 men with fourteen
cannon they were not dismayed but stood to their arms. The battle
commenced at four o’clock in the afternoon and raged with great
fierceness. It resulted in the repulse of the assailants and the
death of their commander, Count Donop, to whom a monument has been
erected at Fort Mercer Park.

The firing of the first gun against Fort Mercer was the signal for
the British fleet to open upon Fort Mifflin. A heavy cannonade
continued until the British were obliged to draw off. A hot shot
struck one of their large ships, the _Augusta_, and this vessel
burned to the water’s edge.


For a season the Americans held undisputed possession of their
section of the Delaware, but then the British returned the
charge with increased force. Fort Mifflin was made the centre
of attack. Batteries were posted upon Province Island,--now a
part of the mainland directly off Mud Island on which the little
fort stood,--and on this side the fort was not finished. A large
floating battery was also brought up the river within forty yards
of one angle of the fort. Altogether the British had fourteen
strong batteries, in addition to four 64-gun and two 40-gun ships.
The engagement opened on the 10th of November and continued for six
consecutive days without interruption. In the course of the last
day more than a thousand discharges of cannon were made against the
little fort on Mud Island. By this time there was little left of
its walls and no single chance of the garrison holding out longer.
The officer in command escaped to Fort Mercer with the remnants of
his force. It is said that the British were preparing to draw away
from Fort Mifflin and had made up their minds to give up the
siege, but information from a deserter caused them to keep on for
the few days necessary to reduce the weakened stronghold.

So strong a force was now sent against Fort Mercer that Colonel
Greene was obliged to evacuate that post, leaving behind some guns
and ammunition with military stores.

The American fleet sought safety in flight up the Delaware. One
brig and two sloops escaped to Burlington. Seventeen other vessels,
unable to escape, were abandoned by their crews and burned at
Gloucester, just across from the Philadelphia of to-day.

The Delaware River and Philadelphia were now in the hands of Howe.
For a long winter he was to lie inactive while Washington took up
position at Valley Forge and spent that historic winter with his
men of which so much has been written. Instead of working for the
future the British spent their time in balls and the Meschianza.
Let Americans of to-day be thankful that they found Philadelphia
manners and Philadelphia belles so altogether delightful!



The spot whereon the flag-staff stood which bore the stars and
stripes that fervid morning upon which Francis Scott Key arose, saw
that our flag was still there and jotted down the national anthem
on the back of an envelope before going down to breakfast, still
conspires with a large and lusty successor of this first staff to
keep Old Glory flying in the heavens. The immediate surroundings,
the harbor outlook, the busy city now sending its clamor over
the point on which the old fort stands, all have changed in the
years, but the part of the fort from which the banner of the new
republic was sent forth so many years ago has undergone little
transformation. A triangle of ground pointing toward open water,
and a bare staff, these have little that Time can work wizardry
with. The simple focus of Key’s inspiration has not been lost in
the years, but the rest of the picture which roused his songster’s
mood is only to be brought back by effort of imagination.

[Illustration: A View from an Aeroplane

The Guard-House


Fort McHenry is now a public park, the last federal trooper having
been drawn out of the reservation in the fall of 1913. As such
it has been beautified by the City of Baltimore, if the placing
of benches in convenient spots, the sodding of terraces, and
the cleaning of walks are to be considered in the nature of
beautification; and it is occasionally used by Baltimoreans as a
place of airing. Situated on a point of land separating the two
parts of Baltimore’s heart-shaped harbor, it gives charming views
of the city. Gazing straight ahead from the walls of old Fort
McHenry, one can see far down the river (very wide here) into the
distance where the river joins the Chesapeake Bay. In the blue of
the horizon can be faintly discerned the low squatty outline of the
little hexagon of stone built by General Robert E. Lee before the
Civil War and known as Fort Carroll.

To the right hand, from this vantage point on the water side
of Fort McHenry’s parapets, lies Spring Garden, the larger but
the less busy part of Baltimore’s water-front. To the left is
the entrance to “the harbor,” as it is affectionately called by
Baltimoreans, with entire disregard for that magnificent half-moon
of water of more recent development which we have already descried
to the right.

The various points of historic interest in the fort and its
grounds are marked with tablets and appropriate memorials, this
work having been done in recent years by the city, by the Maryland
chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and by various
public-spirited bodies of the municipality.

As one enters the grounds of the old fort, he is confronted first
by a long, low, wooden structure with an archway through which can
be gained a glimpse of a broad grass space. This is the parade.
On the right of the parade is a row of cottages facing a narrow
street, and at the end of this modest thoroughfare can be seen
the eastern abutments of the old fort. As one approaches the fort
itself the star shape of the walls is plainly observable and its
dimensions easily taken in. It is not a large place, this historic
old work, and makes no great impression upon the beholder from
its material aspect. Batteries of ancient guns are mounted on
the walls fronting the river. These were saved from destruction
some years ago by the energetic work of some of the historical
societies of the city. The reservation is entirely surrounded by a
stone sea-wall which makes a very acceptable promenade, and here
on summer days may be found couples viewing the beautiful marine
prospects, and small boys indefatigably crabbing or fishing, but
these energies have a purely legendary interest, for the crabbing
and fishing for which the place was once famous are not now what
they ought to be.

[Illustration: Looking Toward the Lazaretto

One of the Old Batteries in Place


Seen from the river as one enters Baltimore by steamer the old fort
is at its best, for then one sees the long grassy inclines and the
level of the parade ground and the soft foliage of trees contrasted
sharply with the smoky city in the background. The fort proper is
barely visible from the river, its walls not rising above the
crests of the high embankments thrown up in front of it.

The point of land on which Fort McHenry is situated--Whetstone
Point, as it was known in old times--was patented in 1662 by Mr.
Charles Gorsuch of the Society of Friends, and the stretch that he
acquired amounted to about fifty acres. It is thus that it comes
upon the pages of history in the possession of one sworn not to
use methods of violence. Time passed on, Mr. Gorsuch’s tract was
divided, and at last came the brewing of the Revolution. It was
this which brought Fort McHenry into existence.

A battery was thrown up on the point, and in 1776 a boom was
stretched across the river to the Lazaretto, a little projection
of land on the northern side of the stream. Two hundred and fifty
negroes were employed in this work and their labors extended over a
period of almost two years.

Yet this original of Fort McHenry did not see active service during
the Revolution. Its greatest days were to be reserved for that
short conflict which finally decided the Mother Country in the
opinion that the American Colonies were of a right and ought to
be free and independent. That so decisive a battle as the repulse
of the British fleet before McHenry should have been staged at
Baltimore is peculiarly appropriate when we remember the prominence
of that type of sailing vessel known as the Baltimore “clipper” in
the commerce of the country before the war and the great service
these same slim, speedy vessels did as privateers during that
conflict. The Baltimore clippers, it is not amiss to note, were
built at Fell’s Point, about a mile and a half across the river
from Fort McHenry, where modern Broadway, a thoroughfare, now has
its terminus.

It was before the outbreak of the War of 1812 that the foundations
of present-day Fort McHenry were laid. In the closing ten years
of the eighteenth century there was much ill feeling against
England and war was declared in rumor many times before the actual
outbreak of hostilities took place. At one of these periods of
apprehension the citizens of Baltimore, at their own expense,
started the erection of a star-shaped fort under the direction of
John J. Rivardi, engineer. In 1794 this erection, not complete but
well started toward completion, passed to the Federal government
and was named Fort McHenry in honor of James McHenry, secretary to
Washington during the Revolution and Secretary of War from 1796 to
1800. The works were completed in 1805 and the formal cession to
the Federal government took place in 1816.

It is hard to over-estimate in the history of the country the
importance of the defence of Fort McHenry and of the engagement
at North Point,--a corollary of this defence,--though Marylanders
themselves have been comparatively indifferent to it until lately.
With that pride of race which is a heritage of the South and the
feeling which that pride engenders that their men will do well as
a matter of course, Marylanders have given this engagement rather
casual attention until very recent years. Indeed, up to the last
decade, it was not unusual to hear Baltimoreans refer to the heroic
defenders of North Point, who checked a force many times more
powerful than their own and inflicted terrible injury in mortally
wounding the assailants’ commanding officer, as the “North Point
racers,” in humorous appreciation of the nimbleness of foot and
ingenuity in evading observation which the men showed when finally
they did break ground and retreated to Baltimore. Yet the times
were critical enough, Heaven knows, and the part that these same
racers and Fort McHenry played a worthy one in the final summing up.

The British, it will be remembered, had proceeded by easy stages
up the Chesapeake Bay, burning and pillaging wherever they chose
and meeting little opposition. A detachment had crossed to the
northwest through Bladensburg and had seized and given to the
flames Washington, the capital of the nation, itself; and now
the united force was turning its attention to a leisurely march
north through Baltimore to the northern cities, where they hoped
to complete their subjugation of the country. Their complete
reverse at McHenry set back all of their plans, giving the northern
cities time to arm and prepare, and demoralized them to a great
degree, their demoralization being accompanied by a corresponding
enheartening of all American sympathizers. The importance of the
action is thus readily seen.

The historic attack upon Fort McHenry began on the morning of
September 13, 1814, and continued until 7 o’clock of the next
morning. During the engagement more than 1800 shells were fired by
the attacking force. The total American loss was four killed and
twenty-four wounded. In the land engagement of North Point which
preceded the attack by water on the city the American loss was 150
killed and wounded and the British loss about 600.

[Illustration: From This Point the Star Spangled Banner Flew

The Entrance


While Fort McHenry was the main defence of Baltimore, the city
showed arms in other directions as well. On the northern side of
the harbor (across the river from Fort McHenry) were two long lines
of fortifications which extended from Harris Creek, northward
across Hampstead’s Hill, now Patterson Park,--about a mile in
length, along which at short distances were thrown up semicircular
batteries. Behind these on more elevated sites were additional
batteries, one of which, known as Rodger’s Bastion, overlooked Fort
McHenry. There were, also, connecting lines of breastworks and
rifle-pits running parallel with the northern boundary of the city,
connected in turn by inner bastions and batteries, the precise
location of which is not known. A four-gun battery was constructed
at Lazaretto Point, and between this point and Fort McHenry
across the mouth of the harbor a number of vessels were sunk.
Southwest of the fort, guarding the middle branch of the Patapsco
(known as Spring Garden) against the landing of troops to assail
Fort McHenry in the rear, were two redoubts, 500 yards apart,
called Fort Covington and the City Battery. In the rear of these
upon the high ground of the present Battery Square was a circular
battery. A long line of platforms for guns was erected in front of
Fort McHenry and was known as the Water Battery.

During the night which followed the unsuccessful afternoon
engagement of the 13th a landing party was sent in boats with
muffled oars to slip past the City Battery and Fort Covington
and to take these works and McHenry in the rear. That this
effort was not more successful is due to the presence of a large
hay-stack near one of the American sentries. This sentry, becoming
suspicious, touched a match to the hay-stack, and the sudden
flames showed the landing party of British. In the engagement that
followed the British were repulsed.

It was at dawn of the 14th that Francis Scott Key, who was a
prisoner on the British flag-ship, received the inspiration to
write “The Star Spangled Banner.” He saw that, despite the furies
of the night, the American flag still waved over the little fort.
The words which he jotted down in the joy of that moment were the
subject of some reworking on his part, but, it is understood,
had not been materially changed when he showed them to his
brother-in-law, Judge Nicholson, after his exchange the next
morning. The words were found to fit perfectly to the popular tune
“Anacreon in Heaven.” Carrying the stanzas to the printing office
of Benjamin Edes, copies of it were ordered printed. This was the
birth of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The real hero of the attack upon Fort McHenry, is not, perhaps,
given the acclaim that should be his. It was sturdy Colonel
Armistead, commander of the fort. His intrepid spirit and fine
ingenuity undoubtedly saved the day.

Among the tributes which were rendered to Colonel Armistead after
the engagement may be repeated that of his old friend, the veteran
Colonel John Eager Howard, who sent him a brace of ducks and some
wine with the words:

  The British are off and the Devil with them. You deserve the
  thanks of a grateful country. I am sending a brace of ducks and a
  bottle of Burgundy. I hope you may enjoy them.


In command of Fort McHenry during the siege]

During the Civil War Baltimore was again fortified. On the night
of May 13, 1861, Major-General Butler occupied Federal Hill,
a commanding eminence over-looking the city and harbor. In
the following month a strong fort was erected here by General
Brewerton, which included the entire crown of the hill and mounted
fifty guns. The building of Federal Hill Fort was an answer to
the action of a mob in Baltimore in April, 1861, which planned to
seize Fort McHenry. This effort was frustrated by the garrison of
100 men under Captain Robinson which put up such a war-like front
with such a display of grape and canister, that the enterprise was

In September, 1914, during the Star Spangled Banner Centennial, the
fort and grounds were loaned to the City of Baltimore by the War
Department for use as a public park. It is not to be expected that
the old fort will ever again be called into active service.



The ancient city of St. Augustine, the oldest place of European
settlement on the North American continent, is on the east coast of
Florida at the mouth of the St. Augustine River and at the northern
end of a long lagoon formed by Anastatia Island, which separates
the waters of the lagoon and of the Atlantic Ocean. Our interest in
the quaint spot may be concentrated in Fort Marion, a Spanish bravo
which has fought the city’s battles for more than three hundred and
fifty years. Probably the most picturesque of fortifications in the
United States, Fort Marion annually receives thousands of visitors,
many drawn from the leisured throng who have made St. Augustine the
winter social capital of the American nation.


  By courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society


Fort Marion is situated at the northern end of St. Augustine,
where its lonely watch-tower may have a clear view of the shipping
channel which leads from the city across the long bar Anastatia
Island to the ocean. The fortification is a regular polygon of four
equal sides and four bastions. A moat surrounds the structure,
but the moat has been dry for many years. The entrance is to the
south and is protected by a barbican, or, less technically, an
arrow-shaped out-work. A stationary bridge leads part way across
the moat and the path is then continued on into the fort by a

Over the entrance is an escutcheon bearing the arms of Spain with
gorgeous coloring, which has been much dimmed by the hot sun of
Florida. A legend now partially obliterated sets forth that “Don
Ferdinand, the VI, being King of Spain and the Field Marshal Don
Alonzo Fernando Hereda, being Governor and Captain General of this
place, San Augustin of Florida, and its province, this fort was
finished in the year 1756. The works were directed by the Captain
Engineer Don Pedro de Brozas y Garay.”

Passing through the entrance to the fort one finds one’s self in a
dark passage, on the right and left of which are low doorways, that
on the right being the nearer. Glancing through the right door-way
one sees three dark chambers, the first of which was used as a
bake-room and the two others of which were places of confinement
for prisoners. Looking through the dark door-way a few steps
forward to the left one gazes into the guard-room.

Walking on one comes into the open court, 103 feet by 109 feet;
immediately to the right is the foot of the inclined plane which
leads to the upper walls. To the left is the well. On all sides
of the court are entrances to casemates. Directly across from the
entrance is the ancient chapel, which heard masses sung while the
English colonies were just being started. The altar and niches
still remain and over the door of this place of worship is a tablet
set in the wall by French astronomers, who here once observed the
transit of Venus.

Passing up the inclined plane to which allusion has already been
made one finds one’s self on the ramparts of the fort. A charming
view is to be obtained on all sides, but particularly looking out
to sea. At each angle of the fort was a sentry-box and that at the
northeast corner was also a watch-tower. This tower, probably the
most familiar remembrance of old Fort Marion, is twenty-five feet
high. The distance from watch-tower to sentry-box (or from corner
to corner) of the old fort is 317 feet.

The material of which the fort is constructed is the familiar
sea-shell concretion used so largely in Florida and known as
“coquina.” It was quarried on Anastatia Island, across Matanzas
Inlet from the city, and was ferried over to the fort site in
large barges. The substance is softer when first dug than when it
has been exposed to the air and light for a season, sharing this
property with concrete, to which it is analogous in other ways, so
the walls of the fort are more solid to-day than when they were

The history of Fort Marion takes one back to early bickering
between Spanish and French on the North American continent. In 1562
Jean Ribaut, a sturdy French mariner, sailed into the waters of
Florida, explored the waters of the St. John’s River (at the mouth
of which busy Jacksonville now stands) and planted a colony and a
fort on the St. John’s with the name of Fort Caroline. The river he
called the River of May, in remembrance of the month in which he
first set eyes upon it. In 1564, Laudonierre, a second Frenchman,
came with supplies and reinforcements for Fort Caroline, but
paused on his passage to investigate an inlet farther south than
the mouth of the St. John’s River. This inlet he called the River
of Dolphins, from the abundance of such creatures at play in the
waters here and on the shores of the inlet, which later generations
were to know as St. Augustine harbor; he descried an Indian village
known as Seloy.

The jealous King of Spain heard of the French settlement in Florida
and was displeased. He sent an expedition under Juan Menendez de
Aviles to colonize the country with Spaniards and to exterminate
the French, who added to the misfortune of not being Spaniards
the mistake of not being Catholics. Menendez sailed into Florida
waters in September, 1565, reconnoitred the French colony on the
St. John’s River and then sailed south several days, landing at the
Indian village of Seloy. Here he decided to establish the capital
of his domain. The large barn-like dwelling of the Indian chief was
made into a fort. This was the original of Fort Marion of to-day.
Then on September 8, 1565, Menendez took final possession of the
territory, and named his fort San Juan de Pinos.

Of the Sixteenth Century quarrels of Frenchman and Spaniard, of
Huguenot and Catholic, there is not space in this chapter to
tell. Suffice it to say that even in so broad a land as Florida,
which according to the interpretation of the day included all of
the present United States and British Canada, there was not room
enough for two separated small French and Spanish colonies to
subsist together, and for Catholic and Huguenot to be in one world
together was beyond all reason. So the next step in the history of
our fort is the expedition of Menendez against the French and the
perpetration by him of one of the most horrid massacres that has
ever stained the New World.

Let us picture a blinding night in September, 1565, at Fort
Caroline. The Spanish leader, it is known, has established himself
at the River Dolphins. One of the equinoctial tempests to which
Florida is subject was raging. The French in their dismantled
little post have deemed no enemy hardy enough to venture out in
such elemental fury. Laudonierre himself has dismissed the weary
sentinels from the wall, secure in the thought that Nature,
herself, is his protection. He does not know the tenacity of the
Spaniard. Menendez, setting out from his new stronghold with a few
hundred men and struggling on against the storm, is even now within
striking distance of the doomed French retreat. A sudden rush upon
the sleeping garrison and the Spaniards are within the fort. No
mercy is shown. One hundred and thirty men are killed with little
resistance. One old carpenter escaped to the woods during the
mêlée, but surrendered himself to the Spaniards the next morning
with pleas for mercy. He was butchered with his prayers upon his

Menendez returned to St. Augustine and in a few days heard that
some of the French ships which had fled in disorder during the rout
at the fort had landed their crews about twenty miles south of St.
Augustine. He immediately set out for the spot with one hundred
and fifty men. The hapless French without food and without shelter
surrendered themselves to Menendez. All of them (over a hundred in
number) with the exception of twelve Breton sailors, who had been
kidnapped, and four ships’ caulkers who might be useful to the
Spaniards, were put to the knife in cold blood. Again, word came to
Menendez that castaway Frenchmen were south of St. Augustine. It
was the remainder of the French squadron under Ribaut--more than
three hundred and fifty in number. Menendez repeated his tactics
with this company as well. He allowed them to trust themselves to
his mercy and then conclusively proved that there was no mercy in
the heart of a Spaniard of the Inquisition by putting the whole
company to death ten at a time. The spot where these two butcheries
took place is known to this day as Matanzas, or the Place of the

Immediately now the Spaniard began to make himself more secure
in Florida. His stronghold at St. Augustine was amplified and
Fort Caroline, the luckless French fort, was rebuilt and renamed
San Mateo. In 1568 the French under de Gorgues descended upon the
Spanish at San Mateo and put the whole garrison to the sword. San
Augustin was not attacked, however, and for two hundred years held
the Spanish flag supreme in this part of the New World.

