Military Engineers of the F & I War

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Posted by Victoria on February 28, 1998 at 07:56:48:

Ever wonder about how the original forts got there?

The construction of forts and stockades in the American Colonies required the direction of very competant engineers. The terrain was difficult and the logistics daunting. There were few who were capable of carrying out the difficulties of design, construction, and maintenance and they were greatly overworked during the era of fort building between 1753 to 1763. They were also in charge of surveying, building roads and bridges through the wilderness, site selection, materials requisition and transportation. The adaptation of the construction to the site was the true test of the engineer. The fort's commander also relied on his engineer in battle and in defense of the post during engagements at the fort.

Chief Engineer Colonel William Eyre arrived in America in 1755 with the 44th Regiment under Braddock. He constructed Fort Willima Henry of which he later became commandant. He fought at Ticonderoga and later built the fort. He was lost at sea in 1765 on his return to England.

Lt. Col. Harry Gordon built or designed Forts Edward, Augusta, Mercer, and Pitt. He left an account of Braddock's Defeat that is said to be one of the most thrilling, first hand descriptions of wilderness warfare. He was greatly esteemed by Bouquet. After the war he undertook several voyages and journeys that included viewing the forts on Lake Huron and the Ohio, making a survey of that river, ascending the Mississippi to its uppermost settlements, and exploring the lakes and coasts of west Florida to Mobile and Pensacola, then on up the eastern seaboard, past Charlestown and on up to New York.

(Excerpted from "Drums in the Forest" by Alfred P. James and Charles M. Stotz. Published by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1958.)

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