Casemates and Cannonballs
Archeological Investigations at Fort Stanwix National Monument
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One of the major efforts of National Park Service researchers during the years immediately preceding the bicentennial celebration of the United States has been the study of Fort Stanwix National Monument, an archeological site of extraordinary importance. This book reports on the excavations of the fort, an essential prerequisite to its reconstruction and interpretation.

Fort Stanwix was built by the British in 1758 to protect the Oneida Carrying Place between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek, the principal route between the Hudson River and the Great Lakes. It was the site of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768. Abandoned prior to the Revolution, it was occupied by American forces in 1776 and was unsuccessfully besieged, at great costs to both sides, by the British under Colonel Barry St. Leger in August 1777 during the Burgoyne campaign.

An understanding of the role Fort Stanwix played in the American Revolution will provide the reader with a better understanding of the military activity of the Revolution itself. In addition, an archeological report of this nature provides us with a fascinating insight into the day-to-day activities of the soldiers who were garrisoned at the fort. Inclusion in this book of reconstruction drawings based upon the archeological evidence leaves us with a clearer picture of the fort's appearance.

While it will be the subject of continuing research by historians in future years, the importance of Fort Stanwix as it relates to Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga, "the Turning Point of the Revolution," is well known and recognized. As National Park Service historian John Luzader has so aptly put it, "St. Leger's failure to secure the Mohawk and reach Albany to form a junction with Burgoyne contributed to American victory at a critical time when British victory might have been a death-blow to the fight for independence."

Gary Everhardt
Director, National Park Service

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Last Updated: 02-Dec-2008