Boston Harbor I

Camp Adams | Fort Adams | Allerton Battery | Camp Andrew | Fort Andros
Beacon Hill Battery | Boston Neck Fort | Breed's Hill Redoubt | Camp Brigham
Brookline Fort | Bunker Hill Fort | Butler's Hill Fort | Cambridgeport Magazine
Camp Cameron | Charlestown Point Battery | Charlestown Fort | Cobble Hill Fort
Copp's Hill Fort | Corn Hill Fort | Camp Day | Dedham Powder House | Dorchester Fort
Dorchester Heights Fort | East Head Battery | Camp Ellsworth | Fox Hill Battery
French Batteries of 1778 | Governor's Island Fort | Hingham Garrisons
Fort Independence (1) | Fort Independence (2) | Lamb's Dam Redoubt
Lechmere's Point Fort | Long Island Battery (1) | Maverick's Garrison (1)
Maverick's Garrison (2) | Medford Indian Fort | Camp Meigs | Milton Powder House
Moon Island Redoubt | Newtowne Fort | Noodle's Island Fort | Nook's Hill Fort
North Battery | Number One Fort (1) | Number Two Fort (1) | Number Three Fort
Paterson's Fort | Ploughed Hill Fort | Camp Prospect Hill | Prospect Hill Fort
Fort Putnam | Red House Fort | Roxbury Fort | Camp Sheppard
Somerville Powder House | South Battery | South-East Battery | Camp Stanton
Fort Strong (1) | Fort Warren (1) | Fort Washington (1) | Wessagussett Fort
West Head Battery | Camp Wightman | Castle William | Fort William (2)
Winnesimmet Fort | Winter Hill Fort | Fort Winthrop | Wolford's Garrison

Northeastern Massachusetts - page 1 | Boston Harbor II - page 3
Southeastern Massachusetts - page 4 | Western Massachusetts - page 5

THE BOSTON FREEDOM TRAIL

Last Update: 06/SEPTEMBER/2013
Compiled by Pete Payette - 2013 American Forts Network

Colonial Forts of the Boston Area

Settlers' Forts
Chelsea: Samuel Maverick's Garrison (1) (1625), also known as Winnesimmet Fort.
Charlestown: Thomas Wolford's Garrison (1625) near Bunker Hill; Charlestown Fort (1634 - ?) at Moulton's Point.
East Boston: Samuel Maverick's Garrison (2) (1630), with four guns, at Camp Hill on Noodle's Island.
Dorchester: Dorchester Fort (1634 - ?) on Savin Hill.
Cambridge: Newtowne Fort (1630 - ?).
Also: a Massachusetts Indian fort in Medford which lasted to 1621.

British Forts
Boston was occupied by the British Army from May 1774 to March 1776, during which several temporary forts were built. However, troops were quartered in the city beginning in October 1768.

Charlestown: Breed's Hill Redoubt (1775 - 1776) (previously Patriot);
Bunker Hill Fort (1775 - 1776) (See also Bunker Hill on the Freedom Trail).

East Boston: Noodle's Island Fort (1775 - 1776), a 19-gun quadrangular earthwork on Camp Hill;
Governor's Island Fort (1696 - unknown), it was later abandoned. A blockhouse with two batteries (1744 - 1776) was later located on the island.

Boston: Copp's Hill Fort (six guns);
North Battery (1646 - 1780, enlarged 1706, 1739, 1774) at Walter Merry's Point, now Battery Wharf. Site dismantled in 1789;
Beacon Hill Battery;
Fox Hill Battery;
Fort Hill (1634 - 1779), originally known as Corn Hill Fort, rebuilt 1687 as a four-bastioned quadrangular earthwork with a palisaded barracks and renamed Fort Andros, burned 1760, reoccupied 1774, abandoned 1776, rebuilt by Patriots 1776, abandoned by Patriots 1779, site leveled 1797, hill cut down 1865;
South Battery (1636 - 1780 ?), located near Rowe's Wharf. A second battery was built 1666, site burned 1760, rebuilt 1774. Described in 1743 as a 35-gun quadrangular bastioned work with a blockhouse and barracks. Site dismantled in 1789;
Boston Neck Fort and the Advanced Line.
Almost all of these works were occupied by the Patriots in 1776.

South Boston: Castle William (1701 - 1776). Originally called The Castle (1634 - 1689), which was originally a small mud and oyster shell three-gun fort. Rebuilt in 1644 with timber and stone. Rebuilt in 1653. Burned and rebuilt again in 1673 as a four-bastioned quadrangular stone fort. The bastions were named Crown, Rose, Royal, and Elizabeth. Renamed Fort William (2) in 1692. Substantially rebuilt in 1701 with 72 guns. The Shirley Bastion was added in 1740. By 1760 the bastions were renamed Hanover, Governor's, Marlborough, Eugene, Northeast, and Southwest. To the northeast was Royal (formerly Lower) Battery (1703), and southeast was Shirley's Battery (1775). A strong redoubt with supporting batteries was built northwest of the fort in 1775, along with the South Point Blockhouse on the southern tip of the island. By this time there were over 200 guns here. The fort was mostly destroyed by the British when they abandoned it in March 1776. See also Fort Independence (2) listing below.

