Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York

This magnificent fort at the mouth of the Niagara River preserves the scene of several battles, including a 20-day siege during the French and Indian War.

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The Battle of Fort Niagara was fought from July 6 to July 26, 1759 between French forces under the command of Captain Pierre Pouchot and British forces under the command of Brig. Gen. John Prideaux and their American Indian allies at the confluence of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River during the French and Indian War. The 20-day siege ended in British victory and French capitulation after French reinforcements were scattered at the Battle of La Belle-Famille.

In early July 1759, Brig. Gen. John Prideaux marched approximately 3,500 British and Iroquois forces along Lake Ontario to Fort Niagara, floated a battery of artillery across the Niagara River to Montreal Point, and began to lay siege. Captain Pierre Pouchot had sent away most of his troops, so he had about 520 French regulars, militia, and Seneca Iroquois allies on hand to defend the fort. Unfortunately for him, many of his Seneca allies deserted when the British arrived.

To make matters worse, the British ambushed and destroyed a relief column under the command of Col. François-Marie Le Marchand de Lignery at La Belle-Famille on July 24. Pouchot sent an officer to British lines to meet the wounded Lignery and confirm reports of the ambush. Seeing little hope, he surrendered on July 26.

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Fort Henry National Historic Site in Kingston, Ontario

Built for a war with the U.S. that never came, this nineteenth century relic is a treasure of Canadian military history.

The War of 1812 left relations between the United States and Great Britain at an all-time low. Raids along the Saint Lawrence River were common during the war, and Kingston, Ontario in what was then Upper Canada was seen as potentially vulnerable. The British eyed Point Henry as an ideal place for what became known as the “Citadel of Upper Canada”.

Early in the war, British Canadians erected a blockhouse and artillery battery on Point Henry to help defend Kingston and its naval dockyards. They continued fortifying it throughout the war, calling it Fort Henry after Henry Hamilton, one-time Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Quebec and Governor of Bermuda.

After the War of 1812, the British saw a need to strengthen their defenses around Kingston and Rideau Canal, which connects the Canadian capitol to Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River. Between 1832 and 1836, they built a more permanent stone fort in place of the old wooden one.

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Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park

If patriot-turned-traitor Benedict Arnold’s reputation wasn’t already bad enough, the massacre of American forces at Fort Griswold earned him a particularly reviled place in American historical memory.

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The Battle of Fort Griswold (or Battle of Groton Heights) was fought on September 6, 1781 in Groton, Connecticut, between the American garrison commanded by Lt. Col. William Ledyard and British forces commanded by Patriot-turned-loyalist Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold and Lt. Col. Edmund Eyre during the Revolutionary War. The battle was a British victory; Fort Griswold was seized and New London burned, but the British did not achieve any long term gains. The British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia a month later effectively ended the war in the Continental US.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s raid on New London, Connecticut was an attempt to divert General George Washington from attacking Lord Cornwallis’s army in Virginia. Arnold, who was from the area, believed Fort Griswold, across the Thames River from New London, was only partially constructed and would not be difficult to seize. By the time he realized his mistake, Lt. Col. Edmund Eyre’s assault force had already engaged the fort and it was too late to recall them.

Eyre attempted to persuade the fort’s 150 defenders to surrender, but they vowed to fight. The first British assault was scattered by artillery. Major William Montgomery then stormed the fort at a sparsely-defended point, but was killed by a freed slave named Jordan Freeman. Montgomery’s men opened the gate from the inside, and the garrison attempted to surrender.

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Lake George Battlefield Park

Visitors to beautiful Lake George, New York can camp and hike on a 264-year-old battlefield and see the ruins of old British and American forts.

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The Battle of Lake George was fought on September 8, 1755 between French forces under the command of Jean Erdman, Baron Dieskau and British forces under the command of Sir William Johnson and their American Indian allies commanded by Chief Hendrick Theyanoguin at the southern tip of Lake George, New York during the French and Indian War. The battle ended in British and Iroquois victory over the French, and the building of Fort William Henry.

In early September 1755, Sir William Johnson marched north from Fort Edward intending to capture the French Fort St. Frédéric at Crown Point on the western shore of Lake Champlain. Around the same time, Baron Dieskau took 222 French regulars, 600 French-Canadian militia, and 700 Mohawk allies and moved south with the aim of destroying Johnson’s base of supplies at Fort Edward. While camped on Lake George’s southern shore, Johnson learned of the French movement and sent 1,000 Colonial militia and 200 Mohawk allies to reinforce the fort.

