To the American people, Fort McHenry is the most important symbol of continued American freedom in the face of the British Empire, due to one single action during the greater War of 1812. Situated on a spit of land and stands to this day watching over Baltimore’s harbour. The original fort, however, was not called McHenry, but rather Fort Whetstone. Constructed on Whetstone Point, the five-point star earthworks fort was placed in an ideal spot to defend the city without its guns endangering the city itself. Whetstone was constructed by the Continental Army to defend Baltimore against potential British attacks which never materialised. As theRead More →

During the British invasion and subsequent occupation of what is today eastern Maine, there were several forts involved in the action. While many have unique histories, there isn’t much to give each one their blog entry. So I’ve decided, for the sake of you readers, to combine them all into a single post. In the interests of geography, I’ll be moving from east to west if you want to follow along the route on a map. The historic sign is the only remains of Fort Furieuse in Castine, Maine Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – FA-1027Read More →

Halifax, it’s hard not to be reminded of the military past of the capital of Nova Scotia, just look up from the downtown and you’ll see the massive hill that rises above the town. Or see the Royal Canadian Navy sailing in and out of the harbor. Or even see the old fortifications that dot the islands in the harbor or see the old gun batteries along the shoreline. The saying goes that a strong defense is a potent offense, except in Halifax’s case where a strong defense is just that, a defense. From the mid 18th-century through to the middle of the 20th-century HalifaxRead More →

The small fur trading post of Prairie du Chien was founded long before the British or Americans came to the old northwest. But rather the post was founded by the French in 1685 and soon became a small post along the Mississippi trade route. Even after the British gained the territory at the end of the French-Indian/Seven Years War in 1763 the population remained French, but the loyalties shifted to the British and remained there even after the Treaty of Paris ceded the territory to the newly formed United States of America. A reconstruction of one of the fort’s blockhouses The first effort to fortifyRead More →

Located in Oswego, New York, Fort Ontario, is one of three 18th and 19th century fortifications that were built to defend the Oswego River. Often confused and called Fort Oswego, Fort Ontario is located on the western bank of the Oswego River, while the actual Fort Oswego was located on the Eastern Bank, and stood approximately at West First and Lake Street in Oswego. The main gate of the fort Originally constructed as “Fort Six Nations” in 1755 by the French during the French and Indian War (part of the greater Seven Years War), following the French capture of the region that saw the BritishRead More →

There’s nothing left of this fort which is a real shame, but if you consider where it was located, it really would make no sense to maintain a historic fort right in the middle of downtown Detroit, Michigan. But if you care to visit the former site, don’t let the name of the city scare you. Detroit as it stands today, shot from Windsor, Ontario For the most part, Fort Detroit has been known over its short life by three names. And while there’s nothing left the fortification was site to the first major engagement during the War of 1812. Initially established to hold theRead More →

One of the first sights you see if you visit the picturesque Mackinac Island is white stone walls sitting high above the ferry docks. Fort Mackinac has a long history that covers much of the early days of French, British, and American history in the region. The island, set in the major trade route of the Straights of Mackinac that divide “The Mitt” from the “Upper Penisula” of Michigan traces it’s importance back well before the colonial history of the early 18th-Century. And while the military history of the island ended five years before the turn of the 20th-Century, today the fort remains one ofRead More →

I never realized exactly how isolated Fort St. Joseph is, even from the main highway you’re still looking at around 30-45 minutes drive down to the south western corner of St. Joseph Island. And to make things all the better it was pouring rain the day I visited these distant ruins, at least the wonderful staff at the site were welcoming and very friendly, and probably happy that they even saw one other person. It’s no wonder that the 10th Royal Vets that were stationed here in the early 19th century turned to drink. The path from the visitors centre to the ruins of theRead More →

From 1645 to 1885 the red coat of the British Army was both feared and respected, this army of as General Sir Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington put it, the scum of the Earth, drilled and disciplined into one of the most effective fighting forces the world had seen, and helped Britain build an empire that spanned the globe. Week 25 is for my friend Col. Anne whom I met through tumblr and our mutual interest in Military history. Specifically the late 18th to early 19th century. The gentleman portrayed here is dressed in the uniform of the 8th (King’s) Regiment of Foot asRead More →

When it rains, the last place you’ll want to be is Fort Meigs, trust me on this one. The fort isn’t the nicest fort that got involved in the war, there is not a long drawn out or particularly memorable history about the depot fortification. It really is more of an afterthought, a post designed to be a stopping point for troops and supplies, and while it saw only two sieges over the course of the war it did stand out in one way. It was the largest wooden palisade wall fort in all of North America, at least when it was first built. UnlikeRead More →