New York City II

Camp Arthur | Camp Astor | Bath Beach Blockhouse | Benson's Point Redoubt
Blockhouse #1 | Blockhouse #2 | Blockhouse #3 | Blockhouse #4 | Castle Bogardus
City Battery | Castle Clinton | Fort Clinton (5) | Fort Columbus | Corlaer's Hook Fort
Crown Fort | Fort Cummings (2) | Decatur Blockhouse | Denyse's Heights Blockhouse
Fort Diamond | Fort Fireman | Fort Fish | Fort Gansevoort | Fort Gibson | Fort Greene (2)
Fort Horn | Hubert Street Battery | Fort Jay | Fort Lafayette (2) | Fort Laight
Fort Lawrence | Fort Lewis (2) | Camp Low | Fort Marcy | Fort Masonic | Camp McClellan
Mill Rock Blockhouse | New York Arsenal | New York Gun Houses | Fort Nonsense
North Battery | Old Stone Tower | Princess Bay Blockhouse (1) | Red Fort | Camp Riker
Camp Scott | South Battery (1) | South Battery (2) | Southwest Battery | Camp Sprague
Fort Stevens | Fort Swift | Camp Tompkinsville | Utrecht Bay Blockhouse
West Battery (1) | West Battery (2) | White Fort | Castle Williams | Fort Wood

Northeastern NY - page 1 | Mohawk River Valley - page 2 | Hudson River Valley - page 3
Catskill Region - page 4 | New York City I - page 5 | New York City III - page 7
Long Island - page 8 | Western New York - page 9 | Northwestern New York - page 10

NEW YORK'S FORTS AND MILITARY HISTORY

Last Update: 04/APRIL/2011
Compiled by Pete Payette - 2011 American Forts Network

NOTE: This page covers only those forts built (and primarily active) during the early Federal period (1794 - 1865). Please see NEW YORK CITY I and NEW YORK CITY III for earlier and later period forts.

Castle Clinton (National Monument)
(Battery Park)
(1809 - 1821), Manhattan *PHOTOS*
As part of Battery Park, Southwest Battery (aka West Battery (1) or City Battery) was originally located here in 1795, in ruins by 1806. The current structure was built in 1809, with 28 guns. During the War of 1812, this was the Army's New York Harbor headquarters. It was given its current name in 1817, and was abandoned in 1821. It was given to the city in 1823, renamed "Castle Garden", and it was used for many different purposes in its civilian life, including a live theater (1840's), an Immigrant Station (1855 - 1890), and the New York City Aquarium (1896 - 1941). Restored by NPS in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The fort was originally about 200 feet off of the mainland, connected by a causeway. Landfill operations in later years expanded Battery Park. Located just to the east was South Battery (1) (1810 - 1812) at the foot of Bridge Street.
(Not to be confused with Fort Clinton (5) in Central Park.)

Corlaer's Hook Fort
(1812 - 1815), Manhattan
Located on Corlaer's Hook near the Williamsburg Bridge. Previously at this location was the Patriot Crown Point Battery in 1776.

North Battery
(1809 - 1831), Manhattan
A 16-gun circular fort built of red sandstone, which gave it the popular name of Red Fort. Located about 200 feet off of the river bank, connected by a drawbridge. Also known as Hubert Street Battery, near which it was located, in the Tribeca area.

Fort Gansevoort
(1808 - 1849), Manhattan FORT WIKI
Located at the foot of Gansevoort Street on the Hudson River, in the West Greenwich Village area. It had over 20 guns. It was also known as White Fort because of its whitewashed exterior. It was demolished sometime after abandonment, possibly as late as 1854.

New York City Gun Houses
(1808 - 1844), Manhattan
A Second System Gun House, or Arsenal, was once located somewhere in the Tribeca area, which stored 34 various sized guns on traveling carriages. It was demolished before 1844 and replaced by the so-called Downtown Arsenal (1844 - 1888), which was built on the block bounded by Centre Street and Elm Place (Lafayette Street), and by White and Franklin Streets.

Another Second System Gun House and Laboratory was located three miles north of the old city at present-day Madison Square Park in the Midtown area, bounded by East 23rd and East 26th Streets, and by Madison and Fifth Aves.. It was demolished in 1844 and was replaced by a new State Arsenal in 1847-51 in present Central Park on East 64th Street at 5th Ave.. It was only used as such until 1857 when the city took it over for park purposes, however it was not demolished, and remains to this day. It has variously been used as a police station, zoo, art gallery, restaurant, and the first home of the American Museum of Natural History. It was restored in 1924.

Fort Clinton (5) (Monument)
(1814 - 1815), Manhattan
A stone fort once located in the northeast corner of Central Park, east of present-day Central Park Drive near the end of East 106th Street, on high ground near the south bank of Harlem Meer. Previously located near this spot was British McGowan's Pass Redoubt from the American Revolution. Stone monument at site.
(Not to be confused with Castle Clinton in Battery Park.)

