Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fort Ticonderoga

Posted by Stu On August - 27 - 2013

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Photos taken October 2011

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Fort Ticonderoga, if even mentioned in any of your US History textbooks, was probably briefly brought up for a sentence or two in a chapter about the American Revolution.  The fort was actually built by the French during the French & Indian War (or The Seven Years’ War for you non-Americans) and was originally named Fort Carillon.  The French, outnumbered four to one, managed to repel an initial British attack, but then surrendered the fort later in the war.  I’d crack some joke about the French surrendering, but the French-Canadian part of me won’t permit me to do so.

The fort was significant during the American Revolution.  Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys (militiamen) managed to capture it from the British.  Some of the cannons and other weaponry from the fort were then brought to Patriots in Boston to help drive British troops out of Boston, ending their occupation and control of the city.

Fort Ticonderoga would switch hands again.  Not far away from it is a hill known as Mount Defiance.  The British dragged cannons to its top and aimed them at the fort.  The Americans retreated and once again the British controlled the fort.  After the American victory at Saratoga, however, the war began moving south, and Fort Ticonderoga had little importance.  Eventually it was abandoned and stripped.

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So…  French, then British, then American, then British.  Then… nobody cares anymore, so let’s abandon it.  Got it?

Much of the fort has been reconstructed.  Monuments to soldiers from both wars can be found on its grounds.

This monument honors the Marquis de Montcalm for defending the fort against the initial British invasion (the guy who was outnumbered 4 to 1):

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This is a monument dedicated to the Black Watch, or Scottish regiment, during the French & Indian War.  The Black Watch is sometimes referred to “The Ladies from Hell” due to their kilts and intense fighting.

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These and other monuments can be found on the road leading to the fort.  To walk the actual fort grounds costs a reasonable admission fee.

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The inside of the fort serves as a museum. Also on the grounds is The King’s Garden.

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Popularity: 19% [?]

Fort Mifflin

Posted by Stu On May - 13 - 2010

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Fort Mifflin is a unique and, sadly, little known point of interest in Philadelphia.  It’s right on the Delaware River; it’s actually next to the Philly Airport.  It is a bit of a pain to find, though.  You’re definitely going to want to look this one up first.  There is also a small admission fee; well worth it though.

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The fort’s former hospital, now the ticket & info office.

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Outside the fort’s wall.  Notice the plane coming in.

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All around the fort’s perimeter is very swampy, hence the area’s name of Mud Island.

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The fort was built in 1771 and was used by the military up until 1952.  It served some purpose for every war within that time span.  Although there are several, the two big reasons this fort is so famous come from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
During the Revolution, the British invaded and ultimately captured the city of Philadelphia in 1777.  General Washington used Fort Mifflin as a distraction and ordered it manned until the very last possible moment of escape.  He knew he was outnumbered and under-supplied; fighting full force in Philly would have been suicide.  For five weeks, the British pounded Mifflin, with many of its buildings being reduced to rubble.  The fort’s official website states “It is the site of the largest bombardment the North American continent has ever witnessed.”  Holding Mifflin allowed Washington’s army to escape and flee to Valley Forge; it’s almost certain that if the fort fell sooner, the Revolution would have been much shorter with very different results.
During the Civil War, the fortress was used as a prison for captured Confederates, so it’s no surprise there are ghost stories surrounding the place.  The most famous involves the hanging of William Howe, a Union deserter convicted of murder.  He was held in what is known as Casemate #11.  His signature can still be seen on the wall inside.  He’s said to still haunt the fort, especially the casemate.  When I went, there were actually 2 ghost hunters trying to record voices inside the casemate.
There are, of course, many other supposed ghosts haunting the place.

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Finally heading through the gate…

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Officers’ Quarters & Soldiers’ Barracks

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Quartermaster’s store.  Now a gift shop.  Closed when I went.  I really wanted a magnet :/

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Commandant’s House.  The inside was being restored during my visit…

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Guessing that’s what the place’ll look like after renovation…

Some more outside shots before heading underground to infamous Casemate 11…

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Entrance to Casemate 11

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Some of Howe’s writing.

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End of the casemate.  Imagine this as your prison cell.