For twenty years after its foundation Menendez’s little fort of
San Juan de Pinos saw no military service, though it was made
strong and formidable. Then the clash of arms came to its ears,
accompanied by great catastrophe. These were the years of the
English sea-kings. Raleigh, Drake, Grenville, Gilbert, Frobisher
were sweeping the oceans in their diminutive craft, making anxious
the captains of many a Spanish galleon. In September, 1585, Drake
sailed on a freebooting voyage from the harbor of Plymouth,
England, with more than an ordinarily large number of men and
ships, and in May, 1586, this little armada chanced to be in sight
of San Augustin. The procedure may now be told in the words of one
of Drake’s seamen:

  Wee descried on the shore a place built like a Beacon which was
  indeede a scaffold upon foure long mastes raised on ende.... Wee
  might discover over against us a Fort which newly had bene built
  by the Spaniards; and some mile or therabout above the Fort was a
  little Towne or Village without walls, built of wooden houses as
  the Plot doeth plainely shew. Wee forthwith prepared to have
  ordnance for the batterie; and one peece was a little before the
  enemie planted, and the first shot being made by the Lieutenant
  generall himself at their ensigne strake through the Ensigne, as
  wee afterwards understood by a Frenchman, which came unto us from
  them. One shot more was then made which strake the foote of the
  Fort wall which was all massive timber of great trees like Mastes.


  By courtesy of the St. Augustine Historical Society


And so, in the charming, inconsequential fashion of the times, the
narrative goes on, carrying the battle with it. The fort fell into
the hands of the English after a stubborn defence by its Spanish
occupants and was destroyed. The village was sacked and burned.
Drake then sailed on his way.

The fort was rebuilt and stood secure until 1665, when San Augustin
was sacked by buccaneers under Captain John Davis and it shared the
destruction of the town. Then a substantial structure, the Fort
Marion of to-day, was begun. Work was continued for successive
generations, until in 1756 the stronghold was declared finished.
The new structure was christened San Marco.

During these years the fort was not without service, however.
In 1702 and again in 1740 San Augustin was attacked by English
forces from the English colonies to the north, and Fort San Marco,
even while not complete, bore the brunt of these attacks. The
second expedition against San Augustin was under the leadership
of Governor Oglethorpe, of Georgia, and arose to the dignity of a
siege of the city. For weeks the English forces lay beyond the
city walls and were then driven off by reinforcements brought from

With the construction of Fort San Marco the erection of city walls
was undertaken, too. The walls of old San Augustin ran from Fort
San Marco around the city and were constructed of “coquina.” Only
the so-called “City Gate” remains of these walls to-day.

In 1763 the warrior which had withstood armed assault fell to the
attack of diplomacy, for it was in this year that England made its
trade with Spain whereby Spain was given back Cuba, which England
had wrested by force of arms from that country, and England was
given Florida. The flag of Castile and of Aragon was hauled down
from the wall of the old fort and the British lion was raised in
its place. Fort San Marco became in British hands Fort St. Mark.

During the American revolution Florida was the only one of the
fourteen British colonies which remained loyal to the Mother
Country. The fervor of the northern coasts found no kindred spark
in old St. Augustine. The town became a haven for Tories. She
opened her gates and an oddly-assorted throng came flocking in.
There was the Tory colonel Thomas Browne, of Georgia, tar and
feathers still sticking to his skin from his experience with the
Liberty Boys, of Savannah. There was Rory McIntosh, always attended
by Scotch pipers, who paraded the narrow streets breathing out fire
and slaughter against the colonies. The Scopholites, so-called
from Scophol, their leader, marched down, 600 strong, from the back
country of North Carolina, burning and killing in their course
through Georgia. With such additions, St. Augustine was not content
with passive loyalty and became a centre for military operations
against the southern colonies. Many a council did the rooms of Fort
St. Mark witness, which had as its result death and privation to
the rebellious Americans.

Two expeditions were attempted by the colonists against Fort St.
Mark. The first under General Charles Lee fell short because
of mismanagement. The second advanced as far as the St. John’s
River. Consternation in St. Augustine reigned supreme; slaves
were impressed to help strengthen the fortifications; citizens
ran hither and thither with their valuables. But the Americans
were menaced by fever at the St. John’s and faced the prospect of
a midsummer encampment in Florida, so they turned about and went
north. Fort St. Mark was not to leave English hands by force.

In 1783 took place another one of those shuffles between high
contracting parties by which each party thinks that he has secured
the better of the bargain. England traded Florida to Spain for
Jamaica. Spain traded Jamaica to England for Florida. In 1821 Spain
ceded Florida to the United States, and in 1825 the name of the
fort was changed from Fort St. Mark to Fort Marion in honor of
General Francis Marion, of Revolutionary fame.

The Seminole War began in 1835 and continued until 1842, costing
the United States two thousand lives, and forty million dollars.
Fort Marion was the centre of the military operations of this
conflict and it was the scene of the disgraceful episode of
treachery by which Osceola and other Indian chieftains were
captured. In 1838 General Hernandez, in command of the United
States forces, sent word to Osceola that he would be protected if
he should come to Fort Marion for talk of peace. With seventy of
his followers the Indian came to the conference and was placed
in irons. The prisoner was taken to Fort Moultrie, in Charleston
harbor, where from much brooding and confinement he died. The same
tactics were repeated in another sitting with Coacoochee, the
remaining great leader of the Seminoles, and the Seminole War was
ended. Coacoochee was confined in Fort Marion, where his cell is
pointed out to visitors. His fate became that of an exile, for with
his people he was transported to a western reservation.

During the Civil War Fort Marion had a brief flurry of excitement
when the fort was seized by Southern sympathizers in 1861. It
quickly fell before Federal troops, however, and had no further
active part in that war.

The old fort is still government property, but its days of activity
are long since past. That it will be maintained for many years as a
reminder of the past is, however, well assured.



The city of Havana was located where it stands to-day in 1519,
after a four years’ unsatisfactory trial of a site on the opposite,
or south, coast of the island. It jogged along comfortably through
all of the ordinary perils of that time until 1538, when it was
attacked and sacked by a French privateersman. The authorities
in the home country determined to provide some means of defence
for the baby metropolis, and one Hernando de Soto, an impecunious
adventurer who had followed Pizarro to Peru, and had returned
enriched with plunder from that unhappy land, was commissioned
governor of Cuba and Florida with instructions to build a fortress
at Havana.

De Soto came to Havana in the fashion of leisure of the times, and
in pursuit of his royal master’s instructions, laid the foundations
of a fortress. This work was finished under the direction of his
lieutenant while he, himself, was searching an El Dorado in Florida
and was finding a miserable death by fever on the Mississippi.
The structure which de Soto left as his legacy to Havana is the
Castillo de la Fuerza, half hidden, to-day, between the Senate and
old post-office building on the Plaza de Armes. La Fuerza has been
credited with being the oldest inhabitable and inhabited structure
in the Western Hemisphere and the claim is not easily disputed. As
early as 1544 a royal decree had been given forth that all vessels
entering Havana harbor should salute the little fortress with a
ceremony not enjoyed by any other city in the New World save Santo

The form of la Fuerza is that of a quadrilateral, having a bastion
at each of the four corners. The walls are twenty-five feet in
height and are double. There is a moat which has not contained
water for many years, and arrangements for a draw-bridge which
has been replaced by a permanent plank walk. To the seaward is a
watch-tower similar in design to that on the fort at St. Augustine,
and in this tower is a bell which, tradition says, was rung wildly
whenever in the old days a suspicious sail came into the view of
the watchman. The little bronze image in the top of the tower is
known as “La Habana.” When de Soto sailed out from Havana harbor
on that storied expedition through the American wilds which was to
end in his death, he left la Fuerza, and with it his command as
governor, in charge of his bride, Isabel de Bobadilla. For four
years Lady Isabel waited for her lord’s return, spending anxious
hours in the little watch-tower of the fort. Only when the tattered
remnants of that splendid army which had accompanied the adventurer
were brought back to Havana was her long suspense ended.


The cellars of la Fuerza contain damp dungeons used as
receptacles for modern rifles and ammunition, this part of the old
fort being given over to the purposes of an armory.

In 1554 Havana was again attacked by the French and partially
destroyed and in the following year it fell a victim to pirates.
During the wars which marked the reigns of the Emperor Charles V,
of Spain, and his son, Philip II, the colony became more and more
the object of attack by Spain’s enemies, and in 1585, Havana having
been seriously menaced by Sir Francis Drake, it was determined to
build additional defences for the city. In 1589 Morro Castle, the
Castle of the Three Kings and the Bateria de la Punta were begun;
by 1597 they were completed.

The word “Morro” means promontory, and Castle del Morro is merely
the fortress on the point. The design of Morro is that of the
quaint Moorish fortress in the harbor of Lisbon, but it has been
changed so much for modern defensive uses that it does not now
greatly resemble its original. The work is irregular in shape, is
built on solid rock, and rises from 100 to 120 feet above the level
of the sea. Its situation on the northern one of the two points of
the entrance to the harbor of Havana gives it a great importance.
Opposite Morro, across the harbor mouth, is la Punta.

To visit Morro one climbs to the fort by an inclined road cut out
of rock, shaded with laurels and royal poincianas. Hedges of cactus
hem in the road. The pilgrim reaches at last the moat. This was
cut out of solid rock and is seventy feet in depth. Passing over
the draw-bridge and advancing through the dark walls of the work,
one comes to the inner court, from whence there is a passage to the
ramparts. Here is a fine outlook over city and harbor, from the
seaward side of the ramparts, where there is a battery of twelve
guns known as the “Twelve Apostles.”

Some of the prison cells in Morro are directly over the water and
in one spot a steep chute leads to the sea. Your guide will tell
you that from here bodies of prisoners, both living and dead, were
shot out to become the food of innumerable sharks waiting below.

The most active service that Morro has seen was in 1762, when
Havana was taken by the English under Admiral Pocock and Lord
Albemarle. In June of that year, shortly after the outbreak of
war between France and Spain as allies against England, a fleet
of 44 English men-of-war and 150 lighter vessels, bearing a land
force of 15,000 men, appeared off Havana. The Spanish defenders
numbered 27,000 men, of whom a sufficient garrison was at Morro.
The English landed on the coast to the east of our fortress and
worked around to the rear of that structure to an eminence where
the fortification of Cabanas now stands. The siege began on June 3
and continued until July 30, when, after a stubborn defence, Morro

The long resistance of the point against an over-whelming force is
largely to be credited to the indomitable spirit of its commander,
Velasco, who, though he knew that his position had been undermined
and his men were deserting him, refused to surrender. The fort
was taken after the mines had been sprung and the walls had been
battered down. Captain Velasco died of wounds received during the
siege, and on the day of his funeral hostilities were suspended by
the English in recognition of his bravery.

The authorities in Spain decreed that a ship in the Spanish navy
should always bear the name of Velasco, and the vessel so named at
the time of the Spanish-American war was sunk in Manila Bay by the

Havana fell thirteen days after Morro and for a year was in the
hands of the enemy.

Stretching along bare hilltop back of Morro is Havana’s greatest
fortress, built in 1763 after the departure of the unwelcome
English guests whose coming had shown the weakness of the city’s
defences. Cabanas, or to give its full name, Castillo de San
Carlos de Cabanas (Saint Charles of the Cabin), is nearly a mile
in length with a width of about one-fifth of a mile. Its cost was
$14,000,000. When King Charles III of Spain, under whose direction
the work was commenced, was told the total of expenditures, it
is said that he walked to the window of his study and gazed
intently out of it, remarking that such an enormous and expensive
construction should be visible from Spain.

Within the fort are innumerable walks, dungeons and secret
passages. To the right of the entrance is the famous “Laurel Moat”
where unfortunate Cubans and other political prisoners were shot
without benefit of trial. The condemned men were compelled to kneel
facing a wall, and this wall marked with bullets in a line nearly
one hundred feet long is a grim present-day memento of Spain’s
ruthless rule in the island. The spot has been marked with a bronze
tablet which records its history.

Other fortifications in Havana include Principe Castle, built in
1774, and Atares Castle, 1767. There are two ancient little round
towers of defence at Chorrera and Cojimar.



Pensacola Bay is a lozenge-shaped body of water, the entrance to
which from the Gulf is at the southern point of the figure, and
the southern side is formed by Santa Rosa Island, which stretches
out in a long sandy line here to divide sea and inland water. On
the western shore, near the head of the bay, is situated the busy
city of Pensacola, one of the most active shipping points on the
Gulf and also one of the most ancient. About six miles south of
Pensacola, and near the mouth of the bay, is the city’s ancient
defence, Fort San Carlos de Barrancas, which has gone through ten
generations and more of life as humans reckon it and has done
valiant service under four flags.

The military (and social) history of Pensacola Bay commences in
1558, when Philip II, of Spain, commissioned Luis de Valesca,
viceroy of New Spain, to undertake the settlement of Florida.
After a preliminary survey Valesca, in the summer of 1559, sent
1500 soldiers and settlers to make a beginning at Pensacola Bay,
this body of water having been adjudged the best roadstead and the
most favorable for the support of human life on the Gulf Coast.
A tentative settlement was established, but for some reason the
site did not please the expedition and its leaders attempted
unsuccessfully to find a better one. The winter that followed and
the next summer were filled with privation and the colony became
much reduced in numbers. During the second summer most of the
settlers went with Angel de Villafane to Santa Elena, Port Royal
Sound, south on the Atlantic coast (South Carolina, to-day) and
the remainder was recalled by Philip II, who thereupon decreed
that no further effort should be made to settle the west coast
of Florida, a royal promulgation which circumstance and lack of
incentive to the contrary conspired to make effective for more than
a century. If one accepts this abortive expedition as the beginning
of settlement in Florida then Pensacola is the oldest point of
European residence in the United States, antedating St. Augustine
by seven years.

The Spaniards did not regard La Salle’s effort at colonization
at the mouth of the Mississippi River with favor and were not at
all displeased at his misfortunes. To forestall other efforts of
the French they undertook a survey of the coast and established a
colony at Pensacola in the last years of the Seventeenth Century.
This was the beginning of Pensacola of to-day.


  By courtesy of the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce


When Iberville, in 1699, sailed from France with several vessels
containing colonists for Louisiana and when in due course of
time he arrived off Pensacola, he found the Spaniards firmly
established with a fort with four bastions and some ships of war.
The Frenchmen asked for permission to disembark his forces.
His request was refused and he then sailed along the coast until
he found a landing to his liking near the present-day Biloxi,
Mississippi. The governor of Pensacola at this time--and the first
governor of the colony--was Don Andre D’Arriola. The fort was named
San Carlos de Barrancas.

There came in 1719 a war against Spain in which France and England
were allies opposed to her. The French thereupon sent in this
year M. de Serigny with a sufficient force to take possession
of Pensacola which was valuable to the French on account of its
proximity to Louisiana and its accessibility to the West India
Islands. The expedition was entirely successful as, after an attack
by land by 700 Canadians, the commander of the Spanish garrison,
Don John Peter Matamoras, surrendered with the honors of war.

It is probable that the Spanish stronghold at that time was not the
one which has come down to us to-day, though it bore the same name
and was, very possibly, built on the same site.

The news of the surrender of Pensacola caused a great stir in
Spain, and an expedition was fitted out to recover the lost
territory. The command of the expedition was given to Don Alphonse
Carracosa and the force consisted of 12 vessels and 850 fighting
men. Don Carracosa achieved success, as at the sight of his fleet
part of the French garrison deserted and the rest surrendered, to
be treated with great severity by the Spanish. Don Matamoras was
re-established and an expedition was despatched against the French
at Mobile without result satisfactory to the Spanish.

The French were to have their day, again, however. De Bienville
invested Pensacola by land and Count de Champmelin by sea. After
a stubborn resistance Matamoras surrendered, giving the French
between twelve hundred and fifteen hundred prisoners. The French
dismembered the greater part of the fort and left a small garrison
in the remainder of the structure.

Under the peace of 1720 Pensacola was restored to the Spanish and
thus was ended the port’s first experience of warfare. Fort San
Carlos was rebuilt substantially in the form that it bears to-day,
and in 1722 another fortification was built on the point of Santa
Rosa Island where Fort Pickens long years afterward was to maintain
a gallant defence.

Fort San Carlos is a little semicircular structure most solidly
put together but not of great pretension as to size. On account
of its fine location, however--having no heights near which could
dominate it, and having a fine sweep over the entrance to the bay
which it is designed to protect--it was of importance in the days
of short-range cannon.

In 1763 the whole of Florida, which, of course, included our brave
little fort at Pensacola, passed into the hands of the English by
treaty with Spain, and an English garrison took possession of Fort
San Carlos. Upon the outbreak of hostilities again between Spain
and England, Galvez, the Spanish governor of Louisiana, sailed from
New Orleans in February, 1781, with 1400 men and a sufficient fleet
to reduce Pensacola. He was joined by squadrons from Havana and
Mobile and in May of that year entered Pensacola Bay. The fort here
was in the command of Colonel Campbell with a small garrison of
English. After a sufficient resistance Colonel Campbell surrendered
and Galvez took charge. In 1783 the whole province of Florida was
ceded to Spain, and Pensacola remained under a Spanish ruler for
thirty-one years after this latter date.

The next eventful interval in the life of Fort San Carlos had to
do with one of the most popular figures of United States history,
Andrew Jackson. In 1814, during the progress of the second war of
the United States with England, Jackson was made a major-general
and was given command of the Gulf Coast region where he had been
operating against the Creek Indians. While arranging a treaty with
these conquered savages he was informed by them that they had
been approached by English officers, through the connivance of
the Spanish commander at Pensacola, with offers of supplies and
assistance to fight against the Americans. Two British vessels
arrived at Pensacola August 4 and Colonel Edward Nicholls in
command was allowed to land troops and to arm some Indians. Late
in August seven more British vessels arrived at Pensacola and the
mask of Spanish neutrality was thrown aside when Fort San Carlos
was turned over to the British, the British being allowed to hoist
their ensign thereon, and Colonel Nicholls was entertained by the
Spanish governor as his guest.

Jackson was at Mobile, Alabama, not very far distant as the crow
flies from Pensacola, and when the intelligence of these happenings
had been confirmed immediately set about raising a force of
Americans. By November he had 2,000 volunteers and early in that
month marched from Fort Montgomery (Montgomery, Alabama) upon
Pensacola. November 6 he was two miles from that city. To ascertain
the Spaniard’s intentions he sent Major Pierre to wait upon the
commandant of the city and was rewarded for his pains by having his
envoy fired upon. By midnight Jackson had his men in motion against
the city, and in the hot engagement which followed the Spanish and
British were badly worsted. The British fled down the Bay in their
ships, blowing up Fort San Carlos in their retreat and carrying
away one of the higher Spanish officers--certainly, on the whole,
a not very grateful return for the benefits bestowed upon them by
their hosts.

