History, Historic Furnishing, and Historic Structure Reports
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Historic Structure Report

A glossary of military terms as they apply to the proposed construction work at Fort Stanwix is incorporated into this section of the report. These terms are listed in alphabetical order and do not, by any means, represent the full complement of terms found in a military engineer's vocabulary.

A. Bakehouse

The bakehouse site was first excavated in 1965, and again in 1971. [36] The archeologists have concluded from a study of their excavations that this structure was built by the Americans after 1776. [37] We have reference to a bakehouse in use at Fort Stanwix in 1781, but no solid evidence as to where it was located. [38]

The bakehouse occupied the center of the southeast bastion. At least five other contemporary forts of this period have been found with a bakehouse built within a bastion. [39] When the powder magazine of 1758 collapsed sometime after 1764, the earth fill surrounding this structure fell into the original excavated area. After the Americans arrived, they apparently completed the filling in of the old magazine, leveled off the ground, and constructed a bakehouse over part of the filled area. Evidence is on hand that the bakehouse structure stood completely below the terreplein of the bastion. [40] Its floor level started at 450.05 feet, or 12 inches below the parade ground. With its ceiling height of seven feet, roof thickness of two feet, plus two feet of earth fill, the elevation of the terreplein above should be close to 461.00 feet.

The bakehouse measured 18.5 feet x 20 feet. A doorway, 3.75 feet wide, was located in the center of the west wall. Three wooden steps were found at the entrance: the first step started outside the wall of the structure and was elevated six inches above the parade ground, the second step was located within the wall, and the third step was built entirely within the room. In the 1965 excavations portions of a door and door jamb with two pintles in place were found in their fallen position on the floor. [41]

A brick fireplace and hearth were uncovered in the center of the east wall. Immediately in back of the fireplace, 1.6 feet above the hearth, a beehive oven was constructed measuring 10 feet wide and 12 feet long. It was built of brick and had a brick-lined floor. Flues to serve the fireplace and oven were probably combined into one chimney that extended through the roof and earth fill and terminated in a chimney cap just above the terreplein. [42]

According to the archeologists' report of 1965, the corners of the bakehouse were built with a saddle and notch type construction, indicating that the structure was made from either round or squared logs. The report also implied that the exterior walls were covered with clapboards (actually boards measuring 1 inch X 1.1 inches). Window glass fragments and shutter pintles were reported found in the excavations along the east wall. If the bakehouse were completely backfilled with earth, the only logical location for a window would be in the door.

The roof of the original structure was probably covered with two tiers of 12-inch squared timbers, sloped to one side to provide drainage. The floor of the bakehouse, except for the brick hearth, was thought to be of hard packed earth.

No evidence was found during the excavations to indicate passageways, etc., in front of the bakehouse. It is assumed that a short passageway was built off the steps, turning to the south and continuing another 30 feet. The passageway roof would have been covered with heavy timbers and earth would have been placed over the roof whenever it was needed to fill out the terreplein surrounding the gun platforms.

B. Banquette

Banquette, whether single or double, is a kind of step made on the rampart of a work near the parapet, for the troops to stand upon, in order to fire over the parapet: it is generally 3 feet high when double, and 1-1/2 when single, and about 3 feet broad, and 4-1/2 feet lower than the parapet. [43]

. . . the surface should slope backwards 2 inches in 3 ft., 3 inches in the 5 ft., so as to discharge water freely and keep the banquette dry. . . . [44]

Banquettes first appear on the plans of 1764, in the northeast and northwest bastions, in the ravelin and in the redoubt of the sally port. [45] In the cross section through the redoubt, the banquette appears as an earthen firing step having a ramp to the rear. They may be similarly constructed in the bastions where the terreplein is of earth construction, but on the timber terrepleins of the curtain walls and over the wooden platform of the ravelin, they would be constructed of wood. Sod or clay would have been used to stabilize the surface of the earthen banquettes.

Plank construction was probably used in building the wooden banquettes running along the curtain walls. These would be three feet wide, and 1-1/2 feet high with a two inch slope toward the rear. All of the banquettes would be canted back at a 40° angle whenever they stopped at an embrasure. No construction details for wooden banquettes have been found up to the present time except for those built along the walls of the sally port passageway. [46] These appear in sections A-B and C-D, Crown Map No. 102. It is assumed that the banquettes running along the curtain walls of the fort and on the ravelin would be constructed in a similar manner.

C. Barracks

Background Information

There were no free-standing barracks built for the soldiers at Fort Stanwix in 1758-59. [47] Casemates to house 400 soldiers were constructed under the terreplein of the four curtain walls, while twenty-one "Hutts for Officers" were built on the east half of the parade ground. The room arrangement of the casemates and the plan location of the officers' huts can be seen in Crown Maps Nos. 99, 100, and 101.

Prior to November 1764, the officers' huts had been removed from the parade ground, and in their place three buildings were constructed around the perimeter of the parade ground. While the buildings are not identified on the plan, they were probably two barrack buildings and a commandant's house. [48] Crown Map No. 102 shows the chimney arrangement and hip roof construction of the barracks, which scale 20 feet X 120 feet.

By 1767 the fort was described as being in a ruinous situation and not worth the expense of repairing and of maintaining a garrison there. The British government did see fit, however, to retain at least two half-pay officers to take care of the buildings, in the event they should be required for the King's use. [49]

In 1774 the fort suffered a disastrous fire which consumed all the buildings except a "Room which the officers used to mess in...." [50] This was the situation confronting the American Army, under Col. Elias Dayton, when it arrived at Fort Stanwix on July 13, 1776. The above description given of the fort's condition tallies with that written by Dr. Ebenezer Elmer in August of 1776:

Fort Stanwix, so called after the General who built it in 1758, is large and well situated, having a glacis, breastwork, ditch and a picquet fort before the walls, which are also well guarded with sharp sticks of timber shooting over the walls, on which is four bastions. The fort also has a sally port, covert way, bridge and ravelin before the gate at the entrance. The ruins of five houses and barracks in the inside, built for the accommodation of the stores, officers and soldiery. [51]

Dr. Elmer implies in his journal that there were still not enough barracks to house the men on September 18, since he had to sleep outdoors. It was not until October 3 that Dr. Elmer was able to move into the barracks, sharing a room with a captain. [52] This room was apparently only a verbal division of space since the entry on October 5 states that there was no partition between the rooms. [53] Many of the artificers and soldiers continued to lodge in tents after this date. [54]

It is still not certain how much construction work was done on the fort under the direction of Col. Dayton between July 13 and October 17. There are conflicting reports written about the condition of the fort at this time, one of which stated that Fort Stanwix was the strongest fort on the continent. [55] Reports such as these must have been gross exaggerations. It seems more likely that a garrison of such small size could do little more than maintain guard and fatigue duty during its four month stay.

Colonel Dayton's regiment was replaced on October 17 by Colonel Samuel Elmore's four companies of Connecticut troops consisting of some 23 officers and 283 men. [56] According to the historian's report, part of the garrison was returned to German Flats to winter because not all the barracks had been completed. [57] The period of time in which Col. Elmore's regiment occupied Fort Stanwix—October 17, 1776 to May 10, 1777—must have been one of inactivity as far as construction work was concerned. However, there was probably a great deal of future planning during the winter and early spring months by the French engineer, Capt. de Lamarquise, who had been sent by General Schuyler to take charge of the fort works. Sometime in late April, de Lamarquise reported that the barracks were able to house only 200 men, but with alterations they could accommodate 400 to 500 men. [58]

After the arrival of Col. Gansevoort's 3rd New York Regiment on May 3, construction activity increased. Again there seems to be a difference of opinion among the various reports of this time regarding the condition of the fort buildings. On May 19, the engineer wrote that it was absolutely necessary to build new barracks. [59] Colonel Marinus Willett recalled many years later that the barracks within the fort were repaired, and another barrack was erected outside the fort on the glacis. This latter building was burned by the British army during the siege. [60]

Barrack Construction

There are several contemporary drawings that depict the barracks at Fort Stanwix (Schuyler), [61] Six of these sources include in their delineation five buildings standing on the parade ground; two of the five structures were probably barracks, and are in the same location as they are on the British plan of 1764. Unfortunately, all of the drawings disagree in detail and there is little indication of how the buildings were constructed.

A number of references to barracks prior to the siege can be found at Fort Stanwix, but only one specifically uses the phrase "framing a Barracks." [62] Four references to fetching, transporting, and receiving boards suggest that boards would have been used on "framed" buildings as opposed to the long and heavy squared timbered casemates incorporated into the ramparts. [63]

A materials order submitted by B. Romans in September of 1775 for the construction of barracks on Constitution Island, N.Y., lists piece by piece the dimensions and quantity of framing stock, lumber, shingles, nails, bricks, etc., required for this project. [64]

Another material order submitted by Col. Moylan to the Albany Committee of Correspondence in September 1776 lists similar materials required to build "Barracks for 20,000 men." [65] There are also numerous references extracted from correspondence written to other forts in the northeast area that describe the building of barracks by means of frames covered with boards. Thus it seems that the majority of barracks buildings erected during the Revolution were constructed of a post, sill, and beam system with the walls covered with boards and the roofs with shingles; Fort Stanwix was probably no exception.

East Barracks

Archeological excavations during the summer of 1972 uncovered the foundation sills for the north wall and portions of the east wall of this barracks. Three cellar holes were also excavated, two of which are thought to be related to the American occupation. [66] The dimensions of the barracks measured approximately 20 feet X 120 feet, which corresponds to the size of the 1764 barracks. The foundations of the barracks were found to be wooden sleepers set directly on the ground; no stone was used and no evidence of fireplace bases was uncovered. Portions of three hinges, one door latch (?), six spikes, six nails, one pintle having a threaded end with a nut, and a half dozen other miscellaneous metal items were retrieved from the cellar holes.

Since it has been assumed that the McGaw powder horn is the most credible source of information regarding the exterior form of the barracks during the siege, the building would have had the following characteristics:

(1) Foundation dimensions of 20 feet X 120 feet (from archeological findings).

(2) A frame structure consisting of sleepers, posts, beams, and joists; walls covered with wide horizontal feather-edged boards with lapped ends; and a gable roof covered with wood shingles. [67] The exterior weatherboarding would have been left unpainted.

(3) Four chimney stacks as shown on the powder horn.

(4) Eight doorway openings as shown on the powder horn. We have plans from four other contemporary forts that show a passageway running through the barracks opposite the sally port. It is believed that one of the eight doorway openings represents a passageway, four feet wide, cut through the barracks for easy access to the sally port. Board and batten doors, hung on strap hinges, were probably the type of entrance used, each door supplied with hand wrought thumb latches.

(5) Only one window is shown on the powder horn and that is in the south gable end. Window openings must have been an oversight on the part of the artist. There were probably two or more windows per room, depending upon the size of each room. [68] It is likely that outside window shutters were used to conserve heat during the cold weather.

(6) The interior room arrangement is conjectural. Two officers' rooms on the south end and two more on the north end are proposed. [69] Between these would be three rooms for soldiers plus the passageway to the sally port. Each room would be heated by a fireplace. The room arrangement has been worked out by placing the fireplace foundations beyond the edges of the cellar holes.

It is assumed that the cellars were dug out after the barracks were constructed and were probably used for the storage of dry provisions.

(7) The interior room finish is conjectural. A garrison order issued on October 16, 1777, reads in part: "The Commandant wou'd be very Glad the Engineer wou'd carry on the Barracks with all possible speed, as he is afraid the Inclemency of the Weather, will much injure the Mens Constitutions unless soon provided with good Quarters." [70] Assuming that the above order applies to the barracks standing on the parade ground, then they were still not completed nearly two months after the siege was over.

On the basis of the scanty information cited above, it is recommended that the interior walls of the room occupied by the soldiers not be lined with boards. Instead, the rough sawn weatherboards nailed to the exterior wall studding should be the completed finish. The ceiling can be finished off by laying boards loosely over the top of the joists without nailing. This would mean that the framework of the barracks building, the posts, plates, and ceiling beams would be hand hewn while the wall studding, braces, ceiling joists, and boards would be mill sawn.

The floors should be rough-sawn wide boards, face-nailed into the joints with "T"-headed, hand-wrought nails. According to garrison orders, the floors were to be washed down every Saturday.

A different wall treatment is proposed for the officers' rooms located within the barracks. These walls should be lined with tongue and grooved boards that have been hand planed and nailed with small hand wrought "T" headed nails. The ceilings should have hand planed boards laid loosely over the top of the joists.

Closets in which the officers could hang their uniforms, swords, etc., were probably built into the rooms—a small luxury not afforded the common soldier. Lighting should be furnished by candles, and shoe scrapers might be provided on the outside wall of the officers' rooms.

(8) Possibly eave troughs could be used to catch rainwater and funnel it into barrels.

West Barracks

Archeological excavations uncovered the foundation sills of the south wall and a portion of the east wall at the south end of the barracks. Six cellar holes were excavated along the entire length.

The dimensions of the west barracks correspond with those of the east barracks—about 20 feet X 120 feet. The construction of the two buildings was similar. Wooden sleepers, used for the foundation, were set directly on the ground. Parts of ten sleepers, apparently used as joists, were uncovered at the south end. These were placed approximately three feet on centers and set directly on the ground at parade ground level, 451.00 feet.

Excavation of the west barracks yielded only one fireplace base, located in the south end wall of the building, while the McGraw powder horn shows five chimney stacks extending above the roof. Three spikes, one pintle (with a threaded end), and two staples were the only hardware recovered from the site.

Using the McGraw powder horn again as the source of information, the west barracks would have appeared as follows:

(1) Foundation dimensions of 20 feet X 120 feet (from archeological findings).

(2) A frame structure identical in construction to the east barracks as described earlier, (See item No. 2 under east barracks.)

(3) Four chimney stacks (spaced to avoid the six cellar holes).

(4) Four doorway openings.

(5) The powder horn shows two windows in the east wall, but it seems certain that there would have been two or more window openings into each of the rooms. It is probable that exterior board and batten shutters were used.

(6) The interior room arrangement is conjectural. [71] Two small rooms for officers at each end of the barracks and two large rooms for soldiers in the center of the building are proposed. [72] Each room would be heated by a fireplace and lighted by candles. At least one cellar hole should be excavated and shown as an exhibit. This could be done by leaving the trap door open and covering the opening with a metal grille.

(7) The interior room finish should be similar to that proposed for the east barracks; that is, the walls in the soldiers' rooms should be unlined on the interior, while those in the officers' rooms should be lined with boards. Ceiling boards should be laid loosely over the joists. The framework should be exposed mortice and tenoned timbers. The floor should be wide boards throughout, face-nailed with handwrought nails.

(8) As at the east barracks, eaves troughs could have been used during the historic period for catching and diverting rainwater from the roof into rain barrels.