Additional unnamed batteries and redoubts were located throughout the area.

Patriot Forts (1775 - 1779)
Charlestown: two-gun Breed's Hill Redoubt (British after Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775).

Somerville: Winter Hill Fort;
Ploughed Hill Fort;
Prospect Hill Fort (aka Paterson's Fort), used as a POW camp from 1777 - 1778 for British and Hessian troops captured at Saratoga, New York. They were then transferred south to Maryland and Virginia. The American Grand Union flag was first flown here in January 1776. A memorial (1903) is located on Prospect Hill Ave. and Munroe Street;
Cobble Hill Fort;
Number Three Fort (aka Red House Fort).

Cambridge: Number One Fort (1) on Putnam Ave.;
Number Two Fort (1);
Fort Washington (1) three guns, still exists (restored 1857) in park on Waverly Street near Chestnut Street, with three non-original display cannon (from Fort Winthrop in 1857); FORT WIKI
Butler's Hill Fort;
Lechmere's Point Fort, renamed later to Fort Putnam.

East Boston: Noodle's Island Fort (1776 - 1778), formerly the British post on Camp Hill;
Governor's Island Fort (1776 - 1779), formerly the British post.

Boston: All remaining British forts and batteries were used by the Patriots after British troops left the city in 1776. Most of the outlying positions were then abandoned.

Brookline: six-gun Brookline Fort at Sewall's Point (attacked in 1775).

Roxbury: four-gun Lamb's Dam Redoubt, and Roxbury Fort in Highland Park (site occupied by the 1869 Cochituate Water Tower).

South Boston: Castle William, repaired and renamed Fort Adams in 1778, the Patriots occupied the site until at least 1780.
Dorchester Heights Fort (1776), monument (PHOTO), site recently excavated;
Nook's Hill Fort (1776) on Dorchester Hill.

Long Island: Long Island Battery (1) (1776).

Squantum: Moon Island Redoubt (1776) authorized, but may not have been actually built.

Additional unnamed batteries and redoubts were located throughout the area.
See also Boston's Revolutionary War - NPS website

French Batteries (1778, 1782)
The French Marines occupied several positions around the outer harbor, centered around Hull, when the French fleet first arrived in August 1778 from Newport, RI. Several positions were re-occupied in December 1782 when the army and fleet finally departed America for Europe.
Noodle's Island (with a hospital), George's Island, Lovell's Island (decoy), Peddock's Island, and Hog Island (1782). (see also Fort Independence (1) listed below)


Camp Sheppard
(1860's), Arlington
A Civil War training camp located by Spy Pond.

Camp Cameron
(1862), North Cambridge
A Civil War training camp. Also known as Camp Day. Site located near Massachusetts Ave..

Camp Ellsworth
(1861), Cambridge
A Civil War training camp located at Fresh Pond.

Cambridgeport Powder Magazine
(1818 - unknown), Cambridgeport
A local militia stone powder magazine located at the foot of Magazine Street, in a park along the Charles River at Magazine Beach. See also Cambridge History.

Somerville Powder House
(1747 - 1776), Somerville
A colonial militia stone powder magazine. Originally built in 1703 or 1704 as a windmill, later converted to military use. Gunpowder stored here was seized by the British in September 1774, resulting in the "Powder Alarm" where most of the remaining militia-controlled gunpowder was then transferred to Concord. Continental Army troops also used the magazine during the 1775-76 seige of Boston. Still extant, located in Nathan Tufts Park at Powder House Square. Restored in 2001 after a fire in 1998.

Camp Prospect Hill
(1861), Somerville
A Civil War training camp located at the site of the Patriot's Prospect Hill Fort.

Charlestown Point Battery
(1808 - 1815 ?), Boston Naval Shipyard
An eight or 10-gun circular earthwork once located at the location of Buildings 40 and 42 at the Naval Shipyard. A brick arsenal and magazine were located where Buildings 187 and 149, respectively, now stand.

Fort Strong (1)
(1814 - 1815), East Boston
An earthwork built by the state militia at Camp Hill on what was then Noodle's Island, now in-filled as part of East Boston. Site near the east end of Webster Street, at Brophy Memorial Park. No remains.

