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 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).

Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site, Canada

Carleton Martello Tower dates from the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. The Tower was part of a defensive system constructed against a landward attack on New Brunswick from the west. The original Tower was typical of a design used during the Napoleaonic Wars. Over one hundred such towers erected in Britain during the period to guard against the possibility of French invasion. Like others of its kind, Carleton Martello was accessible through a doorway in the second story, or barrack floor. The ground floor contained storage space and a powder magazine. The tower’s flat roof was designed to accommodate artillery pieces and was surrounded by a parapet. The key structural feature was a circular brick pillar that supported both the roof and the arched brick ceiling which, along with the thick walls, was designed to absorb artillery fire.

The site is located in West Saint John, New Brunswick. From Highway 1, eastbound traffic should take the Digby Ferry (Exit 109) before the toll bridge and follow the Parks Canada Beaver signs and Digby Ferry signs to Market Place. At the end of Market Place, turn right at St. John/Dufferin streets to Whipple. Watch closely for the Beaver signs. From Highway 1, westbound traffic takes the Digby Ferry (Exit 109) after the harbour toll bridge. Again, right at St. John/Dufferin streets to Whipple. Watch closely for the Beaver signs.

Mississinewa Battlefield, Indiana

I came upon this site unexpectedly while returning from an archaeological investigation I conducted near Marion, Indiana. I often drive on the back roads and “Blue Highways” when I am out doing field work. Interesting discoveries can be made when driving “off the beaten path.” The Mississinewa Battlefield is one of a number of historic sites in the Old Northwest Territories associated with the War of 1812.

Michilimackinac and Detroit were captured by the British by the summer of 1812 mostly with the assistance of the Native American Indiana populations in the region. Some from the Miami and Delaware groups had assembled along the Mississinewa River, a tributary of the Wabash River. Uneasy with the growing number of Indians gathering here William Henry Harrison, commander of the North Western Army, directed Lieutenant Colonel John B. Campbell to rout these people.

With a force of approximately 600 men Campbell marched through the regions burning villages they encountered. By the middle of December the returned to the site of their first attack along the Mississinewa River to camp. Early the next morning the were ambushed by an undetermined number of Indians. The battle was brief. Fifteen Indians and eight of Campbell’s soldiers had been killed. Forty two soldiers and an unknown number of Indians were badly wounded. Campbell gathered his forces and retreated to Greenville.

Today the battlefield can be found seven miles northwest of Marion, Indiana. It has two monuments: one dedicated to the American Indians and one to the American Soldiers. There are also twelve marked graves on the site. Every Autumn there is a reenactment of the battle at the site.


Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Long before Baltimore had the Inner Harbor, there was Fort McHenry, the original “Star Spangled Banner” place. Now, we’ve never been fans of the national anthem (it’s only singable at baseball games, where the beer certainly helps), but Fort McHenry is an interesting and scenic place. The fort, designed in the classic star shape of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, was built to guard Baltimore’s harbor. Francis Scott Key’s poem, later set to music, records a spectacular assault on Fort McHenry by the British navy on September 13-14, 1814. The fort held, thwarting the British attempt to seize the port of Baltimore. Fort McHenry never again came under attack, but it remained an active military post off and on for the next 100 years.

Click here to view a location map of Fort McHenry and surrounding areas.