D. Bastions

Bastions are the pentagonal sections of the ramparts which extend beyond the square of the fort at each corner. At Fort Stanwix, the original drawings show that the bastions were made full, that is, filled with earth up to the base of the parapet. Access to the terreplein of the bastion from the parade ground was by means of a ramp located in the throat or gorge of the bastion.

The terreplein of the bastions consisted mainly of the sloping gun platforms with earthen banquettes built along the base of the parapet between each platform. Sod was probably laid between the platforms and on the banquettes to prevent erosion of the topsoil. Drains for catching rainwater were usually dug into the terreplein at the lowest point next to the parapet.

The outer part of the bastion beyond the terreplein consisted of the parapet, built to a height of six feet above the terreplein in its completed form or to a height of 2-1/2 feet when finished en barbette. It was the usual military practice to place a sentry box on the tip of each bastion. Access to the superior slope of the parapet where the sentry box stood must have been provided by a set of steps.

There is good evidence to believe that only three of the bastions at Fort Stanwix were completed at the time of the siege [73] and up until February of 1778, when a report was written describing the conditions of the fort. [74] Probably the parapet of one bastion had not yet been raised to its entire height of six feet.

Names were given to each bastion as it was completed in 1758. Only the northwest bastion can be positively identified, and it is designated as the "Flag Bastion" on Crown Map No. 101. The remaining bastions were called the "Onida," the "New York" and the "Rodisland." [75] The Americans apparently never gave names to their bastions, since on August 1, 1777, orders were given to man the S.E.. S.W., N.W., and N.E. bastions. [76] This order was repeated on December 11. [77] By November of 1780, this designation was further simplified by referring to the bastions as south, east, north, and west. [78] On December 30, 1780, "The Morning Gun is to be fired in the Southeast Bastion to Morrow Morning and at the Same place a New Year Morning and Evening." [79]

Only one structure was built within the bastions in 1758 and that was a powder magazine located in the southeast bastion. It was built approximately seven feet below the parade ground level, although its bombproof roof extended some four feet above grade and was topped with five feet of earth fill. In 1759, a small cellar was constructed in the same bastion; both of these structures are shown on Crown Map No. 101. By 1764 both the root cellar and powder magazine had fallen into disrepair. Whether the powder magazine was rebuilt as part of the repair work done in 1764 is uncertain, but when the Americans arrived in 1776 the magazine had probably fallen in and become filled over with earth from the bastion.

At one time or another the Americans built a structure under the terreplein of each bastion. This fact has been established by evidence uncovered during the archeological excavations and by documentation found in orderly books [80] and diaries. What are certain to be bombproofs were found in the northwest, northeast, and southwest bastions. A bakehouse was uncovered in the southeast bastion and is considered by the archeologists to have been built during the American occupation.

The McGraw powder horn shows a rectangular block located in the throat of each bastion. These blocks can be interpreted in two ways—either as bombproofs or ramps. Since ramps are usually indicated on plans by a different symbol, it can almost be said that the powder horn artist was showing underground bastion structures.

It is proposed to show the fort with the four bastions completed, having full height parapets containing embrasures, banquettes, fraise, gun platforms, ramps and sentry boxes. It is recommended that three bombproofs and passageways be reconstructed.

A reconstruction of the bakehouse and passageway in the southeast bastion is recommended based on the archeological evidence found in 1965 and 1971.

E. Berm

BERM, in fortification, is a little space or path, of about 4, 6, or 8 feet broad, according to the height and breadth of the works, between the ditch and the parapet, when made of turf, to prevent the earth from rolling into the ditch; and serves likewise to pass and repass. [81]

Berms were constructed to slope slightly towards the ditch to provide good drainage away from the ramparts. [82]

The 1759 plan of Fort Stanwix, Crown Map No. 101, shows a measurement of 6'—0" written directly above the berm on "Profill throu C.D." A berm is also shown on the three sectional drawings appearing on Crown Map No. 99, dated 1758, but no measurements are written in. Scaling directly off the drawings, these berms measure between seven and eight feet wide.

Archeologists have determined that the berms constructed at Fort Stanwix were of the following widths: six feet wide along the north and west sides, five feet wide along the south side, and seven feet wide along the east side. It appears that the berm adjacent to the east rampart wall was widened in 1764 when the pickets were moved from the ditch to the berm. [83] In the proposed reconstruction, pickets should be placed on the berm along the east side of the fort, and sod used on the berms.

As stated in the section entitled Bastions, it appears that bombproofs were built under three of the bastions—those to the northeast, northwest, and southwest—and that a bakehouse was constructed under the southeast bastion.

Bombproofs were so constructed as to enable them to withstand direct artillery fire. Further precautions were taken to ensure the safety of their contents by covering their heavily constructed roofs with three to four feet of earth fill. Each of the bombproofs at Fort Stanwix was constructed in a different manner. Archeological evidence obtained from the northwest bombproof site suggests that the construction features of this particular building are very similar to those described in the Willett Narrative. [84]

F. Bombproofs and Passageways

Northwest Bombproof

This structure is probably the magazine that Willett describes as having been built from the "seven spare feet which were left of the pickets." Round posts were found forming the walls of the bombproof and of the passageway into it. The shape of the structure was found to be irregular with unequal lengths and angles to each wall. The south end of the bombproof measures approximately 13 feet, while the north end measures about 15 feet. The east and west walls measure 20 feet and 21 feet respectively.

The passageway enters the bombproof at the northeast corner. Its overall width was found to be approximately 5 feet, while the overall length along the shortest side measured 55 feet. Ten feet east of the bombproof, the passageway made a 42° turn to the south and extended 45 feet until it reached the end wall of the north casemate. A pair of strap hinges was found at the beginning of the passageway indicating that a door had been located at the entrance way. Both bombproof and passageway floors were found to be about 1.23 feet below the level of the parade ground. This means that the height of the bombproof roof determined the height of the terreplein within the bastion. It also means that with a ramp running alongside the passageway, most of the side walls would be covered by the earth fill.

The passageway was floored with planks (laid over cross sleepers) running parallel to the walls, and the roof was spanned by 5 foot beams. Floor planks were found in the bombproof and its roof was covered with an earth fill. There was no indication that interior posts were used to help support the roof, whose timbers were probably sloped to permit drainage.

Southwest Bombproof

This bombproof measures approximately 20 feet square with a passageway located at the center of the east wall. As with the northeast bombproof, this structure and its passageway were constructed above the parade ground level. The walls of the bombproof were built of horizontal members, thought by the archeologists to be squared timbers. A doorway was framed into the east wall by means of two vertical posts mortised into the foundation timber. The ends of the wall timbers on each side of the opening were fastened to the uprights, probably by mortise and tenon work. This would also apply to the passageway walls where the timbers seem to end against the two vertical posts.

As the passageway left the bombproof, it continued for 5 feet before turning north at a 60° angle. Unfortunately, only 8 feet of the second leg of the passageway have survived the many years of modern construction work on the site. The remaining length and direction are conjectural. The overall width of the passageway measured 6 feet, and it was floored with planks (nailed to cross sleepers) laid parallel to the walls. The roof of the passageway was probably covered with white pine timbers, squared off and hand adzed, similar to the heavy roof beams found in the bombproof.

Good evidence for a board floor in the bombproof was found. The widths of the boards and the directions that they were laid can be determined directly from the archeologists' drawings.

In 1778 this bombproof was described as being "the most airy, and agreeable." [85] This statement can be interpreted to mean that the bombproof probably had a "funnel" or "air hole" built through the roof extending a foot or two above the terreplein of the bastion. The roof timbers were probably sloped to permit good drainage.

Northeast Bombproof

The floor level of the northeast bombproof was established at 448.00 feet, or three feet below the parade ground level. The floor level of the passageway leading to the bombproof was found to be 449.00 feet.

The northeast bombproof scales 15 feet X 17 feet off the archeologists' plan and had a passageway entering into the center of the south wall, of which approximately 22 feet was found. Its walls extended five feet to the southwest before turning almost due west another 15 feet, where the passage terminated approximately 14 feet from the east wall of the north casemate. Three steps were found just outside the entrance way into the passage. The elevation of the top step was recorded at 451.68 feet or 8 inches above the parade ground. This extra height probably created a curb which kept ground water from running into the passageway.

Floor boards were found in the passageway (nailed to cross sleepers) parallel to the side walls. Above the floor, a collapsed section of wall was found. It appears that the original wall was constructed of round posts spaced several feet apart with horizontal boards nailed to the outside—not a very substantial method of construction.

No evidence of floor boards were found in the bombproof, although it would seem that a wood floor had been used. Remains of the roof timbers covering the passageway and bombproof were found—cross timbers were used to span the six foot wide passageway, while the bombproof timbers spanned 17 feet. These roof timbers were probably sloped to permit good drainage.

G. Bricks

Bricks used in the fortifications at the Oneida Carrying Place from 1756-58 were made near the upper landing on the Mohawk River, where a brick kiln was constructed. In 1756 General Craven reported "40,000 Bricks made & burned to build chimneys for the Barracks & Hospital." [86]

The practice of making bricks locally probably continued long after the Revolution ended. Brickmakers were undoubtedly one of the many kinds of artificers sent to Fort Stanwix between 1776-81 when the American troops occupied the fort. A large supply of bricks was required to build the many chimney blocks found in the course of the excavation work.

There seems to be a similar quality and size to all the bricks found on the site that were used for fort features. The average size of the bricks is 2 inches X 4 inches X 8 inches (±1/4 inch). The color is red running to gray depending upon kiln conditions at the time of firing. The clay used contained a heavy concentration of sand with some pebble aggregate, and straw was introduced occasionally as a binder. The final product was a brick which had numerous air pockets, a very soft consistency, and warped surfaces. [87]

The mortar consisted of burned lime and sand and was white in color due to the concentration of lime to sand. Samples of the brick and mortar are available at the site.

H. Bridge

Fort Stanwix was originally constructed without a bridge at the main entrance to the fort. The ditch was stopped short on both sides of the roadway which entered the fort through the south curtain wall. (See Crown Maps Nos. 99 & 100.)

Sometime between 1759 and 1765 the road bed in front of the south curtain wall was excavated as deep and as wide as the adjoining ditch. This excavation may have been done in 1764 when work was carried on between July 1 and December 31. The bridge first appeared on plans drawn in 1764—Crown Maps Nos. 102 & 103—but there is no indication on these plans that a drawbridge was built at this time.

The "Ganesvoort Map of Fort Stanwix" and the Cornelius Chatfield powder horn are two drawings completed after 1777 that show a bridge with supporting posts and braces. The deFleury map lists a "draw bridge" which implies an existing bridge structure to go with it. Except for three other references cited under the section entitled Drawbridge, the orderly books, journals, and diaries all omit references to a bridge.

The ground in front of the south curtain wall was excavated by the archeologists in 1972 and parts of two sleepers, one of them 40 feet long, that supported the bridge at the bottom of the ditch were uncovered. At a higher level, four posts were found that the archeologists interpret as being supports for the bridge. These were found in pairs about 10 feet apart and approximately 10 to 12 feet in from each end of the bridge. The sleepers in the bottom of the ditch were spaced 10 feet 6 inches apart, outside dimensions. This measurement was used to determine the width of the bridge and to establish the positions of the two outer posts.

By determining the slopes of the scarp (43°) and counterscarp (37°), the archeologists have determined the length of the bridge to have been 74 feet. Approximately 1.5 feet of the south end rested on the covered way.

Further information on the design of the bridge will have to be gleaned from the post-siege drawing. This drawing also includes a detailed sketch of the bridge to the necessary. One bridge drawing done at Fort Niagara in 1769 is helpful in understanding the construction techniques used in the building of bridges.

The proposed bridge is supported by six posts anchored to the sleepers and stringers by diagonal braces. A 3-1/2 inch plank deck is laid over eight inch stringers which in turn are supported by 10-inch beams. A handrail, which shows up on the post-siege plan, should be built along both sides of the bridge and a wood curb placed along the base of the posts. At the north end, a draw span should be constructed, 10 feet 6 inches X 12 feet. A ramp is required off the south end to ease the bridge elevation of 450.60 feet down to 448.00 feet at the base of the ravelin.

It is recommended that the bridge be made from squared timbers and planks that have a hand adzed finish. The handrail may have had a plane finish on its posts, rails, and cap pieces. The bridge should be left unpainted but all the pieces should be pressure treated after final cutting and fitting.

The major joints of the bridge should be mortised and tenoned and pegged, while the bridge planks should be nailed with 100d spikes having rose heads.

I. Casemates

A casemate, according to Muller, "is a work made under the rampart, like a cellar or cave with loopholes to place guns in it." [88] Casemates built by the British and American armies, prior to and during the Revolution, were slightly modified from the above description. They were not built to hold guns, nor did they have loopholes or embrasures. but were used primarily as soldiers' barracks or as a place for the storage of provisions and ordnance. [89]

Early in 1758 a proposal for the construction of Fort Stanwix was submitted by Lt. Col. John Montresor, a British engineer. He proposed "Barracks to be made underneath the Rampart, with the Flues of the Chimneys, to come thr'o the Top." [90] Capt. William Green commented that a "Reasonable Breadth for the Barracks underneath cannot be less than 20 ft." [91]

Writing in November 1758, Col. Montresor described the completed work as follows: "The loggs of wch the fort is built are generally 2 Ft thick, flatted on the upper and under sides. The Casemates (at present Barracks) are covered wt two teer of Square timber from 12 to 24 Ins broad by 12 Ins thick as Represented in the Profil." [92] This description agrees with the plans and drawings completed in 1758 and 1759.

An elevation drawing and a cross section taken through the north casemate are shown on Crown Map. No. 99, while another cross section taken through the north casemate is shown on Crown Map No. 101. These plans included building details for the casemates. A description of the four casemate areas shown on these early plans can be read in the historian's report of 1969. [93]

Very little evidence of the casemate foundation walls was found during the archeological work. Sufficient portions of the wall foundations of all casemates except the one on the east were uncovered to establish their relationship to the rampart walls.

According to the historian's report, the casemates were rebuilt in 1764. [94] If this was the case, it might account for the differences that were noted between the plans of 1758-64 and what was actually found as archeological evidence. There is also the possibility that these changes were made between 1776 and 1781 when the Americans occupied the fort. A letter written by Col. Gansevoort in October of 1777 was concerned about the proposed building of bombproof barracks (possibly casemates):

Major Hubbell the present Engineer is now busy to lay the Foundation of a bombproof Barrack, the Timber he has brought in for that purpose in my opinion is insufficient against a 13 Inch Shell. . . . [95]

If the above timber was to be used for casemates, it would seem that no work was accomplished that winter. Another account written on February 3, 1778, describes the condition of the fort:

The Fortification is far From compleat. The Curtains & one Bastion remain to be finished, Magazines & Casements are to be built, the Ditch to be Picqueted and the present Barracks must necessarily be pulled down. . . . [96] (Emphasis added.)

