Historic and Quaint
Forts of North America - Preface
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.
In the preparation of this work it has given me great pleasure and has clarified to a marked degree my conceptions of the larger movements of American history, - especially in regard to the topographical considerations governing these movements, - to have visited the seats of early empire in this country and the various centers of military renown in its later days. All of the places described in this book are worth a visit by the sightseer as well as the historian - that is, they contain visible monuments of the Past. I have, myself, taken the greater number of photographs which illustrate the volume. Others have been donated or purchased, as the credit lines will tell.
It is, perhaps, as well to state that this work has been done with the knowledge of the War Department of the United States, which has very kindly allowed me to reproduce some of the pictures in its archives and has greatly helped me with my researches in its public records. When I have visited those few points of historic significance still occupied by the army I have been very courteously shown all points of interest not of present military value and have been allowed to photograph scenes which I desired to record which would have no worth to an enemy of the country.
In carrying forward my work I have freely consulted historical authorities, among which I would like especially to acknowledge indebtedness to the writings of Francis Parkman, who in his many volumes has made the days of Old France in the New World a living reality; to John Fiske, "New France and New England;" to Reuben G. Thwaites, "France in America;" to various publications of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society; to Agnes C. Laut, "Canada;" to William Henry Withrow, "Canada;" to Randall Parrish, "Historic Illinois;" to the Hon. Peter A. Porter, "Brief History of Old Fort Niagara;" to Benson John Lossing, "Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution;" to E. G. Bourne, "Spain in America;" to Charles B. Reynolds, "Old St. Augustine;" to Loyall Farragut, "David Glasgow Farragut;" and to various books of travel and reminiscence, among which I would like to mention: S. A. Drake, "Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast" and "The Pine Tree Coast;" George Champlin Mason, "Reminiscences of Newport;" Irene A. Wright, "Cuba;" A. Hyatt Verrill, "Cuba;" Helen Throop Purdy, "San Francisco;" Ernest Peixotto, "Romantic California;" Adelaide Wilson, "Savannah, Picturesque and Beautiful;" Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel, "Charleston, the Place and the People;" and I have received valuable help in material and suggestions from various State historical societies, which have been uniformly courteous and desirous to be of service.
I wish to express gratitude to various friends and individuals who have helped me with suggestions or photographs, among whom I may mention Messrs. Henry P. Baily, Lloyd Norris, William H. Castle, Edward P. Crummer, Maurice T. Fleisher, James Prescott Martin, Edward H. Smith, and Harold Donaldson Eberlein.
September, 1915. J. M. H.
Notes About Book:
Source: Quaint and Historic Forts of North America, By John Martin Hammond, 1915, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, London
Notes about Online Publication: This manuscript has been ocr'd and heavily edited. Many of the Native American words have been reproduced as clearly as online publication will allow us, but not all are exactly the way they were in the original work. The structure of this manuscript has been changed to allow better online presentation.