Lots of places on the grounds where you can go underground…

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Like I mentioned earlier, the fort served as a prison during the Civil War.  Mister Howe may have gotten special treatment and had his own casemate, but that wasn’t the case for the Confederate prisoners.  6 casemates were used as prison cells.

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The barracks and officers’ buildings serve as a museum, with artifacts, models, and even a small display of photos of TV’s Ghosthunters when they came to visit the fort.

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Ghosthunters stuff

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For admission, hours, directions, and all that jazz, check out Fort Mifflin’s official site.

Popularity: 19% [?]

Sugarloaf Massacre Monument & Grave

Posted by Stu On January - 27 - 2009

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Found along Walnut Avenue in Conyngham is a small, seemingly overlooked Revolution-era monument. Near this site on September 11, 1780, Captain Daniel Klader and his men were ambushed and slaughtered by a group of Tories and Seneca. Chief Roland Montour was also among the mob.
That Montour name sound familiar? It should. Just 2 years earlier, his sister-in-law started a massacre of her own.

So the monument itself is pretty boring, you probably think. I, to an extent, agree. Good thing there’s more.

There is a very small trail behind the marker leading into the woods. The trail goes perilously close to a house and I was initially hesitant to follow it. Good thing I did, because at its end is Danny.

The rest of his men are supposed to be buried nearby. This was the only stone I saw though.

Popularity: 16% [?]

Queen Esther’s Rock

Posted by Stu On June - 27 - 2008

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Interesting bit of Revolution history here that I never saw in any text book. And, just like the Matlack Grave, it’s wedged in between 2 houses. Too bad there’s grating over the rock; from what I hear, it’s there to stop people from chipping away at it.

On July 3, 1778, just after the Battle of Wyoming, Queen Esther Montour reportedly smashed the heads of about a dozen US soldiers on this rock. “Queen” Esther was most likely not a queen; Native Americans generally didn’t have such a hierarchy. Chances are good Esther was not full-blooded Indian anyway; it’s suggested she was half.

Popularity: 10% [?]

Toms River Blockhouse

Posted by Stu On January - 21 - 2006

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Don’t know why I didn’t put this up sooner; I took these pictures last year.

Just about anyone who passes through downtown Toms River has seen the small waterfront Huddy Park, with a few gazebos, a bridge, and…..a fort? There is a replica blockhouse, or small fort, of the original one that stood on the hill that is now Robbins Street. It’s not very large or complex – just 4 walls made of wood posts, spiked at the end. A few wooden cannons sit at the corners.
Not too many people are aware a battle took place here in 1782. Captain Joshua Huddy, high on the British and Loyalists’ hit list, was in charge of the fort. A group of about 80 British troops and Tories attacked the small village of Toms River; Huddy’s handful of men had no chance. The blockhouse and all of the town, save a house or 2, were burned to the ground. Huddy was taken to New York to be tried. He was found guilty of murdering a British officer even though they were well aware he didn’t commit the murder. He was hanged in Monmouth County’s Highlands shortly afterward.

Popularity: 9% [?]

Greenwich Tea Party Monument

Posted by Stu On September - 21 - 2005

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Most Americans know what the Boston Tea Party was, but not many are aware the act was not unique to Boston. Nope, there were a couple of “tea parties”, one happening in southern NJ.

In 1774, a year after the defiance in Boston, a tea party happened along the Cohansey River in Greenwich. A British ship that was denied entry into Philadelphia tried to sell its cargo of tea in Greenwich. Worried about patriots, the British sought the help of a Tory in town. He agreed to let them store the tea in his cellar. Well, the patriots found out about this secret deal and decided to reenact the events that occurred in Boston. Dressed at Indians, they broke into the basement, stole all the tea, piled it in a nearby field, and burned it.
The tea burners were sued twice, once by the East India Tea Company, and once by the man who was storing the tea. Little did the Brits realize 2 of the tea burners were brothers of the town sheriff, who just so happened to select the jury, and who just so happened to make his nephew the jury foreman.
Nobody was found guilty.
The second trial was state appointed. Luckily for our band of burners, most of the jury was patriots, so they got off yet again.

Popularity: 11% [?]

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