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Archaeology of French and Indian War Frontier Forts

Lawrence E. Babits

Publication Year: 2013

Fort Ticonderoga, the allegedly impenetrable star fort at the southern end of Lake Champlain, is famous for its role in the French and Indian War. But many other one-of-a-kind forts were instrumental in staking out the early American colonial frontier. On the 250th anniversary of this often-overlooked conflict, this volume musters an impressive range of scholars who tackle the lesser-known but nonetheless historically significant sites from barracks to bastions. Civilian, provincial, or imperial, the fortifications covered in this book range from South Carolina's Fort Prince George to Fort Frontenac in Ontario and to Fort de Chartres in Illinois.

These forts were built during the first serious arms race on the continent, as Europeans and colonists struggled to control the lucrative fur trade routes of the northern boundary. The contributors to this volume reveal how the French and British adapted their fortification techniques to the special needs of the North American frontier. By exploring the unique structures that guarded the borderlands, this book reveals much about the underlying economies and dynamics of the broader conflict that defined a critical period of the American experience.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-xii

List of Tables

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xvi

Some of the chapters in this book were presented in 2007 as papers at the Society for Historical Archaeology in Williamsburg, Virginia. This ses-sion was designed to bring to light the newer work on French and Indian War fortifications, especially lesser-known sites away from the main war theaters. Despite their distant locations, many sites exhibited similar at-...

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French and Indian War Chronology, 1750–1765

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pp. xvii-xx

...17 February: Virginians sent to Forks of the Ohio to build Fort Prince George18 April: French arrive at Forks of the Ohio; Virginia garrison surrenders17 June: British capture Fort Beausejour, seize Acadia (Nova Scotia)4 September: William Eyre lays out Fort William Henry on Lake GeorgeSeptember: Fort Carillon construction starts; completed spring 1758...

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pp. 1-8

The French and Indian War was a defining moment in American history. For the first time the various colonies organized and acted in concert. While this ultimately failed, they nonetheless worked together to defeat the French. The war marked the first time there was large-scale theater-level military activity in North America. The impact of over 40,000 British ...

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1. Clash of Empires

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pp. 9-16

It would require a greater philosopher and historian than I am to explain the causes of the famous Seven Years? War in which Europe was engaged; and, indeed, its ori-gin has always appeared to me to be so complicated, and the books written about it so amazingly hard to understand, that I have seldom been much wiser at the end of a chapter than at the beginning, and so shall not trouble my reader with any ...

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2. Forts on the Frontier: Adapting European Military Engineering to North America

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pp. 17-51

In 1879, Francis Parkman discovered a remarkable document during the course of archival research in French Canada (Wade 1947:577, 676). This ?copious journal, full of curious observation? (Parkman 1995:314) was the record of a French military engineer?s tour of Canada in 1752 and 1753. Louis Franquet had been sent by the French court to inspect the defenses ...

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3. Fort Prince George, South Carolina

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pp. 52-68

Fort Prince George was a British frontier fort situated on the Keowee River in what is now Pickens County, South Carolina. It was located in the Ke-owee?s flood plain, which became prime bottomland. The fort site was a few hundred yards above (north) Crow Creek?s mouth. Downstream on the west side of the river was the Cherokee town of Keowee. Other Cherokee ...

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4. Fort Loudoun, Tennessee: Defensive Features and Artifactual Remains

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pp. 69-83

Fort Loudoun, Tennessee, was one of many French and Indian War fortifi-cations constructed and occupied in the mid-eighteenth century. It was the westernmost of a series of southern British forts, including Fort Ninety-Six and Fort Prince George, extending from Charleston, South Carolina, to the Overhill Cherokee homeland west of the Appalachian Mountains. Fort ...

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5. Fort Dobbs, North Carolina: How Documents and Artifacts Led to Rebuilding the Fort

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pp. 84-101

This chapter reports on the forty years of historical, archaeological, and interpretive investigations conducted for the Fort Dobbs State Historic Site, Iredell County, North Carolina. The focus is on using documentary and archaeological information, in conjunction with surviving examples of frontier fortified barracks to re-create the fort as a heritage tourism destina-...

