History of Fort McHenry

The bombardment of Fort McHenry.

During the American Revolution a small earthen star fort known as Fort Whetstone was constructed at the end of the peninsula that led to the entrance of the Baltimore harbor. Although the fort was never attacked during the American Revolution, military experts saw the importance of coastal defenses around the young United States’ third largest city and one of its vital ports. In 1798 construction began to expand upon Fort Whetstone with brick and stone masonry to create a new, more permanent, structure. The new fort was dubbed Fort McHenry, named after George Washington’s Secretary of War, and Baltimore native, James McHenry.

Artist's depiction of the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Fort Pickens

The sun sets over historic Fort Pickens.

In 1816, the United States began constructing Third System forts along its coastline to protect important waterways and seaports. Five years later, the federal government began fortifying areas along Florida’s 3,500 mile seaboard. Pensacola Bay was one such area.


European powers had long considered Pensacola Bay one of the most important on the northern Gulf Coast. With depths ranging between 20–65 feet and a length of about 13 miles, the bay afforded excellent anchorage and protection for ships. After the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819, also called the Transcontinental Treaty, in which Spain ceded East and West Florida to the US, Pensacola Bay became US territory. In 1825, President James Monroe signed a law establishing a new navy yard and depot on the bay. Forts were needed to protect the natural bay and navy yard, and thus Fort Pickens was conceived.

Fort Pickens was designed and constructed to defend Pensacola Bay and the Pensacola Navy Yard and Depot from foreign attacks. Its purpose would reach beyond the physical boundaries of the Gulf frontier. Fort Pickens stood to safeguard the democratic institutions of the federal Republic, and today it is an enduring symbol of the US.


The Board of Engineers for Coastal Fortifications (the Board), part of the US Army Corps of Engineers, created the plans to build Fort Pickens. Lieutenant Colonel Joseph G. Totten served as the primary designer, but Brigadier General Simon Bernard later made changes. Bernard’s study of the channel entering the bay led him to recommend fortifying three places: the western end of Santa Rosa Island, the eastern end of Perdido Key, and the barrancas or bluffs north of the channel. Bernard’s changes to Fort Pickens saved money and allowed the nation to more quickly fortify Perdido Key.

Different factors influenced Fort Pickens’s design. The fort would be built on the western end of Santa Rosa Island, a low-lying barrier island that provides natural protection to the bay and mainland Florida. From this location, Fort Pickens would command the approaches to the channel, control access into and out of the bay, work with forts built around the channel, and prevent an enemy force from using the island to launch attacks against the navy yard.

Fort Pickens had to be massive to look threatening. The design called for a five-bastioned work, consisting of one ground level or casemate tier and a second level or barbette tier. Four of the five walls fronted water, while one wall fronted land. To defend the main fort from an enemy’s land attack, a man-made hill called a glacis and an outer wall called a counterscarp were added to the fort’s defenses. If an attacking army reached the counterscarp, soldiers then had to pass through a dry ditch that wrapped around the fort. From the bottom of the ditch, the fort’s walls rose about 40 feet.

Fort Pickens was designed to unleash a ring of fire from its five walls. As many as 200 more cannon could be installed in casemates or on the barbette tiers. During times of peace, a garrison of 60 soldiers could occupy Fort Pickens, increasing to 500 during times of war and up to 1,000 soldiers during a siege.


In May 1828, the federal government acquired about 998 acres on Santa Rosa Island to build Fort Pickens. By August, Captain William H. Chase, the senior engineer on the Gulf, was assigned to Pensacola and tasked with building Fort Pickens.

Chase began preparing for construction by outlining his needs. While assistants scouted the construction site, Chase calculated the costs for building materials, listed the materials he needed, and prepared contracts for acquiring materials and workers.

Workers broke ground in May 1829. They used materials like lime, water, and sand to make mortar lumber to build a foundation, wharves, scaffolding, and support buildings lead sheets to waterproof casemate arches and for gutters and drains granite for steps and traverse stones copper sheeting, bars, and fixtures for use in powder magazines and bricks for the entire fort.

Workers were skilled tradesmen and general laborers. They were also enslaved people. Through a verbal “gentleman’s agreement,” Chase worked with Underhill and Strong of New Orleans to build Fort Pickens. Underhill and Strong owned about 100 enslaved men who had experience in building forts. These enslaved men were supported by other enslaved men who Chase rented directly from slaveholders.

As work on Fort Pickens neared completion, the War Department issued General Order 32 on April 18, 1833, naming Fort Pickens. The fort is named for Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, a Patriot who fought with distinction in South Carolina during the American Revolution. In October 1834, Chase and his enslaved laborers completed Fort Pickens.

At the time of its completion, Fort Pickens was the largest brick structure on the Gulf of Mexico. It exhibited the latest theories in coastal defense design, construction, and weaponry. The fort illustrated the growing power of the US, and as a part of the Third System, it helped make the nation virtually impregnable.

Cannon Placement

With five walls, cannon installed at Fort Pickens could fire in all points of the compass. Guns and howitzers on the casemate tier were protect by vaulted ceilings. Guns, howitzers, and mortars on the barbette tier were more exposed. These cannon, and the artillerymen loading and firing them, received protection by a wall in front of them but had no overhead protection.

Fort Pickens’ two largest walls fronted the shipping channel. Together the channel walls could mount 112 cannon. The north wall, fronting Pensacola Bay, could mount 26 cannon. The east wall, fronting the island, could mount 32 cannon. The wall fronting the Gulf, the south wall, could mount 35 cannon.9 Throughout its history, different quantities and many different types of cannon have been installed inside the fort.

Guns and howitzers sat on carriages made of wood or cast iron. Carriages secured cannon to the fort and provided a pivot to point the cannon in different directions. Mortars sat on beds that rested on wooden platforms on the ground.


