The Oneida Carry and Its Early Fortifications: 1755-1757
National Park Service
Compiled by Park Ranger William Sawyer
National Park Service
In 1754, hostilities broke out in America between England and France which led to the French and Indian (or Seven Years) War. In 1755, the British built two small stockade forts at the Oneida Carry to safeguard the supply lines to their posts at Oswego. Fort Williams sat at the Mohawk River end of the carry, while Fort Bull sat on the Wood Creek end. In March of 1756, a mixed force of French, Canadian, and Indians attacked a supply column on the carry, and they also attacked and destroyed Fort Bull. The British responded by strengthening their presence on the carry. Fort Wood Creek, a larger and stronger fort, was built where Fort Bull had sat. Fort Newport was constructed on the upper landing of Wood Creek to protect the dam that had been built there. This dam, and a similar one near Fort Wood Creek, increased the flow of water into the creek and shortened travel time on the carry. On the Mohawk River side, the British began building a large five five-cornered fort to replace Fort Williams. This fortification became known as the Pentagon, or Fort Craven. By the summer of 1756, the Oneida Carry had grown into a large military complex. In addition to the three forts and two dams, there was a brick kiln, a sawpit, a forge, and a large garrison garden had been planted. Suttlers' houses lined the road leading from the Mohawk River. By September however, it would all be gone. Towards the end of August, word reached the Oneida Carry that the British posts at Oswego had fallen to the French. Fearing a French invasion, the British commander in the area, General Webb, panicked and ordered all the forts and works on the Oneida Carry to be destroyed. The British the retreated to German Flatts.
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Watt, Gavin K. Rebellion in the Mohawk Valley: The St. Leger Expedition of 1777. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2002.
Willett, William M. A Narrative of the Military Actions of Colonel Marinus Willett, Taken Chiefly From His Own Manuscript. New York: G.C.H. Carvill, 1831.
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