Mount Independence State Historic Site, Vermont

American Revolutionary troops built a fort complex to guard against a British attack from Canada at this site along the Vermont shore of Lake Champlain. The troops named it Mount Independence in honor of the Declaration of Independence. The fort faced north and stood across the lake from the fort at Ticonderoga. The site was evacuated when British General John Burgoyne forced the surrender of Ticonderoga. Today the state of Vermont preserves the site with several miles of hiking trails that lead to the batteries, blockhouses, hospital, barracks, and other archaeological remains of the fort. The visitor center museum contains exhibits featuring many of the artifacts recovered during recent archaeological investigations.

The site is located approximately 50 miles south of Burlington, just west of State Route 22A and the village of Orwell.

Hubbardton Battlefield, Vermont

Before Vermont was even a state, when it was still a sparsly settled region whose political status was disputed by New York and New Hampshire, Vermonters made two contributions to winning what was probably the most important campaign in the Revolutionary War. As General John Burgoyne advanced south through the Lake Champlain Valley toward Albany, he easily drove American forces out of Fort Ticonderoga, which had been assumed to be the major obstacle in his path. The American army retreated in haste from Ticonderoga toward Hubbardton, Vermont, which then has all of two houses. At Hubbardton, a detachment of the American army joined with some local militia to hold off the British pursuit for several hours. Only the arrival of Hessian reinforcements, and the prospect that the larger British forces would then be able to outflank them, drove the Americans from the field. Hubbardton was the first engagement in the campaign to show Burgoyne’s regulars that American troops could stand up to them in the field. Many of the Americans who fought at Hubbardton were also with General John Stark several weeks later when he inflicted a disastrous defeat on a Hessian detachment at the Battle of Bennington. The Hubbardton Battlefield is now preserved as an historic site by the state of Vermont. A visitor’s reception center houses a museum with exhibits on the battle and the Revolutionary War.

Hubbardton Battlefield is located 7 miles off U.S. Route 4, near East Hubbardton, Vermont.

Fort Popham State Historic Site, Maine

Fort Popham is located at the mouth of the Kennebec River, near the place where English colonists made their first attempt to establish a settlement in New England in 1607. (The Popham colony, unlike the colony established at Jamestown the same year, did not survive.) Fortifications were erected at the site of Fort Popham to protect the communities along the Kennebec River during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Fort Popham itself is a semi-circular granite fort with thirty-foot walls. It was built in 1861 to protect the maine coast from Confederate raiders. Modifications were made during the late nineteenth century and the fort remained garrison in the Spanish American War and World War I.

Fort Popham State Historic Site is located on Route 209 near Phippsburg, Maine 04562, 15 miles from Bath and two miles away from Popham Beach State Park.

Fort Constitution Historic Site, New Hampshire

Fort Constitution was one of seven forts that once constituted the defenses of Portsmouth Harbor. The first fortification on the site was an earthwork with four “great guns” erected in 1632. A timber blockhouse was built in 1666. A stronger fort, named Fort William and Mary, was erected later as one of the “castles” established along the Atlantic coastal to protect the colonies of British America. This fort was seized by Patriots at the beginning of the American Revolution. In 1791 the State of New Hampshire gave Fort William and Mary to the United States. The fort was repaired, renamed Fort Constitution, and garrisoned with a company of United States artillery. The fort was used during the War of 1812 and was a training center during the Civil War. The old fort was replaced after the Civil War with a massive, three-tiered granite structure that served as part of the modernized coastal defenses in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Fort Constitution State Historic Site is located on a peninsula at the northeast corner of New Castle Island, overlooking both the Pisquatua River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fort Constitution Historic Site is located on New Hampshire Route 1B at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, New Castle.

Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park , Connecticut

Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park preserves the remains of a Revolutionary War fort that was the scene of a famous and controversial attack by British forces under the notorious Benedict Arnold. On September 6, 1781, Arnold’s forces landed near Groton, Connecticut and advanced against the fort, which was garrisoned by about 150 colonial militia and local men under the command of Colonel William Ledyard. The British regulars quickly captured the fort. What happened next is a matter of controversy. The Americans claimed that Ledyard gave up his sword in surrender, only to be immediately killed along with 88 of his men. The British version of events makes no mention of the massacre or the manner of Ledyard’s death. Whatever the truth about the massacre, the entire battle had lasted only 40 minutes.

The fort is located at the corner of Monument St. and Park Ave., in Groton, Connecticut 06340 (exit 87 off I-95).

Washington Crossing State Park , New Jersey

At the end of 1776, the American cause in the Revolutionary War looked to be finished. George Washington’s Continental Army had suffered a series of disastrous defeats as the British drove them out of New York and across New Jersey. Many of Washington’s troops had drifted away as their enlistments ended, and few replacements were stepping forward after the disasters of the recent campaign. Washington reversed his poor fortunes and restored the morale of the cause with a series of small victories against British detachments at Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey. To do so, he had to execute his famous crossing of the Delaware (no, he probably was not standing up in the boat). Washington landed at Johnson’s Ferry on the New Jersey side of the river, at the site now preserved as Washington Crossing State Park. From Johnson’s Ferry, Washington marched to Trenton where he defeated Hessian troops in a surprise attack on Christmas Day. Washington followed up with victories in the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777, and the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. As a bonus. Washington Crossing State Park is also well known for its trails and wildlife habitat. A wide variety of migrating birds use the stream and ravine as a resting place and for nesting. Many bird species also winter in the park.

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).

Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, Kentucky

I first read the story of the Battle of Blue Licks as a kid growing up in nearby southern Ohio. It struck me then, and it strikes me now, as one of the sadder stories of its kind from the frontier period. The salt springs at the site had attracted animals for millennia and formed a center of Indian life. Early settler frequented the place to obtain badly needed salt supplies. Indians captured Daniel Boone here while he was making salt for his settlement. (He later made a daring and famous escape.) But the sad part of the story came in 1782. Blue Licks is most renowned as the site of the last battle of the Revolutionary War in Kentucky. In 1782, Kentucky militia pursued a raiding party of Indians and British soldiers to the vicinity of Blue Licks. Ignoring the warnings of Daniel Boone and others, the militia commander ordered an attack right into a perfect ambush spot. The merits of the location had not escaped the Indians and British, and the Kentuckians suffered great losses, including Boone’s son, Israel. During the nineteenth century, the mineral springs made Blue Licks a popular health resort. Today the park has recreational facilities, a lodge, nature trails, and a museum of frontier and Native American life.

The park is located 48 miles northeast of Lexington on US 68.

Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia

Independence National Historical Park, located in downtown (‘Center City’) Philadelphia, features two icons of American history. Independence Hall was originally the State House of the Pennsylvania colony. The Continental Congress first met there in 1774, and adopted the Declaration of Independence there in 1776. Later, the Confederation Congress and the Constitutional Convention also met in Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell, which was originally the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House, is housed in a special display center just down the street from Independence Hall.

Location Information and directions

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