If the above account is an accurate description of the fort, it leaves the impression that the casemates, at least in part, were not completed in 1777. Because of a lack of solid documentation for identifying the uncompleted parts of the fort, it is recommended that all casemates be reconstructed as they might have appeared in a completed fort.

General Construction Details for all Casemates:

(1) Walls should be constructed six logs high with their upper and lower faces flatted. The foundation log should be not less than 24 inches in diameter and pressure treated to refusal after all joints are cut and fitted. The remaining five logs should measure approximately 23, 21, 20, 19, and 17 inches in diameter from bottom to top. Two additional wall logs along the front wall should be squared into 8 inches X 12 inches timbers with a hand adzed finish on the exposed sides. Splicing at the ends of logs and timbers should be done with half-lapped joints, and dove-tailed at the corners. Partitions should be constructed of 6 inches thick squared logs, 22 feet long; exposed surfaces should be hand adzed and the ends half-lapped and fastened to the front and rear walls.

(2) Doors and windows should be cut through the log walls. Doors should be board and batten, hung with strap hinges on pintles and have thumb latches. They would measure four feet wide and five feet high (as scaled off the 1758 drawing). Window openings are based on a glass size of 7 inches X 9 inches (as assembled by the archeologists from window glass fragments). Using this glass size, the casemate window openings measure 24-3/4 inches X 31-1/4 inches based on a nine-light casement-hung sash. Exterior shutters should be board and batten, hung on strap hinges.

(3) Roofs of the casemates should be composed of two tiers of squared timbers, each tier 12 inches thick, 8 inches to 24 inches wide and 23 feet long—all pressure treated to point of refusal. A waterproof membrane is proposed between the two tiers with the surface joints and weather checks caulked with oakum and pitch. Banquettes with a concealed drainage system should be built on the roof of the casemate against the parapet. The casemate roofs slope 9 inches down to the parapet from 9 feet to 6 inches to 8 feet 9 inches interior ceiling heights should be 2 feet lower.

North Casemate

The basic shape of the north casemate. as uncovered by the archeologists, conforms to that found on the historic drawings. Pieces of wood foundation (logs) were uncovered along the entire length of the north wall, and along the west end wall. The location of the south wall was based on evidence related to changes in soil levels and color graduation. A number of evenly spaced cross trenches were found that were thought to be sleeper locations for the support of floor boards.

The archeologists discovered that a major deviation from the floor plans drawn in 1758-59 was the number and placement of fireplaces. Six brick bases for fireplaces were uncovered in a line abutting the north log wall.

Since all of the fireplace bases were practically identical in size, and evenly spaced, the archeologists have assumed that the casemate was divided into six rooms of nearly equal size.

The archeologists have determined that the floor level throughout the casemate was approximately the same as the hearths. No evidence was found by the archeologists to indicate that bricks were used either for the floor of the fireplaces or of the hearths; it is assumed that packed soil or clay was used for this purpose.

In order to minimize the danger of weakening the exterior log wall by cutting a door opening into each of the six rooms, it is proposed to use only three openings with air locks or enclosed entries on the interior. The use of air locks in this instance is conjectural, but three contemporary fort drawings have been located that illustrate this feature. [97]

After evaluating the artifacts found in the north casemate, archeologists have concluded that these rooms were occupied by officers rather than by soldiers. An entry from John Barr's diary for 1780, reads "drew for the Rooms and Lieut Hyatt and I drew No 1 on the Left of the North Side of the Fort." [98]

Based upon the number of officers stationed at Fort Stanwix, there would be three rooms with three officers (Ensigns) and three rooms with two officers of a higher rank. Closets are a feature that have been found in other fort plans and should probably be included in these six rooms.

East Casemate

No trace of this casemate was found during the excavation work. About midway between the northeast and southeast bastions, a trench was found that related to a drain running through the rampart walls and into the extended passageway of the sally port located in the ditch. The archeologists seem certain that the drain also paralleled the sally port passageway through the casemate.

The floor plan of the proposed east casemate is based on that found in the drawings of 1758-59; that is, two rooms of about equal size on both sides of the sally port passageway. Each room should have a centrally located chimney with a double fireplace and a sand floor for both fireplace and hearth. These rooms are shown on the original plans as having field beds (bench beds) built in along two sides of the room. Two exterior doors and eight windows are drawn on the plan of 1758-59, and this number is proposed for the reconstruction. A planked floor throughout is also suggested.

South Casemate

Because the main entrance (12 feet 6 inches wide) into the fort passed through the south curtain wall, the proposed south casemate is subdivided into southwest and southeast rooms. Traces of the wood foundation forming the entrance passageway were found as well as the west end of the southwest room. The archeologists' report should be consulted for a complete description of this area.

The remains of a centrally located brick fireplace were found in the southwest casemate, the only evidence remaining of any of these early chimney blocks built in the 1758-59 period. Reconstruction of the two south casemates is based on the plan of 1758-59, which incorporates the central chimney as found.

The two reconstructed casemates are approximately the same size, each one having a centrally located chimney block containing two back-to-back fireplaces. According to the early drawings, there should be one exterior door and six window openings in each casemate. Field beds should be built along the side walls as shown on the plans of 1758. The floor in the southeast casemate should be wood, but the floor in the southwest casemate was found to be packed clay.

West Casemate

Portions of the log foundation were found at the north end of this casemate, although modern building foundations had intruded into this area and eliminated practically all of the structure at parade ground level. The reconstructed floor plan of the west casemate agrees with that shown on the plans of 1758-59. The casemate should be divided by squared log partitions into three rooms, each room containing a centrally located chimney block with back to back fireplaces. The fireplaces and hearths should be of sand and the floors of the casemates should be made of planks.

In accordance with the original plans there should be one exterior door and three window openings into each room. Field beds should be built along the west wall of the three rooms and across the end walls of the north and south rooms.

J. Covered Way

The covered way was a shelf of ground running along the counterscarp or outer edge of the ditch, and was protected from enemy fire by the parapet of the glacis. It was used as a place to station sentries and as a first line of defense.

The term "Cover'd way" appears on Crown Map No. 102, dated 1764. The earlier plans of the fort, if drawn to scale outside the ditch, show a covered way measuring two feet wide on Section E-F, Crown Map No. 99, but only one foot wide on Section E-F, Crown Map No. 101. The covered way must have been extensively widened by 1764, since these plans indicate a width of 10 feet in addition to what appears to be two firing steps built into the parapet of the glacis.

The covered way occurred only on three sides of the fort where the ditch was dug, although the deFleury post-siege map and the "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix" show it on all sides. A portion of the covered way opposite the southwest bastion was exposed by the archeologists. A distinct ledge, 10 feet wide, was found between the counterscarp of the ditch and the parapet of the glacis. At the base of the glacis, a trench, 2-1/2 feet deep and approximately 3 feet wide, was excavated and interpreted to be the location of the picket line, although no trace of the pickets were found. No evidence of the 1764 firing steps was left in the parapet at this location.

Based on the evidence submitted by the archeologists, the proposed covered way is 10 feet wide. It follows the counterscarp of the ditch on the north, west and south sides of the fort. Opposite the tips of the northeast and southeast bastion, it angles directly toward the rampart walls and connects to the berm on an elevation of 451.00 feet. The picket line should also turn and follow the covered way, then continue along the berm on the east side of the fort.

A covered way is shown on the old plans in front of the ravelin and so it is proposed to run a covered way, 10 feet wide, along the exterior faces of the ravelin. The picket line should also turn and follow the base of the glacis surrounding the ravelin. At the intersection of the road into the ravelin, there should be a picket gate and a small bridge spanning a shallow ditch eight feet wide. The covered way should be finished off with sod and sloped toward the ditch to provide drainage.

K. Curtain Wall

CURTAIN, in fortification, is that part of the body of a place, which joins the flank of one bastion to that of the next. [99]

The curtain walls are part of the ramparts. At Fort Stanwix the curtain walls were constructed to include casemates under the terreplein. A sally port was built through the center of the east curtain wall and the main entrance into the fort was built through the center of the south curtain wall. Embrasures were possibly built into the parapet of the curtain walls. For a discussion of how the curtain walls were constructed, see the sections entitled Ramparts and Casemates.

L. Ditch

The idea of a ditch surrounding a fort was a holdover from the moats around the medieval fortified towns and castles. This principle was kept in use by military engineers because it served to extend the exterior slope of the ramparts without adding height to the construction relief of the works.

A natural scrap occurring in the land formation to the east must have influenced the selection of the original site of Fort Stanwix. The military engineers could easily see the advantage of placing the rampart walls along the edge of this scarp and thus avoiding the construction of a ditch and glacis along the east side. A study of the plans and written documents seems to verify this approach.

After the trace of the fort was laid out, the construction of the cribbing for the rampart walls was begun. Earth from the ditch was then taken out and thrown into the cribbing as it was being raised, until the proper height of the rampart walls was reached. The remaining earth from the ditch was removed to fill the inner part of the bastions (terreplein and ramp) and the parapet walls, and to construct the glacis beyond the ditch.

An original drawing of 1758 (Crown Map No. 99) indicates, in plan and section, a ditch extending around four sides of Fort Stanwix. Section A-B shows how poorly the counterscarp of the ditch along the east wall was constructed. The ditch ended in plan when it reached the face of the northeast bastion.

The building of a ditch along the east side of the fort probably represents an attempt on the part of the engineer to carry out the principles of fortified works as listed in military handbooks. Apparently, by 1764, the poorly constructed ditch had deteriorated to the point where it was considered not worth restoring, since it does not appear on the plans from this period.

The ditch on the south side of the fort was enlarged in 1759 (see note F on Crown Map No. 101). By 1764, the open end of the ditch at the southeast bastion was closed off by an earthen counterscarp and covered way which were built across the gap. The open end at the northeast bastion may have been closed in a similar manner.

Several angles of the scarp and counterscarp were measured after they were exposed during the excavation work. These angles varied from 37° to 44°. The archeologists established 40° as the angle to use for the scarp and counterscarp of the ditch, and for the scarp of the glacis and sally port, while the angle of the scarp under the drawbridge was found to be 43°.

The following widths have been proposed for the ditch on the north and south sides: 42 feet across the top and 18 feet at the bottom opposite the bastions, 58 feet across the top and 34 feet at the bottom opposite the center of the curtain walls. On the west side of the fort the widths of the ditch are: 39 feet across the top and 15 feet at the bottom opposite the bastions, 55 feet across the top and 31 feet at the bottom opposite the curtain walls. An indentation of 10 feet into the scarp was found at the entrance to the fort. Depth of the ditch is 10 feet, or at an elevation of 441.00 feet.

The ditch is circular opposite the salient angles of the northwest and southwest bastions. The radii of the two arcs that define the inner and outer limits of the counterscarp scale 20 feet and 32 feet off the tip of the scarp of the bastion.

It is proposed to sod the scarp and counterscarp. The bottom of the ditch should be left with its natural soil exposed. The archeologists feel certain that with the type of pebbly soil found at the bottom of the ditch, there will be no drainage problem.

M. Drawbridge

Draw-Bridge, that which is fastened with hinges at one end only, so that the other may be drawn up; in which case the bridge is almost perpendicular, to hinder the passage of a ditch, &c. [100]

The earliest known use of drawbridges in military fortification is obscure. By the thirteenth century, entranceways into fortified castles and towns of Europe were protected by one or more drawbridges. [101] Several methods of raising and lowering drawbridges, which were employed by the medieval engineer, survived into the 18th century and were put to use at military posts in America. [102]

Eighteenth century military handbooks usually included a description of several types of bridges, including the drawbridge. Descriptions of drawbridges were published as late as 1862, and military installations in use during the American Civil War were frequently equipped with this feature.

Drawbridges appear more often on fort plans drawn during the French and Indian War than on those drawn at the time of the American Revolution. The writer has found a total of 22 drawbridges in use between 1739 and 1781. [103]

Only four references were found on the drawbridge at Fort Stanwix during the Revolution. The post-siege deFleury map includes "J-a draw bridge," in its legend, while Willett's Narrative makes only a brief mention of such a feature: "In front of the gate there had been a drawbridge, covered by a salient angle, raised in front of it on the glacis." [104] There is no mention of a drawbridge in either the Willett Orderly Book or Colbraith's Diary, but two references to a drawbridge can be found in the Orderly Books for the 4th and 2nd New York Regiments in 1780:

p. 541: the Outside Gate and the Draw Bridge are to he shut at Retreat Beating, and the Sallee post at Dusk.

p. 542: the officer of the Guard is to Instruct the Sentinals at the Draw Bridge and Sallee port not to Suffer any Strangers nor Indians to Enter the Fort without the Commandts permission.

Based upon the above four references to drawbridges at Fort Stanwix. it is proposed to incorporate this feature as part of the main bridge at the north end adjacent to the rampart passageway. The draw span would measure roughly 10 feet 6 inches X 12 feet and have a double tier of 3 inches planks supported over stringers. A hurter or curb should be laid along each side and bolted through the construction work. Reproduction hinges should be made to match the large pintle type hinges found during the excavation work and these should be driven into the end of the hurter, then bolted in place. [105]

The lifting mechanism for the drawbridge has not been designed yet, but will probably in corporate a set of counterweights, pulleys, and a winch operating a wrought iron chain connected to the draw span.

N. Embrasures

General Stanwix, writing in 1758, envisioned his fort with eight embrasures in each bastion and three embrasures in two of the curtain walls. [106] He left the outpost in November of that year without completing this part of the fortification. Work continued the following year, but by the end of December only the northwest bastion was finished off with a parapet containing six gun embrasures. as shown on Crown Map No. 101.

Work on the parapet must have continued sporadically throughout the ensuing years. Crown Map No. 103, dated November 19, 1764, shows an uneven number of embrasures in the four bastions and curtain walls. On Crown Map No. 102, dated the same year, the embrasures are omitted from the plan, although other work is listed as having been completed. For the first time in plan, three embrasures appear in the ravelin that protected the main entrance. These are mentioned in the Willett Narrative.

It can only be assumed that with the size of cannon anticipated to be used by the Americans at Fort Stanwix after 1776, a substantial parapet with embrasures would have been built to protect not only the cannon but also the artillerymen. This fact seems to be substantiated by studying the three powder horn plans carved in 1777 and the "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix," because embrasures are shown in each one of these plans, although their number varies. The Thomson and McGraw powder horns and the Gansevoort Map show six embrasures in each of the bastions. Thomson and Gansevoort also place two embrasures in each of the four curtain walls. A fort plan published in Willett's Narrative in 1831 places two embrasures in the north and west curtain walls and three embrasures in the ravelin. This same plan shows ten embrasures in each of the bastions, a condition which would not meet the specifications for the spacing of embrasures (10 to 12 feet apart).