Fort Independence (2)
(Castle Island State Park)
(1800 - 1899/1960), Castle Island *PHOTOS* FORT WIKI
Located at Castle Island State Park. It is a five-pointed star built on the site of colonial Castle William (see previous listing above). The old fort, used as a city prison after 1785, was somewhat repaired in 1794 for renewed military use, and was renamed and garrisoned in 1799 during the naval crisis with the French, also holding French POWs captured at sea.

The new fort, retaining the last name given to old Castle William, was begun in 1800, completed in 1803 with 42 guns and two outer batteries for six guns. The bastions were named Winthrop, Shirley, Hancock, Adams, and Dearborn in 1805. Repaired in 1807. Extensively rebuilt and modified from 1834-1851 to its present configuration. Edgar Allan Poe, who served in the Army here briefly in 1827, wrote "The Cask of Amontillado" which was loosely based on a true incident that occured here in December 1817. Two outer batteries were built in 1840 (East and West Batteries). The East Battery was rebuilt 1875 for five guns. New emplacements for 15 guns were built on the old fort in 1872 - 1873. The fort was inactive from 1880 to 1898, briefly reactivated during the Spanish-American War as a mine depot. A two-gun AA battery was built in 1917, but no guns mounted. The old fort was open to the public between the World Wars. An earthen causeway was built in 1925, with a car road added in 1932. A U.S. Navy Degaussing Station was here 1942 - 1945. The fort was finally surplused in 1960. The outer batteries were demolished in 1964, and the ground was leveled to form a park. The surrounding area was also in-filled to connect with the mainland. Open to the public again beginning in 1975.

Fort Winthrop
(1808 - 1905), Governor's Island FORT WIKI
The site of Governor's Island, once located directly across from Castle Island, is now part of Logan Airport. The 12-gun Fort Warren (1) (1808 - 1814) was built as an eight-pointed star within surrounding four-bastioned earthworks. It was renamed in 1833. A three-story casemated citadel for 16 guns was built over the star fort in 1846. Also located near here were the seven-gun West Head Battery and seven-gun South-East (or East Head) Battery (both 1840's), and both built over the sites of earlier circular brick 10-gun batteries (1808). The South Battery and the Northwest Battery were built in the 1860's. During the 1870's the South Battery (18 guns) was rebuilt, and the new East Battery (seven guns), and Mortar Battery (six guns) were built. The fort was badly damaged from a magazine explosion in 1901, and was soon abandoned as an active post. The island and the fort's remains were leveled in 1946, and the surrounding area in-filled, to enlarge Logan Airport for modern jet aircraft.

Camp Wightman
(1861 - 1864), Long Island
A Civil War training camp. Gun batteries (field emplacements) may have been located here in 1863.

Camp Andrew
(1861), West Roxbury
A Civil War training camp.

Dedham Powder House
(1766 - unknown), Dedham
A colonial militia brick powder magazine, in use through the War of 1812 and possibly later. Located on town land on Ames Street, on the north bank of the Charles River.

Camp Brigham
(1861), Readville
A Civil War training camp.

Camp Meigs
(1862 - 1865), Readville
A Civil War training camp.
(thanks to Gregory Ross for location)

Milton Powder House
(1811 - unknown), Milton Center
A local militia brick powder magazine, originally located at 781 Canton Ave., near Poor House Lane. It was still in use during the Civil War. It was relocated near the town library and restored in 1974 by the Milton Historical Commission. See also Milton Center Historic District

Camp Adams
(1861), Quincy
A Civil War training camp.

Wessagussett Fort
(1622), Weymouth
A settlers' fort which was destroyed by Indians after a few months.

Hingham Garrison Houses and Forts
(1640's, 1675), Hingham
The town meeting house was used as a fort in beginning in 1639, palisaded in 1645. Joseph Andrew's Garrison (1640) was located at North and Cottage Streets. Another was located at Hershey and South Streets. Also here were Capt. John Smith's Garrison, Capt. John Jacob's Garrison and the Tower Garrison.
Several garrison houses were built at the outbreak of King Philip's War. Three forts were also built. One was located on Fort Hill, one was near the cemetery, and the other was one mile from the harbor, probably at Hingham Center.

Fort Independence (1)
(1776 - 1782), Hull
A Patriot 22-gun five-bastioned earthwork located on Telegraph Hill, also known as Allerton Battery. It was occupied by French Marines in September 1778 and December 1782. It was not known to have been used during the War of 1812. Traces of the fort still remained along Farina Road until demolished by the U.S. Army in the 1920's as part of Fort Revere's build-up.


Some information for Boston Harbor fortifications was gathered from "The Guns of Boston Harbor", by Gerald Butler, 2001, 1st Books Library.

Northeastern Massachusetts - page 1 | Boston Harbor II - page 3
Southeastern Massachusetts - page 4 | Western Massachusetts - page 5

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