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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Early Military Forts In Ohio

Dallas Bogan on 6 August 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

Ohio was dotted with forts of defense prior to and after its statehood in 1803. This week we shall preview these historic fortifications that played such a great part in Ohio's formation.
Fort Miami was the oldest fortification in Ohio and was built in 1680 by an expedition sent by Frontenac, Governor of Canada. It was constructed as a military post, its location being about 15 miles up the Maumee from its mouth, standing at what is now the city of Maumee.
Fort Sandusky was built about 1750 and was a small stockade trading post of the French. It was constructed on the left bank of the Sandusky River, close to the present site of Sandusky. It was abandoned soon after the Treaty of 1763.
Loramie's Fort, as it was first called, was originally a trading post that was occupied by the English in 1750 or '51 as a trading station; it was then known as Pickawillany. It was attacked by an Indian and French force in 1752 and afterward settled by a Canadian Frenchman named Loramie, who established a store and trading post there. Gen. Anthony Wayne later built a fort, in 1794, named Fort Loramie.
Fort Junandat was a trading station built about 1754 by French Traders. Its location was on the right bank of the Sandusky River, and was abandoned soon after the close of the French and Indian War.
Fort Gower was a small stockade at the mouth of the Hocking River built in 1774 by Lord Dunmore. From this location he marched his troops up the river to an encampment named Camp Charlotte, about seven miles south of Circleville, in what is now Ross County. A treaty of peace was finalized with the Indians, the army returning to Fort Gower, and then to Virginia.
Fort Laurens was constructed in the Fall of 1778, and named in honor of the first President of Congress. The fort stood just below the mouth of Sandy Creek, on the west bank of the Tuscarawas River. It was erected by a detachment of 1000 men under the command of General McIntosh, commander of Fort Pitt. The walls were octagonal in shape and enclosed about an acre of ground.
Fort Harmar was built by Maj. John Doughty in the Fall of 1785 at the mouth of the Muskingum River. Maj. Doughtys' troops were part of Josiah Harmar's regiment, from which the fort was named. It was shaped in a regular pentagon and included about three-quarters of an acre. The walls were framed of large horizontal timbers, the bastions being about 14 feet high and set solidly in the ground. The fort was occupied by a United States garrison until September 1790, when they were ordered to Fort Washington (Cincinnati).
Fort Washington, now Cincinnati, was constructed by Maj. John Doughty. The fort was begun in September 1789, and completed in the winter months. Gen. Josiah Harmar wrote "It is built of hewn timber, a perfect square, two stories high, with four block houses at the angles." This was the headquarters for all military operations during the Indian wars of 1790-95.
Fort Steuben was erected in 1789 on the present site of Steubenville. It was built of block houses connected by a row of palisades (large pointed stakes set in the ground to form a fence). It was fortified by a detachment of United States soldiers under the command of Col. Beaty. It was promptly abandoned after Wayne's triumph in 1794.
Gen. Arthur St. Clair, governor and commander of all troops raised to protect the whites from the Indian, built Fort Hamilton in September 1791. It was constructed on the east bank of the Great Miami River, now the present site of Hamilton. The fort was designed as a stockade, resembling slightly a triangle. It had four bastions and platforms for cannon. The officers' quarters were near the river with the soldiers' barracks standing eastward, while the magazine faced southward. The fort was closed at the end of hostilities and was almost equivalent to Fort Washington in importance.
Gen. St. Clair built Fort Jefferson in 1791. It was located 44 miles north of Fort Hamilton, about six miles southwest of Greenville. It was used basically as a supply depot.
Fort St. Clair was erected a short distance west of Eaton in Preble County. It was built in 1791-92, by a detachment of Gen. Wilkinson's troops under the command of Major John S. Gano. Ensign William Henry Harrison, later President of the United States, commanded the guards on alternate nights. During its construction no fires could be built, thus the soldiers suffered much from the cold. The fort was a stockade, used mainly for storage and supply purposes. However, at sunrise, on November 6, 1792, a battle was fought near the fort between a corps of riflemen and a group of Indians led by Little Turtle. The Indians were defeated and suffered much from the confrontation.