The only written source located to date mentioning embrasures is Willett's Narrative:

The engineer had begun to erect a salient angle to the gate, with two embasures in it. He was also engaged in erecting pickets along the covert way. The pickets were placed about three feet from the parapet of the glacis. Two of them were framed together with cross pieces, and formed a kind of porthole which were intended to he placed opposite the embrasures. . . [107]

By the first day of August the wall around the whole of the fort was repaired; the parapets were nearly raised; embrasures made on three of the bastions; horizontal pickets fixed around the walls, and perpendicular pickets around the covert way. The gate and the bridge were also made secure, though the time had been too short to make any material alteration in the salient angle, so as to derive any benefit from it. The garrison had just finished laying the horizontal pickets at night, as the enemy invested the fort the next day; but at the time of the arrival of the enemy, none of the parapets had been completed. It was necessary, therefore, to finish these after the fort was regularly invested. . . [108]

Willett seems to imply that the parapets were completed after the siege had begun, but he fails to mention if embrasures were used throughout the ramparts.

The embrasures should include the following: the genouillere, the sole or glacis, the throat, and the cheeks or side walls. Embrasure shutters were also used on occasion. Embrasures were built either direct or oblique to the parapet walls. Oblique embrasures were to be avoided whenever possible as they were prone to weaken the parapets.

The writer envisions the embrasures constructed much like those at Fort Edward, (see Illustration No. 18 in the Appendices). The log work of the rampart walls should continue another six feet above the terreplein to form the interior slope of the parapet. From this point, the top surface of the parapet slopes down 12 inches to the front rampart wall to form the superior slope. Within this construction the embrasures should be laid out from 10 to 12 feet apart, with their 2 feet wide throats starting 2-1/2 feet above the gun platforms or terreplein. The width of the embrasures at the exterior slope is 9 feet. The sole or glacis should be given a slope of 1-1/2 feet to the outside or slightly steeper than the angle of the superior slope. It was usually sodded. The cheek walls should be built with logs dovetailed into the outer and inner parapet walls. As a result of the logs being stacked up one on another, these side walls should be nearly vertical and not splayed as we see in some reconstructions.

If embrasure shutters are used, they should be constructed at one side of the throat and either hinged to swing or made to slide in front of the embrasure, theoretically to protect the artillerymen while loading the cannon.

O. Flagstaff

Location of the Flagstaff

The earliest known location of the flagstaff at Fort Stanwix is shown on the plan of c. 1759. In this drawing the northwest bastion is designated on the plan as "C . . . Flag Bastion. . . ." The small circle located in the extreme tip of the sailant angle may be interpreted as representing the flagstaff. [109]

By 1777, however, the location of the flagstaff had changed to the southwest bastion, a position much closer to the main entrance of the fort. Documentary evidence found to support the fact that the flagstaff was located in the southwest bastion comes from at least six sources: the post-siege deFleury map and the five carved horns. [110] Four of the five powder horn sketches place the flagstaff directly on the southwest bastion, while the fifth horn, belonging to James Wilson, places the staff near the southwest bastion, but on the parade ground. The artist may have taken a certain liberty and moved the pole aside in order to show a sentry box. The McGraw and DeWitt powder horns appear to be the most decisive of the lot in locating the flagstaff at the tip of the sailent angle, a position identical to that shown on the plan of c. 1759.

Design of the Flagstaff

Contemporary sketches of the period indicate that many of the military posts used a flagstaff consisting of an upper and lower pole. [111] There appears to be a marked similarity between a ship's masts and flagstaffs. It has been concluded that flagstaffs were originally built by ship's carpenters. This would account for the carryover of the basic design of an upper and lower pole, complete with cheek boards, trestle trees, cross trees, caps, trucks, etc—all component parts of a ship's mast. [112]

The flagstaff used at Fort Stanwix apparently was no exception. The double-masted staff shows up on four powder horn carvings, the most distinctive of these being that of James McGraw. McGraw depicts the flagstaff as having an upper and lower mast with the flag supported by ropes (rather than lashed to the mast). One feature shown on the McGraw flagstaff which does not conform to period construction drawings is a truck-like object appearing just above the top of the lower mast. This would seem to indicate that a truck was used on both upper and lower masts.

The James Wilson powder horn is less illustrative than the McGraw horn. It portrays another element found on a ship's masts—the cheek boards—but other essential parts of the pole's construction are omitted. The flag is shown supported by a rope running to the base of the pole, a feature found on all the other powder horn carvings.

Assuming that flagstaffs were constructed on the order of ships' masts, the component parts would be as follows: the main mast; the top mast with its truck and sheave; and the connection between the two masts comprised of trestle trees, cross trees, bibs and cheek boards, bolsters, and cap piece.

The height of a ship's main mast was determined on the basis of an arithmetical relationship; it was equal to one half the sum of the length of the ship plus its width. All other masts were of proportional length to the main mast. Thus, the top mast should be three fifths of the main mast in height. Diameters of the masts were computed in the same manner. The main mast was sized according to the type of ship it served and the remaining masts were sized proportionately to the main mast. [113]

Flagstaffs at military posts would, by their very nature of being secured in the ground, have a different base than that of ships' masts. The flagstaff base found at Fort McHenry in 1958 was in the shape of a "Christmas tree stand." Possibly two of these cross piece frames were used at Fort Stanwix, one at parade ground level, ±451 feet, and the other nearer the terreplein level of the bastion, at 458 feet.

P. Fraise

"The fraise is a horizontal or very inclined palisading, placed on the sides of the work or on their exterior slopes." [114] Its purpose was to prevent a direct escalation of the rampart walls by enemy foot soldiers.

A fraise was first used at Fort Stanwix in 1759. It appears on Crown Map No. 101 as part of Profile A-B, taken through the northeast bastion. Since the fraise does not appear in the other two profile drawings, it is assumed that only the northeast bastion was completed in this manner. The fraise is shown in profile at the top of the rampart wall where the parapet ends en barbette. It was placed at the same angle as the superior slope and must have been nailed or pegged into the top logs of the rampart walls. The fraise projected slightly beyond the berm width of six feet.

The fraise appears in one other plan of Fort Stanwix, Crown Map No. 102. Section A-B, taken through the rampart walls at the sally port, shows a pointed fraise anchored to the superior slope (12°) of a seven foot high parapet. The projection of the fraise measures six feet beyond the rampart walls. It is possible that the parapet was elevated an additional 12 inches as it passed over the roof of the sally port in order to provide more height between the roof and fraise. This could also be the case in the south curtain wall as the fraise approached the main entrance way. It may have to be elevated to the superior slope in order to clear the drawbridge and gateway.

There are several written accounts after the American occupation mentioning a fraise at Fort Stanwix, [115] There are no drawings or powder horn engravings from this period that show the fraise; therefore, the position of the fraise along the rampart wall is conjectural.

At the present, it can be assumed that the fraise will be placed about 12 inches below the sole of the gun embrasures. This location will permit sod to be laid on the soles of the embrasures and will keep the fraise concealed within the ramparts. The fraise was probably elevated to the level of the superior slope over the main entrance way and sally port.

The fraise should be constructed from pointed poles (without the bark) about five inches in diameter, spaced 5 to 6 inches apart, and project beyond the rampart walls seven feet. The overall length of the fraise will depend upon how the poles are secured in place. After cutting and shaping of the pointed ends are completed, the poles should be pressure treated.

Q. Gates

GATE, in a military sense, is made of strong planks with iron bars to oppose an enemy. They are generally made in the middle of the curtain, from whence they are seen and defended by the 2 flanks of the bastions. They should be covered with a good ravelin, that they may not be seen or enfiladed by the enemy. The palisades and barriers before the gates within the town are often of great use. [116]

Most military posts observed a regular routine in the opening and closing of gates, which was usually outlined very thoroughly in the military handbooks. [117]

Outer Gate

The outer gate was also referred to as a barrier or "picquet" gate and was usually constructed as part of the palisades or picket wall that surrounded the ramparts. The pickets of the gate were generally spaced three to four inches apart and were held in place by an upper and lower horizontal rail and diagonal strut. Outer gates were either made singly or in double sections hinged to side posts. [118] Most outer gates were secured with one or more horizontal wood bars slipped into staples or the like. Additional locks would be used, either a chain and padlock or an iron rim lock with a keeper.

A picket gate such as the one described above was probably used at Fort Stanwix. Crown Maps Nos. 99 and 101 both indicate where the outer gate was located in the picketed redan. Unfortunately, the symbol for a gate does not appear on either plan so there is no way of knowing whether it was built singly or in double sections. Crown Map No. 102 also has outer gate posts shown near the crest of the parapet cutting through the glacis southeast of the ravelin. Again no gate symbol is shown but one can assume that a gate was hung in this location.

The Americans found Fort Stanwix without a gate in 1776, [119] but by August 27 of that year gates had been erected. [120] While it is uncertain where these gates were located, word association of "pickets and gate" suggests one gate made of pickets was erected.

A garrison order written in the Willett Orderly Book on September 2, 1777, states:

The out Gates to be shut at Dusk on beating the Long Roll. . . . The Keys of the Gates to be delivered to the Captain of the Day as soon as Tattooe beating is over, who is to be careful in observing that the Gates are well locked . . .

On September 20, 1777, another garrison order read:

The Piquet Gates are to be shut at Dusk & the inner Gates of the Fort immediately after Tattooe beating and not to be Open'd untill the Revallee is beat, nor the Piquet Gates untill the seating of the Troop in the Morning—which is to beat at Sun Rise.

Still another garrison order issued on November 3, 1777, reads:

Order'd that the outside Gates be shut every Time for the future by dusk in the Evening and not be Opened till Roll call in the Morning, at all Times the Guards are to parade before the Gates are Open'd.

Based upon the foregoing information, it is proposed to place a picket gate in the picket line running around the ravelin in order to close off the roadway entrance into the fort. The pickets used in the outer gate should be five to six inches in diameter, seven feet long, pointed at the top and spaced 3-1/2 to 4 inches apart. The pickets should be nailed to two horizontal rails and a diagonal strut partly let in. The nails should also be driven through the strap hinges mounted to the rails and clinched on the outside. The gate should be built in two five foot sections and hung on oversize pickets. Two horizontal wood bars are proposed for obstruction purposes in addition to a chain which should be threaded around the pickets of the gate, the hinge post, and the horizontal bar, and then padlocked in place.

Ravelin Gate

Although no ravelin gates are mentioned as such, from a military point of view it would be desirable to have a solidly planked gate hung in the passageway through the ravelin opposite the outer picket gate. [121] When this inner gate was closed it would protect the stairway entrance to the gun platforms overhead. This gate would be constructed in a manner similar to the main gate discussed below.

Main Gate

The writer is almost certain that there were main gates located within the passageway through the ramparts. The most conclusive proof of this that we have is found in a garrison order dated November 23, 1780: ". . . and the Brass Field Piece, is to be placed in the Center of the parade opposite the Gate...." [122] The Willett Orderly Book mentions on September 20, 1777, an inner fort gate but it is less definitive as to its location: "The Piquet Gates are to be shut at Dusk & the inner Gates of the Fort immediately after Tattooe beating...."

A number of existing forts built after the Revolution have two sets of doors located within the main passageway. Some of these are: Fort McHenry, Md.; Forts Warren, Independence, and Pickering, Mass.; and Fort Ontario, N.Y. (although the second set was never hung, there were provisions made for this action). The stone blockhouse built near the entranceway to Fort Niagara was equipped with two sets of gates in 1770. While this may not be conclusive proof that double sets of gates were used at Fort Stanwix, we can be reasonably sure that one set of gates was hung. The writer assumes that the proposed drawbridge would serve the same purpose as the second set of gates when it was raised against the outside wall of the ramparts.

When the main entrance way and bridge area was excavated in 1972, 97 handwrought nails were found, concentrated primarily in two areas located under the proposed drawbridge. There were two kinds of nails, clinched and straight, with chisel points and somewhat of rose head. The majority of nails (63) were clinched over between 6-3/4 inches and 7 inches in length. Those nails were probably used in the construction of the main gate which would, in effect, make each leaf of the gate 7 inches thick.

A similar gate construction was found in the excavations at Fort Beausejour, a British built fort in Nova Scotia. Much of the gate remains uncovered in situ: strap hinges, dead bolts, bolt keepers, staples, spikes and planking. The gate was built with two leaves, each five feet wide and five inches thick. Each leaf appeared to be constructed of two layers of 2-1/2 inch thick plank laid perpendicular to one another, then spiked together with 5-1/2 inch long rose headed nails, double clinched on one side. The strap hinges were fabricated in a "U" shape to slip over the back of the door. Large flat headed nails were driven through both opposing hinges and clinched against the metal on one side. The hinges were made of 5/16 inch thick stock, 4-1/2 inches wide and 4 feet 4 inches long. Two dead bolts were used on the doors, one with a hasp-like handle that slipped over a staple, permitting padlock to be used.

A smaller T-strap hinge was also found in the Beausejour excavation, suggesting that a wicket door was built into one leaf of the main gate. Wicket doors provided access through the main gate and at the same time provided more security for the fort by allowing the main gates to remain closed. [123] At least two other accounts have been found of wicket doors used in the 18th century fortifications. [124]

The following construction is proposed for the main gates: planks 3-1/2 inches thick should be used, with leaves approximately 6 feet 3 inches wide and 10 feet high, composed of two layers of plank held together by nails clinched through on six inch intervals; a wicket door, 24 inches X 48 inches, should be cut into one leaf and the main leaves hung with "U" shaped strap hinges, measuring 3/8 inches X 4-1/2 inches ± 5 feet 3 inches. The wicket door should be hung with a pair of "T" strap hinges and furnished with sliding metal dead bolts. Two wooden bars should be used to secure the main gates after they are closed and a large iron rim lock should be mounted on the interior of the main gate.

Sally Port Gate

A single picket gate is proposed for the gap shown in the redan which protects the sally port. This gate should be constructed from 6 inches diameter pickets held together by two rails and a diagonal strut, and should be hung to the side picket post by strap hinges. This gate should be barred and secured with a chain and padlock much like the outer picket gate.

