In upstate New York lies a strategic portage between the Mohawk River (which ultimately empties into the Atlantic) and Wood Creek (which joins up with Fish Kill, Lake Oneida, and the Oswego River before reaching the Great Lakes) that was once called the Oneida Carrying Place. In 1758, British troops under the command of General John Stanwix commenced construction on a star fort in order to protect the portage during the French and Indian War. The fort was reinhabited, revamped, and renamed Fort Schuyler by Colonial troops in 1776 and saw action during the Saratoga Campaign in August 1777 with the Patriots ultimately holding the fort. The fort visible at the park today was reconstructed by the National Park Service between 1974 and 1978, as the original burned down in 1781.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Archaeological excavation at Fort Stanwix underscored the low level of technology available in the Americas during the eighteenth century, as building hardware found at the site completely lacked uniformity. Materials likely came from several different forges, each with its unique style and manufacturing techniques, as well as reuse from existing buildings in the area.
Park website: www.nps.gov/fost/
Morristown National Historical Park consists of four sites connected to the Revolutionary War: Jockey Hollow, the New Jersey Brigade Area, Ford Mansion, and Fort Nonsense. Fort Nonsense was built under George Washington’s orders in 1777 but never saw any military action. The Continental Army set up encampments for the winter of 1779-80 at Jockey Hollow and the New Jersey Brigade Area, with Washington at the nearby Ford Mansion. The winter that Washington and his men spent at Morristown remains the coldest on record for New Jersey to this day.
Archaeological Fun Fact: While many of the encampment sites were disturbed by agricultural activity and infrastructure development after 1780, the brigade site of the Second Connecticut was found intact and almost entirely undisturbed since its abandonment—painting a clearer picture of what life was like for enlisted men spending the winter at Morristown.
Park website: www.nps.gov/morr/