|Fort Calendar||Fort Blogs||
Fort Mackinac (1780-1895) - First established in 1780 by British troops on Mackanic Island in present day Mackinac County, Michigan. Turned over to the State of Michigan in 1895.
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
Fort Mackinac was constructed on Mackinac Island by British forces under Major Patrick Sinclair after the decision to abandon Fort Michilimackinac on the mainland. The chosen site was a 150' high limestone bluff on the southeast end of the island. The British Government did not surrender their Great Lakes forts when the war ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. It took the Jay Treaty of 1796 to settle the issue of the Great Lakes Forts. In the interim the British fur trade flourished. With the issue finally settled, American troops occupied Fort Mackinac on 1 Sep 1796 under the command of Major Henry Burbeck.
War of 1812 (1812-1814)
At the start of the War of 1812 in June 1812, Fort Mackinac was garrisoned with about 60 men under the command of Lt. Porter Hanks. On 17 July 1812, a force of British troops and their Indian allies landed on the northern end of the island and surprised the American garrison which promptly surrendered. The British then built Fort George (5) at the highest point on the island, anticipating an American attempt to retake the island.
Just two years later, in July 1814, an American squadron of five ships landed a force of about seven hundred men on the north side of the island and attempted to assault Fort George (5). The assault failed and the defeated American forces retreated back to their ships and sailed off.
The war ended in December 1814 with the Treaty of Ghent and the Americans reoccupied the Island in July 1815. Fort George (5) was renamed Fort Holmes (1) after Maj. Andrew Holmes who was killed in 1814 assault of Fort George (5). In the post war years, Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes were used as staging points for troops headed elsewhere and that sometime left the post almost unoccupied. The Mexican-American War and the U.S. Civil War saw little military activity on the island and much of the time only an ordinance sergeant cared for the post.
In 1875 the post was designated Mackinac National Park, only the second National Park in the country. This designation brought troops to the park just as it had in Yellowstone National Park, the first National Park. The troops not only protected the park but also functioned as park rangers for visitors. Unlike Yellowstone , Congress closed the fort and the park in 1895 and turned it over to the State of Michigan. Michigan then created their first State Park from the properties.
Part of Mackinac State Park, Mackinac County, Michigan. A very complete example of a Revolutionary War fort. Fourteen original buildings remain including the North, East, and West Blockhouses, Commissary Building, Post Headquarters, Quartermaster's Storehouse, Bathhouse, Soldiers Barracks, Schoolhouse, Hill Quarters, Hospital, Officer's Stone Quarters, Wood Quarters and Guardhouse. Currently closed. Reopens May 5, 2011.
Location: Mackinac County, Michigan.
Maps & Images Lat: 45.8530686 Long: -84.6178227
- 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 422
Fort Mackinac Picture Gallery
Click on the picture to see a larger version. Contribute additional pictures - the more the better!