R. Gate Locks

Some sort of locks were used on the gates at Fort Stanwix. An entry in Willett's Orderly Book on September 2, 1777, reads: "The Keys of the Gates to be delivered to the Captain of the Day as soon as Tattooe beating is over, who is to be carefull in observing that the Gates are well locked. . . ." A garrison order issued by the 4th New York Regiment on November 27, 1780, reads: ". . . the Commandt Expects that the Officers Appointed for Duty will be Very Circumspect in Examining the works. Gate Locks, and Everything Which may come under their Inspection. . . ." [125]

Six or more keys, two of which were small (padlock?) keys, were uncovered in the excavation. One of these smaller keys was found at the ravelin passageway and one near the redan of the sally port, which tends to support the theory that padlocks were used on the outer picket gates. One seven inch key was found in the trench fronting the ravelin and appears to have been made for a large iron rim lock which would had to have been mounted on a reasonably smooth surface such as that of the plank gates proposed for the passageway through the ravelin and ramparts (the main gates). As a result of these discoveries it is proposed to use large iron rim locks on the ravelin gates and the main gates, and a smaller iron rim lock on the east door to the sally port passageway. In most instances small wood cased stock locks could be substituted for the iron rim locks. In fact the wooden stock lock would be more appropriate on the doors opening into bombproofs where powder might be stored.

S. Glacis

The glacis is that part of the sloping earthworks built outside the ditch surrounding the ramparts. The purpose of the glacis was to provide a long uninterrupted section of ground which faced the fortifications, was easily observable by the sentries, and was capable of being covered by gunfire from within.

Only one section of the glacis was located during the excavation work. The parapet of the glacis started ten feet away from the counterscarp of the ditch and rose to a height of six feet [126] at an angle of 40°. [127] From the crest of the parapet the earth was gradually sloped down to the original ground level in a distance of 75 feet (as scaled off Crown Map No. 102).

In the early plans of Fort Stanwix, the glacis is shown only on three sides of the fort: north, west, and south. The engineers apparently selected this site because the land to the east dropped off some 19 feet to the lowlands fronting the banks of the Mohawk River, and this sharp drop-off of land eliminated the need for a glacis on the east side of the fort. Plans drawn in 1764 show that the glacis terminated in a blunt end as it reached the tips of the northeast and southeast bastions.

The glacis was also built around the salient angle of the ravelin that protected the main entrance to the fort. A roadway was cut through the glacis on the southeast side of the salient angle to provide the only means of access into the fort other than the sally port.

A secondary glacis was constructed around the small triangular redoubt protecting the sally port and scaled about 32 feet in width off the north and south flanks of the picket line (Crown Map No. 102). The parapet or scarp of the glacis began at the top surface of the interior earth banquette and rose 4-1/2 feet in height at an angle of 40°. [128]

According to the notes found on Crown Map No. 102, the scarps and covered way were sodded. After the glacis has been built up with earth, it is proposed to sod its scarp (or parapet) and seed the remaining ground.

T. Guardhouse

This building stood on the left or west side of the main entrance gate on the parade ground, but no physical evidence of the structure was found during the archeological work. The first known written reference to a guardhouse at Fort Stanwix is that found on October 6, 1776:

The Colonel expects for the future the relief will turn out without so much noise, as every one is to keep at the guard house and turn out at the first call. [129]

The above garrison order is interpreted as specifying a guardhouse where the change of guard stays while on duty, not where prisoners are confined.

The second mention of a guardhouse is early in 1777 in an engineer's report to General Gates: ". . . has made a guard house at the entry of the Fort which before his arrival was behind." [130] This report suggests that a new guardhouse was erected at the entry to the fort possibly in the same location as that shown on the various post-siege maps and powder house—that is, on the west or left hand side of the main entrance.

It is not clear how the new guardhouse was used, According to Willett's Orderly Book, kept for the 3rd N.Y. Regiment, the building was used in part for confining soldiers who were sentenced by the military court. [131] During the occupation of Fort Stanwix by the 4th and 2nd N.Y. Regiments. sometime between November 20, 1780, to June 10, 1781, soldiers under sentence were apparently confined to one of the bombproofs. [132] The explanation for this change in usage might be attributed to the burning of the guardhouse in April 1780 and the rebuilding of a new structure within two weeks time. [133] Perhaps the new guardhouse was too small to confine soldiers and still provide room for those on guard duty.

The pictorial evidence found on the James McGraw powder horn has been used as the basis for the design of the exterior of the guardhouse:

(1) Foundation dimensions of the main building should be 16 feet X 20 feet; dimensions of the west lean-to, 8 feet X 12 feet, (Conjectural measurements.)

(2) The building should be frame, utilizing post and sill construction; walls should be covered with weatherboards and the gable roof with wood shingles; there should be a central chimney in the main building and a single end wall chimney in the lean-to; wood sleepers should be used for underpinning (based in part on the powder horn).

(3) There should be three exterior doorways with board and batten doors; five windows with outside shutters (based in part on the powder horn): and two interior doors.

(4) As suggested by the location of the central chimney, the interior of the main guardhouse should be divided into two rooms separated by a double fireplace, while the lean-to would consist of one room with a fireplace against the west wall. The powder horn shows a gabled roof over the lean-to which is a determining factor when figuring the width and height of the addition.

(5) The interior room finish should be similar to that of the barracks, with the walls and ceilings lined with unpainted horizontal boards. Each room should have a fireplace and lighting should be furnish by candles. The floor should be covered with wide floor boards, and planed and face nailed with "L" or "T"-headed, handwrought nails. [134] There should be access to an attic room (probably a wall ladder and trap door were used) according to the description available of the guardhouse fire in 1780. See footnote No. 133.

(6) The use of eave troughs is recommended for catching rainwater and diverting it into rain barrels.

U. Headquarters Building

No remains of this building were found during the excavation period, but two written references to the headquarters have been found, in addition to the six drawings. [135] The exterior appearance, at least on the south and east walls, is based on the McGraw powder horn drawing and should be as follows:

(1) Foundation dimensions of 20 feet X 56 feet with a lean-to 10 feet X 14 feet (conjectural measurements).

(2) It should be a frame building with a gable roof and two chimney stacks as shown on the powder horn. (See Item No. 2 under East Barracks.) Sleepers should be set directly on the ground for the underpinning.

(3) There should be four doorways into the main building and one doorway into the lean-to along the south wall as shown on the powder horn.

(4) No windows are shown on the powder horn drawing but there is mention of closing windows in the Gansevoort's dining room. [136] Two window openings equipped with board and batten shutters are proposed for each room.

(5) The interior room arrangement is conjectural. The chimney stacks suggest four rooms in this building: one room for the commandant, one for the officer second in command, one dining room doubling as a staff room, and one room for two staff officers. The lean-to room could have one or more uses: for wood storage and an officers' privy; for lodging of an orderly assigned to the commandant (although it is not heated); or for storage of supplies for the staff officers.

(6) The interior room finish is conjectural, but as suggested for the barracks building, the walls and ceilings could be lined with horizontal boards; hand planed and unpainted. Perhaps the wall posts and ceiling beams (summers) could also be encased with smoothed boards having a small beaded edge. Closets should be provided in these rooms on one side of the chimney stack at least. Lighting should be furnished by candles and lanterns.

(7) The use of eave troughs to catch rain water is recommended.

V. Hospital

HOSPITAL, a place appointed for the sick and wounded men, provided with a number of physicians, surgeons, nurses, servants, medicines, beds, &c.

Regimental-Hospitals are frequently in barns, stables, graneries, and other out-houses. . . . [137]

The first mention after 1758 [138] of a hospital at Fort Stanwix is in 1776: "Visited the sick in their old lousy hospital, which represents such a scene of wretchedness that one could hardly bear to behold the abject souls therein confined." [139] Another reference to a hospital was found on June 2, 1777: "No provisions to be issued to the Sick belonging to the Hospital but by the Orders of the Surgeon." [140]

It is thought that the southwest bombproof served as a temporary hospital during the siege of the fort. Colbrath's Dairy reads on August 22: "While they were out the woman that was wounded with a shell last Night was brought to Bed in our S W Bombproof of a Daughter She and child are like to do well with the Blessing of God." [141]

Copies of two returns list the sick in the garrison at Fort Stanwix for March and April of 1778. The March return lists 10 men sick in the "Hospital" and 22 men sick and confined to quarters. [142] The April term lists 8 men sick in the "Garrison Hospital," 12 sick in "Genl. Hospital," and 22 men sick in Quarters. [143]

A garrison order for 1781 reads in part: "The Drummers and Fifers are ordered to practise in the old hospital from the hours of ten in the morning till twelve OClock, and from three in the Afternoon till four, when not on Duty, Sundays excepted." [144]

The post-siege "Gansevoort May of Fort Stanwix" shows a building marked "Hospital" standing at the foot of the glacis opposite the southeast bastion. It appears that this is the only building that can be positively identified as a hospital. The 1778 return for the sick lists a garrison hospital and a general hospital. More information is needed on the period of fort occupancy from 1776-1781 before areas within the fort can be designated as hospital rooms.

W. Laboratory

LABORATORY, signifies the Place where the Fire Works and Bombardeers prepare their Stores. [145]

Laboratory and armory were terms used interchangeably by the military engineers. They denoted a place where bullets were molded, mortar shells and grenades filled and fuses prepared. The deFleury map is our only source of documentation that uses the word laboratory, referring in the legend to a "G-Laboratory" which occupied part of the west barracks. Other than a brick hearth, no evidence was found during the excavations to support the statement that a laboratory was located in this building.

More conclusive evidence was found in the southwest bombproof where sprue was uncovered at the floor level. A laboratory could also have been located in the southwest casemate, where there was a hard packed clay floor and a centrally located double fireplace, both useful in the manufacture of musket balls, etc.

Lacking sufficient evidence, the archeologists have not been able to designate any particular area or room as a laboratory. Perhaps more evidence will be found at a later date to substantiate its location.

X. Merlon

MERLON, in fortification, that part of the parapet which is terminated by 2 embrasures of a battery, so that its height and thickness are the same with those of the parapet. It serves to cover those on the battery from the enemy, and is better when made of earth, well rammed and beat close, than of stone, because these fly about, and wound those it should defend. [146]

The construction of merlons is discussed under the headings Embrasures and Parapet.

Y. Mess

"The men of each Company should be divided into messes, each mess consisting of four or six men, or according to the number in each room. . . ." [147]

The practice of dividing soldiers up into small groups or messes, in which each man would take his turn cooking, continued after the Revolution, Provisions were issued one day each week to the garrison. [148] Food was cooked in the fireplaces and the men were expected to eat their meals in the barracks. Each room was to be provided with 2 iron pots, 2 trammels, 1 pair tongs, 1 wood axe, 1 iron candlestick, 1 table, 2 benches and 1 bucket. [149]

The officers were assigned "waiters" who were responsible for cooking their food, [150] which was probably prepared for most of the officers in the barrack room where each of the "waiters" was assigned. The Commandant and his top staff members probably ate together in a dining room located in the headquarters building. [151]

Iron pots with bails and "S" shaped hooks were found in the excavations. Although no trammels were found, the pots and hooks uncovered imply that trammels were used to suspend the iron pots over a fire. All fireplaces should have an iron bar placed across their throat from which to hang cooking utensils.

Z. Necessary

One, if not two, necessaries appear on the initial plan of Fort Stanwix drawn in 1758. [152] The smallest of the 19 buildings shown no the parade ground is interpreted as being an officers' privy. It is located near the center of the small "huts" built "for officers" and is drawn with a floor plan similar to that of the second necessary, that is, with a seat containing two holes. The structure may have lasted until c. 1764, when the interior fort buildings were removed and two new barracks and possibly a headquarters building were constructed. [153] None of the other plans drawn during the British occupation of 1758-c. 1772 record the existence of a necessary.

The second necessary shown on the plan of 1758 is the one of greater concern. Although its existence is not recorded in other plans dated between 1758 and 1764, this structure could have very easily survived the nineteen-year span from 1758 to 1777 without a great deal of deterioration. This is because the structure was built completely above the ground where little rotting would occur and secondly, it would have been important for the garrison to keep this particular building in good repair. Even though the British army dismantled its regular garrison at Fort Stanwix in 1767, two or more soldiers were stationed here as late as 1771, [154] and probably gave some attention to the maintenance of this building.

The 1758 plan shows this necessary as projecting beyond the east rampart wall of the southeast bastion. The building scales 12 feet X 22 feet and it was apparently divided into two compartments, possibly for use by both officers and soldiers. Included in the same drawing is an elevation view of the structure that shows it to have been built 20 feet above the ground and reached by a foot bridge, scaling 7 feet wide and 58 feet long.

The colonial draftsman does not provide enough information in his drawing to make it possible to distinguish if the structure was of squared logs or frame construction. It appears to have had a bombproof ceiling constructed of planks about eight inches thick. The only indications of wall and roof construction are the double lines drawn at the two building corners and those drawn parallel to the roof slope. They could mean that the walls, including the gable ends, were constructed of squared logs, [155] or that the building was framed in the traditional way using the sill, post, and girt system. If the walls were built with squared logs, the artist has failed to show the dovetail jointing at the corners that appears in the accompanying casemate drawing. Yet if the ceiling was bombproof it would seem logical that the walls were made equally as strong. This was the construction method used when the sally port passageway was built in c. 1764. [156] It seems to be a matter of choice between log and frame construction.

At the base of the necessary, a small run of water was apparently diverted from one of the nearby prevailing streams and channeled directly under the structure to provide a continuous flushing away of human discharge. During the siege of 1777, the British managed to block off this stream of water and probably prevented the use of the necessary, even possibly to the point of destroying it. [157]

Three weeks after the siege ended, another necessary was ordered to be built within the fort, [158] Soldiers were forbidden to use the "Necessary House within the Fort in the day time, the one in the Ditch being designed for that Purpose...." [159] While this garrison order does not explicitly refer to the elevated necessary, it does suggest that there was one located outside the rampart walls.

At least three documented sources exist that either suggest or prove that an elevated privy existed after the siege. The most conclusive evidence on hand is a perspective plan drawing of Fort Stanwix executed some time after the siege. [160] An elevated structure connected by a footbridge to the east rampart wall of the southeast bastion is identified as a "Necessary House." The drawing shows a much longer and more complicated bridge structure than does the plan of 1758, and the privy itself has just a simple shed roof. This difference could mean a second construction.

The James Wilson powder horn, dated between November, 1778, and November, 1780, also shows an elevated necessary projecting off the same bastion. [161] Like the post-siege drawing mentioned above, it shows a long footbridge, but the privy building is drawn with a gable roof, not a shed roof. Both drawings depict two doorways which indicates the interior was divided into two compartments. The powder horn carving reveals another significant feature—a sentry box located near the entrance to the footbridge. All soldiers using the necessary after 9 p.m. were required to identify themselves to the sentry on duty. [162] This garrison order would not have been needed if the privy had been located on the parade ground.

