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History of Fort Stanwix and the American Revolution

The region, now Rome, New York, was the scene of bloody fighting during the French and Indian War. The British had erected several small forts to guard the Oneida Carrying Place and the lucrative fur trade against French incursions from Canada; however,  combined French, Canadian, and Native American forces overwhelmed and massacred a British force in the  Battle of Fort Bull.  In 1758, after several abortive attempts to fortify the area, the British sent a very large force to secure the Oneida Carry and build a stronger rampart complex named "Fort Stanwix."  The fort was abandoned at the conclusion of the war.

The American Revolution


Photograph of a grassy field and a log stockade. The tops of log buildings are visible behind the stockade.
View of the stockade around Fort Stanwix (1758 & 1776. Reconstruction 1976).

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary WarAmerican Continental forces reoccupied, rebuilt, and improved Fort Stanwix. The installation played a pivotal role in the Saratoga Campaign of 1777, becoming renowned as "the fort that never surrendered."  In August 1777, patriot militia, regulars, and their Oneida Nation allies under the command of Col. Peter Gansevoort, successfully repelled a prolonged siege by British, German, Loyalist, Canadian, and Native American warriors commanded by British Gen. Barry St. Leger. The failed siege, combined with the battle at nearby Oriskany as well as the Battles of Bennington and Saratoga, thwarted a coordinated British effort to take the northern colonies, and led to American alliances with France and the Netherlands.