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Lake Champlain Historic Military Sites
Fort Anne (1692 – 1780, intermittent), Fort Ann, New York
The site of a fortified British camp in 1690 during King William’s War, on the original portage to Lake Champlain from the Hudson River. In 1692 the site was again used by the British on their way to Canada, building the first fort here, Old Stone Fort, which was really a rough earthwork. In 1709 Fort Schuyler was built at the site. It was a palisaded stockade, about 140 feet square, with two log barracks, with 20-foot square blockhouses at each corner. It was burned down that same year. In 1711 the fort was rebuilt and named Queen’s Fort, then renamed Fort Anne upon completion. It was abandoned in 1712 when reinforcements failed to arrive to drive back the French. In 1755 it was rebuilt again with a stone arsenal and powder magazine. The site of the arsenal is on West Fort Ann Road near the Mud Brook Bridge, west of the Union Cemetery. The bridge was built using stone from the arsenal. In 1766 Cheshire’s Blockhouse was built on an island at Kane’s Falls, one mile away, to protect a newly built sawmill. In 1769 Mud Fort, a simple earthwork, was built at Needhamville, but was abandoned shortly thereafter. In July 1777 Fort Anne served as a fortified base for Patriot forces. It was burned as they fell back to regroup before the Battle of Saratoga. The Patriots rebuilt the fort after the battle. The British captured the fort in October 1780. Excavations were done in 1954, and a restoration project was undertaken. That project was eventually dissolved. No remains. The town was organized as Westfield in 1784, but was renamed Fort Ann in 1808.
Battery Redoubt (1813), Battery Park, Burlington, Vermont
Located at Battery Park. A 13-gun earthwork used against the British during the bombardment of Burlington in June 1813. This was also a state militia encampment site during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. State marker in park.
Fort Cassin (1813 – 1815), Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
Fort Cassin was a seven-gun earthwork built to protect the temporary Naval Shipyard at Vergennes, Vermont. It was attacked once by the British in 1814. The site is located at the mouth of Otter Creek near Kingsland Bay State Park. There are no remains and no marker.
Champlain Arsenal (1826-1855, 1861-1872), Vergennes, Vermont
A Federal arsenal with Officers’ quarters, barracks, magazine, and ordnance and munitions storehouses. It was sold in 1873.
Chimney Point (1690, 1731 – 1737, 1775), Chimney Point, Addison, Vermont
Located across from Crown Point, New York. Capt. Jacobus de Warm’s Stockade was built here by the New York militia in 1690 to observe French movements. The French built Fort Pointe à la Chevelure or Fort de Pieux in 1731. It was a 100-foot square stockade with four bastions, with three buildings. It was abandoned when Fort St. Frederic was completed at Crown Point in 1737. The settlement was abandoned in 1759 to the British. It was burned in 1760 by Mohawk Indians, leaving only smoldering chimneys, hence the modern name of the point. A small British garrison was here at the start of the American Revolution.
Fort at Crown Point (1759 – 1783), Crown Point, New York
Located here are the ruins of French Fort St. Frédéric (1735 – 1759), a 300-foot square 62-gun stone work, which was destroyed in July 1759 to avoid capture by the British. It included a four-story octagon stone tower and stone barracks, garrisoned by 100 men. It had been enlarged in 1742. It was formally named in 1738. A stone windmill was built in 1738 outside the ramparts. Originally here was the French Fort Pointe à la Chevelure, a 50-foot square stockade with bastions, garrisoned by only 20 men.
The British then built their new fort adjacent to the French ruins, a five-bastioned pentagon covering six and one-half acres, with over 100 guns. It was the largest singular British work in colonial America. Some later historians have referred to the British fort as Fort Amherst, although there is no official record of that name. Grenadier’s Fort was built to the east, Light Infantry of Regiments Redoubt was built to the southeast, and Gage’s Redoubt was built to the southwest. A fire partially destroyed the fort in 1773, it was never completely rebuilt. Crown Point was occupied by Patriot forces from May 1775 to October 1776. Many of the guns were transported to Boston, MA in 1775. Reoccupied by British troops through the end of the war.
East Battery (1814), Champlain, New York
A battery built by troops under General George Izard. Marker located on Pine Street.
Elizabethtown Arsenal (1811 – 1848), Elizabethtown, New York
A stone magazine and state arsenal was once located here. Marker on US 9.
Fort Ethan Allen (1892 – 1952/1960), near Winooski
This was one of the largest U.S. Cavalry and Field Artillery posts in the country at one time. During the two World Wars it was used as a Regular Army mobilization center and training area. Deactivated in 1943, it was then primarily used as a storage depot. It was taken over by the Air Force in 1952 and renamed Ethan Allen Air Force Base. Despite public protest, it was finally closed in 1960. Most of the former base is now owned by the University of Vermont and St. Michael’s College. The Fort Ethan Allen Museum is located in the former 1890’s era Pump House, at 11 Marcy Drive, open only by appointment or special occasion.