There is precedent in military fortifications for building necessary houses beyond the protection of the rampart walls. Early French fortifications in Europe were commonly built with latrines overhanging the exterior walls, as was Fort Chartres, the French built fortification located in the Illinois country. [163] One early English built fort having a necessary overhanging the parapet was William and Mary, erected in 1705, and two elevated necessaries having an almost identical appearance to the ones built at Fort Stanwix were located at Fort Edward (1756) and at Saratoga (1757). [164]

AA. Parade

The parade within a fort is the open area where troops are assembled for mounting guard, for exercising, for reviewing the guard, for inspecting arms, for holding divine services, or for witnessing the execution of punishment. Artificers were also assembled on the parade and at times parleys were held there with the Indians. During 1778, provisions were stacked on the parade ground for want of room elsewhere. [165]

It is probable that a gun platform existed on the parade ground prior to and during the siege, which would accommodate the three pound field piece that was used on the two or more sallies from the fort. In 1780 a new platform was directed to be built for the brass field piece. In part, the garrison order read:

Capt Moody will Guard the Magazine by his men, and the Brass Field Piece, is to be placed in the center of the parade opposite the Gate. . . [166]

Capt Moody will apply to Mr Tucker for to have a platform made for the Brass field piece in the place Directed. [167]

Other features that must have been located on the parade ground were two or more wells [168] and a whipping post. [169] The exact locations of these features were not found during the excavation work but there is a possibility that they may be uncovered when construction work strips off the present topsoil down to parade ground level.

On or more necessaries were located on the parade ground either during the siege or shortly thereafter. The archeologists have identified one excavation near the center of the parade as a necessary pit.

The parade ground level has been established by the archeologists as 451.00 feet. As best as can be judged, its top surface was the hard packed alluvial soil found at the site.

BB. Parapet

Parapet, in fortification, is a part of the rampart of a work, of 18 or 20 feet broad, and raised 6 or 7 feet above the rest of the rampart: it serves to cover the troops placed there to defend the work against the fire of the enemy. [170]

The first parapet at Fort Stanwix was built around the northwest bastion. It was constructed of two walls of squared timbers, twenty feet wide, held together by cross ties and filled with earth topped off with sod to a height of 5 feet 6 inches. The parapet in this instance was just an extension of the basic log cribbing built from the ground upward. [171] This same construction shows up in a cross section through the sally port that was drawn in 1764, except that here the height of the parapet scales seven feet. A fraise is shown fixed to the top of the parapet. [172]

Without any construction drawings of the fort after 1764, it can only be assumed that the Americans would build their parapets in the same manner as their former British compatriots. In late April 1777, Capt. de Lamarquise wrote that "He proposes to raise the parapet with cedar...." [173] Willett, writing from Fort Dayton on August 11, 1777, stated: "On the enemy's arrival before the fort the parapet was still uncompleted and for several days and nights the garrison labored at this task as best it could...." [174] In Willett's Narrative (1831), he speaks of the engineer placing pickets having framed portholes "opposite the neck of the embrasures." [175] This statement would imply that part of the parapet was constructed and possibly completed before the siege began.

The "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix" shows embrasures in the bastions and curtain walls. Since this plan was completed after the siege, it is less reliable as to the condition of the fort prior to August 22. The powder horns owned by Thomson and McGraw show embrasures, again indicating the existence of a parapet.

Because of a lack of conclusive evidence concerning the parapets during the siege, it is recommended that the fort be presented in its completed condition. This would mean raising the log cribbed walls of the ramparts six feet above the terreplein. Their thickness should correspond with that of the log cribbing below (from ten to twenty feet). The logs should be flatted on the upper and lower surfaces, half-lapped and pegged at the splices, but dovetailed at the intersection with the cheek walls of the embrasures. The top surface or superior slope should then be covered with sod.

CC. Pickets

Pickets were used to prevent the enemy foot soldier from having direct access to the rampart walls. Pickets at Fort Stanwix were first placed in the center of the ditch in 1758. In 1764 when repair work was done on the fort, the pickets were left in the bottom of the ditch except along the east side of the fort, where they were placed on the berm. [176]

In 1777, the French engineer assigned to the works by General Schuyler decided that the proper place for the pickets was on the covered way. Willett's Narrative carries a running account of the difficulty encountered by the engineer in carrying out his plans. Ultimately, the engineer was relieved of his post as a result of his miscalculations. [177]

Good documentary evidence exists that the pickets still stood on the covered way in 1781 when the fort was destroyed, [178] although the post-siege deFleury map is the only plan available of the fort that shows the picket line standing here. It even has one questionable feature—the covered way and pickets are shown encircling all four sides of the fort. However it is doubtful that a covered way was ever built on the east side.

In 1862, a newspaper article was written describing Fort Stanwix. In part it states that the east side of the fort was "not protected by earthworks; but instead three rows of pickets, ten to 12 feet in length and sharpened at the top were placed in the ground...." The article continues on to describe the blockhouse that was built in 1792. [179] It is probable that the picketed east wall, if it ever existed, was built at the same time as the blockhouse. No evidence of a three row palisade was found within the limited amount of ground excavated on the east side of the fort.

The picket line of 1758 was located in the bottom of the ditch on the north side of the fort where the butt ends of forty-one pickets have been found lined up near the center of the ditch. The diameters of the pickets varied between 6 and 12 inches while the most common spacing between post was found to be 6 inches.

The archeologists did not find any evidence of the picket line built in 1777, although a short section of the covered way was exposed opposite the southeast bastion. The only clue found that indicated where the picket line might have stood on the covered way was a trench, 2.5 feet deep, dug at the base of the scarp to the glacis. The archeologists believe that this trench represents the location of the palisade.

According to Willett's Narrative, the length of the pickets was 10 feet. [180] This would leave 7.5 feet of the post extending above the ground, minus whatever amount was axed to form a point on the end. This would place the tip of the picket about 12 inches above the glacis, a height comparable to that shown in Section A-B on Crown Map No. 102.

Section A-B also shows the method used in 1764 of setting up a picket line. In this particular drawing, the section is taken through the center line of the redoubt at the east end of the sally port. The pickets measure 5-1/2 feet high, are spaced approximately six inches apart, and have a horizontal ribband attached to them at a distance of 1-1/2 feet below their pointed tips. The pickets may have been notched to receive the ribband which was either nailed or pegged to each post.

Eleven of the pickets used to form the redoubt were found in a location very similar to that shown on the 1764 plan. They measured about six inches in diameter and were placed at random intervals ranging from three to six inches apart. This irregular spacing suggests that the pickets were placed in a trench one at a time rather than erected in a prefabricated panel. It should be noticed in the engineer's drawing that the tops of the pickets are shown at a uniform height above the ground and about 12 inches above the crest of the glacis scarp. [181]

While the pickets of the sally port redoubt were found to have random spacing, the archeologists believe (based on evidence found during excavation of the 1758 picket line) that the pickets placed on the covered way were spaced more uniformly at six inches.

It is proposed to place the picket line on the covered way around three sides of the fort—north, south, and west—while along the east side the pickets should be placed on the berm as shown on Crown Map No. 103. The pickets should consist of ten foot long, peeled poles, 6 to 8 inches in diameter, with one end sharpened to a point with an axe. They should be spaced approximately six inches apart and held in place with a 1-1/2 inches X 6 inches ribband let into the post 4-1/2 feet above the ground. The ribband should be rough sawn, showing vertical saw marks, and should be fastened to each picket with a treenail. Pickets, treenails, and ribband should all be pressure treated to the point of refusal after cutting and fitting is completed. The pickets should be placed in a vertical position rather than inclined.

DD. Platforms

Crown Map No. 101 is the only known drawing that shows the type of gunnery platforms used at Fort Stanwix. It indicates that six gun platforms were built in each bastion during 1759, although in the preceding year General Stanwix had ordered a total of 40 iron guns, 8 mortars, and 2 howitzers to be sent to the fort. A note added to this ordnance demand lists 8 embrasures in each bastion and 3 embrasures in two of the curtain walls, making a total of 38 pieces. [182] It is unlikely that the fort was ever equipped with such a formidable arsenal.

Crown Map No. 102, drawn in 1764, has a reference note that reads: "The Bastions 1 and 2 are compleatly finished, at the others. Platforms must be laid also the Banquets made." No information is given as to whether the platforms were to be made for cannon or mortars. If platforms had been built in 1759, as stated, and needed replacing by 1764, the life expectancy of the exposed woodwork was only 5 years.

It is believed that the roofs of the casemates were intended to be utilized as gun platforms. If one examines the plans of 1758 and c. 1759, a cross section through the casemate and curtain wall can be seen which shows the roof sloped down toward the parapet. If there was no intention of using the top surface of the casemates as gun platforms, it would seem likely that the roof slope would pitch slightly away from the parapet to permit drainage of water. The ordnance list mentioned above indicates that two of the curtain walls were to have three embrasures.

Again, if we examine Crown Map No. 103, dated 1764, which looks very much like a field drawing, embrasures are shown in all of the curtain walls. On Crown Map No. 102, also dated 1764, a section drawn through the east curtain wall and sally port shows the casemate roof (level rather than sloped) at the same height above the ground as in 1758. In 1764, all of the casemates are described as "in very bad order and mostly irreparable."

The ravelin protecting the main gate and bridge area is shown in 1764 as having embrasures built into its parapet wall.

It appears to have a continuous wood platform built around its inner salient angle with a stairway shown at the north end. Very little information is available on the ravelin or "salient angle" prior to or after the siege of August 1777.

On November 24, 1780, Captain Moody, officer in charge of the artillery, was instructed "to have a platform made for the Brass field piece . . . placed in the Center of the parade opposite the Gate...." [183] The placement of a field piece on the parade ground pointing toward the main gate seems to have been a standard procedure carried out by most military posts. There was probably a platform built in this same location soon after the occupation of the fort in July 1776; certainly by the time of the siege in 1777, a platform must have existed on which to station the field piece used in the sallies outside the fort on August 2 and 6. [184]

Gun platforms were still in use at Fort Stanwix in 1781 when a garrison order was issued to the officers ". . . to not suffer their men to incumber the platforms or alarm posts in the Bastions." [185]

The construction of gun platforms is well described in several military dictionaries of the 18th and early 19th centuries. [186]

Platforms were of two kinds—"common platforms for gun batteries" and "platforms for mortar batteries"—both being built as separate units and spaced according to the directions of the engineer or artillerist in charge of the works.

A few military posts were planned with solidly built platforms, in addition to these separately built platforms, but they were the exception rather than the rule. [187]

Plantforms were of two basic shapes; trapezoidal forms used for gun batteries, and square forms used for mortar batteries. There is no record of mortars being used at Fort Stanwix from June 16, 1776, through August 23, 1777, at which time four royals or mortars were captured from the retreating British Army. [188] Therefore it is assumed that all of the platforms built in the bastions would have been trapezoidal in shape and used exclusively for guns.

Dimensions given for gun platforms vary somewhat in the military dictionaries, but generally they were 18 feet long, 8 feet wide along the short side near the embrasure, and 15 feet wide at the opposite end. They consisted of five basic parts: sleepers, stakes, the heurtoir, planks, and battery nails.

The average sizes for these various component parts are as follows: (1) sleepers, 6 inches square, 18 feet long, held in place by wooden stakes driven on each side of each piece at both ends, then cut off flush with the top surface of the sleeper; (2) the heurtoir, 8 inch square, 8 feet long, laid on top of the sleepers against the embrasure; (3) oak plants, 2-1/2 inches thick ± 1/2 inch), 12 inches wide (±3 inches), and varying in length from 8 feet to 15 feet; (4) battery nails made from oak, 1-1/8 inches (±1/8 inch) in diameter, tapered and about 9 inches long.

Five or more sleepers, laid in trenches, were used to support the planks. They were given a slope of 9 inches from the back of the platform down toward the embrasure, which afforded the proper amount of resistance to the gun recoil and prevented its rolling off the platform after firing. It also permitted the artillerists to move the gun carriage back into position when loading was completed. After the sleepers were properly sloped and staked, earth was rammed between the sleepers flush with the top surface. This prevented further movement of the platform and provided additional support under the planks in case the gun carriage had to be shifted off its directrix.

The heurtoir was placed directly over the sleepers and abutting the embrasure. The purpose of the heurtoir was to prevent the gun carriage wheels from damaging the parapet.

Oak planks were fastened directly to the sleepers, with battery nails or treenails (tapered wooden pins) used instead of iron spikes in order to prevent sparks from the ironbound carriage wheels. Ends of the planks were cut on a bias conforming to the angular shape of the sleepers. Earth was then tamped around the edges and ends of the planks to give a smooth surface to the platforms and terreplein.

Wherever it was found necessary to make an embrasure oblique, the platform was so placed that its center line would fall under the directrix of the oblique embrasure. One end of the heutoir was moved away from the embrasure and fixed with stakes, and then the space between the embrasure and the heurtoir was filled with rammed earth. [189]

The earth between the platforms must be smoothed over and if possible sloped to the rear of the battery. If this is not possible, then drainage must be provided at the base of the embrasure in the form of cesspools—shallow holes filled with stones, twigs, etc., into which surface water enters and is absorbed by the earth. [190] Modern construction should incorporate a concealed catch basin and drainage system as an integral part of each cesspool.

Midway of the space between each platform and to the left side, a rack must be provided to hold the implements used to service each cannon. Two wooden frames, placed 9 feet apart, should be constructed consisting of two stakes, 2-1/2 feet long, driven about a foot into the ground and crossing each other at right angles approximately 9 inches above the ground. A match rope should be used to bind the two stakes together. [191] Another type of rack used was the tripod.

EE. Ramp

RAMPS, in fortification, are sloping communications, or ways of very gentle ascent, leading from the inward area, or lower part of a work, to the rampart or higher part of it. [192]

Ramps were usually constructed of earth, then covered with sod to prevent erosion. They were used principally in the throats of bastions where their sloping surface provided the easiest way of moving cannon in and out of the bastions. Ramps also provided an unobstructed path for the artillery men to move from parade ground level to their gunnery positions on the terreplein. Earthen banquettes required ramps as the most practical and economical way of stabilizing the soil from which they were built.

Symbols for ramp construction at the bastions are shown on Crown Maps Nos. 99, 100, and 101, for 1758 and 1759. All the ramps are depicted as occupying the full throat of the bastion except at the southeast bastion which contained a powder magazine and root cellar. The ramp here was built in the center of the throat between the entrance ways to these two features.

Only one ramp symbol is shown on Crown Map No. 102, drawn in 1764. None of the other plans, including the powder horn engravings, show ramps but it is assumed that they were used. The Americans apparently erected bombproof structures with long passageways in each bastion, thereby complicating the construction of the ramps up to the terreplein level. The proposed ramps will have to be built around the walls and ceilings of the bombproofs after they are finished.

If the sodded ramps start to erode after they are built, there are two ways of correcting this within the historical context: one method would be to corrugate the ramp with small poles 3 inches to 3-1/2 inches in diameter; the second method would be to place small oval shaped stones in the ground 2 or 3 inches apart and permit grass to grow in between.