Also located nearby in Central Park are monuments for the extant Blockhouse #1 (aka Old Stone Tower) (1814) (inside loop of Central Park Drive just west of the point of intersection of 7th Ave. and 109th Street) and Fort Fish (1814) (inside loop of Central Park Drive just south of the point of intersection of 106th Street and 6th Ave. (Lenox Ave.), near Lasker Rink/Pool). See also The Blockhouse and the Bench from Forgotten-NY.com
(thanks to Doug White for providing additional information)

Fort Laight
(1814 - 1815), Manhattan
A stone fort that once overlooked the valley between Morningside Heights and Hamilton Heights, located at the present-day Morningside Gardens housing complex between La Salle Street, West 123rd Street, Broadway, and Amsterdam Ave., probably built similar to Fort Clinton (5) in Central Park. Supporting earthworks were also located west through present Riverside Park.

Other 1814 blockhouses located in the Morningside Heights vicinity included Blockhouse #2 (near West 114th Street and Morningside Drive), Blockhouse #3 (near West 121st Street and Morningside Drive), and Blockhouse #4 (near West 122nd Street and Amsterdam Ave., site of Public School 36).
(thanks to Doug White for providing additional information)

Fort Horn
(1814 - 1815), Manhattan
Located near Jefferson Park at the end of East 110th Street.

Benson's Point Redoubt (1814) was located south of here at the end of East 104th Street, at the pedestrian bridge to Ward's Island.

Fort Marcy
(1846), Manhattan
Located somewhere in Manhattan during the Mexican-American War. Probably only a recruitment station.

Camp Riker
(1860's), Rikers Island
A Civil War training camp, later a POW camp. Also known as Camp Astor.

Fort Stevens
(1814 - 1815), Queens
A temporary 12-gun fort on Hallet's Point at Hell Gate.

Southeast of here on Lawrence Hill was Castle Bogardus (1813 - 1815), a six-sided stone tower. Mill Rock Blockhouse (1812 - 1815) was constructed nearby on Mill Rock Island in the East River. It burned down in 1821.

Fort Swift
(1812 - 1815), Brooklyn
Built near the site of the Patriot Fort Corkscrew from 1776, at Atlantic Ave. and Boerum Place.

Fort Greene (2) (Park)
(Fort Greene Park Historic Marker)
(1812 - 1815), Brooklyn
A Federal fort built on the ruins of Patriot Fort Putnam (1) from 1776. It was abandoned after the war. The site was sold in 1826, and became a city park in 1847 (Washington Park until 1897).
(Not to be confused with the Patriot Fort Greene, later American Fort Masonic)

Fort Cummings (2)
(1814 - 1815), Brooklyn
Built on the site of Patriot Oblong Redoubt from 1776.

Fort Masonic
(1814 - 1815), Brooklyn
Built on the ruins of Patriot Fort Greene (1) (British Fort Sutherland) from 1776.

Fort Fireman
(1814 - 1815), Brooklyn
Built on or near the site of Patriot Fort Box from 1776.

Fort Lawrence
(1814 - 1815), Brooklyn
A temporary battery, located at DeGraw and Bond Streets.

Fort Jay
(Governors Island National Monument)
(The Trust for Governors Island)
(Governors Island Alliance)
(1794 - 1904/1966), Governors Island FORT WIKI *PHOTOS*
The first Fort Jay was continuously modified until 1806 when it was almost completely rebuilt into 60-gun Fort Columbus. Enlarged in 1836. Fort Columbus was renamed back to Fort Jay in 1904. Also located on the island were New York Arsenal (1833 - 1920) with seven surviving structures, and South Battery (2) (1812 - 1826) which guarded the Buttermilk Channel. It was used as a barracks from 1836 - 1879, then became the First Officers Club. The 27-gun West Battery (2) was built to the west of the fort in 1871, but was never completed. It was completely removed before 1930. Located in Nolan Park are the Commanding Officer's Quarters (1893), the Governor's House (Guardhouse) (1805), and the Post Hospital (1839). During WWII the post was the headquarters of the Eastern Defense Command. The southern tip of the island was greatly expanded with fill from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. After the Army left in 1966, the entire island became the New York Coast Guard Support Center until it was closed in 1996. The historic fortress became NPS property in 2003. The remaining portions of the post were sold to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (now The Trust for Governors Island). See also On Guard on Governors Island from Forgotten-NY.com

Previously located on the island was Dutch Nooten Eylandt Fort (1624 - 1625), and a colonial-era quarantine station in 1710. The first British troops were not garrisoned on the island until 1755. Patriot forces built earthworks around the island in 1776, but were abandoned to the British. The island saw little action during the remainder of the war.