The Creek and Seminole Indians who had begun to rally to the
English standard were much impressed by this display of force
on the part of the Americans and esteeming Jackson a very bad
medicine, indeed, wisely decided to return to the prosaic paths of

During the Civil War, Fort San Carlos played no conspicuous
part. The limelight of fame was thrown on its close neighbor,
Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island. This latter post at the
outbreak of the war was in charge of Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, a
Pennsylvanian, who, seeing the conflict impending, concentrated (in
Fort Pickens as being the easiest one of them all to defend) the
forces in the various forts under his jurisdiction. From January 9
to April 11, 1861, Slemmer was in a state of siege in Fort Pickens
and on the latter date was relieved by forces from the North. The
point was held by Federal troops throughout the war.

A curious incident which occurred early in 1914 at Fort San Carlos
recalled vividly to the officers there the part the little Spanish
post played in the days when pirates roamed the Spanish Main and
all of this part of the world was new. A stranger came to the fort
with an old parchment which he declared showed the location of
buried treasure in the old fort. He would not tell how he came by
the document, but its evident antiquity aroused interest and for
an idle hour’s interest the officers of the post decided to dig
for the buried treasure. On the parchment was a well drawn plan of
the fort with a cross in a particular corner of the parade. This
point was located with some little difficulty and men were set
to digging. For a time nothing interesting occurred, but after
a while one of the men struck a rotten wooden board which proved
to be the top of an old well. At the bottom of this covered-over
well was discovered a lot of watery mud which, when it had been
dug into, revealed the top of an old chest. Darkness fell now and
it was not considered worth while to continue operations until the
next day. The next morning when the men went back to work they
found that the stirring up of the earth and water had caused the
object, whatever it was, to sink so deep into the unstable soil of
the spot that it could not be recovered!



Hand in hand with the Military went the Church during Spain’s days
of dominion in the New World. Where the soldier walked, there
too, came the priest. At first when all of the New World was new,
when the hold of the Old World was insecure, it was the soldier
who pointed the path, but when Spain’s hand had a firm grasp upon
her possessions it was the priest who took the lead. The records
of Spain on the east coast of America are records of bloodiness
and cruel oppression. On the west coast where the friar led the
way we find deeds of gentleness and love. Where Florida reveals
a memory of hate in two old bastioned fortresses--Marion and San
Carlos--with dingy dungeons and rusty chains, California shows
its missions with their silvery chimes and its presidios, the two
institutions being bound together.

Four presidios were established by Spain in old California to guard
its missions; the first, at San Diego; the second, at Monterey;
the third, at San Francisco; and the fourth, at Santa Barbara. It
is the third which bespeaks our interest in this chapter, owing to
its importance in the present day as well as to its historic and
natural charm.

The presidio at San Francisco was established in 1776 by an
expedition which set out in two parts in June of that year from
Monterey; one part to go by land, the other by water. The objective
point of the two was a bay which had been discovered in 1769 by
an expedition from San Diego. It was named in honor of Saint
Francis of Assisi, hence, San Francisco. The land expedition
included Friars Palou and Cambon, a few married settlers with large
families, and seventeen dragoons under the command of Don Jose
Moraga, who was to be the commandant of the new post. It carried
garden seed, agricultural implements, horses, mules and sheep. This
party reached the neighborhood of the Golden Gate on June 27 and,
without waiting for the detachment which was coming by sea, chose
a site for the presidio and began work upon the modest buildings
of that station. The seed was placed in the ground, the cattle and
sheep put out to graze and the horses and mules set to labor. All
was activity.

The first part of September saw the buildings of the post
substantially complete and on September 17, the feast of the
Stigmata of Saint Francis, solemn possession of the Presidio, in
the name of the King of Spain, was taken by the grizzled soldier
Moraga, while a mass was celebrated by Palou. A Te Deum was sung, a
cross was planted and salutes were fired over land and water. Thus
was the presidio of San Francisco founded.


  By courtesy of R. J. Waters & Co.


It is a far cry from 1776 to the present day (though not so long
as from 1776 back to the first day of Spanish settlement in
the future United States), but, while the immediate aspect of the
country round about Spain’s presidio of 1776 at San Francisco has
changed, the situation of the post has remained the same; and the
view of land and water here is just as entrancing to-day as it was
on that day in 1769 when the expedition from San Diego saw the
far-famed Golden Gate.

The Presidio of San Francisco, the most important military station
of the Pacific coast, is situated on the northwest rim of the city,
north of Golden Gate Park (and north of the exposition grounds of
1915) and connected with that park by a beautiful boulevard one
mile long. The grounds comprise more than fifteen hundred acres,
developed for military purposes in the most modern fashion. From
almost any part of the grounds or the approach thereto enchanting
views of the wonderful bay of San Francisco are to be obtained.

A description of the view of the presidio as you approach the place
on the boulevard from Golden Gate Park has been given by Ernest
Peixotto in his “Romantic California,” which may well be repeated

  In the meantime the city boasts one splendid driveway that, with
  a connecting link completed, will rank with the famous roadways
  of the Old World.

  Only a decade or two ago the Presidio (it still bears its Spanish
  appellation) was an isolated military post separated from the
  city by several miles of barren, sandy thoroughfares. Now some
  of the handsomest homes crown the hill tops about it, and owe
  their chief attraction to the glorious views of bay and shore
  that they command. To start some fine afternoon toward sunset
  from one of these homes and take a drive around the cliffs is an
  experience not soon to be forgotten.

  A few blocks run brings you to a stone gateway, its posts
  topped with eagles; you turn sharply to the right through a
  grove of eucalypti, swing round a curve and then you stop the
  motor. From the red Macadam roadway upon which you stand, the
  hills fall gently in a broad amphitheatre to the barracks and
  parade grounds laid out symmetrically along the shore, and
  teeming with soldier life. Beyond, the waters of the bay mirror
  the azure of the sky--a blue, tinged with green, like those
  half-dead turquoises that they sell in the marts of Tunis. The
  North Beach hills, thick-studded with the modest homes of the
  city’s alien population, gleam white against the Contra Costa
  Mountains--verdant in winter, tawny and dry in summer--with the
  lumpy silhouette of the Monte Diablo, the Devil’s Mountain,
  poking over the shoulder as if it, too, wished a peep at so fair
  a prospect.

  Across the stretch of intervening water, stern-wheeled river
  steamers ply northward to San Pablo Bay; on through the Carquinez
  Straits and up the Sacramento River, their silhouettes varied
  once in a while by some grim battle-ship or cruiser steaming to
  the Navy Yard at Mare Island, headquarters, home and hospital for
  all our ships in the Pacific. Anchored in the middle of the bay,
  Alcatraz lies terraced with batteries, low, forbidding, while to
  the north rise the hills of Marin County bathed in purple shadows
  and clustered around the base of Tamalpais. The whole scene is
  suffused with the rosy flush of the westering sun that gilds the
  islands, warms the greens of the eastern sky, and blushes the
  hills with its ardent glances.

  One turns from the picture with regret, only to follow on to new
  vistas. You wind through groves of evergreens and eucalypti out
  into the open meadows, a riot of flowers in springtime, that top
  the cliffs above the Golden Gate. The famous straits lie just
  below, Fort’s Point antiquated bastions on their hither shore
  fronting the white-washed walls of the harbor-light on the Point
  Bonita bluffs opposite.

To take up the thread of our historical narrative, the presidio
remained a possession of Spain’s until 1824 when Mexico finally
became free from its mother country and the flag of Mexico took the
place of the banner of Castile and Aragon at the Golden Gate.

In 1846 the American flag was raised in all of the presidios of
California, an interesting chapter of national expansion far
too large for abridgment here. In 1849 commenced the era of San
Francisco’s prosperity and presidio’s importance with the discovery
of gold in California and the onset of the hordes of goldseekers
who came through the Golden Gate.

The presidio was visited by Richard H. Dana in 1859 and is
described by him:

  I took a California horse of old style and visited the
  Presidio. The walls stand as they did, with some changes made
  to accommodate a small garrison of United States troops. It has
  a noble situation and I saw from it a clipper ship of the very
  largest class coming through the Gate under her fore and aft
  sails. Thence I rode to the fort, now nearly finished, on the
  southern shore of the Gate, and made an inspection of it. It is
  very expensive and of the latest style. One of the engineers
  is Custis Lee, who has just left West Point at the head of his
  class, a son of Colonel Robert E. Lee who distinguished himself
  in the Mexican war.

The fort with the “expensive equipment” to which he refers is Fort
Winfield Scott, which was seven years building and cost $2,000,000.
It is now out of date, but is a picturesque feature of the harbor
and is of service to the presidio authorities of the present in
various minor capacities.

Opposite Fort Winfield Scott, across the Golden Gate, which is here
at its narrowest width of one mile, can be seen the white buildings
of Fort Baker. Other defences of San Francisco, visible from the
presidio, include Fort Miley, on Point Bonita; Point Lobos, and
Alcatraz Island, a picturesque body of land whose Spanish name
memoralizes the pelicans which once made the place their home.

During the Spanish-American War the presidio was a scene of
activity as the point of departure of our soldiers for the
Philippines. The national cemetery for the burial of soldiers who
have died on duty in the Philippines is situated here, too, and
each returning transport brings back its sad burden, far lighter
now than in the days when the islands were first feeling the weight
of American rule.

Connected with the history of the presidio is a pretty story which
Bret Harte has woven into a familiar one of his poems. It concerns
the pathetic love of Dona Concepcion Arguello, daughter of the
Spanish Commandant Don Luis Arguello, for Rezanov, chamberlain
of the Russian emperor, who came, during the days of Spain’s
possession of this land, to negotiate for Russian settlements in
California. Rezanov won the heart of his host’s daughter and sailed
away to gain the consent of his emperor to marriage with her.
Years passed and no word came from Rezanov. At length Sir George
Simpson, the Englishman, in his trip around the world, brought
word that Rezanov had been killed by a fall from his horse while
crossing Siberia on his homeward journey. Dona Concepcion, who had
faithfully waited his return, became a nun and when she died was
buried near the old Mission church in the Presidio grounds.



There is an odd little cluster of islands on the eastern side of
the entrance to Narragansett Bay. The most important of these
is Aquidneck and on the southern extremity of Aquidneck Isle is
situated Newport. At the southern extremity of Newport is Brenton’s
Point and on Brenton’s Point is Fort Adams. This is the proper way
to build up a climax!

Picture to yourself a sunny Fourth of July in 1799; this is the day
on which Fort Adams is to be dedicated with imposing ceremonies.
From out of the little many-spired city across the sparkling blue
waters of Newport Bay winds a little procession around the shore
road which leads to the fort. First of all, comes the company of
soldiers which is to garrison the post. It is Captain John Henry’s
company of artillery. After this comes the major-general of the
State militia with his staff in gorgeous gold braid. Following him
is the famous Newport Artillery Company with two brass field pieces
making a brave show. Then there are the Newport Guards with two
brass field pieces. Finally there is a company of citizens.


They are all assembled at the fort. Major Tousard, of the corps
of engineers of the army of the infant republic, is speaking: He
says: “Citizens: Happy to improve every occasion to testify my
veneration for that highly distinguished citizen who presides over
the government of the United States, I have solicited the Secretary
of War to name this fortress, Fort Adams. He has gratified my
desire. I hope that the brave officers and soldiers who are and
shall be honored with its defence will by valor and good conduct
render it worthy of its name, which I hereby proclaim Fort Adams.”
A salute was fired from the four brass field pieces and the great
cannon of the new fort. In the distance Fort Wolcott on Goat Island
fired guns and the standard of the young United States was unfurled
at the head of the flag-staff. Thus was christened one of the most
important of American coast defences.

For twenty-five years thereafter Fort Adams was maintained
with a small garrison supplied from Fort Wolcott, under whose
jurisdiction it was. In 1824 the present Fort Adams was commenced,
a star-shaped fortress of grey granite, with outworks, upon an
initial appropriation by the Federal government of $50,000. It was
finished, under successive appropriations, in 1841. The garrison
was withdrawn from 1853 to 1857 and between the years 1859 and
1862, since when it has been continuously occupied. The present
area of Fort Adams reservation is about 200 acres, and it contains
modern works which need no description.

If one should go back in point of Time beyond the gay little
ceremony which marked the beginning of Fort Adams, he would find
that Brenton’s Point had been a site for martial works before this.
Its strategic possibilities for defence were early recognized in
the Revolution, as, in the spring of 1776, a light breast-work was
thrown up here by the Americans behind which they mounted several
guns. In April, 1776, the _Glasgow_, a British war vessel of
twenty-nine guns, came into Newport Harbor and anchored near Goat
Island. On the following morning such a heavy fire was brought to
bear upon the ship from Brenton’s Point that it cut its cable and
made out to sea. A few days after this the _Scarborough_ and the
_Scymetar_ of His Majesty’s service were, likewise, badly battered
by fire from these earthworks.

Late in the summer of 1776 the British obtained possession of
Aquidneck Island. They made their head-quarters at Newport,
and erected a temporary barracks on Brenton’s Point where the
American battery had been. For three years they held possession
of Rhode Island and then were removed by orders from their
commander-in-chief, embarking October 25, 1779.

[Illustration: Parade, Old Fort Adams

Present-Day Aspect of Fort Greene


The next visitors to Newport were the French. The French fleet,
under the command of Admiral de Ternay, appeared in Newport
Harbor August 10, 1780. General Rochambeau and his army shortly
put ashore. General Heath, in command of the American forces in
Rhode Island, was at the wharf to welcome Rochambeau. There were
speeches and the American officers wore cockades of black and white
as a courtesy to the allies, the cockade of the formal American
uniform being black and that of the French, white. It was not long
before the French had been made to feel at home and had settled
down to a long stay.

General Rochambeau’s defences consisted of a line of earthworks
completely enclosing Newport on the north, cutting off access to
it by land from any other part of the island. Traces of this line
can still be discerned by the inquiring visitor to Newport. Strong
temporary fortifications were thrown up at Brenton’s Point on the
future site of our Fort Adams, and on all of the islands of the
harbor were placed guns. The northern water-front of the city was
held by a strong redoubt, built by Rochambeau and known as Fort
Greene. This was at the site of the present Fort Greene Park, at
the head of Washington Street.

Rochambeau was the second visitor to these shores with a French
army. The first allies had not made a pleasant impression with
the Americans, it must be admitted, chiefly because of their
leader’s, D’Estaing’s, apparent unwillingness to come to grips
with the enemy except where such action might directly benefit his
own country. Doubtless he acted on orders from Versailles! But
General Rochambeau seemed to be under different instructions, for
he immediately placed himself under the authority of the American
leaders and ingratiated himself with the people. His stay at
Newport is a brilliant chapter in the social history of that city.

One of the pleasantest episodes of the French occupation of
Newport was the visit of Washington to his French associate in
arms. Rochambeau had chosen as his residence and headquarters the
comfortable and beautiful dwelling at the corner of Clarke and Mary
Streets known as the Vernon House. In March, 1781, Washington,
accompanied by his young aide-de-camp, Lafayette, came to Newport
and was received here with much formality. The interest with which
the French officers regarded their guest is evidenced in some of
the journals which they published at the close of the war on their
return to their own country. Amongst minor incidents, Washington
led a dance with the beautiful Miss Champlin, and French officers,
taking the instruments from the musicians’ hands, played a minuet,
“A Successful Campaign.”

A merry time this French occupation of Newport brought about, and
traditions of the gayeties and portentous politenesses of the
period are still retailed in the little city. A finer body of men
than the French army had probably never taken the field. Many had
been through the Seven Years War. Officers of the most cultured
circles of the Old World embraced a chance of campaigning in the
New World with the pleasure of school-boys in a new experience.

One of the officers of the French force was the Viscount de
Noailles, in whose regiment Napoleon was afterward a subaltern.
Another was Biron, a figure in the French Revolution, and who in
1793, having unsuccessfully commanded the republican armies in La
Vendee, was guillotined. There was the Marquis de Chastellux,--an
elegant,--whose petits soupers became the talk of every one
fortunate enough to be invited. Later Chastellux’s “Travels
in America” were to become a treasured gallery of pictures of
the nation when it was new. There were Talleyrand, Chabannes,
Champcenetz, de Melfort, la Touche, de Barras, de Broglie, Vauban,
and Berthier, the military confidant of Napoleon, and many others.
With such an infusion of genius and culture it is not remarkable
that the little city developed an exotic bloom and that the records
of this period in Newport are among the gayest in American social
history. Nor should one be surprised that the anxious mothers of
young daughters of Newport in that time (as we learn now from the
betraying evidences of long preserved letters) passed vigilant
hours of watchfulness in the sudden maelstrom of French gallantry!

The Chevalier de Ternay, commander at sea of the French forces,
died soon after the arrival at Newport and was buried in Trinity
church-yard where a slab was erected to his memory.

In 1781 the French marched out of Newport, joined Washington in
his campaign at Yorktown, and the result soon was the surrender of
Cornwallis and the virtual end of the War of Independence.

In May, 1794, Governor Fenner addressed the following letter to
George Champlin, of Newport:

  Last evening I received a letter from Mr. Rochefontaine the
  engineer dated New London ... informing me that he should
  depart from New London for Newport this day and desiring me
  to transmit to him my orders and the names of the gentlemen
  appointed by me to be the agents for the fortifications and to
  supervise their execution. I have to ask the favor of you to
  undertake the business with Col. Sherburne until my arrival at
  Newport, and to wait on the engineer and deliver him my letter of
  appointment. Give him the necessary information and assistance.
  Your compliance will render great service to the State and in a
  particular manner oblige your ob’t servant,


The building of the new fort was assigned to Major Louis Toussard,
and soon it was ready for its dedication. At the time of this
ceremony the battery was completed and was mounted with 32-pounders
on sea-coast carriages.

Strangely enough it was as a protection from the very allies with
whom the United States had triumphed against Great Britain that
Fort Adams was called into being. It will be recalled by the reader
of history that at this period France under the Directory was in
constant embroilment with the United States. Citizen Talleyrand
was bent upon turning the new nation to France’s ends. In 1798 a
French cruiser actually had the impudence, after the capture of
several American vessels, to bring her prizes into an American port
to escape the more dreaded British. President Adams, as all know,
eventually brought the Directoire Exécutif and Citizen Talleyrand
to their senses in no uncertain fashion, but for a time affairs
between the two countries were in a very unsatisfactory condition.

To President Adams is due, too, the foundation of the present
American navy and the increasing importance of Fort Adams. He saw
the necessity in the future for a great naval base well located on
the coast. A commissioner sent out by him reported that the harbor
of Newport most fully answered the specifications he had in mind,
and from this time the works on Brenton’s Point acquired a new

The greater part of the construction of the second Fort Adams,
which was begun in 1824, was done under the personal supervision of
General J. G. Totten of the United States army in coast defence.
It is said that during the progress of the work a full set of
plans of the fortress mysteriously disappeared and as mysteriously
reappeared after a long interval. Gossip also gratuitously asserts
that a copy of these plans could be found in the Admiralty office
of Great Britain. However that may be, the plans would be of little
value to any one to-day.