In what became known as the “Bloody Morning Scout,” Baron Dieskau ambushed the British relief column and inflicted heavy casualties, however, the British and Mohawk warriors were able to inflict equally heavy losses on the French during their fighting retreat back to camp. Both sides lost experienced officers in the engagement. When French forces reached Johnson’s camp, the militia and their Indian allies refused to attack because the British had erected makeshift fortifications.

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Forts Clinton and Montgomery Battlefield

The Hudson Highlands were once the scene of a heroic last stand at two forts in the shadow of Bear Mountain, New York, unbeknownst to thousands of families visiting the Trailside Zoo each year.

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The Battle of Forts Clinton and Montgomery (aka Battle of the Hudson Highlands) was fought on October 6, 1777 between British forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton and Maj. Gen. John Vaughan and American forces commanded by Brig. Gen. George Clinton and Brig. Gen. James Clinton at the junction of Popolopen Creek and the Hudson River during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a hollow victory for the British due to Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga later that month.

After the Battle of Freeman’s Farm (or First Saratoga), the British and American armies sat licking their wounds. British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s 5,000 supply-starved men hugged the Hudson River near Saratoga, New York. In late September, Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton moved his 3,100-man army north to relieve Burgoyne and open the Hudson River to British ships. Standing in his way was New York Governor George Clinton with 600 men and 20 artillery pieces at Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery, plus the warships Montgomery and Congress and three smaller vessels.

British Maj. Gen. Clinton split his army in two in order to assault both forts simultaneously by land. Nine hundred men under Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell were to attack Fort Montgomery and 1,200 men under Clinton and Maj. Gen. John Vaughan would attack Fort Clinton. They would be supported by seven ships on the Hudson.

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Fort Dummer in Brattleboro, Vermont

A roadside marker is all that remains of this colonial-era fort that played a role in an obscure New England war.

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The Battle of Fort Dummer was fought on October 11, 1724 between Abenaki Indians and Massachusetts colonial militia and their Mohawk allies during Dummer’s War. Both the fort and the war were named after Lieutenant Governor William Dummer, acting governor of Massachusetts at that time. Though the attackers managed to kill a few of the fort’s defenders, the fort held and remained a local stronghold.

The Abenaki were members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, an alliance of Algonquin-speaking Indians including the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, and Penobscot. After war broke out in 1722, Lieutenant Governor William Dummer ordered the creation of several forts on the frontier along the Connecticut River. Fort Dummer, a 180-foot wooden stockade, was built in 1724. It was the first permanent English Settlement in what would become Vermont.

Lieutenant Timothy Dwight took command of 12 cannon, 43 English soldiers, and 12 Mohawk warriors at the outpost. Shortly after completion, a group of approximately 70 Abenaki warriors attacked. The band was affiliated with Chief Grey Lock, who was waging his own fight against the British sometimes called “Grey Lock’s War”. They killed or wounded five of the defenders, but could not penetrate the thick wooden walls.

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The Battles of Klock’s Field and Stone Arabia

A small museum preserves the Mohawk Valley’s Revolutionary War heritage and the memory of these two dramatic but little-known skirmishes.

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The Battles of Klock’s Field and Stone Arabia were fought on October 19, 1780 between American and Oneida forces commanded by Brig. Gen. Robert Van Rensselaer, Chief Louis Atayataronghta, and Col. John Brown and British and Iroquois forces commanded by Lt. Col. Sir John Johnson and Captain Joseph Brant along the Mohawk River east of St. Johnsville, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The Battle of Stone Arabia was a British victory, but American reinforcements turned the tide later that day at Klock’s Field.

During the Revolutionary War, the Mohawk Valley in central New York was the scene of brutal fighting between patriots committed to American independence and loyalists committed to remaining under the British Crown. Many settlements and homesteads were raided and burned. On the morning of October 19, 1780, Sir John Johnson and Joseph Brant led a small army of 900 men on a raid into the Mohawk Valley.

They were met by Col. John Brown and 380 militiamen from Fort Paris near Stone Arabia east of Fort Plain. The Battle of Stone Arabia was brief. Col. Brown, having walked into an ambush, was shot from his horse and killed, alongside approximately 30 of his men. Some survivors escaped to Fort Paris, while others fled toward Fort Plain, where they met Brig. Gen. Van Rensselaer and warned him of the British approach.

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