Fort Pickens had three permanent rooms designed for storing black powder. Army engineers took great care deciding where to store black powder as it is impact-sensitive. Called powder magazines, these large brick rooms were lined with wood to absorb moisture and secured with heavy doors to prevent theft or tampering. If filled, Fort Pickens had enough space to store 272,600 pounds of black powder. Additional temporary powder magazines were built during the Civil War.

Different types of ammunition would have been available to artillerymen at the fort. Solid shots were solid iron projectiles designed for use against soldiers, buildings, and ships. Shells were cast iron projectiles with powder chambers ignited by burning fuses. Like shells, case-shots had cavities filled with lead or iron balls. Shells and case-shots were intended to explode above or within groups of soldiers. Canister contained iron or lead balls and fired at soldiers within 400 yards.

Artillerymen at Fort Pickens also had the ability to turn regular solid shots into incendiary rounds. As many as six hot shot furnaces stood on the parade inside the fort. Each furnace held 60 or more shots. Fueled by coal, the furnaces turned shots cherry red in about 30 minutes. When loaded into cannon, artillerymen fired hot shots at structures with the intent of setting them on fire.

Bibliography & Further Reading

Bearss, Edwin C. Historic Structure Report, Fort Pickens: Historical Data Section, 1821–1895. Denver: Denver Service Center, National Park Service, 1983.

Coleman, James C. and Irene S. Guardians of the Gulf: Pensacola Fortifications, 1698–1980. Pensacola FL: Pensacola Historical Society, 1982.

Hulse, Thomas. “Military Slave Rentals, the Construction of Army Fortifications, and the Navy Yard in Pensacola, Florida, 1824–1863.” The Florida Historical Quarterly 88, no. 4 (Spring 2010): 497-539.

Lewis, Emanuel R. Seacoast Fortifications of the United States: An Introductory History. 7th ed. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1993.

USDOC. “Pensacola Bay and Approaches, NOAA Chart 11382.” BookletChart. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Office of Coast Survey, 2017.

USEPA. The Ecological Condition of the Pensacola Bay System, Northwest Florida (1994–2001). EPA 620-R-05-002. Washington, D.C.: Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2005.

Weaver II, John R. A Legacy in Brick and Stone: American Coastal Defense Forts of the Third System, 1816–1867. 2nd ed. McLean, VA: Redoubt Press, 2018.


Chittorgarh, located in the southern part of the state of Rajasthan, 233 km (144.8 mi) from Ajmer, midway between Delhi and Mumbai on the National Highway 8 (India) in the road network of Golden Quadrilateral. Chittorgarh is situated where National Highways No. 76 & 79 intersect.

The fort rises abruptly above the surrounding plains and is spread over an area of 2.8 km 2 (1.1 sq mi). The fort stands on a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) high. [1] It is situated on the left bank of the Berach river (a tributary of the Banas River) and is linked to the new town of Chittorgarh (known as the 'Lower Town') developed in the plains after 1568 AD when the fort was deserted in light of introduction of artillery in the 16th century, and therefore the capital was shifted to more secure Udaipur, located on the eastern flank of Aravalli hill range. Mughal Emperor Akbar attacked and sacked this fort which was but one of the 84 forts of Mewar, but the capital was shifted to Aravalli hills where heavy artillery & cavalry were not effective. A winding hill road of more than 1 km (0.6 mi) length from the new town leads to the west end main gate, called Ram Pol, of the fort. Within the fort, a circular road provides access to all the gates and monuments located within the fort walls. [2] [3] [4] [5]

The fort that once boasted of 84 water bodies has only 22 of them now. These water bodies are fed by natural catchment and rainfall, and have a combined storage of 4 billion litres that could meet the water needs of an army of 50,000. The supply could last for four years. These water bodies are in the form of ponds, wells and step wells. [6]

Chittorgarh (garh means fort) was originally called Chitrakut. [7] It is said to have been built by a local Mori Rajput ruler Chitrangada Mori. [8] According to one legend, the name of the fort is derived from its builder. [7] Another folk legend attributes the construction of fort to the legendary hero Bhima: it states that Bhima struck the ground here, which resulted in water springing up to form a large reservoir. The water body allegedly formed by Bhima is an artificial tank called Bhimlat Kund. [2] [4] Several small Buddhist stupas dated to 9th century based on the script were found at the edge of Jaimal Patta lake. [9] [10]

The Guhila ruler Bappa Rawal is said to have captured the fort in either 728 CE or 734 CE. One account states that he received the fort in dowry. [7] According to other versions of the legend, Bappa Rawal captured the fort either from the mlechchhas or the Moris. [11] Historian R. C. Majumdar theorizes that the Moris (Mauryas) were ruling at Chittor when the Arabs (mlechchhas) invaded north-western India around 725 CE. [11] The Arabs defeated the Moris, and in turn, were defeated by a confederacy that included Bappa Rawal. R. V. Somani theorized that Bappa Rawal was a part of the army of Nagabhata I. [12] Some historians doubt the historicity of this legend, arguing that the Guhilas did not control Chittor before the reign of the later ruler Allata. [13] The earliest Guhila inscription discovered at Chittor is from the reign of Tejasimha (mid-13th century) it mentions "Chitrakuta-maha-durga" (the great fort of Chittor). [14]