Associated with Totten was that General Bernard of the first
Napoleon’s staff who was raised from the ranks by the Corsican for
his skill as a military engineer. Bernard came to the United States
in 1816 and offered his services to the infant republic. While his
gifts have been generally conceded, his personality must have been
far from winning. Colonel McCree, chief of engineers, resigned
rather than serve with him, and harmony between the Frenchman and
Colonel Totten was only secured by an agreement through which work
was divided and each man was bound to accept the other’s plans.

There are passages beneath the walls of Fort Adams known only to
the engineers. These are always closed, for they are of no use in
piping times of peace and might become a trap for curious, unwary
visitors. A story is told of an exploring party years ago, before
the entrances were barred. This party penetrated far beneath the
fort. Suddenly their lantern went out and a scream and a splash
from the front showed that one of the party was in distress.
A beautiful girl had stepped over the edge of a subterranean
reservoir. What could be done! There was a rush and another splash.
One of the young men had jumped in the dark into the dank pool
beside the drowning girl. He was able to keep himself and his fair
charge afloat until a rope reached them. The hero of the tale was
the late Washington Van Zandt of the Newport family.


Goat Island in Central Distance]


During the War of 1812 Fort Adams saw no active service, and this
is true, too, of the Civil War.

The vicinity of Newport held many fortified points during the
Revolutionary War and some of the remains of these can be seen
to-day. One of the most interesting of these relics is “Dumplings,”
at the southern tip of Conanicut Isle. A belligerent little round
stone tower, it has as pugnacious an appearance to-day as it had
when a few hardy Americans garrisoned it against the English; and
it is a favorite picnic point for parties from Newport or from
the summer colonies on the west side of Narragansett Bay. Other
ruined defences (grass-grown and decayed) are to be found on
Conanicut whose history is so obscure that even legend has little
to say about them; but they are all a part of the expression of
the doughty spirit which moved Newport and its vicinity during the

Goat Island in Newport Harbor, now the home of the Fort Wolcott
torpedo station, and a naval hospital, was, we are told by Edward
Field, in his interesting monograph, “Revolutionary Defences in
Rhode Island,” the site of a fortification as early as 1700. This
early fortification was known as Fort Anna; later Fort George;
then, Fort Liberty; and, at the time of the Revolution, Fort



Morning bugle call, the evening gun, grey ships of war stealing in
from a misty sea with long plumes of soft black smoke, military
uniforms on the streets and trig bright houses are, probably, the
average civilian’s impressions of a stay at Old Point Comfort
where is located Fort Monroe. “Fort” or “Fortress,” for the place
changes its sex indifferently according to the state of mind of
the speaker, it probably satisfies the popular conception of a
mighty stronghold of defence more completely than any other such
establishment in the United States. And, indeed, it is a great
defensive work, guarding one of the most vital points of entrance
in this country, menacing hostile approach to the very capital of
the country itself.


  By courtesy of the War Department


(Taken during the Jamestown Celebration by the United States War
Department and Reproduced by Special Permission.)]

At the southern limit of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay is
a long sandy peninsula whose extremity in times of flood is cut off
from the mainland by a narrow wash of water, and on this sometimes
isolated tip of the peninsula is situated Fort Monroe. The grounds
of the reservation, which includes all of the residence portion of
the little community, too, embrace about 280 acres of almost always
dry land. The walls of the fort itself encircle the greater part
of this number of acres.

From the summit of these walls one looks out upon a wide prospect
of waters. To the south is Hampton Roads, into which empty the
waters of the James, the Elizabeth and the Nansemond Rivers. To
the east lies the wide expanse of the lower Chesapeake Bay, giving
access to the Potomac and the network of other rivers which the
bay holds as tributaries. From all directions except from the west
pours in upon Old Point a vivifying draught of pure salt air. From
the west,--from the mainland,--come all manner of humidities,
unpleasantness and mosquitoes, but this is only one of four points
of the compass.

It is a healthy place, this Old Point Comfort, so healthy, indeed,
that in a grave government report of 1877 the army surgeon at the
post tells his superiors in Washington that there is a legend in
the army that the air of the place conduces to fecundity in the
families stationed there. He adds that from his own professional
practice and his observation of the number of children playing in
the streets he believes that there is more than fancy in the idea!

The visitor to Fort Monroe will almost invariably come by water,
though there is a roundabout way of reaching the post by way of
trolley from Newport News--through quaint old Hampton, past Hampton
Institute and over a long trestle to the reservation. He will
see, first, on putting foot upon the wharf and fighting off the
hungry hordes of hackmen and baggage smashers, the red walls of a
popular hotel. To the right is a triangular park, on the far side
of whose spread of green is a row of modern cottages of pretentious
architecture, which are given over to the superior officers
stationed at the post. Beyond the roofs of these can be seen, in
glimpses, the battlements of the old fort. Perhaps our visitor will
penetrate on farther back into the grounds, along the winding main
street, until he comes to the main entrance to the fort, faced by
an inn much used by officers and the military set. Here there are
cottages, of less imposing aspect than those facing the sea, which
are given over to the younger officers and their families. Here
also one has his first clear view of the fort walls.

Without a doubt it is recollection of the moat that one carries
away from Fortress Monroe, primarily. This broad band of water,
encircling the high, grey old walls of the place, appeals strongly
to one’s romantic sense. Ho, warder! to the draw-bridge! And all
that sort of thing. There is a draw-bridge, too,--five of them,
in fact, at the five entrances to the fort. So, ho, for the
draw-bridge and a view inside the fort!


The visitor who crosses the narrow way leading across the moat
and penetrates to the interior of Fortress Monroe will not be
greatly impressed by show of military works. These are all quietly
and modestly ready in the background, somewhere. He will find
himself in a charming sort of park which strongly suggests the
tropics in its luxuriance of foliage of all kinds. Indeed the air
of Old Point, for some reasons, supports tropical plant growth that
will not live in the countryside immediately adjoining. One of the
effective sights that the visitor sees in the fort are the clumps
of fig trees which are to be found, and there are to be found, too,
magnolia and rhododendron and crape myrtle.

There is a large parade ground, flanked on the east and north
by long barracks. The rest of the grounds, not including the
casemates, is given over to residences, to various store-houses and
to a building of the Coast Artillery School which has been located
at Monroe since 1867.

The casemates of the old fort are used as residences for married
private soldiers and for other purposes, not transparently
military. The long rows of heavy cannon once to be seen here are
to be found no more, their place being taken by modern batteries

There is to be seen the casemate in which Jefferson Davis,
president of the Confederate States, was confined after the working
out of the destiny of the Lost Cause. It is not different from its
neighbors, and is an inconspicuous little compartment in a wall
with an ornamental little two-post doorway and one window. Many
curious visitors stop before it.

Old Point Comfort and all of this section of the lower Chesapeake
have seen many strange visitors and cargoes in the Past. Doughty
old Captain John Smith came to Hampton Roads and wrote about what
he saw with that wealth of picturesque detail which those old
chroniclers loved to pour forth. The name Point Comfort itself
came from the circumstance that Smith was cast into this Hampton
Roads on the wings of a storm at sea and that he hailed the first
strip of solid land that he saw as a comfort, indeed. At an early
period a settlement was made here, as a subsidiary of the Jamestown
colony, and, as early as 1611, a fort was built on the point as
a defence against Indians and freebooting marauders of buccaneer
type. The fort was armed and known as Fort Algernon, in honor of
Lord Algernon Percie, one of the directors of the Virginia Company.
The greatest fort of the country was once called Algernon!

This little fortification was not of long life, however. It was
maintained for a few years by the Jamestown colony but went into
decay after the failure of its parent. The strategic value of the
Point as a place for defence was not lost sight of, however, in any
succeeding generation, though the place was not called into service
for many years.


  By courtesy of the War Department


Showing shells just leaving mortars, Fort Monroe, Va. (This
remarkable photograph was taken with modern high speed appatratus
by the Corps of Enlisted Specialists stationed at this post.)]

The foundations of Fortress Monroe were laid in 1819, and the
works were carried forward actively for ten years. The plans were
drawn by the famous Bernard, one-time aide-de-camp of the first
Napoleon, and one of his leading engineers. It was Bernard’s
ambition to construct in the United States (he came to the
United States in 1816 and immediately entered the employ of the
government) one great fortress like the works of Antwerp, in the
fortification of which he had a large share. Fort Monroe, named
in honor of the president who did so much to make sure that the
coast defences of the country should be adequately founded, was the
result of this vision.

It is to be seen that the life of the present fortification begins
after the War of 1812, but the military history of the vicinity of
Fort Monroe prior to that time is full of interest.

During the Revolution the mouth of the Chesapeake was guarded by
British cruisers and a rigorous blockade was maintained. Despite
this, during the war no less than 248 privateers were fitted out in
the waters of the Chesapeake and managed to gain the high seas by
eluding the vigilance of the patrol beyond the capes.

In 1779 General Leslie sailed from New York with 3000 of His
Majesty’s troopers to land upon the peninsula not far from the site
of Fort Monroe and there to await orders from Lord Cornwallis, who
was in North Carolina. He entered Hampton Roads and took Norfolk
and Portsmouth, fortifying the latter place as a base for future
operations. After some weeks of inactivity, he re-embarked and
sailed to reinforce Cornwallis at Charleston. In the following year
Clinton ordered the traitor Arnold with 50 sail and 1600 soldiers
to replace Leslie.

The Arnold expedition proceeded up the James River in 1781 and set
the torch to the public buildings of Richmond. After pillaging
Petersburg, it returned to Portsmouth and threw up strong
intrenchments. Lafayette attempted to stay this destroying band
but had not force enough of his own and did not receive expected
reinforcement. The fleet which had been sent to augment his numbers
was engaged by the British under Admiral Arbuthnot off the capes
and compelled, after a hot engagement, to withdraw to Newport. The
English thus retained their hold on Hampton Roads and were enabled
to send additional forces to General Arnold under General Phillips.
In April the combined forces under Arnold moved again up the James
River, burning and pillaging.

Cornwallis occupied Portsmouth shortly after this, but soon again
moved to Yorktown, where he threw up huge intrenchments, the
outlines of which are plainly discernible at the present day. In
September, 1781, the French under Comte de Grasse were successful
in entering the Chesapeake to co-operate with Washington, Lafayette
and Rochambeau. The British fleet under Admiral Graves sturdily
contested the capes, but was forced to surrender the hold which it
had maintained so effectively. In the ensuing month occurred the
historic surrender of Cornwallis.


During the War of 1812, a British order in council declared the
Chesapeake to be in a state of blockade, and in 1813 Rear-Admiral
Cockburn of His Majesty’s navy was sent to Lynnhaven Bay, near
Norfolk. The Americans had a large flotilla in Hampton Roads, and
had constructed Forts Norfolk and Nelson on the Elizabeth River
near Norfolk and had thrown up intrenchments on Craney Island,
these dispositions all being under the direction of Brigadier
General Robert B. Taylor.

At daybreak of June 22, 1813, a determined attack was made by the
British under Cockburn from land and sea, which was repulsed. Three
days later quiet Hampton was captured after a gallant defence by
an inadequate garrison and the town pillaged in barbaric fashion.
Soon after, Cockburn withdrew to the coasts of South Carolina
and Georgia, but resumed his operations in the lower Chesapeake
March 1, 1814. In July, 1814, he was largely reinforced and with
a combined land and naval expedition commenced that march up the
Chesapeake which culminated in the sacking of Washington and the
final repulse of the expedition at Fort McHenry. This was the last
important engagement of the War of 1812.

During the Civil War Fortress Monroe saw stirring scenes, though
it had no very active part in any of them. In October, 1861,
Hampton Roads off the fort was the rendezvous for great land and
naval forces under Admiral Dupont and General Sherman designed to
capture Hilton Head. In the January following another great force
was brought together here for operations on the Carolina coast. In
the spring of 1862 McClellan’s army arrived at Old Point and went
to Yorktown.

In March of 1862 occurred in Hampton Roads the episodes of the
_Merrimac_. A watcher on the walls of Fort Monroe would have seen
this queer, square vessel, covered with railroad iron, sailing down
the blue waters. He might have seen the sinking of the _Cumberland_
with the greater part of her crew despite her desperate, impotent
efforts against this new kind of adversary. He might have witnessed
the destruction of the _Congress_ by fire and the partial disabling
of the _Minnesota_. He might have heard in the old fort that night
the barrack-room gossip of the new giant and whispers of the
expected arrival of a United States champion which was to take
up the gage of combat. The next day he might have seen from the
ramparts the struggle between the _Merrimac_ and the _Monitor_,
which ushered in a new chapter in naval warfare and began the era
of the steel-clad knight of the seas.

Later Old Point Comfort became the base of operation of the Army of
the James.

In 1893, during the celebration of the Columbian Exposition,
Hampton Roads was the rendezvous under the guns of old Monroe for
the vessels of all of the nations of the world. The old fort sees
the most important manœuvres of the United States navy of to-day.



The bombardment of Fort Sumter from Fort Moultrie began at dawn of
April 12, 1861, and continued without remission for about 36 hours,
or until noon of the second day. During that time, though shot and
shell played havoc with the walls of both the besiegers and the
besieged, no human being was hurt,--a strange preliminary, indeed,
to the most murderous civil war since the invention of gunpowder in
the history of the world.

This has been called the first time in history that two forts waged
battle against each other. It was like two strong men, tied by the
feet, almost beyond reach of each other, being allowed to strike at
each other until one or the other should fall.

To understand something of the conditions which governed this very
historic bout between Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, one must have
some idea of the lay of the land at Charleston. Charleston, itself,
it may be pointed out, is situated on a long narrow spit of land
at the juncture of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The arrow-head
formed by these two rivers points almost directly toward the mouth
of Charleston Bay, where the waters of the two rivers joined mingle
with the Atlantic Ocean. Let us go to the point of the arrow-head
upon which Charleston is situated, to the Battery,--that is,
Charleston’s most famous public park,--and gaze seaward: Five miles
away, across a shimmering blue, we see a little geometrical dot
almost midway between the jaws which hold Charleston Bay. This
is Fort Sumter, a little stone work built by the United States
Government in 1828 on a sandy shallow. Fort Moultrie is situated
on Sullivan’s Island, on the northern one of the two jaws of the
bay, a body of land really distinct from the mainland but which
seems from this distance to be a part of that land. Of the two
fortifications, Fort Moultrie is the older and by long odds the
more interesting as to past.

Wise heads of both sections in 1860 saw that war was inevitable
between the North and the South, though patriots did their best to
prevent armed conflict. But the doctrine of State individualism
or State’s Rights was too firmly established to be gotten from
the body corporate without a purging of blood, just as individual
rights in the social structure can never be enforced to the last
limit without conflicting with the community purpose. So when, on
Christmas night, 1860, Major Anderson, commanding at Fort Moultrie,
moved his whole force secretly over to the sub-post, Fort Sumter,
and sent his women and children to Charleston, with the request
that they be sent north, the citizens of Charleston, at least, knew
that the issue had been squarely met, to be settled at the court of
last resort.


  Copyright Detroit Publishing Co.


Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel, in her delightful reminiscences of
Charleston, writes:

  Doubt and delay were gone. Then came the call to arms....
  January, February, and March were so full of crowded life that
  they seemed an eternity, yet one dreaded lest eternity should
  end. End it did when one night at eleven o’clock seven guns
  thundered out over the town and every man sprang up, seized
  his rifle and ran to the wharves. It was the signal that the
  relieving fleet (from the north) was on its way south, and that
  the whole reserve must hurry to the islands.

During all this time Fort Sumter had been supplied with provisions
and necessaries by the citizens of Charleston.

When Major Anderson in command at Fort Sumter accepted Beauregard’s
terms of surrender and saluted the new flag, he was conveyed, with
all the honors of war, in the steamer _Isabel_ to the United States
fleet which had lain idle in the offing.

From this time until the end of the Civil War Charleston was in a
state of siege. There was a short period of preparation on both
sides before the Federal fleet appeared, November, 1861, outside
the quaint old city. The city maintained its integrity complete
against attacks by water, and finally fell to a move in force by
land in the last year of the war, when the defenders of Charleston
were withdrawn and all of the men of the remnants of the armies of
the Confederacy were being concentrated for one last desperate
protest against the inevitable.

After the Civil War Fort Sumter was repaired and strengthened and
is still a seat of military power as a sub-post of Fort Moultrie.

To reach Fort Moultrie one goes from Charleston by ferry to the
northern side of the Cooper River and takes a trolley which leads
seaward along the coast across an inlet to Sullivan’s Island, which
has become a popular summer place with many people of Charleston.

Fort Moultrie, when once it is reached, is not a pretentious
place,--the old works, that is,--being simply a star-shaped fort
of brownish-red brick on which the hot southern sun pours down in
quantity. It overlooks a rumpled beach and the sea on one side and
flat uninteresting land on the other. To the seaward one can gaze
upon Fort Sumter and find it not more interesting of aspect close
at hand than it is at a distance. Beside the gate of Fort Moultrie
is a small marble shaft which marks the grave of Osceola, the
Seminole chieftain. If one has devoured Indian tales in his youth
he will no doubt be more interested in this simple memorial than
in the immediate aspect of military things around him. It was in
Fort Moultrie that Osceola was jailed after his capture in Florida
and it was here that he died,--from a broken heart, if one is still
interested in Indian stories!

The present Fort Moultrie was started in 1841 on the site of a
famous old palmetto structure of the same name which had stood
since early Revolutionary days. In 1903, with the exquisite tact
which it displays occasionally, army headquarters in Washington
decided to change the name of the fort to Fort Getty in honor of
some deserving soldier whose career is recorded in the files of the
Army Department, but the loud chorus of indignation that greeted
this move carried all the way from Charleston to Washington, and
the name of that delightful old Revolutionary character, William H.
Moultrie, is still preserved at the spot where his first battle was

The foundations of Fort Moultrie were laid in January, 1776, when a
Mr. Dewees, owner of the island which bears his name, was ordered
to deliver at Sullivan’s Island palmetto logs eighteen to twenty
feet long and not less than ten inches in diameter in the middle;
and Colonel Moultrie was ordered to superintend the erection of
a fort from this material. It was not completed in June when the
British came into view. In design a double square pen it was built
of palmetto logs piled one upon the other and securely bolted
together; the space between the outer and inner pen was about
sixteen feet and this was filled in with sand; there were square
bastions. The walls were intended to be ten feet high above the gun
platforms where were mounted 64 guns.

The British fleet bearing a land force was under the command of
Admiral Sir Peter Parker, and reached Cape Fear early in May, where
it was joined by Sir Henry Clinton from New York with a portion of
the troops which had participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Clinton assumed command of all the land forces. On the 4th of June
the fleet appeared off Charleston bar and a small force of men
was landed on Long Island, the island just north of Sullivan’s
Island, and on the 28th of June advanced under Sir Peter Parker to
give battle to Fort Sullivan, as Moultrie was then known. There
were brought into action in this engagement the following English
vessels: The _Bristol_ and _Experiment_ of 50 guns each; the
frigates _Active_, _Solebay_, _Acteon_, _Siren_, and _Sphinx_ of 28
guns each; the _Thunderbomb_ and _Ranger_, sloops, of 28 guns; and
the _Friendship_ of 22 guns, in all, a very powerful squadron. The
Americans had their unfinished palmetto fort, 64 guns and 1200 men.
Several days before the battle the fussy General Charles Lee, whom
Washington afterwards in his only recorded uncontrolled exhibition
of temper called, at the battle of Monmouth, “a damned poltroon,”
had removed to another defence of the city half of the small
quantity of gunpowder which Moultrie had been given for the defence
of his fort.