Castle Williams
(Governors Island National Monument)
(The Trust for Governors Island)
(1807 - 1870/1966), Governors Island FORT WIKI *PHOTOS*
This was a 78-gun four-story circular casemated fort, the first multi-tiered fort in the U.S. Completed in 1811. From 1812 - 1870 it was used as a military prison. Held Confederate POWs in 1862 - 1865. Became NPS property in 2003. See also On Guard on Governors Island from Forgotten-NY.com

Fort Wood
(Statue of Liberty National Monument)
(1794, 1810 - 1877, 1886 - 1937), Liberty Island FORT WIKI
A 24-gun 11-pointed star fort, with a brick arsenal, built on the site of a 1794 battery. Rebuilt in 1841. Used for overflow of CSA POW's from Castle Williams during the Civil War, then transferred to Fort Warren in Boston, MA. The Water Battery was rebuilt in 1871 - 1873 as a 12-gun barbette battery with five traverse magazines, but guns were not emplaced until the late 1880's or 1890's. The old fort's parade was filled-in beginning in 1884, becoming the foundation for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty (dedicated 1886). The military post was re-garrisoned in 1886, and became a subpost of Fort Columbus/Jay in 1894. New barracks and quarters were built around the old fort. The Lighthouse Board reserved one acre at the north end of the island to support the light in Liberty's torch. A Signal Corps depot was established here in 1904. An explosion at a Jersey City wharf in 1916 caused heavy damage to the post, but the statue was unharmed. The National Park Service took control of the statue in 1933. The island itself remained an active military post until 1937. The remaining military buildings were removed by 1950. The name of the island was originally Bedloe's Island until 1956. Although the island lies within New Jersey's territorial waters, the island itself, above the mean low water mark, belongs to New York City per an 1834 agreement.

Fort Gibson
(Ellis Island National Monument)
(1795, 1809 - 1861/1890), Ellis Island FORT WIKI
A 14-gun circular battery with a magazine and barracks was located on what was then known as Oyster Island, originally named Crown Fort until 1812. It replaced an earlier 1795 battery. Renamed Battery Gibson in the 1840's. It was taken over by the U.S. Navy in 1861 as an ammunition depot and magazine, used as such until 1890. An Immigration Station was built beginning in 1892. The present structure was built in 1897, in use until 1954. A U.S. Coast Guard training station was here 1939 - 1946. The island is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. A section of the fort's foundation wall was uncovered in the 1980's during the renovation of the Immigration Station, and is on display. Although the island lies within New Jersey's territorial waters, the island itself, above the mean low water mark, belongs to New York City per an 1834 agreement. (NOTE: this only applies to the natural, or northern, portion of the island. The man-made, or southern, portion of the island belongs to New Jersey, as it was created by fill after 1834.)

Fort Lewis (2)
(1814), Brooklyn
A blockhouse with earthworks (30 guns), garrisoned by 100 men, located on Denyse Point. It may also have been known as Denyse's Heights Blockhouse. Fort Hamilton (2) was later built here in 1826.

Other blockhouses in the area from the War of 1812 period include Bath Beach Blockhouse (located near Bensonhurst Park, but may not have been actually built), and Utrecht Bay Blockhouse (same area, and also may not have been actually built).

Fort Lafayette (2)
(1812 - 1868/1946), Brooklyn FORT WIKI
A small brick casemated 70-gun fort once located on Hendrick's Reef about 200 yards offshore from Fort Hamilton. It was originally called Fort Diamond until 1823. Fort Lafayette was used to house POWs during the Civil War. A major fire occurred in 1868. After the fort was abandoned it was used as a U.S. Naval Magazine from 1898 - 1946. A Marine Barracks was also located here during WWII. The post was transferred to the city in 1948. No remains. The site in now under the east tower of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which was built in 1960.

Decatur Blockhouse
(1814), Queens
Located near Roxbury at the then tip of the Rockaway peninsula, but the land has since moved westward. Site is probably near present-day 137th Street.

Princess Bay Blockhouse (1)
(1814), Staten Island
Located at Princess Bay near Seguine Point. Possibly not actually built.

Staten Island Civil War Camps
(1860's), Staten Island
Camp McClellan (1861) later known as Camp Tompkinsville. Probably located at Tompkinsville.
Camp Sprague located at New Dorp.
Camp Scott located at Old Town.
Camp Arthur (1862) undetermined location.
Camp Low (1861) undetermined location.


Special thanks to Col. Michael Stenzel, NY NG, for information from the New York's Forts website.

Northeastern NY - page 1 | Mohawk River Valley - page 2 | Hudson River Valley - page 3
Catskill Region - page 4 | New York City I - page 5 | New York City III - page 7
Long Island - page 8 | Western New York - page 9 | Northwestern New York - page 10

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