FF. Ramparts

By the 17th century, the high, fortified masonry walls and towers used in European defenses were giving way to lower but thicker earthen walls more easily defended against cannon fire. Ditches were dug around the exterior of the walls and various other protective devices were introduced that were intended to repel or impede the opposing army during its siege of the fortification. Changes were constantly required in all fortified works as the nature of attack shifted from the battering rams and engines to guns and mortars. Military handbooks that explained in detail the complexities of military warfare soon appeared in large numbers during the 18th century. Many of these handbooks were carried to America and immediately became the basic guide used in all fort construction. The classic textbook example of a fortification was, however, very rarely carried to its completion by the military engineer in America.

Fort Stanwix never required, in its construction, the complex geometrical designs and theorems or the application of mathematical equations as developed by Marshal de Vauban, Baron Coehorn, and other military experts. Instead, it was the product of many minds and many plans, and a result of the labor of many men.

Small military outposts, such as Fort Stanwix, depended upon ramparts as their primary means of protection against enemy attacks. Because the ramparts formed the principal line of defense, their composition can be broken down into individual component parts for study purposes. The ramparts for forming the four curtain walls and bastions can be divided into the terreplein, the banquette, the parapet, and the escarpe.

A study of the Crown Maps and other historical documents reveals that the rampart walls of Fort Stanwix from 1758 to 1767 were constructed of logs in filled with earth. The thickness of these walls varied from ten to twenty feet depending upon their degree of exposure to artillery fire. The thickest rampart walls were constructed along the north and west side of the fort which overlooked the land approach from the west. The thinner walls, built along the remaining part of the fort, faced lower and swampy ground to the south and east.

Three nearly vertical walls formed the ramparts. The two outer walls, spaced ten to twenty feet apart, were constructed of logs flatted on their upper and lower surfaces and locked together with cross ties. This log work was built around the entire circuit of the fort's bastions and curtain walls. The interior of this log cribbing was filled with soil taken from the ditch and thrown into the structure as the wall progressed in height. When the final wall height was reached, the summit was laid with sod to prevent erosion.

The third wall was constructed only along the four curtains. It was spaced another twenty feet away from the earth-filled cribbing and was also built of logs flatted on two sides. The resultant enclosed area formed the casemates that were intended to house 400 men. Transverse partitions were notched into the inner and outer walls to provide the necessary lateral stability needed to withstand the pressure exerted upon the wall by the weight of the terreplein roof or that of any cannon that might be mounted there. The roof of the casemates was formed of a double tier of squared timbers, each 12 inches thick and 20 feet to 22 feet long. [193]

The ramparts of 1758 were constructed en barbette, [194] that is, without a parapet. Additional work went ahead in July of 1759, resulting in a permanent wooden parapet with six gun embrasures around the northwest bastion on which the flagstaff was placed. In addition, the remaining ramparts were raised with a makeshift parapet consisting of weighted wooden barrels and sandbags. Wooden gun platforms were built in each of the four bastions and where the temporary parapet existed, embrasures were formed by leaving an opening between the barrels and sandbags. Apparently a fraise was built only around the northeast bastion, as the fraise detail appears in only one profile drawing. [195]

Very little information is available to date on the activities of the British army stationed at Fort Stanwix after 1759. Some construction work must have been carried out each summer. Sir William Johnson, writing in 1761, states that "The fort [Stanwix] . . . will require another summer to finish it." [196] Despite whatever work was done, the fort was in poor condition in 1764. [197] The faces of the southeast and southwest bastions with their connecting curtain wall had rotted and were falling down. The failure of the east rampart walls was probably due in part to the periodic flooding of the Mohawk River. In any event, if we can believe another plan of Fort Stanwix prepared in 1764, some repair work was accomplished producing newly made bastions and curtain walls. [198]

When the Americans occupied Fort Stanwix in 1776, they immediately began to repair and rebuild the fort using soldiers and "artificers of every kind...." [199] Work was carried on with great diligence throughout August, until word arrived on the 30th that the British forces were no longer gathered at Oswego. After that date interest lagged among the garrison, leaving the burden of work up to the artificers.

The garrison became involved again in repair work during the spring of 1777, and after the third New York Regiment arrived under the command of Col. Gansevoort and Lt. Col. Willett, this activity continued at a steady rate from May until August. After the siege, several buildings were constructed for the garrison's use outside the fort area, and these buildings are identified on the "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix."

In the previous drawings mentioned, the foundation logs of the rampart walls were laid directly on the ground. Unfortunately, no outer foundation logs of the ramparts were uncovered during the archeological work. Undisturbed foundation timbers were found laid directly on the ground along the north and west walls of the north casemates.

The rampart walls were built in a pyramidal form. The outermost walls were begun with a log between three to four feet in diameter, flatted on the upper and lower surfaces. As each successive course of logs was laid up, their diameters got progressively smaller in size until the desired height of the rampart walls was reached. At Fort Stanwix the height of the ramparts along the curtain walls was determined by the height of the casemate roof (terreplein) plus six feet added on for the parapet. On the plan of 1759 the top surface of the terreplein scales 8 feet 9 inches above the ground at the parapet; six feet more gives a total height of 14 feet 9 inches to the crest of the parapet. Allowing a one foot drop for the superior slope, and exterior wall of the rampart should be 13 feet 9 inches above the elevation of the parade ground (451.00 feet) or 464.75 feet. This agrees very closely with the original specifications of 1758. [200]

The rampart walls of the bastions, particularly of the northwest and southwest bastions, may have to be raised higher than the adjoining curtain walls due to the fact that the bombproofs were built above the parade ground level. In order to build these structures with adequate headroom (6 feet 9 inches) and a protective shell around them, the top surface of the terreplein will have to be at an elevation of 460.45 against the parapet. The crest elevation of a parapet, that is, with six more feet added on, comes to 466.45 feet in these two bastions.

GG. Ravelin

RAVELINS [or demi-lunes], in fortification; are works raised on the counterscarp before the curtain of the place, and serve to cover the gates of a town, and the bridges. They consist of two faces, forming a salient angle, and are defended by the faces of the neighbouring bastions. [201]

A ravelin first appears at Fort Stanwix in 1764, and is shown on Crown Map No. 102. It was constructed on the west side of the ditch opposite the south curtain wall and took the place of an earlier picketed redan built in 1758. The purpose of the ravelin at this point was to protect the main entrance gate and the newly built bridge to the fort.

No sectional drawings are available showing the construction details of the ravelin. Instead, our interpretation of how the structure was built is derived by comparing its plan details with the plan and sectional details of the fort and the archeological evidence found at the site.

The proposed reconstruction plans make one major change in the ravelin of 1764, and that is to increase the salient angle from 75° to 110° and to extend the length of each face from 67 feet to 77 feet. This change was made to the 1764 plans by the archeologists after they uncovered a trench eight feet wide and approximately 50 feet long running in an east-west direction in the vicinity of the ravelin. The archeologists have used the longitudinal axis of the trench to establish the direction of the salient angle. They have also determined that the trench was located in the covered way at a point where the roadway passes through the southeast face of the ravelin. All of the British and American plans, without exception, are drawn with the roadway located within a few feet of this vicinity.

There is no positive information from the time of the American occupation on the condition of the ravelin before, during, or after the siege. Elmer's eyewitness account of 1776 reads in part: "The forth also has a sally port, covert way, bridge and ravelin before the main gate at the entrance." [202] On June 15, 1777, Col. Gansevoort wrote General Schuyler that "The engineer at this place has just laid the foundation of the salient angle before the gate...." [203] Willett's Narrative of 1831 describes the construction of the ravelin in this manner: "The engineer had begun to erect a salient angle to the gate, with two embrasures in it." [204] The plan of Fort Stanwix that accompanies Willett's Narrative shows a ravelin containing three embrasures—identical to what is shown on the plan of 1764.

The post-siege deFleury map, while too small to include significant details, not only shows a ravelin but a significant "horn work begun" around it. The Gansevoort Map shows only a salient angle where the ravelin stands. The powder horn engravings do not show the outer works.

It is proposed to reconstruct the ravelin much as it appears on the plans of 1764, but using the field evidence as submitted by the archeologists to determine the size and direction of the salient angle.

The walls of the ravelin should be constructed like the rampart walls, that is, with flatted logs formed in a cribbing, eleven feet wide at the base. The wall logs should be half lapped at the splices, but dovetailed joins should be used at the corners of the passageway and the flank or end walls. Cross ties should be let into the inner and outer log walls as the construction work progresses. These walls should be raised to provide enough head room for a rider mounted on a horse to pass through the ravelin.

A wood platform is shown on the 1764 plans, and it is proposed to reconstruct this feature along the re-entrant angle as shown in the 1764 plans, but with the length of the platform adjusted to the new dimensions established. It should be constructed from one tier of twelve-inch squared timbers supported by beams and posts and should be sloped eight inches down toward the parapet. The parapet should be raised six feet above the platform and banquettes built along the base of the parapet. One embrasure should be built into the southeast face and two embrasures built into the southwest face. A stairway is shown on the 1764 plans, located off the left or northwest side of the platform; this should be rebuilt in the proposed work.

No mention has yet been found of how the space under the ravelin platform was used, but it might have been a storage area for wagons, gun carriage wheels and parts, empty barrels, etc.; a sentry box; or even a small guardhouse.

The archeologists have determined that the elevation of the ravelin near its interior base is 448.00 feet or 2.6 feet lower than the bridge. The ground would have to be sloped from the bridge elevation of 450.60 feet down to the ground level of the ravelin and covered way. Ground gutters or drains would be required along the base of the ravelin, then would be turned through the passageway to empty into the ditch fronting the ravelin.

HH. Sally Port

SALLY-ports, in fortification, or postern-gates, as they are sometimes called, are those under-ground passages, which lead from the inner works to the outward ones; such as from the higher flank to the lower, or to the tenailles, or the communication from the middle of the curtain to the ravelin. When they are made for men to go through only, they are made with steps at the entrance, and going out. They are about 6 feet wide, and 8-1/2 feet high. There is also a gutter or shore made under the sally-ports, which are in the middle of the curtains, for the water which runs down the streets to pass into the ditch; but this can only be done when there are wet ditches. [205]

A sally port was included in the earliest plans made for Fort Stanwix. It is shown midway in the east curtain wall as an open passageway, five feet wide, running perpendicular through the casemate than turning and continuing through the rampart wall at an angle of 21°. [206]

There is no indication on these plans of how the scarp wall was extended from the berm to the bottom of the ditch where a palisaded wall was located. Gate posts are shown in the palisaded wall opposite a covered way that led to a small stream where water was obtained for use within the fort.

During the interim, probably in 1764, a covered passageway, 10 feet wide, was constructed against the east entrance of the sally port. [207] Starting at the log rampart wall, it descended the slope of the scarp by means of wooden steps, then extended eastward some 65 feet. A door located in the east end wall was protected by a small triangular shaped redoubt built from palisades. Earth was banked up against the sides of the passageway and extended around the redoubt to form a protective glacis.

On Crown Map No. 102, further details of the passageway can be seen in the transverse and longitudinal sections: the 12 inch thick beams forming the bombproof ceiling; the gable roof and 12 inch thick wall construction; the banquettes and loopholes. A general idea of how the palisaded redoubt was constructed can be obtained by studying both plan and section. The drawings are done rather accurately at a scale of 20 feet to the inch.

Archeological evidence of the sally port found in 1972 compares favorably with the engineer's drawing of 1764. This evidence suggested a structure 9 feet 6 inches wide and 60 feet long, with a wall thickness of approximately eight inches. Two additional posts were added to the passageway walls by the archeologists as a result of their interpretation of the underground remains. The passageway was built perpendicular to the rampart wall.

Evidence remaining from the log rampart and casemate wall construction in this vicinity was virtually non-existent. A short section of the sally port floor and walls was found in the rampart area starting at the berm at the 15° angle and extending as far as the center casemate wall. From this point the sally port seemingly took another turn at a 24° angle and extended to the front or west wall of the casemate. This apparent turn of the sally port midway through the rampart walls is based on the existence of a trench, four feet deep, which ran parallel to the excavated sally port remains in the outer wall. [208] It is assumed that the trench and sally port ran somewhat parallel through the casemate and that a wooden box drain was laid in the bottom of the trench. The theory of a drain running under the sally port floor can be supported by directions given in military handbooks of the day.

The width of the passageway running through the casemate and rampart walls was found to have an inside dimension of four feet. The wall construction appears to be squared logs and evidence of ground sleepers indicates that the passageway was floored with planks.

The archeologists have determined that the four foot passage extended past the exterior rampart wall and into the covered passageway for a distance of 3 feet 6 inches, but no military application for this feature can be located.

Only the vaguest evidence of what might be parts of four steps descending the scarp was found, and this was used to determine where the steps began. Ten steps are thought to have existed and this agrees with the number drawn on Crown Map No. 102. Each step had eight inch risers and 19-1/2 inch treads within a height of 6.64 feet and a horizontal distance of 14.67 feet. [209]

The lower two steps may have been cut away along the north wall to permit the sally port drain to enter the ditch above grade. The top of the drain butting the steps probably would have been covered with a board at this point rather than being left open. The drain continued along the north wall under the banquette for about 16 feet before penetrating the north wall at a slight angle as shown in the preliminary plans.

The 1764 section shows six loopholes cut through the side walls above the steps, so that obviously the steps were also utilized as firing platforms. These loopholes scale off the drawing approximately 4 inches X 16 inches on the exterior and 15 inches X 20 inches on the interior. The top surfaces were level while the interior sides splayed out and the bottoms splayed down.

A cross section drawn on the above plan shows that 24 inches wide banquettes were built against both side walls of the lower passageway. Above the banquettes at a height of about five feet off the floor a 10 inch space was left running the length of the passageway. Soldiers thrust their muskets through this space whenever it was necessary to enfilade the ditch. The drawing shows that the bottom of the wall opening slopes downward at the same angle as the earth embankment.

The roof structure of the c. 1764 passageway seems to have been constructed of rafters spaced four to seven feet apart and covered with boards. It is possible that the final roof covering was either exposed lapped boards or roof boards covered with shingles. Since the Americans were making shingles at Fort Stanwix in 1776, the latter theory seems more acceptable. [210] Protection against leaks of the sloping roof which extends up the angle of the scarp presents a problem using either method of roof covering. By using shingles, however, the roof slope could be handled much like a valley, that is, the shingles could be swirled in the direction of the water runoff.