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6. Fort Loudoun, Virginia: A French and Indian War Period Fortification Constructed by George Washington

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pp. 102-121

Fort Loudoun, Winchester, Virginia, is one of three French and Indian War period forts named after John Campbell, Lord Loudoun, commander of British troops in North America. The fort was designed and constructed by Col. George Washington in 1756?58 and served as the command center and supply depot for Virginia troops during the war. The fort was never ...

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7. The Second Fort Vause: A Crucial French and Indian War Fort in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia

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pp. 122-138

This chapter presents a summary of recent archaeological investigations at the second Fort Vause (44My59). Fort Vause was constructed on the White- side branch of the south branch of the Roanoke River, in southwestern Virginia in 1756, within modern-day Shawsville, Virginia (figure 7.1). It is a significant site, owned today by Jack and Laree Hinshelwood. Fort Vause ...

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8. “To Preserve the Forts, and the Families Gathered into Them”: Archaeology of Edwards’s Fort, Capon Bridge, West Virginia

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pp. 139-157

Following the defeat of Gen. Edward Braddock?s British and colonial army by the French and Indians in July 1755, Indian raids along the Virginia fron-tier accelerated in scale and ferocity. These raids depopulated some frontier settlements but also increased defensive measures initiated by the colonial government and private settlers. Actions taken by the Virginia government ...

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9. Fort Loudoun: A Provincial Fort on the Mid-Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania Frontier

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pp. 158-173

Motorists on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, between Chambersburg and Mc-Connellsburg, Pennsylvania, see signs for Fort Loudon. Few know that this quiet Franklin County community is named for a nearby French and Indian War fort, built in 1756 to protect settlers from Indian raids. Even fewer are aware that the fort served as an important supply depot during ...

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10. Style Wars in the Wilderness: The Colonial Forts at Crown Point

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pp. 174-190

During the first half of the eighteenth century, the French and later the English built major fortifications at what is now Crown Point, New York (figure 10.1). Situated on a large peninsula at the narrows near the southern end of Lake Champlain, this site was an important location on the water route from Canada to New York. The English name Crown Point presum-...

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11. Fort Frontenac, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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pp. 191-215

The remnants of French Fort Frontenac, located in present-day Kingston, are situated on the north shore of the eastern end of Lake Ontario. The fort exists only in the archaeological record, although extensive investigations from 1982 to 1985 led to a partial reconstruction of the northwest bastion, west, and north curtain walls (figure 11.1). Subsequent utility installation, ...

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12. Michilimackinac, a Civilian Fort

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pp. 216-228

Fort Michilimackinac, built on the south shore of the Straits of Mackinac about 1715, was one of a series of forts built to control this strategic location during the colonial period. Although military, it was much more a fortified trading post. Archaeological excavations have taken place at Michilimacki-nac every summer since 1959, and approximately two-thirds of the fort has ...

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13. War and the Colonial Frontier: Fort de Chartres in the Illinois Country

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pp. 229-240

Until excavations in the 1970s and 1980s began to recover artifacts and ex-pose construction elements of the third Fort de Chartres, most literature and popular belief assumed that this fort was built as a fur trade outpost in a network of outposts on the margins of the French colonial empire in North America (Keene 2002:6). Analysis of the data generated by these ...

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pp. 241-254

As historian William Hunter pointed out in 1960, eighteenth-century forts fall into three generalized categories: those built by an imperial govern-ment, those ordered by colonial (or provincial) governments, and those generated by local needs. All three types are covered in this text. The chief distinction appears to be the funding source to build and maintain the ...


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pp. 255-260

References Cited

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pp. 261-286

List of Contributors

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pp. 287-290


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pp. 291-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780813048581
E-ISBN-10: 0813048583
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813049069

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 7 tables, 78 b&w illustrations
Publication Year: 2013

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- History -- French and Indian War, 1754-1763.
  • Fortification -- United States -- History.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- United States.
  • Historic sites -- United States.
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