Siege of 1303 Edit

In 1303, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji led an army to conquer Chittor, which was ruled by the Guhila king Ratnasimha. [15] Alauddin captured Chittor after an eight-month-long siege. [16] According to his courtier Amir Khusrow, he ordered a massacre of 30,000 local Hindus after this conquest. [17] Some later legends state that Alauddin invaded Chittor to capture Ratnasimha's beautiful queen Padmini, but most modern historians have rejected the authenticity of these legends. [18] The legends also state that Padmini and other women committed suicide by jauhar (mass self-immolation). Historian Kishori Saran Lal believes that a jauhar did happen at Chittor following Alauddin's conquest, although he dismisses the legend of Padmini as unhistorical. [19] On the other hand, historian Banarsi Prasad Saksena considers this jauhar narrative as a fabrication by the later writers, because Khusrow does not mention any jauhar at Chittor, although he has referred to the jauhar during the earlier conquest of Ranthambore. [20]

Alauddin assigned Chittor to his young son Khizr Khan (or Khidr Khan), and the Chittor fort was renamed "Khizrabad" after the prince. As Khizr Khan was only a child, the actual administration was handed over to a slave named Malik Shahin. [20]

Rana Hammir and successors Edit

Khizr Khan's rule at the fort lasted till 1311 AD and due to the pressure of Rajputs he was forced to entrust power to the Sonigra chief Maldeva who held the fort for 7 years. Hammir Singh, usurped control of the fort from Maldeva and Chittor once again regained its past glory. Hammir, before his death in 1364 AD, had converted Mewar into a fairly large and prosperous kingdom. The dynasty (and clan) fathered by him came to be known by the name Sisodia after the village where he was born. His son Ketra Singh succeeded him and ruled with honour and power. Ketra Singh's son Lakha who ascended the throne in 1382 AD also won several wars. His famous grandson Rana Kumbha came to the throne in 1433 AD and by that time the Muslim rulers of Malwa and Gujarat had acquired considerable clout and were keen to usurp the powerful Mewar state. [21]

Rana Kumbha and clan Edit

There was resurgence during the reign of Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. Rana Kumbha, also known as Maharana Kumbhakarna, son of Rana Mokal, ruled Mewar between 1433 AD and 1468 AD. He is credited with building up the Mewar kingdom assiduously as a force to reckon with. He built 32 forts (84 fortresses formed the defense of Mewar) including one in his own name, called Kumbalgarh. His brother Rana Raimal assumed the reins of power in 1473. [ citation needed ] After his death in May 1509, Sangram Singh (also known as Rana Sanga), his youngest son, became the ruler of Mewar, which brought in a new phase in the history of Mewar.

Chittor Under Rana Sanga Edit

Rana Sanga ascended the throne in 1509 after a long struggle with his brothers. He was an ambitious King under whom Mewar reached its zenith in Power and prosperity. Rajput strength under Rana Sanga reached its Zenith and threatens to revive their Powers again in Northern India. [22] He established a strong kingdom from Satluj in Punjab in North till Narmada River in South in Malwa. After conquering Malwa and from Sindhu river in west till Bayana in the east. In his military career he defeated Ibrahim Lodhi at the Battle of Khatoli and manage to free most of Rajasthan along with that he establish his control over parts of Uttar Pradesh including Chandwar, he gave the part of U.P to his allies Rao Manik Chand Chauhan who later supported him in Battle of khanwa. [23] After that Rana Sanga fought another battle with Ibrahim Lodhi known as Battle of Dholpur where again Rajput confederacy were victorious, These time following his victory Sanga conquer much of the Malwa along with Chanderi and bestowed it to one of his vassal Medini Rai.Rai ruled over Malwa with Chanderi as his capital. [24] Sanga also invaded Gujarat with 50,000 Rajput confederacy joined by his three allies. He plunder Gujarat sultanate and Chased the Muslim Army as far as capital Ahmedabad. He successfully annexed Northern Gujarat and appoint one of his vassals to rule there. Following the series of Victory over Sultans he successfully establish his sovereignty over Rajasthan, Malwa and Large parts of Gujarat. [25] After these victories He united Several Rajput states from Northern India to expel Babur from India and re-establish Hindu Power in Delhi [26] He advanced with a Grand army of 100,000 Rajputs supported by a few Afghans to expel Babur and to expand his territory by annexing Delhi and Agra. [27] [28] The Battle was fought for supremacy of Northern India between Rajputs and Mughals. [29] However Rajput Confederation suffered a disastrous defeat at Khanwa due to Babur's superior generalship and modern tactics.The Battle was more historic than First Battle of Panipat as it firmly establish Mughal rule in India while crushing re-emerging Rajput powers. The battle was also earliest to use cannons, matchlocks, swivel guns and mortars to great use. [30]

Rana Sanga was taken away from Battlefield in unconscious state from his vassals Prithviraj Singh I of Jaipur and Maldeo Rathore of Marwar. After regaining consciousness he took an Oath to never return to Chittor till he defeat Babur and conquer Delhi. He also stop wearing Turban and use to wrap up cloth over his head. [31] While he was preparing to wage another War against Babur he was poisoned by his own Nobles who did not want another Battle with Babur. He died in Kalpi in January 1528. [32]

After his defeat his Vassal Medini Rai was defeated by Babur at Battle of Chanderi and Babur capture the capital of Rai kingdom Chanderi. Medini was offered Shamsabad instead of Chanderi as it was historically important in conquering Malwa but Rao refuse the offer and choose to die fighting. The Rajput women and children commits Self-immolation to save their honour from Muslim army.After the victory Babur capture Chanderi along with Malwa which was ruled by Rai. [33]

Post Rana Sanga Edit

Siege of 1535 Edit

Bahadur Shah who came to the throne in 1526 AD as the Sultan of Gujarat besieged the Chittorgarh fort in 1535. The fort was sacked and, once again the medieval dictates of chivalry determined the outcome. Following the escape of the Rana, his brother Udai Singh and the faithful maid Panna Dhai to Bundi, it is said 13,000 Rajput women committed jauhar (self-immolation on the funeral pyre) and 3,200 Rajput warriors rushed out of the fort to fight and die. [2] [21]


