Fort Madison (3)
Fort Madison (3) (1809-1813) - A U.S. Army post and Indian Factory established in 1809 by 1st Lt. Alpha Kingsley, 1st U.S. Infantry, on the banks of the Mississippi River in the present-day town of Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa. Named for James Madison, then U.S. Secretary of State and later President. Besieged by hostile Sauk Indians and abandoned in 1813 during the War of 1812. Also known as Fort Bellevue.
Built as a temporary post in existence by 5 Jul 1808. Construction on the permanent post began on 1 Apr 1809. The permanent post was completed on 14 Apr 1809 and initially had three blockhouses defending a log stockade. Another blockhouse was built in 1810 on a ridge that overlooked the fort, this blockhouse was connected to the main compound by a covert way. Two more blockhouses were added along the riverbank in 1813.
With the start of the War of 1812, and the alignment of the Sac and Fox Indians with the British, attacks on Fort Madison began in early 1813. The fort was reinforced but the poor initial siting of the fort made the made defense difficult. The attacks intensified and a number of the defenders were killed and mutilated. The garrison was forced to set fire to the Indian factory to prevent its use by the attackers and a considerable loss of government property resulted.
In November 1813 the post was evacuated by keelboat to Belle Fontaine and the defenders burned the post down as they left. The evacuation was done at night via a tunnel (or trench) constructed from one of the riverside blockhouses to where keelboats were anchored along the Mississippi. The fire diverted attention away from the evacuating troops and the garrison was successfully evacuated, arriving at Fort Belle Fontaine on 25 Nov 1813.
The reconstructed fort is at Riverview Park near the actual site. The actual site is now an empty area under construction (2020). Both the original site and the reconstructed fort are located in the Town of Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa.
Visited: 8 Aug 2020