Fort Edward (1755-1766, 1777-1780) - The site of Fort Nicholson (1709), Fort Lydius (1731), Fort Lyman (1755) and Fort Edward (1757). The site is located at the town of Fort Edward in Washington County, New York. Finally abandoned as a military fortification in 1780.
The location of this fort was a strategic point along the water route that led from New York City via the Hudson River, across Lake George and Lake Champlain to Montreal and Quebec City. French, British and American forces all sought to control this water route as the key to control of New England and much of the eastern seaboard. Some of the forts along this route changed hands several times over the course of two major wars, the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War.
Lake Champlain, Lake George and the Hudson River were not connected by navigable waters and portages were require to move supplies and boats from one to the next. These portage points had been used for centuries by natives and were well defined. The first portage or "Great Carrying Place" as it was known, was from the Hudson River to Wood's Creek by the present day town of Fort Ann for access to Lake Champlain and Lake George. The second portage was from the north shore of Lake George to Lake Champlain around the falls of the La Chute River. These land crossings were very strategic to blocking any invading force going north or south, there were not any other options if a large force was involved.
The major fortifications along this water route included the fortifications at Crown Point (Fort St. Frederic, Fort Crown Point), the fortifications below Crown Point (Fort Carillon, Fort Ticonderoga), the fortifications at the south end of Lake George (Fort William Henry) and the fortifications at the head of navigation on the Hudson River (Fort Edward, etc). Further down the Hudson the Revolutionary War fortifications at Fortress West Point (Fort Constitution , Fort Clinton) also played an important role.
Fort Edward and its predecessors were located at a point on the Hudson River below the falls and at the beginning of the traditional "great carrying place." Albany was just down the Hudson and access to Lake Champlain was just 11 miles away.
Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)
In 1709, Colonel Francis Nicholson built a crude stockade to protect his storehouses and log huts for a garrison of about 450 men. The garrison included several companies of "regulars in scarlet uniform from old England." The fortification was named Fort Nicholson. The post was probably abandoned at the close of the war in 1713.
King George's War (1744-1748)
French & Indian War (1754-1763)
In 1755, during the French & Indian War, General Phineas Lyman established a fort on the site of the ruins of old Fort Lydius in support of General William Johnson's effort to take the French Fort St. Frederic at Crown Point. Construction of the new fort was supervised by Captain William Eyre and it was initially named Fort Lyman after General Lyman. Soon after the Battle of Lake George on 8 Sep 1755 the new fort was renamed Fort Edward after Edward, Duke of York and Albany. The Battle of Lake George was a bloody clash between the British Colonial forces and the French, both with Indian allies. The result was inconclusive, General Johnson was not able to take Fort St. Frederic but he did advance far enough to establish Fort William Henry on the south shore of Lake George.
Fort Edward expanded greatly during the French & Indian War and came to include barracks and other facilities on Roger's Island as well as a large fortification along the river bank. A foot bridge was built between the island and the main fort. The perimeter of the fort was some 1,569' and the walls were 16' high and 22" thick. Armament included eight cannons and about 20 mortars. The barracks could garrison some 500 troops.
In 1857, after British forces surrendered Fort William Henry to the French in August 1757, the survivors were brought to Fort Edward. Rogers Rangers who had operated out of Fort William Henry were then stationed on Rogers Island. The island was named for Major Robert Rogers founder of Rogers Rangers. Rogers Rangers trained at, and operated from Fort Edward.
In 1759 General Amherst’s army assembled at Fort Edward in preparation for his attack on the French at Fort Carillon and Fort St. Frederic. After the capture of these two forts, the garrison in Fort Edward was greatly reduced.
In 1766 Fort Edward was evacuated and supplies were moved to Fort Crown Point
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
Fort Edward was ordered razed on 15 Jul 1775 to prevent the British from using it. Major General Philip Schuyler kept his headquarters here until British General John Burgoyne’s army forced them to flee in 1777 as Burgoyne advanced from Fort Ticonderoga.
Markers only, the actual site is mostly private property in the town of Fort Edward and on Rogers Island, Washington County, New York. Markers are located along and at the end of Old Fort Street where a very small park is located. Additional markers located at the corner of Moon Street and Broadway Street and on a tree in the patio of the Anvil Restaurant.
On route 197 across the Hudson River Bridge on Rogers Island is an excellent visitors center with maps and information on the fort.
Location: In the town of Fort Edward and on Rogers Island, Washington County, New York.
Maps & Images
Lat: 43.267149 Long: -73.584606
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 549-550
- North American Forts - Fort Edward
- History of Fort Edward (pdf file)
- Rogers Island Visitor Center
- Old Fort House Museum
- New York State Military Museum - Fort Edward
- New York State Military Museum - Fort Lydius
- New York State Military Museum - Fort Lyman
- New York State Military Museum - Fort Fort Nicholson
Visited: 13 Jul 2012
Fort Edward Picture Gallery
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