A widely held belief states that the fort was built in the reign of Chauhan Rajput King Sapaldaksha, in 944 CE. Another theory states that the fort was built during the reign of Chauha King Jayant, in 1110 CE. According to Government of Rajasthan's Amber Development & Management Authority, it is likely that the construction started in the mid-10th century during the reign of Sapaldaksha, and continued a few centuries after that. [2]

Under Chauhans Edit

Its earlier name was Ranastambha or Ranastambhapura. It was associated with Jainism during the reign of Prithviraja I of Chahamana (Chauhan) dynasty in the 12th century. Siddhasenasuri, who lived in the 12th century has included this place in the list of holy Jain tirthas. In the Mughal period, a temple of Mallinatha was built in the fort. [3]

After the defeat of Prithviraja III (Prithviraj Chauhan) in 1192 CE, the fort came under the control of the Muslim Ghurid ruler Muhammad of Ghor. Prithviraja's son Govindaraja IV accepted the Ghurid suzerainty, and ruled Ranthambore as his vassal. [4] His descendants made various attempts to become independent.

The Delhi Sultan Iltutmish captured Ranthambore in 1226, but the Chauhans recaptured it after his death in 1236. The armies of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud, led by the future Sultan Balban, unsuccessfully besieged the fortress in 1248 and 1253, but captured from Jaitrasingh Chauhan in 1259. Shakti Dev succeeded Jaitrasingh in 1283, and recaptured Ranthambore and enlarged the kingdom. Sultan Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji briefly besieged the fort in 1290-91 but was unsuccessful in capturing it. In 1299, Hammiradeva sheltered Muhammad Shah, a rebel general of Sultan Ala ud din Khalji, and refused to turn him over to the Sultan. The Sultan besieged and conquered the fort in 1301.

Under Mewar Edit

The fortress was captured by various kings of Mewar. Ranthambore was under the direct rule of Rana Hamir Singh (1326–1364), Rana Kumbha (1433–1468) and Rana Sanga (1508–1528). [5] [6] [7]

Under Hadas Edit

During Rana Udai Singh I's reign (1468–1473) the fortress passed to the Hada Rajputs of Bundi. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat briefly captured the fortress from 1532 to 1535. The Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great captured the fortress in Siege of Ranthambore (1568) from Hadas.

Under Jaipur Edit

The fortress was granted by the Mughal Governor of Ajmer to the Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur(Amber) in the 17th century, and it remained part of Jaipur state until Indian Independence. The area surrounding the fortress became a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur. Jaipur state acceded to India in 1949, becoming part of the state of Rajasthan in 1950.

Temples Edit

Inside Ranthambore fort, there are three Hindu temples dedicated to Ganesha, Shiva and Ramlalaji constructed in 12th and 13th centuries from red Karauli stone. There is also a Jain temple of Lord Sumatinath (5th Jain Tirthankar) and Lord Sambhavanath.


This area was wandered over for thousands of years by Indians, attracted to the advantageous site near the rivers. They used the waterways for transportation and trading, and to supply fish and water for their villages. The French claimed this area as part of their New France and La Louisiana. Some colonial fur traders traveled the Arkansas and other rivers to trade with the tribes.

The United States acquired this territory and large areas west of the Mississippi River from France in the Louisiana Purchase (1803). Soon after, the government sent the Pike Expedition (1806) to explore the areas along the Arkansas River. The US founded Fort Smith in 1817 as a military post. It was named after General Thomas Adams Smith (1781–1844), who commanded the United States Army Rifle Regiment in 1817, headquartered near St. Louis. General Smith had ordered Army topographical engineer Stephen H. Long (1784–1864) to find a suitable site on the Arkansas River for a fort. General Smith never visited this town or the forts that bore his name.

A stockade was built and occupied from 1817 until 1822 by a small troop of regulars commanded by Major William Bradford. A small settlement began forming around the fort, but the Army abandoned the first Fort Smith in 1824 and moved 80 miles further west to Fort Gibson. John Rogers, an Army sutler and land speculator, bought up former government-owned lands at this site and promoted growth of the new civilian town of Fort Smith.

Due to the strategic location of this site, the federal government re-established a military presence at Fort Smith during the 1830s era of Indian Removal, primarily of tribes from the American Southeast to west of the Mississippi River in Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma.

In 1838 the Army moved back into the old military post near Belle Point, and expanded the base. They used troops to escort the warlike Choctaw and Cherokee, from their ancestral homelands in the Southeast they were the last of the tribes to leave. Remnants of the Five ‘Civilized’ Tribes remained in the southeast, and their descendants in some cases have reorganized and been federally recognized. The Cherokee called the forced march the Trail of Tears, as some of their people and the black slaves they owned died along the way. The army enforced the removal of these tribes to the reserved Indian Territory, where the federal government granted them land, requiring the tribes to live at peace with their neighbours and each other Many displaced Indians fell out of the march and settled in Fort Smith and adjoining Van Buren, Arkansas on the other side of the river.

The US Army also used Fort Smith as a base during the Mexican War (1846-1848). As a result, the US acquired large territories in the Southwest, and later annexed the Republic of Texas, which had been independent for some years.

Sebastian County was formed in 1851, separated from Crawford County north of the Arkansas River. In 1858, Fort Smith was designated as a Division Center of the Butterfield Overland Mail's 7th Division route across Indian Territory from Fort Smith to Texas and as a junction with the mail route from Memphis, Tennessee, an important port on the east side of the Mississippi River.

