Fort Vengeance (1780-1782) - A Revolutionary War Fort established in 1780 near Pittsford, Rutland County, Vermont. The new fort remained unnamed until the death of a patriot soldier (Caleb Houghton) prompted the commander to swear vengeance and to so name the fort, Fort Vengeance. Abandoned in 1782.
In April 1780 the Board of War of independent Vermont directed Major Ebenezer Allen (a cousin of Ethan Allen) to choose a proper location for a fort "near the north line of Pittsford" and to construct that fort. Major Allen obeyed this order promptly, using the labor of a company of militia stationed in the town and local residents.
Captain Hutchins' Company of Green Mountain Rangers arrived in Pittsford, Vermont in February 1780 and construction began in the spring The fort was first occupied in June and was completed in August 1780.
The fort was to be built on the property of Caleb Hende Sr. located roughly a half-mile south of Pittsford's northern border. On 3 May 1780, Hendee agreed to allow Vermont to construct the fort on his property and to occupy it for one year. This lease was later extended for a second year.
The new fort at Pittsford was ordered to be large enough to accommodate 150 men but the normal company assigned to the fort was 30 to 60. In times of alarm, additional militia units were called out to support soldiers already on duty.
A detailed description of the fort, circa 1848 by Caleb Hendee, Jr. the eldest son of Caleb, Sr. is replicated below (from the NRHP)
Like all the Forts in Vermont, it was a piquet [picket] Fort — a trench was dug 5 or 6 feet deep—the trunks of trees mostly hard maple and beech, a foot or a foot and a half in diameter were sunk into the trench as closely together as possible, extending 16 or 18 feet above the ground, and sharpened to a point at the top—between each log a stake was driven to fill the space left by the round unhewed logs — within the pickets a breast work was thrown up about 6 feet high and about 6 feet broad at the base, and composed entirely of dirt and logs — at a height convenient for the garrison were loop holes between the logs large enough at the centre for the barrel of a musket to pass thro' and radiating outside and inside so that the soldiers within could move the muzzles of their guns in the loop-holes and command a wide range without, while the loop-holes were so far from the ground on the outside that the enemy's shots coming thro' them would pass over the heads of the garrison. The form of the Fort was square, enclosing an acre or more of ground. On each corner jutting outside was a flanker with two stories, that is a floor was laid across each about 8 feet from the ground answering for a ceiling to the space below—above this floor or ceiling was the sentinel's box with loop-holes above and below, from which the musketeers could rake the approach to the fort in every direction with a deadly fire. — The traveled path north and south being then where the stage road is now; on the east of the Fort was a large double gate of oak plank thickly studded with large headed nails or spikes so as to be completely bulletproof, while on the west side of the fort was a wicket gate—within the Fort extending along the north side were the officer's barracks and on the south side the soldier's barracks. In the northwest corner was the magazine for the munitions of war, a framed building—in the northeast and southwest corners were wells but these were soon neglected and the garrison supplied themselves with water from a spring 30 or 40 rods east of the Fort. The space between the officers' and soldiers' barracks was the parade ground.... After the war the barracks were long used as dwelling houses, and one room of them is even now occupied by a family
The Hendee family returned to their farm about April 1782, as the second year's lease with Caleb Hende Sr. expired, and troops were withdrawn from the fort.
A monument honoring Fort Vengeance and the fallen soldier stands within the boundaries of the Fort Vengeance Monument site. The monument is a squat obelisk standing atop two base blocks, cut from local marble. In 1990 the Fort Vengeance Monument Site was recorded as Site VT-RU-216 by the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation. The Division relied upon the Fort Vengeance Monument and A.M. Caverly's 1872 account of the fort to record its location.