The command of the defence of Charleston had been given to General
Lee by the Continental Congress, and General Lee had appeared in
the city on the same day that the British fleet was sighted off
the bar. From the first he seems to have been in conflict with
Moultrie. Moultrie’s fort, he said, was poorly designed, and
doubtless it was; Moultrie should provide a means of retreat for
his men, and Moultrie replied that they would never use it; and
Moultrie this and that. Moultrie himself, his admirers were forced
to admit, was “a man of very easy manners, leaving to others many
things which he had better have attended to himself.”

But the point is that Moultrie carried this same easiness of manner
and mental poise into battle with him and was on this account an
ideal officer to direct a fight. He had, moreover, the unlimited
confidence and affection of his men and he knew the people he was
working with.

The British appeared off Fort Sullivan just when the feeling
between General Lee and Moultrie was at an acute stage. We find
Moultrie now at face with the problem of defending his “slaughter
pen” fort against an overwhelming force with the insufficient
quantity of gunpowder which General Lee had left him.

The ships formed in double column and poured a terrific fire
upon the fort. Moultrie feared that the concussion of the shells
would rock his guns off their platforms. “Concentrate upon the
Admiral, upon the fifty-gun ships!” This was Moultrie’s direction
to his men. The Americans, expert marksmen that they were, obeyed
his commands and the _Bristol_ and the _Experiment_ suffered
fearfully, the captains of these two great ships being mortally

The Americans now began to run short of powder. Colonel Moultrie
sent a despatch for more. He was in pressing need, but no one would
have guessed it from his message which read as follows:

  I think we shall want more powder; at the rate we go on I think
  we shall. But you can see for yourself; pray send more if you
  think proper.

Rutledge sent 500 pounds, and Lee, who was at Haddrell’s with 5000
pounds he had taken from Fort Sullivan, sent no powder but the

  If you should unfortunately expend your ammunition without
  driving off the enemy spike your guns and retreat with all the
  order you can. I know you will be careful not to expend your

General Lee had an idea that battles were fought with bows and
arrows and gunpowder kept to celebrate the victory afterwards with!
And he was determined that that retreat should take place, because
he had prophesied a retreat by all the laws of war some weeks

The cannonade went on, the fire from the fort being at a much
slower tempo than that from the ships. And now a new fact was
discovered in the art of war: The soft palmetto logs with sand
in between were a better bulwark than solid stone. Cannon balls
entered them easily and stopped just as easily without sending
splinters all around. Shells threw the sand up in the air and the
sand fell back again to the spot whence it had risen.

The _Bristol_, the flag-ship, suffered more than any other of the
British vessels. At one time Sir Peter was the only man unwounded
on the quarter-deck, and he, too, presently was hurt.

The _Acteon_ went hard aground on the shoal where Fort Sumter was
afterwards to be raised and had to be abandoned, being set on fire
before she was deserted.

The rattle-snake flag flying over the American fort was shot down,
and Sergeant Jasper, leaping over the parapet, braved the fire of
the British to recover the emblem. Sergeant Jasper lost his life at
Savannah in an effort to duplicate this same feat.

At length the British drew off beaten. They had lost heavily, on
the flag-ship alone 104 men being killed. The American loss was
12 killed and 25 wounded. When the news of this defeat reached
England, though the intelligence was given out by the Admiralty
in the most politic fashion possible, it was a terrible blow to
English pride. “That an English admiral with a well-appointed fleet
of 270 guns should be beaten off by a miserable little half-built
fort on an uninhabited sand bank was incomprehensible,” wrote a
correspondent from London. Had Moultrie had powder enough the
British loss must have been much heavier than it was.

On the 9th of April, 1780, Fort Moultrie was again in action, when
it opened upon Admiral Arbuthnot’s fleet which was sailing into
the harbor in the course of the operations against Charleston that
year. It was unable to prevent the passage of the fleet but it
inflicted some damage to the vessels and killed 27 of the enemy.
Shortly after Fort Moultrie fell to an overwhelming force of
British who attacked by land, and was not again in action during
the Revolution.



The trip from beautiful Savannah to the battered ruins of the once
famous brick fortress, Pulaski, takes one through that gold and
green country which one comes to associate with the name of this
charming southern city. Fort Pulaski is that great hexagon of
brick which one sees from incoming steamers on Cockspur Island at
the mouth of the muddy Savannah River, and all the country round
about is marshy, reedy land, cut up by big and little streams with
no hills to be seen and only scraggy pine trees breaking the flat
monotony of the horizon.

If one would go to Fort Pulaski from Savannah, he seeks out the
little railroad which runs to Tybee, and whose passenger traffic is
confined almost exclusively to summer. There he will be received
by the hospitable southern trainmen and put off the train near
the light-house which graces the northern end of Cockspur Island.
Here, if he has been wise and has made his arrangements properly,
the will be met by a boat from the light-house and will be carried
across to the island.

Arrived at the landing which gives access to the fort, one is
struck by the graceful desolation of the scene. The boards and
timbers of the wharf have rotted, and ends of planks hang down
toward the water like withered arms. Yet the brilliant Georgia
sunshine gives a charm to it all. One does not feel in the presence
of decay; one feels only in the presence of something that is
passing painlessly away.

This same feeling one carries up the long, straight, muddy path
leading to the ruined monument of valor through the marsh which
surrounds that work. One comes to a broad ditch now full of mud and
weeds and faces the remains of a once sturdy draw-bridge. Passing
over this and between the mounds of former outworks one at last
faces the entrance to Fort Pulaski.

The walls of this great brick fortress, which cost a million
dollars and was one of the greatest brick fortresses of its time,
tower over one with great impressiveness. The brick face is
pierced by long narrow slits for rifle fire, and these peer at one
vacantly. A large ditch, or moat, surrounds the fort, and this
still contains water owing to the low elevation of the island above
tide, but it is choked with rank vegetation and though horrid of
aspect would not be a serious bar to the approach of any storming


Crossing the ditch, one passes through a long passage and past
massive wooden gates studded with iron bolts and, at length, comes
out upon the parade ground. Where brilliant columns once formed and
marched in martial evolutions now wave tall saplings except where
the solitary care-taker of the fort has cut these growths down
to make room for a vegetable garden. The walls go around in a great
circle above this parade, the angles of the circumference not being
easily perceptible from our vantage point. To the right hand and
the left hand stretch casemates in which officers and men dwelt. On
the far side of the parade are open casemates fitted for cannon,
for this is the quarter from which attack might be expected. Close
at hand is a spring whose clear water flows ceaselessly from the
rusty iron mouth which the hand of man has provided and neglected.

Passing across the parade to the gun casemates, which occupy the
flanks of the fort on three quarters of the compass, one finds
the flooring still in good condition, this fact being due to
the protected nature of this part of the fort and to the sturdy
quality of the planks which are three inches thick and of some
close-grained wood--probably cypress. The circular gun-tracks are
still visible. Where one can peer through holes in the floor one
gazes down into dank, dark depths from which the light is reflected
evilly by scummy water.

At the northeast angle of the fort are the remains of one of the
magazines. If one cares to prowl in here and is willing to make
entrance through a mysterious black hole into an uncanny void, he
will be rewarded for his adventure by being able to pick up some
rusty grape-shot and smaller odds and ends of murderous looking

Ascending to the parapet of the fort by means of one of the
twisting iron stairs which are to be found at each angle, or by
the broad stone stairs adjacent to the habitable casemates, one
has a wide view of land and sea. To the east lies the mouth of the
Savannah River where this stream joins the Atlantic Ocean. In this
direction, too, can be seen long, low, sandy Tybee Point, where
Fort Screven, the modern defensive work, lies. To the south are
marshes and in the distance the gleam of the river up which the
Union forces brought their cannon to attack Fort Pulaski in 1862.
To the north and west--more marshes.

The island on which Fort Pulaski is situated was acquired by
the government in 1830 by purchase from Alexander Telfair and
sisters (an old and wealthy Savannah family) and the title of
the government thereto for the purposes of a fortification was
confirmed by the State of Georgia by act December 27, 1845. The
entire reservation occupies about 150 acres.

The site for the fort was selected by Major General Babcock, United
States Corps of Engineers, and work was begun in 1831 under the
direction of Major General Mansfield. Sixteen years passed before
its mighty walls, containing thirteen millions of bricks, were
completed. The name Pulaski was given to the fort in honor of Count
Casimir Pulaski, the Polish patriot who lost his life in the siege
of Savannah by the Americans during the Revolution, the scene of
this sad event being the Spring Hill redoubt near the site of the
present Central of Georgia railway station.

The military history of Fort Pulaski does not cover a long period
of time. When, in December, 1860, the news reached Savannah of the
removal of Major Anderson, in command of the United States forces
in Charleston Harbor, from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, there
was an open expression of opinion that Georgia should forestall
such occupation of the forts on her coast by the forces of the
Federal government; and when, on January 2, 1861, it became known
that Governor Brown had ordered the seizure and occupation of Fort
Pulaski by the military under the command of Colonel A. R. Lawton
on the following day, the city was wild with enthusiasm.

Says Adelaide Wilson in her delightful history of Savannah:

  Looking back upon the arrangements that were made for the setting
  out of that first military expedition, there is temptation to
  smile at the amount of impedimenta that was prepared for the
  small forces of less than two hundred men. There was scant
  time between the promulgation of the order and the hour named
  for its execution, yet when, on the morning of the third, the
  companies marched down to the wharf to embark on the little
  steamer _Ida_, it is safe to say that they were encumbered with
  much more baggage than served later in the war for an entire
  division in the field. Every man had his cot, every three or
  four men his mess-chest, with kettles, pots, pans and other
  cooking utensils in liberal allowance, not to speak of trunks,
  valises, mattresses, camp-chairs, etc.,--in all a pile large
  enough to make the heart of a quartermaster sink within him. It
  was evident that the troops long had anticipated the call upon
  their services, and also that the mothers, wives and sisters of
  Savannah had, with anxious forethought, determined that their
  loved ones should carry into service as many of the comforts of
  home as possible.

The siege of Pulaski by the Federal troops, April, 1862, was not
long at the climax, though it was long in preparation. The Federal
forces gathered slowly south of Savannah and then moved to the
attack. By means of a channel in the flats to the south of the fort
which the Confederates had left unguarded, they were able to post
their guns in advantageous positions. As the result of a heavy
bombardment the walls of the fort were battered in at the east
salient and the garrison was obliged to surrender.

The visitor to Fort Pulaski to-day may see some of the wounds in
the walls which the fort sustained on that occasion. The worst
injuries were repaired by the United States troops during their
occupancy of the fort, and the course of these repairs may be
traced by the discerning eye through the different color of the

Shortly after the Civil War, Fort Pulaski was abandoned. It is
still controlled by the government and is in the care of a retired
soldier of the United States who lives a life of seclusion,
disturbed only by the very infrequent sight-seer or by parties
of young men of the neighborhood who find the marshes of the
reservation an excellent gunning preserve.

[Illustration: Parade and Ramparts

The Battered Eastern Salient




Mobile Bay, that pear-shaped body of water, with its far-reaching
system of water tributaries, has been a scene of settlement and
fortification since the early days of French attempts at settlement
in the New World. There was, to begin with, Fort Louis de la
Mobile, which protected the infant first settlement of Mobile,
precursor of the city of to-day. In various guises Fort Louis
passed from one to another of the different races of men with which
the history of Mobile Bay is associated. Then there are the forts
placed on the islands at the mouth of Mobile Bay and the forts at
the head of the bay where the big rivers flow in. Finally there is
Fort Morgan (Fort Bowyer to begin with) which occupies the point of
that long, thin peninsula of land which forms the southern boundary
of Mobile Bay, dividing its waters from the waters of the Gulf of

Fort Morgan to-day is in ruins and has never been thoroughly
rebuilt since its capitulation to Farragut in one of the hottest
battles of the Civil War. The governmental reservation of land
on which the works are situated contains about 500 acres and is
occupied, as well, by modern defences. The view from the point on
which the old fort is situated gives a wide prospect of blue water
and sky. Across the ship channel is historic Dauphine Island, on
which Fort Morgan’s sister fort, Fort Gaines, was situated, and
where the government to-day maintains extensive batteries. To the
right are the waters of Mobile Bay, with the smoke of the city
thirty miles to the north. To the left are the sunny waves of the

The first that we hear of Mobile Point as a place of fortification
was in 1812, when the Spanish evacuated Mobile. General Wilkinson,
in command of the United States forces in the southwest, put nine
guns as a battery on Mobile Point and made his way on up to the
city, where he commenced to fortify the perdido. Subsequently
Mobile Point appealed to him as a better place for defensive works
than a spot so far up the bay, and he placed a fortification here,
which was called Fort Bowyer in honor of Lieutenant-Colonel Bowyer.

The next occupant of Fort Bowyer was a more picturesque personage
than General Wilkinson, none other than Andrew Jackson. Upon his
retirement from Pensacola in 1814, Jackson stopped at Fort Bowyer
and left a force there of 130 men under the leadership of Major
William Lawrence. On September 12 the British appeared before the
fort with land and naval strength and demanded the surrender of the
little structure. Major Lawrence refused to surrender.

The British strength on this occasion consisted of the _Hermes_
of 22 guns, the _Sophia_ of 18 guns, the _Caron_ of 20 guns,
_Anaconda_ of 18 guns, all vessels of large size, under the
command of Captain Percy. It was a squadron which Jackson had
driven from Pensacola Bay and it was thirsting for revenge. There
was, in addition, a land force under Colonel Nichols of a few
marines and about 600 Indians which assailed Fort Bowyer from the

The battle began early on the morning of the 15th. The word for
the day in the American ranks was “Don’t give up the fort,” and
this originated an oft-repeated phrase. A heavy cannonade continued
without interruption until 5.30 o’clock in the afternoon. The
flag-staff of the _Hermes_, Captain Percy’s flag-ship, was shot
away and Lawrence gave the order to cease firing while he hailed
the vessel to find out whether she had lowered her colors. The only
answer was a murderous volley of grape-shot from another quarter.
The flag-staff of the fort then happened to be struck, and the
Indians and British on shore, thinking that the plucky little
garrison had surrendered, ran forward with terrible cries. They
were met by a terrific hail of lead which drove them back for good.

Finally the battered English vessels drew off. The _Hermes_ was
found to be in such bad shape that she was set on fire by her crew
and abandoned. Her destruction was completed by the explosion of
her magazine. The British loss was 232, of which number 163 were
killed. The American loss was 4 killed and 4 wounded. The British
in this engagement outnumbered the Americans more than six times.

The great adventure of Fort Morgan’s life, however, was in the
Civil War at the time of the taking of Mobile. The stronghold
had been considerably enlarged and strengthened and had been
re-christened by its Confederate possessors at the outbreak of that
disastrous struggle between brother and brother. It is described
in official records of the time as a pentagonal bastioned work,
with a full scarp brick wall, 4, feet 8 inches thick, its armament
consisting of 86 guns of various calibres. The garrison, including
officers and men, numbered 640.

The force under Farragut consisted of fourteen large wooden steam
vessels of war and four iron-clads of which the _Tecumseh_ arrived
from Pensacola just in time for the engagement. The wooden vessels
were lashed together in pairs and the whole column was headed by
the iron-clads.

It was on the morning of August 5, 1864, that Farragut commenced
his passage into Mobile Bay. Long before the break of day through
the whole fleet could be heard the boatswain’s whistles and the
cheery cries of “all hands” and “up all hammocks.” The wind was
west-southwest, just where Farragut wanted it, as it would blow the
smoke of the guns on Fort Morgan. At four o’clock the fleet set
in motion, led by the four monitors. At 6.47 the booming of the
_Tecumseh’s_ guns was heard and shortly afterward Morgan replied.
The story may now be taken up in the words of an officer on board
the flag-ship _Hartford_:

  The order was to “go slowly, go slowly” and receive the fire of
  Fort Morgan. At six minutes past seven the fort opened, having
  allowed us to get into such short range that we apprehended
  some snare; in fact, I heard the order passed for our guns to
  be elevated for fourteen hundred yards some time before one was
  fired. The calmness of the scene was sublime. No impatience, no
  irritation, no anxiety, except for the fort to open; and after
  it did open full five minutes elapsed before we answered. In
  the meantime the guns were trained as if at a target and all
  the sounds I could hear were “steady boys, steady! Left tackle
  a little! So, so!” Then the roar of a broadside and the eager
  cheer as the enemy were driven from their water battery. Don’t
  imagine they were frightened; no man could stand under that iron
  shower; and the brave fellows returned to their guns as soon as
  it lulled, only to be driven off again.

  At twenty minutes past seven we had come within range of the
  enemy’s gunboats which opened their fire upon the _Hartford_, and
  as the Admiral afterward told me made her their special target.
  First they struck our foremast and then lodged a shot of 120
  pounds in our mainmast. By degrees they got better elevation;
  and I have saved a splinter from the hammock netting to show
  how they felt their way lower. Splinters after that came by
  cords, and in size sometimes were like logs of wood. No longer
  came the cheering cry “Nobody hurt yet.” The _Hartford_ by some
  unavoidable chance fought the enemy’s fleet and fort together for
  twenty minutes by herself, timbers crashing and wounded pouring
  down,--cries never to be forgotten.

By half past seven the iron-clad _Tecumseh_ was well up with the
fort and drawing slowly by, when suddenly she reeled to port and
went down straightway with almost every soul on board. She had
struck a mine. For a time this appalling disaster spread confusion
in the fleet.

“What’s the matter?” was shouted from the flag-ship to the
_Brooklyn_ just ahead.

“Torpedoes,” was the response.

“Damn the torpedoes,” said Farragut, “go ahead.”

Go ahead the fleet did and at length had passed Fort Morgan and was
in the sheltering waters of the bay. The cost of this operation in
the Union fleet was 335 men. Of the 130 men in the _Tecumseh_ when
she was struck only 17 were saved.

Fort Gaines, the works on the western side of the channel, now
surrendered. But Fort Morgan kept on fighting. The Union vessels
were in Mobile Bay, but they had not yet forced the indomitable
fort on Mobile Point to its knees. Admiral Farragut wrote to a

  We are now tightening the cords around Fort Morgan. Page is as
  surly as a bull-dog and says that he will die in his ditch....

  How little people know the risks of life. Drayton made his
  clerk stay below because he was a young married man. All my
  staff,--Watson, McKinley and Brownell,--were in an exposed
  position on the poop deck but escaped unhurt while poor
  Heginbotham was killed.

For seventeen days Fort Morgan held out, though bombarded
continuously. Then at length she surrendered, her citadel destroyed
and her walls nearly blown to pieces. It is this pathetic shell
that now greets the visitor’s eye on Mobile Point.