For roughly a year of the U.S. Civil War, the fort was occupied by the Confederate Army. Union troops under General Steele took control of Fort Smith on September 1, 1863. A small fight occurred there on July 31, 1864, but the Union army maintained command in the area until the war ended in 1865. As a result, many refugee slaves, orphans, Southern Unionists, and others came here to escape the guerrilla warfare raging in Arkansas, Missouri, and the Border States. The slaves were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. Federal troops abandoned the post of Fort Smith for the last time in 1871. The town continued to thrive despite the absence of federal troops.

Two of Fort Smith's most notable historic figures were Judge Isaac Parker and William Henry Harrison Clayton, also known as W.H.H. Clayton. In 1874, William Henry Harrison Clayton was appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas by President Ulysses S. Grant. Fort Smith was a bustling community full of brothels, saloons and outlaws, just across the river from Indian Territory. William Clayton realized a strong judge would be necessary to bring law and order to the region. He knew that Isaac Parker was a strong judge. But Judge Parker had been appointed Chief Justice of Utah Territory and confirmed by the US Senate. With the help of President Grant and US Senator Powell Clayton, former governor of Arkansas, William Clayton was able to gain the appointment of Judge Parker in the Fort Smith district.

Judge Isaac Parker served as U.S. District Judge 1875–1896. He was nicknamed the "Hanging Judge": in his first term after assuming his post, he tried 18 people for murder, convicted 15 of them, and sentenced eight of those to die. Six of these men were later hanged on the same day. Over the course of his career in Fort Smith, Parker sentenced 160 people to death. Of those, 79 were executed on the gallows. His courthouse is now marked as a National Historic Site, where "more men were put to death by the U.S. Government. than in any other place in American history." [11]

William Clayton served as US Attorney under four different presidents and later was appointed as Chief Justice of Indian Territory. He was instrumental in achieving statehood for Oklahoma in 1907, after Native American claims were extinguished by distribution of communal lands under the Dawes Act and the breakup of tribal governments. Together with Territorial Governor Frank Frantz, Clayton took a copy of the Oklahoma Constitution to President Theodore Roosevelt after the state was admitted to the Union in 1907. Governor Frantz and Judge Clayton both lost their territorial positions when Oklahoma became a state a new governor was elected and the Roosevelt administration appointed a new judge.

During investment in the military prior to World War II, the Army returned to Fort Smith in 1941. It established the Fort Chaffee Military Reservation east of the city.

On April 21, 1996, a large tornado, part of the April 1996 Tornado Outbreak Sequence, destroyed and heavily damaged much of historic downtown Fort Smith around the Garrison Avenue Bridge. [12] The storm tracked from eastern Pittsburg County, Oklahoma into Fort Smith and Van Buren, Arkansas. [13] The tornado left four people dead in western Arkansas. Days later, the damaged Eads Brothers Furniture building in downtown Fort Smith was destroyed by one of the largest fires in the city's history.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 64.6 square miles (167 km 2 ), of which 61.7 square miles (160 km 2 ) is land and 3.9 square miles (10 km 2 ) (6.3%) is water.

Climate Edit

Fort Smith has generally mild winters and hot, humid summers. The monthly mean temperature ranges from 39.4 °F (4.1 °C) in January to 82.3 °F (27.9 °C) in July on average, the high stays at or below freezing on five days, reaches 90 °F (32 °C) on 74.7 days, and 100 °F (38 °C) on 10.7 days annually. The average first and last occurrences for freezing temperatures are November 5 and March 29, respectively. Extreme temperatures range from −15 °F (−26 °C) on February 12, 1899 to 115 °F (46 °C) on August 3, 2011. Fort Smith is situated near an area known as Tornado Alley in the central United States. The city has been struck by three major tornadoes, which occurred in the years of 1898, 1927 and 1996.

Climate data for Fort Smith Regional Airport, Arkansas (1981–2010 normals, [a] extremes 1882–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
Mean maximum °F (°C) 70.8
Average high °F (°C) 49.9
Average low °F (°C) 29.0
Mean minimum °F (°C) 13.1
Record low °F (°C) −11
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.81
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.4
trace 0.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 7.5 7.8 9.7 9.1 10.7 9.3 6.5 6.3 7.7 8.4 7.5 7.7 98.2
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 1.1 0.8 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.7 3.0
Average relative humidity (%) 69.5 67.6 63.9 63.8 70.7 70.9 68.9 68.6 71.8 69.4 70.3 71.2 68.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 173.5 172.5 215.2 236.1 274.8 304.0 327.6 294.5 233.1 220.7 162.5 156.3 2,770.8
Percent possible sunshine 55 56 58 60 63 70 74 71 63 63 52 51 62
Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990) [15] [16] [17]
Historical population
Census Pop.
1850964 569.4%
18601,532 58.9%
18702,227 45.4%
18803,099 39.2%
189011,311 265.0%
190011,587 2.4%
191023,975 106.9%
192028,870 20.4%
193031,429 8.9%
194036,584 16.4%
195047,942 31.0%
196052,991 10.5%
197062,802 18.5%
198071,626 14.1%
199072,798 1.6%
200080,268 10.3%
201086,209 7.4%
2019 (est.)87,891 [2] 2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [18]

As of the census [19] of 2010, there were 86,209 people, 34,352 households, and 21,367 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,391.2 people per square mile (537.2/km 2 ). There were 37,899 housing units at an average density of 612.3 per square mile (236.4/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 69.3% White, 9.0% Black or African American, 1.8% Native American, 5.3% Asian (2.2% Vietnamese, 1.7% Laotian, 0.3% Asian Indian, 0.2% Filipino, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Chinese, 0.1% Hmong, 0.1% Pakistani), 0.1% Pacific Islander, 10.3% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 16.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race (11.6% Mexican, 2.2% Salvadoran, 0.4% Guatemalan, 0.3% Puerto Rican, 0.2% Honduran, 0.1% Cuban, 0.1% Peruvian, 0.1% Colombian).

