History, Historic Furnishing, and Historic Structure Reports
NPS Logo

Historic Structure Report

Fort Stanwix was originally constructed by British forces in 1758, during the French and Indian wars. Like most of the British fortifications it was of timber and earth construction, and always required a great deal of repair work in order to prevent decay.

The fort was repaired and remodeled by the British troops in 1764; three years later the garrison was withdrawn. When the American troops arrived in 1776, they found only a rotted shell of fortification works remaining.

We have good documentation in the form of engineer's drawings for 1758, 1759, and 1764, but very little documentation done on a professional level for the years following 1776. Drawings were completed but seem to have been lost. The information on hand is contradictory at times.

Archeological explorations of the site during 1970-72 have turned up invaluable evidence relating to the ground plan of the fort, but fall short of providing the needed information to plan the structure above ground level. Additional research was carried out by the writer and John Luzader, NPS historian, in an attempt to find documents relating to other Revolutionary war forts. While this effort was helpful, it did not produce the great reservoir of information anticipated.

In determining the fort plan the evidence presented by the archeologists concerning the location and basic shape of the fort features has taken precedence. Documentation surviving from the letters, orderly books, journals and diaries kept during the American occupation of Fort Stanwix, 1776-1781, has been the secondary source of information. Where information is lacking from the American occupation, the fort plans drawn by the British engineers in 1758, 1759, and 1764 have been employed.

There will still be much conjecture and therefore some possibilities for disagreement regarding the appearance of the proposed fort. The current plans are to reconstruct the fort using building details from several sources: Crown Maps Nos. 99-103, the McGraw and Wilson powder horns, the "Gransevoort Map of Fort Stanwix," and additional drawings from other contemporary forts. The reconstruction will therefore have log ramparts and parapets, surrounded on three sides by a ditch, covered way and glacis. Other major features will be a log ravelin, a wooden bridge with a draw span, an elevated "necessary" or latrine outside the fort walls, five free-standing buildings on the parade, casemates at the curtain walls, filled bastions having three underground bombproofs, and a bakehouse.

It is hoped that one or more of the three wells, the location of the whipping post, and possibly other features will be located when grading of the parade ground begins.

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 26-Dec-2008