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An account of the most famous fortifications of North America is, in realty, a cross section of the military history of the continent; and whatever ingenuity there may be in this method of presenting the conspicuous deeds of valor of the American people will, it may be hoped, add interest to the following pages.
So many races of men have wrestled for the North American continent in, historically speaking; so brief a space of time! We behold the Indian in possession though we do not know who was his predecessor in holding the land, though the mounds of the Middle West, notably Illinois and Arkansas, point to a race of a higher culture and more developed knowledge of building than the red men had. There come the Spanish with their relentless persecutions of the natives. There come the English, French, Dutch, Swedish. And the claims of each clash, to at length give way – despite the military acumen of the French – to the steady, homebuilding genius of the English.
Of the strongholds which the Spanish built to maintain their title to this part of the world there remain such substantial relics as the old fort at St. Augustine, annually visited by thousands of people, and that at Pensacola, Florida. The French are best remembered by their works at Quebec. Of the defensive works of the Dutch, on the Hudson, or the Swedes, on the Delaware, nothing remains The English were not great builders of forts; they were essentially tillers of the soil. The most important English military work of early Colonial days in America was Castle William (Fort Independence), Boston harbor.
To the French with their restless explorers and indefatigable missionaries to the Indians must be ascribed the credit of most completely grasping the physical conditions of the North American continent and of formulating the most comprehensive scheme for military defense of their holdings. The French forts extended in a well organized line from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence west and south through the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. They originated and executed, all things considered, the most daring and comprehensive military project ever conceived on the continent of North America.
- Strongholds of the Past
- Fort Independence (Castle William), Castle Island, Boston Harbor
- Fort Columbus, or Jay, Governor’s Island, New York Harbor
- Fort Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, New York
- Crown Point, Lake Champlain, New York
- The Heights of Quebec
- Fort Annapolis Royal, Annapolis, Annapolis Basin, Nova Scotia
- The Citadel at Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Fort George, Castine, Maine
- Fort Frederick, Pemaquid, Maine
- Fort Niagara, at Mouth of Niagara River, New York
- Fort Ontario, Oswego, New York
- Fort Michillimackinac and Fort Holmes, Mackinac Island, Michigan
- Fort Massac, on the Ohio, near Metropolis, Illinois.
- West Point, Its Environs, and Stony Point, New York
- Fort Constitution (Fort William and Mary), Great Island, near Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Forts Trumbull and Griswold, New London and Groton, on the Thames, Connecticut
- Fort Mifflin, on the Delaware, Philadelphia
- Fort McHenry, Baltimore
- Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida
- La Fuerza, Morro Castle, and Other Defenses, Havana, Cuba
- Fort San Carlos de Barrancas, Pensacola Bay, Florida
- The Presidio of San Francisco, Golden Gate, California
- Fort Adams and Newport’s Defensive Ruins, Newport, Rhode Island
- Fort Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Virginia
- Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, near Charleston, South Carolina
- Fort Pulaski, at Mouth of Savannah River, Georgia
- Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama
- Forts Jackson and St. Philip, at Mouth of the Mississippi, Louisiana
- Fort Snelling, near St. Paul, Minnesota
- Fort Laramie, at the Forks of the Platte River, Wyoming
- The Alamo and Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.
- Other Western Forts:
- Fort Phil Kearney, Nebraska
- Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
- Fort Fetterman, Wyoming
- Fort Bridger, Wyoming
- Fort Keogh, Montana
- Fort Douglas, Utah
- Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, Washington
- Fort Yuma, at Head of Navigation, Colorado River, California
- Field Fortifications
- Valley Forge
- The “Crater”