In language, Fort Smith has more than ten Asian languages spoken by more than two percent of the population. Also, the increase in immigration from Latin American countries in the late 20th century increased the number of residents who speak Spanish. 7.10% reported speaking Spanish at home, while 3.38% speak Vietnamese and Lao, and 2.50% speak Tagalog. [20]

In 2000 there were 32,398 households, of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.4% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,157, and the median income for a family was $41,012. Males had a median income of $29,799 versus $22,276 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,994. About 12.1% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.

Fort Smith has long been a regional manufacturing center, with major plants located in the city operated by Rheem, Trane, Georgia-Pacific, Gerber, Kraft Heinz Company-Planters Peanuts, Mars Petcare, Umarex USA, Graphic Packaging, International Paper, Pernod Ricard-USA, and many others.

Fort Smith is home to several corporations, including Baldor Electric Company, a member of the ABB Group, ArcBest Corporation, and poultry company OK Foods.

According to the city's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [21] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Baptist Health, Former (Sparks Health System) 2,400
2 Baldor Electric Company 2,393
3 OK Foods 1,800
4 Fort Smith Public Schools 1,783
5 Mercy Hospital Fort Smith 1,487
6 188th Fighter Wing 1,100
7 University of Arkansas at Fort Smith 951
8 ArcBest Corporation 936
9 City of Fort Smith 914
10 Rheem-Ruud 900

Various television programs and movies have been filmed in Fort Smith, including The Blue and The Gray (1982), A Soldier's Story (1984), Biloxi Blues (1988) [22] and Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

Fort Mackinac History

Fort Mackinac was founded during the American Revolution. Believing Fort Michilimackinac at what is now Mackinaw City was too vulnerable to American attack, the British moved the fort to Mackinac Island in 1780. Americans took control in 1796. In July 1812, in the first land engagement of the War of 1812 in the United States, the British captured the fort. In a bloody battle in 1814 the Americans attempted but failed to retake the fort. It was returned to the United States after the war. The fort remained active until 1895. During these years Mackinac Island was transformed from a center of the fur trade into a major summer resort.

The stone ramparts, the south sally port and the Officer’s Stone Quarters are all part of the original fort built over 225 years ago. The other buildings in the fort are of more recent origin, dating from the late 1790s to 1885. The buildings have been restored to how they looked during the final years of the fort’s occupation. Interpreters depict U. S. Army soldiers from this same period, dressed in distinctive Prussian-inspired uniforms

Fort Mackinac Chronology

1779-81 The garrison and fur trade community are moved from Michilimackinac to Mackinac Island.

1783 Mackinac Island part of new United States.

1796 British soldiers depart and American soldiers arrive to garrison fort on September 1.

1812 On July 17 British soldiers capture Fort Mackinac in first land engagement of War of 1812 in the United States.

1814 On August 4 Americans attempt but fail to recapture island.

1815 Mackinac Island returned to United States following end of War of 1812.

1837-40 Fort Mackinac abandoned to support Second Seminole War.

1848 Fort Mackinac abandoned to support Mexican War.

1857-58 Fort Mackinac abandoned to support Santee Indian Uprising.

1861 Soldiers depart to support Civil War.

1862 Three Confederate prisoners held at Fort Mackinac.

1867 Soldiers return.

1875 Mackinac National Park established.

1895 Fort is closed. Mackinac National Park becomes Mackinac Island State Park.

1896-1957 Fort buildings leased as summer cottages and apartments.

1914 Park Commission establishes historical museum in Officers’ Stone Quarters.

1934 Several buildings restored as part of WPA project. Historic American Buildings Survey completed for a number of buildings, including walls and blockhouses and Officers’ Stone Quarters.

1958 Revenue Bond program established.

1959-present Fort Mackinac opens as a living history museum. Restoration exhibits and interpretation programs implemented.


Fort Bliss is home to the 1st Armored Division, which returned to US soil in 2011 after 40 years in Germany. [14] The division is supported by the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade. The installation is also home to Joint Task Force North (JTF) , a joint service command. JTF North supports federal law enforcement agencies in the conduct of counterdrug/counter transnational organized crime operations it facilitates DoD training in the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) area of responsibility, to disrupt transnational criminal organizations and deter their freedom of action in order to protect the homeland and increase DoD unit readiness. The 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) is a theater level Army air and missile defense multi component organization with a worldwide, 72 hour deployment mission. It is the Army Forces Command and Joint Force Land Component Commanders' (ARFOR / JFLCC) organization that performs critical theater air and missile defense planning, integration, coordination, and execution functions. The Joint Modernization Command (JMC) plans, prepares, and executes Joint Warfighting Assessments and other concept and capability assessments, provides objective analysis and feasible recommendations to enhance Multi Domain Command and Control and inform Army Modernization decisions. On order, JMC conducts directed assessments in support of the Cross Functional Teams of Army Futures Command.

1st Armored Division units include: 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (“Ready First") is prepared to deploy, conduct decisive and sustainable land operations in support of a division, Joint Task Force, or Multinational Force. The Brigade will be trained and ready to conduct decisive action as part of Combined Arms Maneuver or Wide Area Security operations IOT disrupt or destroy enemy military forces, control land, and be prepared to conduct combat operations to protect U.S. national interests.

2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (“Strike”) is prepared to deploy, conduct decisive and sustainable land operations in support of a division, Joint Task Force, or Multinational Force. The Brigade will be trained and ready to conduct decisive action as part of Combined Arms Maneuver or Wide Area Security operations IOT disrupt or destroy enemy military forces, control land, and be prepared to conduct combat operations to protect U.S. national interests.