The two forts which were the scene of Farragut’s first brilliant
exploit in running by the enemy’s works with wooden vessels have
not been regularly garrisoned since 1871 and have been maintained
only in a casual sort of a fashion. Stronger and newer defences
have taken their place, though these two spots have had a long
and honorable existence in the defence of the mouth of America’s
greatest river and of its picturesque French-Spanish-American chief
city, New Orleans. Situated 32 nautical miles by river from the
Gulf of Mexico and about 22 miles from the light-house at the head
of the passes of the Mississippi, they occupy the first habitable
ground bordering the river, at a sharp bend known as English
Turn. Fort St. Philip is on the northern bank of the river, Fort
Jackson on the southern. Though so far from the Gulf by river, Fort
St. Philip, owing to the peculiar formation of the mouth of the
Mississippi, with long fingers spread out into the sea, is only a
short distance from the Gulf as the crow flies.

About a mile above the site of Fort Jackson there stood an ancient
French fortification known as Fort Bourbon, which gradually yielded
to the encroachments of time so that now there is of it nothing
left. Fort St. Philip, itself, was founded by the French and was
surrendered to the United States in 1803 with the purchase of the
Louisiana territory.

The situation of the two forts was early recognized by the United
States as possessing much military value, and in 1812-1815 St.
Philip was made over by the United States authorities and Fort
Jackson was built. Fort St. Philip at the time of the Civil War
consisted of a quadrangular earthwork with brick scarp rising 19
feet above the level of the river and a wet ditch with exterior
batteries above and below. Fort Jackson, largely added to between
1824 and 1832, was a pentagonal bastioned fortification built of
brick with casemates, glacis and wet ditch; and of the two was the
more formidable work.

The two forts saw service in 1814 against the British. At this time
the name Jackson was applied to the southern fort in honor of the
fiery American commander whose defence of that city has become an
inspiring legend.

The Confederate Government had early taken possession of the
forts and had put them in complete order. When Farragut’s fleet
appeared, early in the spring of 1862, Fort Jackson with its
water battery mounted 75 guns and Fort St. Philip about 40. The
works were garrisoned by about 1500 men, commanded by Brigadier
General J. K. Duncan; St. Philip being under the direct command
of Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Higgins. Just above the forts the
Confederates had placed a fleet of 15 vessels, including the
iron-clad ram _Manassas_. Below Fort Jackson they had obstructed
the river with a heavy chain brought from Pensacola. This chain was
pinned to the under side of a row of cypress logs which were 30
feet long and four or five feet in diameter. The spring freshets
caused this chain to break and it was replaced by two lighter
chains supported in similar fashion.

As a first move against the Confederate strongholds, Farragut sent
Commander Porter with his fleet of mortar vessels to bombard the
forts. The bombardment opened on the 18th of April and continued
without remission for six days, but though breaches were made
in the walls and the levee was broken at one place so that the
beleaguered men had a difficult task to keep the waters of the
Mississippi from drowning them out, the action was inconclusive.

It was then that Farragut determined upon the bold move (later
duplicated at Mobile) which was so great an element of his fame.
At two o’clock on the morning of April 24, 1862, he set his fleet
in motion up the river. The chain barriers were cut and the fleet
contrived to get past the fort without serious damage or loss
of life. Thus was accomplished the feat of passing, with wooden
vessels in a stream half a mile wide, two forts specially prepared
to resist such an effort. The Confederate fleet was met beyond the
forts and repulsed after a sharp engagement.

Farragut now passed on to New Orleans to make sure of the rich
prize of a city whose export business at that time was the greatest
in the world, while Porter was left behind with a sufficient
squadron to continue the bombardment of the forts. After being
under continuous fire until the 28th of the month the forts
surrendered, and have never since been in active service.

The reservation of Fort Jackson contains 557.6 acres and that of
Fort St. Philip 1108.85 acres. The reservations consist entirely of
swamp lands, during season of high water being almost completely
inundated. Those portions containing the forts, quarters and
other buildings are leveed on all sides, but notwithstanding the
protection thus afforded there are times when the water rises so
high as to become a source of great inconvenience in going about.
This is especially the case when rain is added to the water which
percolates through the levees.

Any account of Fort Jackson would be incomplete without allusion
to its alligators. These reptiles constitute one of the principal
objects of interest to visitors and may be seen in numbers floating
in the moats or basking on shore in the sunlight. They are from
five to fifteen feet in length and possess great strength. It was
customary to feed them with bread and crackers from the bridges
over the moats, calling them up by whistling, and from frequent
occurrence of this act they seemed to become accustomed to the
signal and responded to it just as might dogs.

The rattlesnakes of the vicinity are numerous and formidable. One
was caught here measuring 11½ feet and having 27 rattles. Black
snakes are large but rare. Moccasins, of which there are two
varieties, attain a large size and are frequently very venomous.

The mosquitoes constitute a serious obstacle to the enjoyment of
life to the infrequent garrisons at this post, for they not only
ply their calling with great diligence during the night but in
summer are equally zealous throughout the day. Various expedients
are adopted to avoid and drive them away. The smudge is brought
into frequent and useful requisition. Gloves are worn and covering
of mosquito netting is frequently used to protect the neck and



The historic post of Fort Snelling, Minnesota, for more than a
generation after its establishment, in 1819, the most remote
western outpost of the United States, is situated at the confluence
of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, eight miles southeast
of Minneapolis by river and six miles from St. Paul. It lies in
a region of rare natural beauty, in the vicinity of the Falls of
Minnehaha, Bridal Veil Falls, and other points locally notable
and is, itself, no mean attraction to the many visitors who are
attracted to the locality every year. The old fort standing on its
high bluff at the headwaters of America’s greatest river is a most
picturesque object.


  Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co.


The reservation of Fort Snelling contains 1,531 acres, though
originally this tract was much larger than now. The fort structure
which one sees from the river is an irregularly shaped bastioned
wall conforming in outline to the high plateau of land upon which
it is situated. It occupies the extreme end of the point of land
formed by the juncture of the two rivers, and on the Mississippi
side the bluff upon which the fort is situated descends abruptly
to the water, the river there running almost in a canyon. On the
Minnesota side the slope is more gradual and ends in a low marshy
flat which extends from one-third to one-half a mile and is
frequently submerged during high water. The altitude of the post
plateau above the river is 300 feet.

The establishment of Fort Snelling was one of the fruits of the
work of Lieutenant Z. M. Pike, the first American to explore and
chart the peak which bears his name. In 1805 this officer was in
command of an exploring expedition and held a conference with the
Sioux Indians on an island at the mouth of the Minnesota River
which now bears his name. He secured from the Indians for military
purposes a strip of land nine miles on each side of the Mississippi
River and extending from the conference island to the Falls of St.
Anthony, near which Fort Snelling is.

It is to be remembered that in 1805 the settlement of the American
nation did not extend beyond the Mississippi River. The country
west of Lake Michigan and on the headwaters of the Mississippi
River, though a part of the United States, thanks largely to George
Rogers Clark, was in a state of nature with only the trails of
Indians and traders and the remains of little French settlements as
the foundation for the civilization which was to grow up within it.

The privileges which Lieutenant Pike secured from the red men
were not immediately taken advantage of by the United States
authorities. Time passed and the War of 1812 with England gave the
War Department of this country quite as much as it could take
care of. Finally, in 1819, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Leavenworth,
of the Fifth United States Infantry, was sent with his regiment to
locate a fort upon the reserve selected by Lieutenant Pike. Colonel
Leavenworth reached the headwaters of the Mississippi without
incident and rendered his first monthly report in September, 1819.

Scurvy broke out now among the troops and this, added to the
natural inclemencies of the climate here in winter, prevented any
work being done until the spring of 1820. In May, 1820, Colonel
Leavenworth moved his troops to a point on the west bank of the
Mississippi River, about a mile and a half above the present
location of Fort Snelling. The site chosen by him for the fort was
the present military cemetery. He made preparations to commence the
work, but Colonel Josiah Snelling assumed command in August and
selected the location where the fort now stands.

Work actually commenced September 10, 1820, and went steadily ahead
until October, 1822, when the post was first occupied. During this
time Colonel Snelling was in command and his regiment was engaged
in the work.

For two years after it had been finished the post was known as Fort
St. Anthony--at Colonel Snelling’s suggestion--after the falls
which are near the place, but, in 1824, it was visited by General
Scott, who suggested to the War Department that the name should
be changed to that which it bears to-day as a compliment to its

The defences and some of the store-houses and shops were built
of stone, but the quarters for the soldiers were log huts until
after the Mexican War. The huts have now given way to comfortable
barracks of modern construction, but the stone construction and the
shops remain to-day as they were when the fort was far distant from

During the Civil War the fort was a concentration point for
volunteers. In 1878 a plan of enlargement to accommodate a full
regiment was entered upon in accordance with the policy then
inaugurated by the War Department of having the soldiers of the
country concentrated at a few points rather than scattered through
a number of small posts.

While Fort Snelling has never seen active service itself it has
had an active existence as a distribution point for those posts
which were in conflict with the enemy during the United States’
occasional Indian Wars. During the serious Sioux outbreak of 1862
in Minnesota it was the head-quarters of the campaign against the
Indians, though the fighting took place from subsidiary posts in
contact with the red men.

For twenty years after its completion Fort Snelling was in the
midst of the Sioux with no white neighbors except traders, agents
of fur companies, refugees from civilization and disreputable
hangers-on. In 1837 an enlargement of the military reserve and the
coming of the first tide of white settlers who were to develop this
country caused the eviction of this last class of dependents. One
of the nearby squatters took his grog-shop to a point not far away.
Around this point a settlement grew up. This settlement is now the
proud city of St. Paul.



One of the most famous of the western Indian forts of the United
States is situated on the west bank of the Laramie River, one and
a half miles above the junction of that stream with the Platte.
Though deserted the post is still a picturesque figure, recalling
the days when it administered authority for seven hundred miles
around. The property now comprises part of the ranch of Mr. John

Before the white man had established a habitation where Fort
Laramie stands the whole of the country of the North Platte River
was a hunting-ground and battle-field for different tribes of
Indians. Countless herds of buffalo roamed the land and it was rich
in fur-bearing animals, as well.

In 1834 William Sublette and Robert Campbell, coming to this
part of the country to trap beaver, found themselves obliged to
construct some sort of protection against the roving bands of
vagabond Crows and Pawnees which occasionally swept along the
Platte, stealing where they could. They built in that year upon
the present site of Fort Laramie a square fort of pickets 18 feet
high, with bastions at two diagonal corners, and a number of little
houses inside for their employés. In 1835 they sold out to Milton
Sublette, James Bridger and three other trappers, who went into
partnership with the American Fur Company and continued the beaver
trapping business.

In that year the American Fur Company sent two men named Kiplin
and Sabille to the Bear Butte and Northern Black Hills to persuade
the Sioux Indians to come over and hunt their game and live in the
vicinity of the fort. Their ambassadors succeeded so well that they
returned with over one hundred lodges of Oglala Sioux under Chief
Bull Bear. This was the first appearance of the powerful Sioux
nation in this part of the country, which they speedily overran,
driving away Pawnees, Cheyennes, Crows and all others from its very

Of course the fort speedily became a trading post where the Indians
bartered a buffalo robe for a knife, an awl, or a drink of “fire
water.” Anything that the company had to trade was at least of the
value of one buffalo robe. An American horse brought fifty of them;
any pony was worth twenty or thirty. Any old scrap of iron was of
great value to an Indian and by him would be speedily converted
into a knife. Fire-arms he had none and his arrow-heads were all
made of pieces of flint or massive quartz, fashioned into proper
shape by laborious pecking with another stone. The Sioux then had
no horses, but herds of wild horses were abundant on their arrival
and it was not many years before they learned their use.

In 1836 the picket fort began to rot badly and the American Fur
Company rebuilt it of adobe at an expense of $10,000. The people
who lived inside of the fort at this time called it “Fort William,”
after William Sublette, but the name could not be popularized. The
fort being built on the Laramie River, not far from Laramie Peak,
the American Fur Company’s clerks in their city offices labelled it
Fort Laramie and by that name it was destined to be called.

It seems that Laramie was a trapper, one of the first French
voyageurs who ever trapped a beaver or shot a buffalo in the Rocky
Mountains. He was one day killed by a band of Arapahoes on the
headwaters of the stream which has ever since been called by his

The American Fur Company retained possession of the fort until 1840
when it sold it to the United States government for four or five
thousand dollars. Bruce Husaband was the last representative of the
company who had charge of Fort Laramie.

The first United States troops which arrived here came in July,
1840, under the command of Major Sanderson of the Mounted Rifles.
They were companies C and D of that regiment. Company G of the
Sixth United States Infantry arrived in August of the same year
under command of Captain Ketchum. In the summer and fall of 1840 a
large number of additions were made to the buildings at the post.

In 1846, just prior to its occupancy by the United States,
Francis Parkman, the future historian, then little more than a
boy, visited Fort Laramie and wrote a description of the place in
that singularly vivid style which characterized his best work as a
historian. His description may be abridged:

  Looking back, after the expiration of a year, upon Fort Laramie
  and its inmates, they seem less like a reality than like some
  fanciful picture of the olden time; so different was the scene
  from any which this tamer side of the world can present. Tall
  Indians, enveloped in their white buffalo robes, were striding
  across the area or reclining at full length on the low roofs
  of the buildings which enclosed it. Numerous squaws, gayly
  bedizened, sat grouped in front of the rooms they occupied;
  their mongrel offspring, restless and vociferous, rambled in
  every direction through the fort; and the trappers, traders, and
  engagees of the establishment were busy at their labor or their

  Fort Laramie is one of the posts established by the “American Fur
  Company” which well nigh monopolizes the Indian trade of this
  region. Here its officials rule with an absolute sway; the arm of
  the United States has little force; for when we were there the
  extreme outposts of her troops were about seven hundred miles to
  the eastward. The little fort is built of bricks dried in the
  sun, and externally is of an oblong form, with bastions of clay,
  in the form of ordinary blockhouses, at two of the corners. The
  walls are about fifteen feet high, and surmounted by a slender
  palisade. The roofs of the apartments within, which are built
  close against the walls, serve the purpose of a banquette.
  Within, the fort is divided by a partition: on one side is
  the square area, surrounded by the offices, store-rooms and
  apartments of the inmates; on the other is the corral, a narrow
  place, encompassed by high clay walls, where at night, or in
  presence of dangerous Indians, the horses and mules of the fort
  are crowded for safe keeping. The main entrance has two gates,
  with an arched passage intervening. A little square window, high
  above the ground, opens laterally from an adjoining chamber
  into this passage; so that when the inner gate is closed end
  barred, a person without may still hold communication with those
  within, through this narrow aperture. This obviates the necessity
  of admitting suspicious Indians, for the purposes of trading,
  into the body of the fort; for when danger is apprehended, the
  inner gate is shut fast and all traffic is carried on by means
  of the window. This precaution, though necessary at some of
  the Company’s posts, is seldom resorted to at Fort Laramie;
  where though men are frequently killed in the neighborhood no
  apprehensions are felt of any general design of hostility from
  the Indians.

A train of emigrants encamped outside the fort for the night on
their long journey across the plains.

  A crowd of broad-rimmed hats, thin visages, and staring eyes
  appeared suddenly at the gate. Tall, awkward men in brown
  homespun; women, with cadaverous faces and long lank figures,
  came thronging in together, and as if inspired by the very
  demon of curiosity ransacked every nook and corner of the fort.
  The emigrants prosecuted their investigations with untiring
  vigor. They penetrated the rooms, or, rather, dens, inhabited
  by the astonished squaws. Resolved to search every mystery to
  the bottom, they explored the apartments of the men, and even
  that of Marie and the bourgeois (the commandant of the fort).
  At last a numerous deputation appeared at our door but found no
  encouragement to remain.... Having at length satisfied their
  curiosity, they next proceeded to business.

On the 19th of August, 1854, a Mormon train was encamped about ten
miles below the fort on the Platte River. The Indians having killed
a cow or ox belonging to the train had been complained of by the
Mormons to the commanding officer, who sent Lieutenant Grattan,
of the Sixth United States Infantry, with thirty men of Company
G and two howitzers, to recover the cow and bring the thieves to
the garrison. They met a large number of Indians (Sioux) under the
leadership of a chief named Mattoioway about eight miles from the
fort and a conflict ensued in which Lieutenant Grattan’s command,
with the exception of one man, was annihilated. The survivor was
hidden in some bushes by a friendly Indian and brought to the fort
that night where he died two days afterward. The bodies of the
slain were buried in one grave where they fell and a pile of stones
marks their resting place.



The Alamo, which is famous for its heroic defence against the
Mexicans by Travis and his men, is situated in San Antonio, Texas,
and is the point of pilgrimage annually for many hundreds of the
visitors to the southwestern United States. On the outskirts of San
Antonio is the modern great military plant, Fort Sam Houston, the
Alamo’s lusty successor.

The Alamo, as late as 1870, was used for military purposes by the
United States government, but of recent years it has been preserved
purely as a monument to those brave men who lost their lives in
it fighting bravely to the last a battle which they knew to be
hopeless from the first. Upon the front of the building has been
placed an inscription which reads, “Thermopylæ had its messenger
of defeat. The Alamo had none.” The building, itself, is a low
structure of the familiar Spanish mission type, and its main walls,
though constructed in 1744, are almost as solid to-day as when new.
The chapel of the Alamo bears the date 1757, but this was of later
building than the rest of the place.

The city of San Antonio owes its foundation to the establishment
in 1715 by Spain of the mission of San Antonio de Valero, which
in accordance with the custom of that country combined priestly
enterprise with military prerogative. The Alamo was a quadrangular,
central court structure built to house the troops of Spain and
to sound the call to worship. It was acquired by Mexico with the
rest of the Spanish possessions when this southern neighbor of the
United States, in 1824, finally secured its independence from the
parent country.

At the time of the siege, San Antonio was a town of about 7,000
inhabitants, the vast majority Mexican. The San Antonio river
which, properly speaking, is a large rivulet, divided the town from
the Alamo, the former on the west side and the latter on the east.
South of the fort was the Alamo village, a small suburb of San

The fort itself was in the condition in which it had been left by
Cos, the Mexican general, when it had been surrendered in the fall
of 1835. It contained twelve guns which were of little use in the
hands of men unskilled in their use, and owing to the construction
of the works most of the guns had little width of range.

In command of the place at the beginning of the winter of 1835
was Colonel Neill, of Texas, with two companies of volunteers,
among whom was a remnant of the New Orleans Greys. Early in 1836
Lieutenant Colonel William B. Travis, a brave and careful officer,
was appointed by the Governor of Texas, which had as yet only a
provisional government, to relieve Colonel Neill of his command.


  By courtesy of the War Department


From a sketch upon Map of the Country in the Vicinity of San
Antonio de Bexar made by J. Edmund Blake, 1st Lieut. Topographical
Engineers, U. S. A.]

The volunteers, a hard-headed and independent lot, wished to choose
their own leader though they were willing to have Travis second in
command, and called a meeting, where they elected as full colonel
one of their number, James Bowie, a forceful figure of early Texan
history. Bowie’s name to-day unfortunately is chiefly remembered
by virtue of the “Bowie” knife. Travis arrived at the fort early
in February, just two weeks before the Mexicans under the detested
Santa Ana came in view, and naturally enough refused to recognize
the superior authority of the officer so informally placed in
power, as did the men whom he had brought with him. There was thus
divided authority in the Alamo at the time of the siege.

