Fort at No. 4 Living History Museum, New Hampshire

At the time of the French and Indian War, No. 4 was the northernmost British settlement, thirty miles from its nearest neighbor. The fort was actually a fortified village, created by pulling together five existing province houses, building a sixth one, and connecting them with leantos, and a large two-story building containing the only entry gate into the fort. The recreated fort now standing in Charlestown, New Hampshire is a living history museum of this early period.

Fort at No. 4 is located in Charlestown, New Hampshire, 1 1/2 miles from Exit 7, off I-91.

Fort de Chartres, Illinois

Next weekend is a big weekend in the Illinois County. Every year for the past 44 years, on the first weekend in June, the Commandant of Fort de Chartres in the Illinois County calls re-enactors from all across the county to a Rendezvous. Far off the beaten path, about 60 miles south of St. Louis, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, rests the remains of an Eighteenth Century French Colony. The population of the colony never reached more than 2000 inhabitant, but it played a significant part in the colonial expansion of the French Empire. For French outposts in the Mississippi River Valley and the Caribbean the Illinois Colony was the breadbasket. Fort de Chartres was the center of commerce and government of this colony.

There were three Forts de Chartres. The first was built in 1719 by Pierre Duque, Sieur de Boisbrant the newly appointed commander of the Illinois Country. But conditions in the Illinois Country were severe. By 1726, the flood waters of the Mississippi had destroyed much of this two bastioned wooden palisade fort. A second fort also made of wooden palisades met the same end by the end of the 1730s.

By this time the Illinois Country was becoming important to the Compagnie des Indes for its production of wheat and salt. The economy of the French in Illinois did include some fur trading and mining, but for the vast majority of the inhabitants farming was the chief occupation during most of the year.

The convoys from the Illinois country carried to the Gulf settlements, in 1748, 800,000 pounds of flour alone. Besides the flour the cargoes were made up of corn, bacon, hams from the bear as well as the hog, salt pork, buffalo meat, tallow, hides, tobacco, lead, copper, small quantities of buffalo wool, venison, bear’s oil, tongues, poultry and peltry, chiefly, however, the loads were made up of pork and flour.

In 1752 the shipment from Illinois to New Orleans was reported as “unusually large”. By the middle of the 1750s and well into the French and Indian War, Illinois supplied grain not only to Louisiana and the Caribbean but also to the outposts in the Ohio River Valley. This included Fort Ouiatenon, Massac, and Fort Duquesne.

Construction on the third Fort de Chartres began in the early 1750. Unlike its predecessors this fort was a four bastioned stone fortification. By the end of 1753 this new fort was pretty much complete. A visitor to the Fort today will see a reconstruction of this 1753 fort built atop the ruins of the original stone fort.

Location and Directions

Fort McClary State Historic Site, Maine

The first fortifications were erected on Kittery Point during the French and Indian Wars in the eighteenth century. Fort McClary was occupied during the Revolutionary War but never attacked by the British. The fortifications were strengthened several times during the nineteenth century, and the fort continued to be garrisoned during the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. Although Fort McClary is one of the few forts in the country that was in active service during five wars, it never came under fire. The buildings preserved in the present state historic site come from several different periods during which the fort was garrisoned.

Fort McClary State Historic Site is located at Kittery Point Road, Route 103, in Kittery, Maine 03904, two and a half miles from U.S. Route 1 and Maine Turnpike on Kittery Point Road (Route 103) (turn at rotary).

Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site, Canada

The French began fortifying the western approaches to Québec in the seventeenth century. By the time of the last French and Indian War in the middle of the eighteenth century, they had completed the western wall, leaving natural barriers (escarpments and the St. Charles and St. Lawrence Rivers) to protect the rest of the town’s perimeter. The wall was, however, considered inadequate by most French officers, and Montcalm’s strategy during the siege of the town in 1759 was to keep tQuebeche British army well away from approaching the town by land. British General James Wolfe’s surprise landing at the Anse au Foulon and his appearance on the Plains of Abraham just outside the wall disrupted this strategy, and after Montcalm’s death in the ensuing battle, the town quickly surrendered rather than attempting to withstand a siege behind the walls. During the next few deacdes, the British improved the French walls and expanded the fortifications around the rest of the Upper Town on top of Québec’ famous escarpment. Québec is now the only remaining fortified city in North America, and the walls around its old city certainly contribute to the charm which has led to its designation as a World Heritage City. The Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site preserves the city’s fortifications. For those who are interested in the history and the engineering of fortifications in the early modern era, a walk around the wall at Québec is one of the great treats in North America. Even those who do not share such arcance interests will appreciate wall’s aesthetic contribution to one of the finest city’s in the world.

Location and Directions

Links: Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site Parks Canada

History of Canada: Fortifications of Quebec

 

Fort Ticonderoga, New York

The French hurriedly built the fort at Ticonderoga at the beginning of the last French and Indian War in 1755 at the portage between Lake George and Lake Champlain. The fort, which they called Carillon, was originally constructed of earthen ramparts with log facings. The timber was gradually replaced by stone. Despite withstanding the rash attack by James Abercromby in 1758 (Ambercromby ordered a frontal assault againstFt Ticonderoga well-entrenched positions in front of the fort without waiting for his artillery to be brought forward), the French were forced to abandon the fort in 1759. The British garrisoned it until after the American revolution, and it fell into ruins thereafter. The fort was grandly reconstructed in 1908, and has been maintained by a private, not-for-profit educational institution since 1909. There is a fine museum (and an excellent bookstore) in the site. In addition to its historical interest, Ticonderoga enjoys a picturesque setting above the lower end of Lake Champlain.

Location Information and Directions

 

Links: Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Necessity National Battlefield

George Washington was not a great soldier.  His great contributions were always more political than military.  Washington’s undistinguished military career began at this small fort in western Pennsylvania.  On July 3, 1754, 22-year old Colonel George Washington was forced to surrender the fort and the colonial troops under his command to French forces from nearby Fort Duquesne (present-day Pittsburg). The surrender, although probably inevitable, was certainly hastened by the fact that Washington had built the stockade in a very poor location, close to covering forests and exposed to fire from nearby heights.  This action was the opening battle of the French and Indian War, the struggle between Great Britain and France for control of North America.  Washington went on to advise British General Braddock prior to his disastrous defeat near Fort Duquesne, and to a Revolutionary War career in which his only major victory, at Yorktown, was due more to his French allies than to his own troops, who were a minority of the forces besieging British General Cornwallis.

Click here for a map showing the location of Fort Necessity.

Fort Frederick State Park

Fort Frederick is a rare example of a classic eighteenth century fortification design on the American frontier. Most American frontier forts were little more than wooden stockades, and their design paid minimal attention to the elaborate engineering that was used to provide adequate covering fire in European forts. Fort Frederick was built with stone walls and carefully designed bastions for covering fire. (Walk around the fort and see for yourself how every spot along the wall is well covered from multiple angles.) The fort provided defense on Maryland’s frontier during the last French and Indian War (1754-1763). As late as the Civil War, it served as a camp for Confederate prisoners of war. The Fort’s stone wall and two barracks have been restored to their 1758 appearance. The site features excellent historic displays, and hosts several fine reenactment events during the year.

Click here for map of Fort Frederick and surrounding areas.

Official Web Page

Fort Ligonier

The Fort is a full-scale, on-site reconstruction of the 1758-1766 original, situated on a commanding hilltop in the Laurel Highlands. Numerous living history events and other activities are held throughout the season, which runs from April 1 to October 31. The annual Fort Ligonier Days each October are a whale of a good party, but not the best occasion for historical touring of the site. The fort reconstruction is quite convincing. The Visitor Center has a fine set of exhibits and a remarkably good bookstore (much better than in some larger and more prominent sites).

Location Information:
Fort Ligonier
216 S Market St, Ligonier, PA 15658
web site http://fortligonier.org/

Click here for a map of Fort Ligonier and surrounding area.