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (“Bulldog") is prepared to deploy, conduct decisive and sustainable land operations in support of a division, Joint Task Force, or Multinational Force. The Brigade will be trained and ready to conduct decisive action as part of Combined Arms Maneuver or Wide Area Security operations IOT disrupt or destroy enemy military forces, control land, and be prepared to conduct combat operations to protect U.S. national interests.

1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade (“Iron Eagles") conducts aviation operations to support geographic combatant commanders conducting unified land operations.

1st Armored Division Artillery (“Iron Steel") provides direct support, precision strike, and Joint Fires capability to the 1st Armored Division for Unified Land Operations in support of the Division’s contingency operations. 1AD DIVARTY provides trained and ready fire support forces and assists BCT Commanders in training their fire support systems.

1st Armored Division Sustainment (“Muleskinners") provides mission command of assigned, attached, and OPCON Echelons above Brigade sustainment units and synchronize distribution and sustainment operations in support of 1st Armored Division, and other aligned units. On order, rapidly deploy to designated contingency areas receive, integrate, and provide mission command of sustainment units providing operational and tactical sustainment and perform theater opening, theater distribution, and sustainment operations in support of Unified Land Operations.

The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence (NCOL CoE): Acknowledged as the world's premiere accredited academic institution for noncommissioned officers aligned under Army University and the Combined Arms Command, with additional reporting to Training and Doctrine Command. Provides professional military education to DoD and allied noncommissioned officers to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world while developing disciplined, fit, and well educated leaders

The United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) was accredited as a branch campus of the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in 2018. [15] CGSC Combined Arms Center Execution Order, dated March 21, 2018, made USASMA the 4th campus of CGSC. On 21 June 2019 USASMA Class 69 became the first students from the Sergeants Major Course to earn Bachelors of Arts in Leadership and Workforce Development (Staff College) through USASMA. [15] The accreditation process took 10 years, beginning with the last officer commandant, Col. Donald E. Gentry. [15]

The 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade: Known as the "Imperial" Brigade, it strategically deploys combat ready units globally in support of the 32nd AAMDC to conduct joint and combined air and missile defense operations in order to protect the Combatant Commander's critical priorities. O/O, conducts reset and training of Patriot, Avenger Iron Dome, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) units.

William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC): WBAMC delivers quality healthcare to Soldiers and beneficiaries at Fort Bliss to sustain a Ready Force every encounter, every day.

The 5th Armored Brigade: The brigade plans, coordinates, synchronizes, and supports the pre/post mobilization training and demobilization of Army National Guard and United States Army Reserve units in order to provide trained and ready forces for worldwide contingencies. On order, deploys exportable OC/T teams in support of the Army Total Force Policy.

The Fort Bliss Mobilization Brigade: The brigade provides all administrative and logistical aspects of Title 10 support to mobilizing/demobilizing units. Act as focal point for installation support and quality of life issues. Coordinate requirements and integrate mobilization support. Provides personnel and logistical readiness validation input.

The CONUS Replacement Center: CRC receives, processes, equips, and conducts Theater Specific Individual Requirements Training (TSIRT) for military Non Unit Related Personnel (NRP), Department of Defense (DoD) Civilians, and Non Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (Non LOGCAP) Contactors deploying to and redeploying from theaters of operations in support of overseas contingency operations.

The Army Field Support Battalion (AFSBn): AFSBn is a critical element in the transformation of Army logistics, providing a “single face to the field,” to the Army’s finest warfighters. Responsible for enhancing the readiness of Active, Reserve and National Guard units and continuously synchronizing the distribution of sustainment materiel and force projection at the Installation and field level in order to support the Materiel Enterprise and combat readiness of supported units and contingency operations.

The Network Enterprise Command: This unit defends the security of the Army Global Network Construct, provides transparent delivery of Command, Control, Communications and Computer (C4) Information Technology (IT services to customers).

The Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) -- Desert Mountain: CPAC is responsible for assisting customers in recruiting, developing and sustaining a professional civilian workforce through effective, efficient, and responsive human resource products and advisory services.

The headquarters for the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), a federal tactical operational intelligence center, is hosted at Fort Bliss. Its DoD (United States Department of Defense) counterpart, Joint Task Force North, is at Biggs Army Airfield. Biggs Field, a military airport [16] located at Fort Bliss, is designated a military power projection platform. [17]

Fort Bliss National Cemetery is located on the post. Other forts in the frontier fort system were Forts Griffin, Concho, Belknap, Chadbourne, Stockton, Davis, Richardson, McKavett, Clark, McIntosh, Inge, and Phantom Hill in Texas, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma. [18] There were "sub posts or intermediate stations" including Bothwick's Station on Salt Creek between Fort Richardson and Fort Belknap, Camp Wichita near Buffalo Springs between Fort Richardson and Red River Station, and Mountain Pass between Fort Concho and Fort Griffin. [19]

O! say can you see.

by the dawn's early light, a large red, white and blue banner? Whose broad stripes and bright stars. were so gallantly streaming. over Fort McHenry! The valiant defense of the fort during the Battle of Baltimore on September 13-14, 1814 inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that became the U.S. national anthem. The fort's history holds many other stories too, from the Civil War to WWII.

Plan Your Visit

What is open? What is closed? Are there fees? What can I do there? Find answers to all of these questions and more!

Fees & Passes

Find information about fees and passes to Fort McHenry

Virtual & Self-Guided Tours

Explore the fort and its grounds through virtual and self-guided tours


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Fort McHenry social media links along with the visitor center film and other presentations.

Events Calendar

Check the calendar for upcoming special events and programs.

Kids & Youth

Kids can have a great time at Fort McHenry! Find information on field trips, activities, and materials for the classroom.