Gen. Anthony Wayne on the site of present Greenville built Fort Green Ville in December 1793. It was erected as an irregular fortification, and was used as a supply storage area until after the Indians were conquered in the summer of 1794, at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Gen. Wayne's army, after its return, increased the forts' defenses and improved its quarters. It was at Fort Green Ville, in August 1795, that Gen. Wayne concluded the Treaty of Peace with the Indians.
Fort Recovery was constructed in December 1793 by a detachment of troops from Gen. Wayne's army. Arriving on Christmas Day, the troops built a stockade on the site of the disastrous defeat of Gen. Arthur St. Clair by the Indians on November 4, 1791. It stood on the left bank of the Wabash River, and was possibly somewhat octagonal in shape, its corners protected by blockhouses. The palisades that formed its boundaries were solidly set in a small embankment made by digging a trench.
Fort Piqua was a rather small stockade built purposely for storage by Gen. Wayne's army in 1794. Its location was about three miles north of Piqua in Miami County. The detachment was commanded by Captain J.N. Visher, and after the Treaty of Peace in 1795, it was abandoned.
Fort St. Marys was built by a detachment of Gen. Wayne's army in 1794; it stood on the present site of St. Marys in Mercer County. It was constructed as a supply depot, and was under the command of Captain John Whistler, until its demise.
Gen. Wayne's army built Fort Defiance in August 1794 while marching against the Indians. Its location was on the angle formed by the junction of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers. Its construction was in the form of a square; at each corner were blockhouses projecting from the fort. The blockhouses were joined by a line of strong pickets, with the outside being protected by a wall of earth eight feet thick, and a ditch fifteen feet wide and eight feet deep, adjacent the Auglaize River.
Gen. Wayne built Fort Deposit in August 1794 as a supply depot. It was located on the north bank of the Maumee River, and consisted of a palisaded stockade, built essentially for storage.
Fort Industry was built by a detachment of Gen. Wayne's troops soon after the peace treaty. It stood on a bluff on the left bank of the Maumee, in what is now the city of Toledo.
Fort Findlay was built during the War of 1812 and was a small stockade about fifty yards square. It was constructed on the south side of Blanchard's Fork, in what is now Hancock County. A blockhouse was erected at each corner, with the soldiers' quarters and palisades protecting its exterior. It was used as a supply depot and abandoned at the end of the war.
Fort Amanda was a small stockade built during the War of 1812 on the west bank of the Auglaize River, on the site of an old Ottawa Indian town, in what is now Allen County. It was used as a supply depot and a stopping-off place for the troops.
Fort McArthur was built on the Scioto River during the War of 1812, in what is now Hardin County. Its stockade enclosed about half-an-acre, and the blockhouse consisted of a row of log cribs covered with shed roofs sloping inward, with palisades completing its defenses.
Fort Ball was built by a detachment of Gen. Harrison's army during the War of 1812 on the west bank of the Sandusky River, in what is now the city of Tiffin. It was a fairly small stockade, enclosing perhaps one-third of an acre, and was used as a supply depot.
Fort Seneca was built as a stockade during the War of 1812 by a detachment of Gen. Harrison's army. It was used as a supply depot and stood on the right bank of the Sandusky River, a few miles above Fort Stevenson.
Fort Stevenson was built during the War of 1812 at the head of navigation on the Sandusky River, on the site of present Fremont. The fort was well constructed and enclosed an acre of ground.
Gen. Harrison built Fort Meigs in the winter of 1812-13 on the right bank of the Maumee River, opposite the rapids. (One source says that Warren Countian, Mose Trimble, built Fort Meigs.) The total area occupied about ten acres. Blockhouses, soldiers' barracks and a strong line of palisades protected it. It was considered an important frontier post until it was abandoned after the war.

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