All disputes were dropped, however, upon the approach of the enemy.
The advance detachment of the Mexican force which came in four
divisions arrived in San Antonio on February 22, and was welcomed
by an eighteen-pound shot from the little American garrison. Santa
Ana procured a parley and demanded the surrender of the entire
garrison, the terms to be left to his discretion.

A dramatic scene took place in the Alamo, tradition tells us,
when news of this proposal came to the ill-starred place. Colonel
Travis drew a line upon the ground. “All those who prefer to fight
will cross this line,” he is reported to have said. Every man
crossed the line and Bowie, who had been stricken to his bed with
pneumonia, roused enough to ask that his cot be carried with his
men. It was well understood that the issue of the fray, if once
Santa Ana succeeded in taking the post, would be the death of every
man without mercy; and the chances of withstanding an attack were
known to be weak.

When finally the Mexican host was assembled it numbered about
twenty-five hundred men. The American garrison, which was swelled
by a reinforcement of 32 men from Gonzales who managed to get
through the lines of the besiegers into the fort, numbered
altogether 188 men. The siege commenced on the 24th of February and
continued without cessation until the morning of the 6th of March,
when there was a grand assault.

The final assault occupied not more than half an hour. The blast
of a bugle was followed by the shuffle of a rushing mass of men.
The guns of the fort opened upon the charging columns which came
from all directions. The outer walls were taken despite the efforts
of the pitiful handful of their defenders, and the battle then
became a series of desperate fights from room to room of the old
structure. Travis fell with a single shot through his forehead
and his gun was turned on the building. Bowie was found on his
cot in his room at the point of death from the malady which had
stricken him; with his last flicker of strength he shot down with
his pistols more than one of his assailants before he was butchered
where he lay, too weak to move his body.

The chapel was the last point taken and the inmates of this
stronghold fought with unremitting fury, firing down from the upper
part of the structure after the enemy had taken the floor. Toward
the close of this episode Lieutenant Dickenson, with his child
strapped to his back, leaped from the east embrasure. Both were
shot in the act.

One of the garrison was Davy Crockett, a well-known and beloved
backwoodsman, known for his quaint sayings and homely wisdom.
Crockett was found beside a gun in the west battery with a pile of
slain around him.

The number of Mexicans killed has never been correctly estimated
though it has been placed as high as a thousand. The most accurate
estimate lies probably between 500 and 600.

A few hours after the engagement the bodies of the slaughtered
garrison were gathered by the victors, laid in three heaps and
burned. On February 25, 1837, the bones and ashes were collected by
order of General Sam Houston, as well as could be done, and buried
with military honors in a peach orchard then outside Alamo village
and a few hundred yards from the fort. The place of burial was not
preserved and the ground which contains the remains of these heroic
men has long since been built over.

During the Mexican War the walls of the Alamo buildings were
repaired and the buildings newly roofed for the use of the
quartermaster’s department.

Fort Sam Houston, the modern successor of the ancient Alamo, was
first located on Houston Street where one of San Antonio’s great
new hotels now stands. Its present ideal situation on a high
plateau 762 feet above the level of the Gulf of Mexico was chosen
in 1872 and the grounds first comprised 162 acres of land. The fort
was built around a quadrangle 624 feet square, in the centre of
which was erected a gray stone tower 88 feet in height. Of recent
years large accessions of land have made the post over one thousand
acres in extent and the buildings have been largely added to, over
two and a half millions of dollars being expended upon the fort by
the national government. It is now one of the most important of the
United States’ military possessions. During the Spanish-American
war the place acquired celebrity as being the scene of organization
and training of the Rough Riders.

Immediately before the outbreak of the Civil War the Alamo was
commanded by that soldier who was to lead the armies of the
Lost Cause and whose name is a household heritage in the south
to-day, Robert E. Lee. Associated with him here was Albert Sydney
Johnston. The house occupied by General Lee was situated on South
Alamo street and here he wrote his resignation to the United
States authorities before assuming command of the enthusiastic and
untrained masses of Southerners.

During the Civil War San Antonio was the headquarters of the
Confederacy in the southwest and the Alamo was used for storage.



One of the most dreadful Indian fights in the history of the Middle
West is associated with Fort Phil Kearney, on the Platte River,
Nebraska, which was in 1848, at the time of its establishment,
the only United States post between Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 350
miles distant, and Fort Laramie, 420 miles to the west. It stood
midway between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains on the
California Overland route and was established for the protection of
west-bound emigrant trains from hostile Indians.

Fort Phil Kearney was a storm centre during the Sioux War, which
began in 1863 and continued intermittently for nearly ten years,
and the “Kearney Massacre” occurred during this time. On the
morning of December 21, 1866, the fort received word that the wood
train was being attacked by Indians and was in need of assistance.
Immediately Brevet Lieutenant Colonel W. I. Fetterman with
seventy-six men was ordered to protect the train.

Colonel Fetterman moved rapidly upon his errand, and the sound of
heavy firing soon showed that he was in contact with the enemy. The
firing continued so long that the commandant, Colonel Carrington,
became alarmed for the safety of the detachment and sent out as
many men as he could spare for reinforcement. These men were under
Captain Ten Eyck. The rest of the story may be taken up in the
words of Senate Document 13, 1867:

  Colonel Ten Eyck reported as soon as he reached the summit
  commanding a view of the battle-field that the valley was full of
  Indians; that he could see nothing of Colonel Fetterman’s party,
  and requested that a howitzer should be sent him. The howitzer
  was not sent.

  The Indians who at first beckoned him to come down now commenced
  retreating and Captain Ten Eyck, advancing to a point where the
  Indians had been standing in a circle, found the dead, naked
  bodies of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Fetterman, Captain Brown and
  about sixty-five of the soldiers of their command.... At about
  half the distance from where these bodies lay to the point where
  the road commences to descend to Peno Creek was the dead body of
  Lieutenant Grummond, and still farther on, at the point where the
  road commences to descend to Peno Creek, were the dead bodies
  of three citizens and four or five of the old, long-tried and
  experienced soldiers.

  Our conclusion, therefore, is that the Indians were massed on
  both sides of the road; that the Indians attacked vigorously
  in force from fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred warriors and
  were successfully resisted for half an hour or more; that the
  command then being short of ammunition and seized with panic at
  this event, and the great numerical superiority of the Indians,
  attempted to retreat toward the fort; that the mountaineers and
  old soldiers who had learned that movement from the Indians
  in an engagement was equivalent to death remained in their
  first position and were killed there; that, immediately upon
  the commencement of the retreat, the Indians charged upon and
  surrounded the party who could not now be formed by their
  officers and the party was immediately killed.

  Only six of the whole command were killed by balls and two of
  these, Lieutenant Colonel Fetterman and Captain Brown, no doubt
  inflicted this death upon themselves, or each other, by their own
  hands for both were shot through the left temple and powder was
  burnt into the skin and flesh about the wound. These officers had
  also oftentimes asserted that they would not be taken alive by
  the Indians.

In its appearance Fort Kearney was typical of the Indian forts of
the period, being little more than a stockade on the level prairie
with the necessary houses inside. The parade ground occupied four
acres and was flanked by a few straggly cottonwood trees. The post
was deserted not long after the building of the Union Pacific
railroad six miles away, which destroyed the reason of its being;
after its desertion fell victim to its ancient enemy, for it was
burned by the Indians.

Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth, near Kansas City, Kansas, whose
name occurs so often in the records of Indian warfare of the
West, was established May, 1827, by Colonel Henry Leavenworth,
commanding a detachment of the Third United States Infantry. At
first the post was extremely unhealthy, a large part of the command
being prostrated by malarial fever. It was evacuated in 1820 and
reoccupied in 1830, then, and for several years, being known as
Cantonment Leavenworth. Since the latter date the place has never
been without United States troops and it is to-day the largest
fixed post in the United States military service.

The first mission of Fort Leavenworth was to protect the emigrant
trains which set out from St. Louis, several hundred miles to the
east, and passed this point on the way to California, or Oregon,
by the famous old Santa Fé Trail, the California Overland Trail or
the Oregon Trail, each of which went by this place. As the years
went on the fort became more and more a base of supply for the army
posts established further west. Its central location, which made
it ideal as a distributing point to any part of the West, is the
factor which is at the base of its importance in the present day.

Fort Fetterman, Wyoming, was established in July, 1867, and named
in honor of the officer who lost his life commanding the detachment
destroyed by the Indians at Fort Kearney. In the following month
the Indians of the vicinity were actively hostile. The old post was
a most picturesque point in its day, being situated on a high bluff
which shows its pointed palisade in fine relief against the sky. It
is now deserted.


Fort Bridger, Wyoming, another of the Indian posts of the past,
was one of the most important points on the Great Salt Lake Trail.
It was located on the Black Fork of the Green River and was
established in June, 1858. The immediate locality had long been
known as Bridger’s Fort because of the situation here of a trading
post of James Bridger, one of the most noted trappers and guides
of this section. In its establishment it was intended to be a base
of supplies for the army of General Albert Sydney Johnston moving
against the Mormons in Salt Lake Valley in 1857 to 1858. That
winter the entire command encamped in the valley just above the
site of Fort Bridger and upon its removal the permanent post was

Fort Keogh, Montana, one of the still existing Indian posts, was
established, in 1876, on the right bank of the Yellowstone River,
two miles above the mouth of the Tongue River, Custer County, on
a high elevation above the river bottom, by General Terry during
a campaign against the Sioux. It was named in honor of Captain
Miles Keogh, killed in the battle of the Little Big Horn, popularly
known as Custer’s Massacre, June 25, 1876. The area of the post
reservation is 90 square miles. In appearance Fort Keogh is typical
of the other forts of its class.

Fort Douglas, Utah, is at the base of the plateau of the Wahsatch
Mountains and is part of the suburbs of Salt Lake City. The
reservation contains two square miles of territory, and the scenery
from any part thereof is extremely fine. The post was established
October, 1862, by Colonel P. E. Connor, of the Third Regiment of
California Infantry.



To delve into the history of Fort Vancouver, or Vancouver Barracks
as it is known to-day, is to recall that time when the far
northwest of the United States was in the making, when there was no
definite boundary between England, Spain, Russia and the American
nation in this part of the American continent and when all of these
great nations, with the addition of France and little Portugal, to
boot, were claimants to the Columbia River and the wildernesses
which it held tributary.

The first white men to descry the mouth of the Columbia from the
sea were, no doubt, the Spaniards, for Heceta, in 1775, and Bodega
and Arteaga in the same year and, again, in 1779, made brief
excursions into the river. In 1792 Captain Robert Gray, of Boston,
with the good ship “Columbia,” ascended the stream for twenty-five
miles and claimed possession of it for the United States. He named
the river for his vessel. Several months after Gray had been on
the stream the English nation, as represented by Captain Cook’s
lieutenant, ascended the stream for over a hundred miles, making
careful record of his trip. The three great nations Spain, England,
and the United States had each valid claims. Portugal, Russia and
France were early eliminated from the struggle for possession
which was thereupon fought determinedly by the first three

In 1819 by the Florida treaty with Spain that country ceded to
the United States all of her claims north of the 42nd degree of
latitude and so, here, Spain gracefully stepped out of the ring.

The close of the War of 1812 with Great Britain saw that power in
possession of the disputed country, but the Treaty of Ghent, 1815,
provided that each nation should restore what it had taken from
the other by force. Thereupon the United States resumed possession
of the fort at the mouth of the Columbia which it had formerly
maintained. In 1818 was signed the Joint Occupation Treaty between
the two countries, by which it was provided that the northwest
coast of America should be open to citizens of both powers for the
period of ten years. Finally, in 1846, was signed the agreement
between Great Britain and the United States by which the northern
boundary of the Northwest was fixed at the line of 49 degrees,
where it rests to-day. The United States received about 750 miles
of the river and England about 650 miles. While there was much
diplomatic jockeying and juggling and while the two nations came
perilously close to a resort to arms, the question, on the whole,
was settled with great amicableness and the decision once arrived
at was accepted with entire good nature by each party to the

Now let us ask why was it that the Northwest of those days was
considered so great a prize that six of the World Powers should
contend for its possession? The domain, though a princely one, was
not a necessity to a young nation--our own--which had illimitable
leagues of arable soil still unfilled. It was remote from all of
the powers of Europe. The answer to our question is to be found
in the one word, furs. The Northwest was a treasure house through
virtue of the fur-bearing animals which it contained.

As early as 1806 a trading station was established in the valley
of the Columbia River by The Northwest Fur Company, an English
corporation. In 1810 the Pacific Fur Company, which was to found
the fortunes of John Jacob Astor, was organized by that gentleman
in New York and, in 1811, the first of Astor’s ships arrived at the
mouth of the Columbia River to erect the trading post of Astoria,
whose fortunes have been so entertainingly told by Washington
Irving in the book of that name. The Hudson Bay Company had also
made entrance to this rich field.

During the War of 1812 the Pacific Fur Company retired from its
positions in the Columbia valley and the Hudson Bay Company
absorbed its English rival, the Northwest Fur Company. The English
built a strong fort at Astoria which they called Fort George. But
several years after the conclusion of the war between England and
America, the Pacific Fur Company resumed possession of its posts
in the Columbia, with the backing of the United States government,
under the authority of the Treaty of Ghent and the Hudson Bay
Company, and though events proved that it could maintain an
amicable joint household with Astor’s corporation at Astoria, began
to look about for a site for headquarters of its own. Since the
Columbia River at that time seemed destined to become the dividing
line between English and American possessions, a site was chosen
on the north side of the river, about 120 miles above its mouth.
Here a strong post was established in 1825 and named Vancouver, in
honor of the British mariner. The site was not deemed as suitable
for the purposes of a fort as a situation a short distance away, so
a second Fort Vancouver was built on the last chosen spot. This is
the Fort Vancouver of the present day, and the site of the city of
Vancouver, Washington.

The new post was made the Pacific head-quarters for the Hudson
Bay Company and became a great mart of trade from California to
Alaska and for innumerable little stations in the Rocky mountains
and the hinterland thereof. The fort, itself, was an imposing
structure with a picket wall twenty feet high, buttressed with
massive timbers inside. It enclosed a parallelogram five hundred
feet by seven hundred feet and contained forty buildings, including
a governor’s residence of generous proportions. The lands outside
of the fort proper were cultivated and were exceedingly productive.
The employees of the company were comfortably housed and formed a
happy community, and to the point came red men in various garbs,
hunters, trappers and woodsmen, a picturesque throng in craft of
all description.

This is a sketch of the post in 1816, the year in which, through
the treaty between England and America, it became a possession of
the United States. In 1810 a company of United States Artillery,
under Captain J. H. Hathaway, took possession of the place in the
name of the republic and the stars and stripes waved where the lion
of St. George had held the breeze. It is an interesting commentary
of the times to remember that to reach their destination Captain
Hathaway and his soldiers were obliged to sail around Cape Horn in
a sailing vessel, the voyage consuming many months. In the Spring
of 1850 a company of mounted riflers arrived at the post overland
from Fort Leavenworth.

An additional interest is given Fort Vancouver by knowing that at
various periods prior to the Civil War Grant, Sheridan, McClellan,
Hooker, and other of the famous United States leaders of the Civil
War were stationed here. It was in a campaign against the Indians
not far distant from Fort Vancouver that General Sheridan fought
his first battle.



The comedian of Uncle Sam’s military posts is old Fort Yuma on
the Colorado River at the southwestern extremity of California.
To mention the name in a barrack-room where there are seasoned
soldiers is to call forth a reminiscent smile and the old story of
the hen that laid hard-boiled eggs. These and that other one of
the officers, who when they die at Fort Yuma and appear before his
Satanic Majesty (by some strange miscarriage of justice) shiver
with cold and send back to the fort for their blankets.

Other posts in Uncle Sam’s itinerary are hot, but Fort Yuma spends
all of its time in heating up with a passion for its work and an
unrelenting attention to detail that have become legendary. During
the months of April, May, and June no rainfall comes, and the
average temperature is 105° in the shade. Of course the post does
much better on some occasions, and at other times it falls below
this batting average.

The most active days of Fort Yuma as a military post were found
just before and for a few years subsequent to the Civil War,
though that great conflict had no part in Yuma’s past. During the
days that California was having its mind made up for it to become
a part of the United States, and during the days in which it
was beginning the great experiment indicated, Yuma was of much
importance as a base for United States troops. In addition to this
it exercised and has always exercised a restraining influence upon
those restless spirits of the desert, the Apache Indians. Being
situated on the border between the United States and Mexico, it has
some little to do in seeing that the customs regulations of this
country are preserved. And it has always secured importance from
being one of the stations on the old Santa Fé trail.

After receiving the Gila at a point 100 miles from its mouth, the
Colorado River turns suddenly westward and forces its way through a
rocky defile, 70 feet high and 350 yards long and 200 yards wide,
thus cutting off a narrow rocky bluff and leaving it as an isolated
eminence on the California side of the river. Here stands Fort
Yuma, grey and sombre above the green bottom lands of the river,
which are covered with a dense growth of cottonwood and mesquite.
Chains of low serrated hills and mountains limit the view on nearly
every side--all bare and grey save when painted by the sun with
delicate hues of blue and purple.


  By courtesy of the War Department


Before reaching the fort the traveller passes through a long road
shaded by young cottonwoods and mesquite interspersed with an
impenetrable growth of arrow-bush and cane. Then he comes to a
bend of the river where the water loses the ruddy tint which gives
it its musical name of “Colorado” and, finally, he brings up
at the fortification, which in the distance appeared heavy and
forbidding but which near at hand resolves itself into a collection
of substantial adobe houses inclosed by deep verandas with Venetian
blinds which shut out every direct ray of sunlight.

All the buildings at the post are of sun-dried brick and neatly
plastered within and without. They are one story in height, have
large rooms with lofty ceilings and facilities for the freest
ventilation. The roof and walls are double, inclosing an air
chamber. Each house is surrounded by a veranda and adjacent houses
have their verandas in communication, so that the occupants may
pass from one to another without exposing themselves to the heat of
the sun.

What entitles the post to the name of fort are certain
unpretentious intrenchments scattered along the slopes of the bluff
overlooking the river and commanding the bottom lands adjacent.
They are not visible from the river and the visitor is not aware
of their existence until he steps to the edge of the bluff and
looks down upon them. The parade is a stony lawn. Not a blade of
grass is to be seen and everything is of that ashy light-grey color
so trying to the eyes. It is a relief to gaze out upon the green
bottom lands through which one passed before ascending to the top
of the eminence where stands the fort.

Being so excessively dry the air at this post plays strange pranks
with articles made for use in less arid climates, as many a young
officer’s wife has found to her cost when bringing trunks and other
household paraphernalia to her new home. Furniture put together in
the North and brought here falls to pieces; travelling chests gape
at their seams, and a sole-leather trunk contracts so much that the
tray must be pried out by force.

Ink dries so rapidly upon the pen that it requires washing off
every few minutes and a No. 2 pencil leaves no more trace upon a
piece of paper than a piece of anthracite coal would leave. To use
a pencil it is necessary to have it kept immersed in water before
calling upon it for service. Newspapers require to be unfolded
with care, for if handled roughly they crumble. Boxes of soap that
weigh twelve pounds when shipped to Fort Yuma weigh only ten pounds
after having been there for several weeks. Hams lose 12 per cent.
in weight and rice 2 per cent. Eggs lose their watery contents
by evaporation and become thick and tough. The effort to cool
one’s self with an ordinary fan is vain, because the surrounding
atmosphere is of higher temperature than the body. The earth under
foot is dry and powdery and hot as flour just ground, while the
rocks are so hot that the hands cannot be borne upon them.