II. Scarp and Counterscarp

SCARP, in fortification, is the interior talus or slope of the ditch next the place, at the foot of the rampart. [211]

COUNTERSCARP, in fortification, is properly the exterior talus, or slope of the ditch, on the farther side from the place, and facing it. Sometimes the covert-way and glacis are meant by this expression. [212]

The scarp and counterscarp formed the sloping sides of the ditch surrounding the rampart walls. The term scarp was also applied to the interior slope of the glacis. Three distinct profiles of the scarp were found at the north, east, and south curtain walls, while three scarp profiles were measurable on the southeast, northeast, and northwest bastions. The scarp and counterscarp were also discernible under the main bridge. Only one counterscarp angle was measurable, on the west side of the fort ditch.

Small wood pickets or pegs, originally used to hold the cut sod in place as it was laid on the scarp and counterscarp, were found in the excavations on the north flank of the northwest bastion. They measured one inch in diameter and were placed about 12 inches on centers in horizontal rows spaced 1.0 to 1.8 feet apart. [213] Sod would have been used on the scarps of the glacis surrounding the ditch and sally port.

In the fall of 1970, the archeologists laid sod on the flank of the northwest bastion as an experiment in durability. Now into its third winter, the sodded scarp seems to be holding its own. In the reconstruction work, it is proposed to sod the scarps, counterscarps and covered way, pegging them down in a manner similar to that of 1777. The angle of the scarp and counterscarp has been determined by the archeologists as a 40° slope.

JJ. Sentry Boxes


The use of the sentry box, also called guerite or echauguette, in fortifications predates the fourteenth century and may even go back to the beginning of warfare. [214] In America, by the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the Spanish and French had already begun the construction of fortresses that incorporated the sentry box as a major element in their overall design. The English-settled town of Boston had authorized the "erecting of a wall or wharfe upon the flatts [sic] before the town . . ." as a defense precaution as early as 1673. These defenses became known as the "North and South Battery," and sentry boxes were built as an integral part of the masonry walls of these fortifications. [215]

A number of English-built forts were constructed along the coast of New England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. [216] Of particular interest was the fort built on the Piscataqua River in New Hampshire. One drawing of the fort labeled as "The Fort upon Great Island...," dated 1699, shows sentry boxes standing on the atips of each bastion. Another undated drawing, identified as a ". . . Prospect Draft of Fort William & Mary on Piscataqua River...." has listed in its explanation: "B. The new made Centry boxes." [217] There seems little doubt that the early military engineers in America had universally adopted the methods of fortification as perfected by their European counterparts.

There were several military handbooks in use at the time of the American Revolution, of which some were more specific than others in describing the use, location, and method of constructing sen sentry boxes. [218] Very little written information has been found about sentry boxes dating from this period. A number of sketches, spanning the period between 1673 and c. 1875, have been located that include the sentry box as part of the overall scene. One French draft, obtained from the Fortress of Louisbourg NHP, was especially helpful, although the drawing should be used with caution since its publishing date was 1739. [219]

Fort Stanwix

Only four references have been found to sentry boxes at Fort Stanwix. Fortunately these references date between early 1777 and January 8, 1781, and can be used as solid documentation supporting the conclusion that sentry boxes were used during the occupation of Fort Stanwix by the American colonists. The first known reference to sentry boxes is found in a letter written by the French engineer, Capt. B. De Lamarquise to General Gates, probably in April 1777. It simply states that he [Lamarquise] "has made sentry-boxes where necessary to keep centinels." [220] The second reference is found in the Willett Orderly Book which reads "The Superintendent of the Engineers Department will see that all the Centries Boxes are in good order and fix'd so as not to be blown down with every trifling wind." [221] The third reference is a drawing found on the James Wilson powder horn. Wilson was stationed at Fort Stanwix between November 1778 and November 1780; hence, it has been assumed that the engraving was done during this time. [222] The fort plan is depicted in a very elementary form but the artist has shown five sentry boxes, one placed on each of the four bastions and the fifth located at the ravelin end of the main bridge.

The fourth reference to sentry boxes was found in the Orderly Books of the 4th New York Regiment. The entry, made on January 8, 1781, reads in part "A watch Coate will be furnished for Each Sentry Box on the Basteens [Bastions] for Which the Corpl of the Guard is to be Accountable." [223]

Additional sentry boxes may have been furnished at other guard post positions. An Orderly Book entry written on April 11, 1781; reads:

The Commandt observes some Irregularity in the duty of the Guards which he wishes to correct. The Sentinals on their posts after Tattoo beating are to call all is well once in a quarter of an Hour, but not till ordered, which order is to be Given by the officer of the Guard, to the Sergeant Who is to order Number one at the Guard house to call all is well, which call is to be answered distinctly in Rotation, as they are Numbered except the Sentinal at the Commanding officers door, who is not to answer, he is in case of an alarme to call the Commanding officer. [224]

An entry on the following day is as explicit:

The Sentinals without the gates are in case of an alarm are to shut and barr the outside gates and Remane their till further orders and not open the gates for any person Unless ordered by the Commanding officer the officer of the Day or officer of the Guard. [225]

The above several references are interpreted to mean that sentries were definitely placed at the guardhouse, on each of the four bastions, and just outside the Commandant's door. Other possible locations for posts would be at the sally port entrance and just beyond the outside gates. There is also a possibility that a guard room could have been built under the gun platform of the ravelin.

Construction of the Sentry Box

Only one military dictionary was found listing the dimensions for a sentry box: "They ought to be about six Foot high, and their Breadth three and a half." [226] These dimensions are identical with the French drawn sentry box. Practically all of the roof shapes were found to be pyramidal, that is, with four sloping roof surfaces terminated at the peak with a finial. The roof covering was probably wood shingles swirled at the juncture of the hip angles. The walls were probably sheathed with one inch thick vertical boards nailed into a ground sill, a rail at mid-point and into the plate. One side of the sentry box would have been used as the entry and was possibly hung with a door which could be removed during the summer months. Small openings would be cut through the three side walls to permit the sentry to observe his post while under cover in inclement weather.

The French drawings of a sentry box show two methods of base frame construction. One method is to be used for a portable sentry box while the other method is to be used for a sentry box which might be exposed to the forces of a high wind. This latter method involves the addition of a perpendicular frame attached to the basic chassis and sunk underground. The latter type sentry box would be mounted on the exposed ramparts of the bastions. [227]

KK. Storehouse

This building stood on the east or right-hand side of the main entrance gate on the parade ground, but no physical remains of this building were found during the archeological excavations. No reference has been found to a storehouse or commissary building being built at Fort Stanwix between July 13, 1776, and April 1777. [228] In the engineer's report of late April, he states that he ". . . has made a Small Store, to put provs under Cover." [229] By February 7, 1778, ". . . farmers Soldiers Officers & Others" were allowed to sell vegetables and other produce "brought to the Garrison." [230] On February 24, a garrison order was issued stating:

The Officer of the Day will see that there are no unnessary Lights in any of the Barracks, after Tattooe Beating, and the Serg.ts of the Different Squads see that the Men belonging to their Squads retire to their Births It is expected that the Sutler will Shut up his Shop and entertain no Company after the beating of the Tattooe. [231]

The above order implies that a sutler was permitted to occupy shop space within the fort. Unfortunately, there is no known record of where the shop was located.

There are entries in the orderly book kept between 1780-81 at Fort Stanwix that imply a commissary was in use, but the wording is not explicit. [232] Reconstruction will have to rely primarily upon the five contemporary drawings that show the identity this building. The so-called "Gansevoort Map of Fort Stanwix" identifies three of the five buildings standing on the parade ground, one of which is marked "Commissy House." On another drawing of Fort Stanwix, apparently the original from which the Gansevoort Map was copied, the same building is marked "Commissy. Store." The three powder horns all show a building comparable to the storehouse.

The design of the proposed storehouse is based on information interpreted from the drawing found on the McGraw powder horn of December 1777:

(1) Foundation dimensions of the main building are 16 feet X 22 feet; two lean-tos of equal size are attached to the east and west ends, measuring 8 feet X 10 feet. (All are conjectural measurements.)

(2) It is a frame building utilizing post and still construction; walls are covered with horizontal boards; there is a gable roof with a central chimney on the main building; shed roofs are built over the lean-to additions and there is an end wall fireplace in the west lean-to; roofs are wood shingled; wood sleepers are used as underpinning.

(3) The powder horn drawing shows three exterior doors and two window openings along the north wall, with no openings shown in the west end walls. The window openings in the south and east walls are conjectural. There should probably be board and batten shutters hung on the exterior of the windows.

(4) Four drawings agree that there was a central chimney, which would indicate that the main building, 16 feet X 22 feet, was divided into two rooms (or one room) separated by a centrally located chimney block containing two fireplaces. The McGraw powder horn is the only drawing that shows a lean-to attached to both end walls. While the existence of the lean-tos cuts sharply into the overall size of the main storehouse, they do reflect the hurried building construction of the fort in 1777.

The interior room finish of the storehouse might be one that leaves the post and beam construction exposed, in contrast to the headquarters and guardhouse, which should have the walls and ceilings lined with boards. It is quite possible that the rough mill-sawn outer weatherboards, studding, ceiling boards (laid over the joists), and ceiling beams were whitewashed. Shelves should be furnished for the Quartermaster and possibly a counter of sorts. [233] The west lean-to room with the fireplace could have been the living quarters for either the Sutler or the Quartermaster Deputy, Mr. Hansen. The walls and ceiling of the west lean-to, if it had been used as quarters, would have been lined with boards to insulate as well as decorate this room.

Most likely there would have been a door opening between the main storehouse and each of the lean-tos. All rooms would have wood floors. The Quartermaster would have taken advantage of the storage space found in the attic; hence, a trap door and a wall ladder would have been required to gain access to this area.

LL. Timber

The chief tree species found in the Fort Stanwix area in 1758 were white pine, white cedar, elm, beech, maple, birch and poplar. [234] In 1793, other species of trees listed were sugar trees, buttonwood, white walnut, pitch pine, elm, oak, shellbark hickory, and hemlock. [235]

Of the 42 wood samples submitted by the archeologists to the State University of New York for identification, 24 samples were white pine, 11 samples hemlock, four samples white cedar, one sample white ash, and one sample slippery elm. Except for the predominant use of hemlock in the northwest bombproof (nine samples) there was an indiscriminate use of tree species in construction.

In 1777 the engineer, de Lamarquise, proposed to raise the parapet with cedar which was found about one mile from the fort. [236] On the deFleury map there is an area about one mile to the southwest of Fort Stanwix marked "Cedar Swamp."

It is proposed to build the outer rampart walls with logs. Starting with a 30-36 inch diameter foundation log, each tier of logs would be reduced in diameter until the height of the parapet is reached, at which point a 12-14 inch diameter log should be used. The inner rampart walls forming the walls to the casemates should start out with a 24 inch diameter foundation log, and end with a 15-17 inch diameter log at the top of the wall.

Smaller trees will be needed to construct the fraise, pickets, bombproofs, passageways, bake house, etc., but a variety of local species can be used as long as pressure treating is specified after cutting and fitting.

For the heavy squared timbers used on the roofs of the casemates, etc., it will probably be necessary to use West Coast Douglas Fir.

Douglas Fir (or white pine if available in wide widths), can be used for the exterior boards of the barracks, headquarters, guardhouse, and store house. From 1776-1781, the roofs of these buildings were probably covered with shingles rived from white cedar or white pine, then tapered and smoothed. We can substitute sawn white cedar shingles for the handmade variety since the saw marks will weather out in a few years.

Southern yellow pine may be substituted for the local white pine. Hemlock still grows in some of the remoter areas of up-state New York and should be acceptable for wall logs. It will have to be cut in the spring of the year if the bark is to be removed.

MM. Wells

Water for the use of the garrison at Fort Stanwix was obtained from a branch of "Teochnohat Creek" which ran along the east side of the fort. [237] Members of the garrison had to carry water from the creek, which was protected by a short covered way and an earthern redan, through the sally port into the fort. This method of furnishing fresh water for the fort's consumption was kept in use after the Americans arrived in 1776.

The military engineer realized that a good supply of water was of paramount importance during a time of siege. This fact must have been realized by the Americans shortly before August 1777. Colbrath's Diary records the chain of events that took place on August 11:

This Day the Enemy having Observed that we brought water from the Creek altered its Course so that it becme dry This wou'd have done us much Damage had we not been able to open two wells in the Garrison which with One we had already proved a Sufficient Supply

The same day Colonel Gansevoort issued a garrison order stating: ". . . The Quarter Master will Likewise Order as many Barrels filled with Water, as he can procure and see that they are Constantly full." [238] Not only were the barrels of water used for cooking, drinking and washing purposes, but they were also useful in case of fire.

No evidence of wells was uncovered in the archeological excavation work of 1970-72. The only plan of Fort Stanwix showing a well appears on an original banknote issued by the Bank of Rome in 1832. The plan shows a blockhouse, a magazine, and a well located near the center of the north casemate. [239]

When grading work begins on the parade ground, an attempt should be made to locate the well(s), if indeed they were dug in this area.

The aboveground well structure will have to be conjectural since neither a description nor a drawing exists from the military period.

NN. Whipping Post

Flogging, as a form of corporeal punishment, continued in use throughout the Revolutionary War. At Fort Stanwix, the three most commonly mentioned forms of punishment were flogging, confinement in either the guardhouse or bombproof, and running the gantlet.

Flogging was executed at a whipping post. The first mention of a whipping post at Fort Stanwix is in 1776, when four men were tied together and whipped. [240] Throughout the Willett Orderly Book kept from May 30, 1777, through May 19, 1778, and the 4th and 2nd New York Regiment's Orderly Books kept from November 22, 1780, through June 10, 1781, whipping is mentioned continually. During the twenty day siege of Fort Stanwix, however, whipping is not mentioned.

The writer has not found an early description of a whipping post, but reproductions at Fort George, Ontario, and at Fort William Henry and New Windsor Cantonment in New York State. Of the three, the post at New Windsor seems to be the most convincing. It is a peeled wooden post approximately nine inches in diameter and 7-1/2 feet high terminated at the top with a round finial. Four iron rings, 2-1/2" in diameter, are stapled at equal distances around the post near the top and four more rings are stapled into the post about 12 inches off the ground. Thus the hands and feet of four persons could be tied or manacled to the ring at one time.

The location of the whipping post is undetermined, but it would probably have been some where near the center of the parade ground, as the punishment was to be executed in full view of the garrison.

Reconstructed forts such as George, William Henry, and others have included a stock in addition to the whipping post as part of their exhibit. Evidence that a stock was used at Fort Stanwix was not found. Unless reliable documentation is found for this feature, it has been recommended that the stock should not be included.

Another form of punishment used at Fort Stanwix in 1781 was chaining a block two feet long and six inches in diameter to the leg of a prisoner. [241]

PROPOSED USE OF BUILDINGS. (click on image for a PDF version)

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Last Updated: 26-Dec-2008