Fort Frederick (1773 – 1775 ?), Winooski, Vermont
A two-story blockhouse built by the Onion River Company, under Ira Allen, Ethan Allen’s brother, who also established a shipyard nearby in 1772. The site is located at the Winooski (Onion) River bridge (state marker). The settlement was abandoned during the American Revolution.
Mount Independence (1775 – 1777), near Orwell, Vermont.
Was an extensive fortification on a prominent headland jutting into Lake Champlain, directly across from Fort Ticonderoga. At the time of construction it was manned by about 12,000 American troops – making it the most heavily manned fortification in North America at its time. It worked in conjunction with Fort Ticonderoga to deter a British invasion force from Canada.
Originally named Rattlesnake Hill, the name was changed to Mount Independence after The Declaration of Independence was read to the troops on July 28, 1776. It was the site of winter quarters for about 2500 American troops in 1776 – 1777.
The Mount Independence Coalition is a non-profit organization assisting to raise private and public support for Mount Independence. Located in Orwell, Vermont, the coalition honors the sacrifice, ingenuity and courage of those who responded to the defense of the young nation.
Fort at Isle La Motte (1775, 1814), Isle La Motte, Vermont
A British fort was here during the American Revolution, and was briefly held by Patriot forces in 1775. The British set up a temporary three-gun battery here in 1814.
Fort Loyal (1781 – 1796), North Hero, Vermont
A Loyalist-built blockhouse on Dutchman’s Point that the British refused to give up after the United States won independence in 1783. Dutchman’s Point is now called Blockhouse Point.
Camp Olympia (1898 – present), near Winooski, Vermont
A Spanish-American War muster camp for state troops, located adjacent to Fort Ethan Allen. Later renamed for each current state governor until 1945. The site is now part of Camp Johnson, the present-day training camp of the Vermont National Guard.
Fort Montgomery (1844 – 1910), Rouses Point, New York
Construction on the Fort at Rouses Point, aka “Fort Blunder“, began in late 1816, but was halted in 1819 because it was thought to be on Canadian soil. It was a 30-foot high octagonal structure built upon a foundation consisting largely of debris brought up from the demolished ruins of the Plattsburgh batteries and outworks. Much of the material was carried off by the locals after it was abandoned. Construction was resumed in 1844 on a much larger 2.5-acre three-level casemated and moated masonry work for 125 guns, after the border was moved to match the latest survey of 1842. The fort was first garrisoned in 1862, mostly by the civilian workers as a “defense force”, but was never fully manned or armed to its potential. By 1886 there were only about 74 guns mounted. A small redoubt was located to the west on the mainland at the “Commons”. The Army proposed in the 1880’s to close Plattsburgh Barracks in favor of Fort Montgomery, but it was rejected by the Plattsburgh populace. A bridge project in 1936 (US 2) cannibalized many of the original stones of the old fort. Only one outer wall and three bastions remain from the pentagon-shaped fortress, now overgrown. Private property.
Fort New Haven (1769 or 1772), New Haven, Vermont
A blockhouse built by Ethan Allen to guard against New York land speculators.
Peru Blockhouse (1794), Peru, New York
A settlers’ blockhouse located on the Little Ausable River about four miles east of the town center.
Plattsburgh War of 1812 Defenses (1812 – 1815), Plattsburgh, New York
Located here were American redoubts Fort Brown (eight guns) on the Saranac River at United States Ave. (still exists), Fort Moreau (12 guns) on the ridge, and Fort Scott (eight guns) on the bluff by Lake Champlain. They were built in 1814, about one year after the initial British attack on the town (July 1813). After the Battle of Plattsburgh (September 1814), two additional forts were built, Fort Tompkins (three guns) south of Fort Brown, and Fort Gaines (four guns) south of Fort Scott, forming a pentagon with the previous three forts. A marker for one of the blockhouses is on Hamilton Street. Three blockhouses were also built near the river’s mouth. In 1814 the British built a seige battery just north of the mouth of the Saranac River, at the Kent-DeLord House (British Artillery HQ), located on Cumberland Ave.. The house is now a museum.