“The story of the dog that ran across the parade at mid-day on
three legs barking at every step may be correct,” writes an officer
who was stationed there, “though I have never seen it tried.”


In the nature of the case field fortifications are temporary
erections, earthworks thrown up for an immediate emergency; but,
occasionally some bright deed or some momentous consequence gives
these defences a fame more enduring than walls of stone planned
with deliberation and executed with leisured care.

Who has not heard of Valley Forge and the heroic winter of
1777-1778 which Washington spent there with his meagerly clad men?
Valley Forge is now a public reservation about twelve miles north
of Philadelphia, on the Schuylkill River. Excursion trains run out
from that city to the park, so it is easy of access. The grounds
cover hundreds of acres, but the principal points are plainly
marked and may be quickly reached.

One of the most interesting souvenirs of Washington’s immortal
encampment at Valley Forge is the little stone house which the
great commander used as his headquarters. An unpretentious,
substantial structure of the typical style of building of the days
in which it was constructed, it is in excellent preservation,
strong and sturdy as on the day of its erection. The building
contains numerous Washington relics and curios collected by the
State authorities or presented to the park by men and women of
various parts of the nation.

One of the most conspicuous objects of the reservation is the
Memorial Arch erected by the United States government to the memory
of the men and officers who shared the privations of that terrible
winter at this spot. It is of Roman character and stands on a
commanding eminence in the central part of the grounds. Near at
hand is planned the Washington Memorial Chapel, which the Future
may complete, or leave unbuilt, as it sees fit.

Fort Washington, a small redoubt or earth, is not far from the Arch
and has been carefully preserved against the encroachments of Time.
The lines of the earthworks may also be made out.

A historic site is Yorktown, Virginia, the sleepy little village
on the peninsula between the James and York rivers Cornwallis
surrendered to Washington and the French allies in 1781, thus
making sure of American Independence, and where the Army of the
Potomac encamped under McClellan in 1862, throwing up massive
earthworks. The traces of both Cornwallis’ and McClellan’s
encampments are easily to be made out to-day.

[Illustration: National Memorial Arch

Washington’s Headquarters


The American and French forces marched from Williamsburg, September
28, 1781, driving in the British outposts at Yorktown as they
approached and taking possession of the abandoned outworks. Forming
a semicircular line about two miles from the British intrenchments
they completely invested the enemy, the York River enclosing his
forces to the northeast. October 17, Cornwallis offered to discuss
terms of surrender.

The beginning of the year 1863--to make a jump from the
Revolution to the Civil War--saw the turning of the tide for
the United States, and it was in this year that the decisive
battles of Vicksburg, Gettysburg and Chattanooga were fought. The
battle-grounds of each of these engagements have been created
national parks and are maintained in such a fashion that the
visitor may follow the movements of the troops in those great

After the capture of the posts north of Vicksburg, on the
Mississippi, and the opening of the mouth of the river by
Farragut’s taking of New Orleans in 1862, Vicksburg was the only
remaining defence of the Confederacy on the Mississippi, and
the sole remaining link between the Confederacy’s east and west
portions. The principal works of the city were on a commanding
eminence, giving a clear sweep of the river and the surrounding
country, which was swampy and almost impassable. They were
competently manned, capably officered and well supplied.

The place, altogether, was deemed almost impregnable. To follow
out all of the steps by which its reduction was brought about is
not the province of this chapter. The United States troops under
the comparatively unknown commander, U. S. Grant, began to operate
at the end of January, 1863, and on July 4 concluded their task
in the unconditional surrender of the main fortification of the
Confederates. The surrender of Vicksburg came one day after the
conclusion of the battle of Gettysburg which occupied the first
three days of July.

The reservation of the Vicksburg National Park contains 1,255.07
acres and was acquired pursuant to an Act of Congress approved
February 21, 1899.

The grounds of the Gettysburg National Park, Adams County,
Pennsylvania, comprise 2,054 acres and their acquisition was
commenced in 1873. The scenes of the principal movements of the
battle have been marked with suitable monuments. The battle of
Gettysburg proved conclusively that the South could not invade the
North. It was the last gallant attempt of a completely invested
country to strike a fatal blow before the strangle-hold of its
enemy should bring the end.

[Illustration: The Slaughter Hollow

The Entrance to the Tunnel


The largest of the national military parks is Chickamauga and
Chattanooga National Park, which comprises 5,688 acres in the
State of Georgia, in addition to nearly 150 acres in the State
of Tennessee, the park being situated on the line between the
States. In Tennessee is located Lookout Mountain. The acquisition
of this reservation began under the provisions of an Act of
Congress approved August 19, 1890.

On the outskirts of Petersburg, Virginia, the remains of Forts
Haskell and Steadman, the scene of the “Crater” episode, and part
of the defences of the capital of the Confederacy which fell
before Grant in 1865, have been preserved as a private enterprise.
For a small consideration the “Crater” and the earthworks will
be shown to the visitor. The Federal forces opposed to Fort
Steadman--at the suggestion of a miner from Chambersburg, Pa., it
is said--constructed a long tunnel from their lines to beneath the
Confederate stronghold. An enormous quantity of powder was here,
and when it was set off a body of soldiers was to charge through
the breach and take the Confederate positions.

The powder was exploded and the plan was successful in so far that
it blew several hundred men into eternity, but when the attacking
column reached the cavity in the ground its men became confused,
giving the Confederates time to reform and to pour in a terrible
fire upon the Union men concentrated in the broken ground below.
The result was terrible carnage of United States troops. The
“Crater” had become a death trap. Nearly three thousand men were
killed in it in thirty minutes, the most disastrous loss the
Federal forces suffered in so short a time during the war.

The “Crater” to-day is a peaceful spot glorified by tall trees
which keep the scene in continual gloom. The depression in the
ground is ten feet or more in depth and about two hundred feet in
diameter. A short walk brings one to the entrance to the tunnel
where the lines of the United States were stretched.


  Adams, Fort, Newport, R. I., 222-231

  Alamo, Texas, 279-284

  Allen, Ethan, 63, 70

  Amsterdam, Fort, 37

  André, Major, 156

  Andros, Edmund, Royal Governor of Mass., 29, 107

  Annapolis Royal, 2, 84-92

  Arnold, Benedict, 64, 82;
    his treason, 154 et seq., 169, 171, 238

  Atares Castle, Havana, 206

  Baltimore, Fort at, 180-189

  Battery, The, New York City, 46

  Belfast, Me., 90

  Belle Rive, Louis St. Ange de, Commanding Chartres, 12;
    stationed at Vincennes, 14;
    surrenders Chartres to English, 14

  Boston, Fort at, 25-35

  Boston Tea Party, 31

  Bourbon, Fort, on the Mississippi, 263

  Bowie, James, inventor of Bowie knife, 281

  Braddock, 18;
    his march and death, 19, 53, 127

  Bradford, Wm., 106

  Brownsville, Pa., 21

  Burgoyne, General, 64

  Burnet, Governor of New York, 122, 123, 124

  Cadillac, La Motte, 132

  Caen, Emery de, 75

  Canseau, Nova Scotia, expedition against, 2;
    fleet arrives at, 7

  Castine, Baron Vincent de, 103, 104

  Castle Garden, New York City, 46

  Castle St. Louis, Quebec, 72, 77, 82

  Castle William, Boston, 25, 35

  Castle Williams, New York Harbor, 46

  Champlain, Memorial Light House, 67

  Champlain, Samuel, 49, 50, 51, 52, 60, 72, 73;
    dies at Quebec, 76

  Charles, Fort, Me., 107

  Charleston, South Carolina, Fort at, 241-250

  Chartres, Fort, site selected, 11;
    disastrous expedition leaves, 12;
    second fort built, 12;
    surrenders to English, 14

  Chebucto Bay, 93, 94, 97

  Chicago, Illinois, 21;
    historical Society, 23

  Cincinnati, Ohio, 24

  Citadel of Halifax, 93-97

  Citadel of Quebec, 72-83

  Clark, Fort, Illinois, 24

  Clark, George Rogers, 23, 24, 144, 145

  Clinton, Fort, New York City, 46

  Clinton, Fort, New York, 148, 149

  Columbus, Fort, New York, 36-48

  Constitution, Fort, New Hampshire, 161-166

  Constitution, Fort, New York, 150

  Cornbury, Governor of New Amsterdam, 41

  Covington, Fort, 187

  “Crater,” The, near Petersburg, Virginia, 303

  Crevecœur, Fort, 15

  Crockett, Davy, falls at Alamo, 283

  Crown Point, 53, 66-71

  Damariscotta, 3

  Davenport, Captain Richard, 28

  Davis, Jeff, cell at Fort Monroe, 235

  Dearborn, Fort, 21, 22, 23

  Dearborn, General, Secretary of War, 35

  Defiance, Mount, 64

  De Soto, 142, 201

  Diamond, Fort, 45

  Dieskau, 54, 55, 56, 69

  Donop, Count, 177

  Dorchester, Mass., 32

  Douglas, Fort, Utah, 289 et seq.

  Drake, Sir Francis, menaces Havana, 203

  Duchambon, successor to Duquesnel, 8

  Dufferin Terrace, Quebec, 72, 83

  Dummer, William, Governor of Mass., 29

  Dumplings, Fort, near Newport, R. I., 231

  Duquesne, Fort, erected, 18;
    falls to England, 19

  Duquesne, Governor-General of Canada, 18

  Duquesnel, Commandant of Louisburg, 2

  Edward, Fort, New York, 57

  Erie, Pa., 20

  Falls of Minnehaha, 268

  Federal Hill Fort, Baltimore, 188, 189

  Fetterman, Wyoming, 288 et seq.

  Franklin, Pa., 21

  Frederick, Fort, Maine, 105-112

  Frenchman’s Bay, Me., 88

  Frontenac, in command at Quebec, 77, 78, 79, 110

  Frontenac, Fort (Kingston, Canada), 114, 127

  Gage, Fort, 23, 24

  George, Fort, at mouth of Columbia River, Ore., 292

  George, Fort, Me., 98-104

  George, Fort, New York City, 37

  Gettysburg, 302

  Governor’s Island, New York Harbor, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 44-48

  Griswold, Fort, Conn., 167-172

  Hamilton, Fort, New York, 45

  Havana, Cuba, Forts at, 201-206

  Heald, Captain Nathan, 22, 23

  Heights of Quebec, 72-83

  Hennepin, Friar Louis, and his map, 114

  Holmes, Major, 140

  Holmes, Fort, Michigan, 131-140

  Howe, Sir William, 59

  Independence, Fort, Boston, 25-35, 148

  Irving, Washington, 36

  Jackson, Fort, Louisiana, 263-267

  Jay, Fort, New York, 36-48

  Johnson, William, of New York, 53, 54, 55, 56, 69, 104, 117, 119

  Johnston, General Albert Sidney, 284

  Kaskaskia, Illinois, 143

  Keogh, Fort, Montana, 289

  Key, Francis Scott, 180, 187

  Kirke, Admiral Sir David, attacks Quebec, 74

  Kosciuszko, 151

  Lafayette, Fort, 45

  La Fuerza, Cuba, 201-206

  Laramie, Fort, Wyoming, 273-278

  Larrabee, Captain Lieutenant John, 30

  La Salle, Robert Cavelier, 114, 131

  Laurel Moat, Havana, 206

  Leavenworth, Fort, Kansas, 287 et seq.

  Le Bœuf, Fort, 20, 21

  Lee, Robert E., 181;
    resigns from U. S. Army, 284

  Lescarbot, Marc, 86

  Louisburg, Nova Scotia, importance of, 1;
    incentives to attack, 2;
    preparations against, 4;
    a novel plan, 5;
    expedition sails, 6;
    strongest outlying work, 8;
    siege progresses, 10;
    restored to France, 10

  Louis de la Mobile, Fort, Alabama, 257

  McHenry, Fort, Maryland, 180-189

  McHenry, James, Secretary of War, 184

  McKenzie, Sir William’s experiment in Nova Scotia, 88, 89

  M’Lean, Colonel Francis, 100

  Mackinac Island, State park commission, 140

  Marion, Fort, Florida, 190-200

  Marion, General Francis, 199

  Marquette, Father, 131-132

  Massac, Fort, Illinois, 21, 141-146

  Matanzas Inlet, Florida, 192

  Menendez, Juan, de Aviles, 193

  Mercer, Fort, New Jersey, 175

  Mermet, Father, 142, 143

  Metropolis, Illinois, 141

  Michillimackinac, Michigan, 131-140

  Mifflin, Fort, Pa., 173-179

  Monitor and Merrimac, seen from Fort Monroe, 240

  Monroe, Fort, Virginia, 232-240

  Montcalm, Marquis de, 57, 59, 60, 62, 69, 127, 128

  Montgomery, Fort, Alabama, 212

  Montgomery, Fort, New York, 148, 149

  Montgomery, Richard, 82, 83

  Montmagny, Governor of Canada, 76

  Monts, Sieur de, discovers Annapolis basin, 82

  Morgan, Fort, Alabama, 257, 262

  Morro Castle, Cuba, 201-206

  Moultrie, Fort, South Carolina, 200, 241-250

  New London, Conn., 167 et seq.

  Newport, R. I., Forts at, 222-231

  Newport Artillery Co., 222

  Niagara, Fort, New York, 113-121

  Nonsense, Fort, 170

  Ontario, Fort, New York, 122-130

  Ordre de la Bon Temps, 86

  Osceola, Monument at Fort Moultrie, 244

  Oswego, New York, 122, 130

  Pell, S. H. P., of New York, restores Ticonderoga, 65

  Pell, William F., of New York, acquires Ticonderoga, 65

  Pemaquid, Maine, 105, 106, 111

  Pensacola, Florida, Fort at, 207-214

  Pentagoet, or Castine, 103, 105, 107

  Peoria, Illinois, 24

  Pepperell, William, of Kittery, Maine, chosen to head expedition, 5;
    home still standing, 5, 30, 125

  Phil Kearney, Fort, 285 et seq.

  Philadelphia, Fort at, 173-179

  Phips, Sir William, 29, 78, 79, 90, 108, 109

  Pickens, Fort, Florida, 213

  Pike, Lieutenant C. M., secures Fort Snelling reservation, 269

  Pipon, Captain John, 29

  Pitt, Fort, Block-house at Pittsburgh, 17

  Plains of Abraham, 81

  Port Henry, New York, 68

  Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Fort at, 161-166

  Potrincourt, Baron, founds Annapolis Royal, 84, 85, 87

  Presidio of San Francisco, Cal., 215-221

  Presque Isle, a memorial of, 20

  Principe Castle, Havana, 206

  Pulaski, Fort, Georgia, 251-256

  Putnam, Fort, 152

  Putnam, General Israel, 148, 151

  Quebec, 49, 51, 62;
    Historic Forts at, 72-83

  Redstone Old Fort, 21

  Renault, Phillippe Francois de, introduces negro slavery to
        Illinois, 11

  Revere, Lieutenant Colonel Paul, 33, 100, 163

  Ribaut, Jean, 192

  Richelieu Cardinal, 73

  Robinson, Col. Beverly, 156

  Roxbury, Mass., 32

  St. Augustine, Florida, Fort at, 190-200

  St. Clair, General Arthur, 64

  St. Denis, Juchereau de, 141, 142, 143

  St. Frederic, Fort, New York, 67, 68, 69, 70

  St. Louis, Fort, 14

  St. Paul, Minn., foundation, 272

  St. Philip, Fort, Louisiana, 263-267

  Sam Houston, Fort, Texas, 279-284

  Samoset sells land at Pemaquid, 106

  San Antonio, Texas, Forts at, 284-289

  San Carlos, Fort, Florida, 207-214

  Sandusky, Ohio, 21

  San Francisco, Cal., Presidio at, 215-221

  San Marco, Fort, 197, 198

  Scott, Fort Winfield, San Francisco, 220

  Screven, Fort, Georgia, 254

  Shippen, Margaret, 157-158

  Shirley, William Governor of Mass., organizes expedition against
        Louisburg, 3;
    his list of instructions, 6, 53, 116, 125

  Smith, Capt. John, sees Hampton Roads, 236

  Snelling, Fort, Minn., 268-272

  Stanwix, Fort, 129

  Star Spangled Banner, 188

  Starved Rock, Ill., 14

  Stony Point, New York, 158-160

  Sumter, Fort, South Carolina, 241-250

  Ticonderoga, New York, 49-65, 147

  Tracy, Uriah, 137

  Travis, Col. William B., of the Alamo, 280

  Trumbull, Fort, Conn., 167-172

  Turnbull, Col. John, 33

  Valesca, Luis de, his settlement at Pensacola Bay, 207

  Valley Forge, 179

  Vancouver, Fort, Washington, 290-294

  Van Twiller, Wouter, or Walter, Governor of New Amsterdam, 37, 38

  Vauban, 1, 56, 79

  Vaudreuil, last Governor of New France, 81

  Vaughan, William, of Damariscotta, suggests attack on Louisburg, 2;
    his career, 3;
    captures grand battery, 8, 9

  Venango, 21

  Vicksburg, Miss., 301

  Vincennes, Ind., 12

  Wadsworth, Peleg, 100, 102

  Walker, Admiral Sir Hovenden, 81

  Warren, Fort, 35

  Washington, Fort, Valley Forge, Pa., 300

  Washington, Fort, Cincinnati, Ohio, 24

  Washington, George, 18, 32, 33, 129, 155, 157, 168, 176, 226, 228

  Waterford, Pa., 20

  Wayne, “Mad” Anthony, 145, 159

  Wentworth, Sir John, Governor of New Hampshire, 162

  West Point, New York, 147-160

  White Hall, New York, 55

  Wilkinson, James, 145

  William Henry, Fort, Mass., 109, 110

  William and Mary, Fort, New Hampshire, 161-166

  William Henry, Fort, New York, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 119

  Winthrop, Fort, Boston, 26

  Winthrop, Governor of Mass., 27, 34

  Wolcott, Fort, Torpedo Station, 231

  Wolfe, captures, Quebec, 81

  Yorktown, Va., 64

  Yuma, Fort, Cal., 295-298

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained. For example:
  headquarters, head-quarters; care-taker, caretaker; employees,
  employés; emprize; rhymester; coehorns; repealment; gayety;

  Pg 26, ‘the frying fishes’ replaced by ‘the flying fishes’.
  Pg 34, ‘is certaintly’ replaced by ‘is certainly’.
  Pg 133, ‘the little setttlement’ replaced by ‘the little settlement’.
  Pg 190, ‘by a barbacan’ replaced by ‘by a barbican’.
  Pg 274, ‘Ogalla Sioux’ replaced by ‘Oglala Sioux’.
  Pg 291, ‘periously close’ replaced by ‘perilously close’.
  Pg 299, ‘his meagrely clad’ replaced by ‘his meagerly clad’.
  Pg 301, ‘on the Mississpipi’ replaced by ‘on the Mississippi’.

  ‘Cadillac, La Moote’ replaced by ‘Cadillac, La Motte’.
  ‘St. Philip, Fort, Louisana’ replaced by
        ‘St. Philip, Fort, Louisiana’.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Quaint and Historic Forts of North America" ***

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