History of Fort Myers

Ponce de Leon explored areas along Florida’s Gulf coast in 1513 & 1521. The barrier islands of Lee County are believed to be one of his many stops. Spanish and Cuban settlers created temporary fishing and farming camps along the coast, but for years Southwest Florida was a rugged and isolated area.

In the early 1700s the Lee Island coastline first appeared with some accuracy in British maps. During the last half of the 1700s coastal areas of Lee County were a base of operations for bands of pirates raiding the cargo ships sailing to and from the port of New Orleans.

Florida became a US Territory in 1821, and the ensuing wave of settlers asked for protection from the native Seminoles. Fort Myers was built along the Caloosahatchee River as one of the first bases of operations during the Seminole Indian Wars. Fort Myers was named in honor of Colonel Abraham C. Myers, the son-in-law of the commander of Fort Brooke in Tampa.

The fort was abandoned in 1858 and reoccupied by Federal troops from 1863-1865. The Southernmost battle of the Civil War, a skirmish between Northern and Southern troops occurred across the river in 1865 and is reenacted annually at the North Fort Myers Cracker Festival.

The fort itself was disassembled, and some of the wood used in construction of some of the first buildings in what would become downtown Fort Myers. No more than ten families lived in the original town when it was platted in 1876.

Herds of cattle were driven past the old fort grounds to Punta Rassa where they were lifted onto schooners and steamers using block and tackle, and shipped to Cuba. Cattle, farming, and logging were early mainstays in the Fort Myers area. Tomatoes, avocados, and castor beans were cultivated on Sanibel Island. Many pineapple plantations flourished inland along the river as settlers began to move away from the fort area.

By 1885 Fort Myers was bursting with pride and a bulging population of 349, the second largest town on Florida’s Gulf Coast south of Cedar Key. That same year Thomas Alva Edison was cruising Florida’s west coast and stopped to visit the village.

Captivated with what he saw, Edison built his home and laboratory, Seminole Lodge, on the banks of the Caloosatchee River. He subsequently became Fort Myers’ most famous resident and a strong force in its growth and development.

Edison had a deep respect for nature, regarding it as an endless source of discovery. Through his sheer determination and dauntless efforts, the beauty and majesty of the royal palms lining Riverside Avenue (now McGregor Boulevard) were imported and planted, and would become the reason for the “City of Palms” nickname.

Edison’s Fort Myers Laboratory was originally built for research on goldenrod rubber, but many of Edison’s inventions and research materials are on display. The incandescent light bulb is acknowledged worldwide as Edison’s greatest invention.

Edison’s diversification remains a constant amazement. With almost 1100 patents to his credit, he has been dubbed “America’s most prolific inventor”. His achievements include the phonograph, movie camera and projector, ship-to-shore radio, alkaline storage battery, ticker tape machine, and microphone. Naturally he had his share of losers: a perpetual cigar, a concrete house and furniture, and a helicopter-type flying machine that was lifted by kites.

Among his lesser known, but successful inventions, visitors will discover items that could be part of a ‘Who Invented’ trivia game. These include wax paper, tin foil, the talking doll, mimeograph, and dictating machine, plus one of the most indispensable products in history: mucilage, the “sticky stuff” that is affixed to postage stamps, envelopes, and labels.

As Edison’s enchantment with Fort Myers grew, he began to spend more time at Seminole Lodge and was often joined there by his friend, Henry Ford. The two distinguished inventors would sometimes go off on a camping trip or a drive to Estero.

Ford met Edison at a meeting in New York and, with Edison’s encouragement, quit his job and turned his full attention to his dream of building a gasoline driven automobile.

By 1903 Ford’s dream had come true and he had become so famous that people were asking to put money into his company. The Ford Motor Company was officially started that year with $28,000 cash, but it took the introduction of the Model-T in 1907 to make the company a financial success. By 1914 the first Ford Car Dealership was opened in Fort Myers.

Ford shared Edison’s enthusiasm for Fort Myers, eventually purchasing the property adjoining his friend’s estate and became a frequent winter visitor as long as Edison lived.

Edison’s light burns a little brighter each year during the Edison Festival of Light, as the City of Fort Myers annually celebrates his February 11th birthday with two weeks of citywide events, culminated by the Grand Parade of Light. The celebration attracts thousands of visitors who view a colorful grand parade, join in street dances, and compete in contests ranging from fishing to shuffleboard. The King and Queen of Light area crowned at the coronation ball and reign at the Grand Parade of Light.

During the building boom between 1898 and the 1920’s, torrents of winter visitors from the north flocked to Florida seeking their fortunes in land investments.

The opening of the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) linked Fort Myers to Tampa and Miami, adding more to the growth of the Big Boom in the 1920s. Growth radiated in all directions until the 1930s.

Two devastating hurricanes in 1921 & 1926, combined with poor publicity and inadequate planning brought a collapse in Florida’s boom time. Fort Myers suffered along with the rest of the nation during the Great Depression. Still, there was moderate progress as some of the more elegant buildings in Fort Myers were built during the 1930s.

In the early 1940s, every county in Florida had air bases due to the advantageous flying weather. The Fort Myers area had Buckingham and Page Fields, and the city was home to thousands of servicemen, many of whom returned and became permanent residents.

In the years since World War II, the city has grown along with Lee County and the rest of Southwest Florida. Commercial and residential growth has pushed development in all directions to create Cape Coral, North Fort Myers and Lehigh, as well as adding to the coastal settlements of Fort Myers Beach, Pine Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and Bonita Springs.

Fortunately, the older downtown area and the City of Fort Myers historic districts have retained much of their charm, and proper preservation measures are in place to ensure that charm will be treasured for many generations to come.

Watch the video: Το φρούριο (January 2022).