Plattsburgh Barracks (1838 – 1946), originally Cantonment Plattsburgh (1812 – 1814), was the main encampment during the war along the Saranac River. By 1814 the compound was composed of 40 log structures inside the pentagon formed by the five forts. The post was garrisoned intermittently until 1825. Several new stone structures were built in the 1830’s, slightly south of the former cantonment. The “Old Stone Barracks” (1839) still remain, which was the old enlisted barracks and post hospital. It is now the Interpretive Center for the Battle of Plattsburgh Association. The 1839 Officers’ quarters was demolished in 1964. Several 1890’s era buildings also still remain on the former post. The new parade ground was built in 1892 over the sites of the 1814 “pentagon” forts. Only Fort Brown is still extant. The “Citizen’s Military Training Camp at Plattsburgh” in 1917 was the forerunner to the establishment of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). Later the post was greatly enlarged and became the Plattsburgh Air Force Base (1953 – 1995), a major SAC base which is now closed. It was the command headquarters of a regional 12-missile ATLAS-F ICBM squadron from 1961 – 1965.
Nearby on Crab Island (once formerly U.S. Air Force property) was an American two-gun battery and an Army Hospital from 1814. Located on Cumberland Head in 1814 was a temporary four-gun heavy battery with a rear redoubt, known as Fort Izard. It was abandoned after only a few weeks as it was found to be useless for defense.
Plattsburgh Arsenal (1810 – 1813), Plattsburgh, New York
A state arsenal once located on the Saranac River at then Fredenburgh Falls, about two miles inland from the lake on present-day Broad Street. Also here were an armory, hospital, militia blockhouse, and cantonment area. It was destroyed by the British in July 1813.
Point Au Fer Fort (1775 – 1796), Point au Fer, New York
A Patriot sympathizer’s (William Gilliland) fortified stone dwelling, built only a few years earlier, known as the White House, stockaded with brick barracks and cannon for a Patriot garrison. It was abandoned after the failed 1775 expedition to Québec City, but the British did not actually garrison the post until 1777. The British did not relinquish the post until the 1796 Jay Treaty, but it was not thereafter used by the Americans. The stone house burned down in 1805. Some traces may still exist on private property.
Fort Skenesborough (1759-1783, 1814-1815), Whitehall, NY
Originally named Fort Wilkens until 1775, it consisted of a stockaded blockhouse and barracks located on a hill to the west of Wood Creek (between the present-day Presbyterian Church and the Masonic Temple). It was dilapidated when the Patriots took control. The Patriots then built a new fort on the site, and also a shipyard at the harbor for Benedict Arnold’s Lake Champlain fleet. The British briefly captured the fort in July 1777, also fortifying a nearby livestock barn. After the Patriot victory at Saratoga in 1777, the fort and shipyard were back in Patriot hands. The fort and shipyard were again raided by the British in 1780.
During the War of 1812, a new blockhouse and barracks (aka Philipsburg Blockhouse) were built on the old fort’s site by the Americans to protect the shipyard that was again being used. The town was originally named Skenesborough, and may have been named Philipsburg before it was renamed Whitehall. Also of interest in town is the Skenesborough Museum, which has the remains of the schooner U.S.S. Ticonderoga (1814) on exhibit.
Fort Ste. Anne (1666 – 1676), Isle La Motte, Vermont
Ste. Anne’s Shrine (1893) marks the site of a French fort and mission on Lake Champlain. The site is the state’s oldest white settlement. The fort served as a defense against the Mohawk Indians. Also known as Fort La Motte. A small museum is on the grounds, which includes relics of the fort. State marker located on West Shore Road.
Fort Ticonderoga (1755 – 1796), near Ticonderoga, New York
French Fort Vaudreuil (1750) was originally located here, a small stockade. The French later built Fort Carillon, a stone and timber fort. The British unsuccessfully attacked in July 1758, but finally took it from the French in July 1759. Patriot forces led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured it in May 1775 and sent most of its guns to Boston, MA. The British recaptured it in July 1777 but abandoned it in 1780. The Americans did not make much use of the fort later, and it was demolished after it was finally abandoned. Much of the fort was reconstructed privately in 1908. Admission fee.
Fortifications on Mount Defiance, located nearby, were linked to this fort, as were those on Mount Independence in Vermont (see also). Mount Hope Blockhouse was located one-half mile from the town guarding the portage from Lake George. It was originally built in 1756 by the French, and then used by the British, and later the Patriots after it was rebuilt in 1776. It was restored in 1947. Lothbinière Battery (1756) was built by the French on the point on the lake below Fort Carillon. On Lake George to the south of town the British built two blockhouses at Black Point in 1759 to guard the narrows and portage landing. The French also had a redoubt here in 1756. Markers on Black Point Road.
Located on Lake Champlain in the beautiful 6 million acre Adirondack Park, Fort Ticonderoga is a private not-for-profit historic site and museum that ensures that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices, and victories that shaped the nations of North America and changed world history. Serving the public since 1909, Fort Ticonderoga engages more than 70,000 visitors annually and is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Fort Ticonderoga’
Willsborough Blockhouse (1797 – 1798), Essex, New York
A blockhouse supposedly built for protection from Indians. It was later used as the first county courthouse from 1799 – 1807. Marker on NY 22.
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