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Forts of Pennsylvania in American History

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Carnahan's Blockhouse 

Fort Allen

Fort Antes
Fort Augusta
Fort Bedford

Fort Boone

Fort Bosley

Fort Brady
Fort Deshler
Fort Dickinson/Durkee

Fort Duquesne

Fort Freeland

Fort Gaddis

Fort Granville
Fort Halifax

Fort Hand

Fort Hanna's Town

Fort Horn
Fort Indiantown Gap

Fort Juniata Crossing

Fort Jenkins
Fort Jones (Mount Oliver)
Fort Lafayette
Fort Laughlin

Fort Ligonier

Fort Loudoun
Fort Machault

Fort McClure
Fort McIntosh

Fort Menninger
Fort Mifflin

Fort Muncy
Fort Necessity
Fort Pitt
Fort Presque Isle
Fort Prince George

Fort Reid

Fort Rice

Fort Robert Smalls

Fort Swartz
Fort Venango

Fort Wheeler

Forty Fort
Light's Fort

Potter's Fort>
Redstone Old Fort
Spark's Fort

Pennsylvania Militia in the Civil War.

Pennsylvania Militia in the Civil War, by James Fuller Queen, 1862.

This image available for prints and downloads HERE!


Carnahan's Blockhouse - An important fortress during the latter part of the American Revolution, this blockhouse was built much earlier by Adam Carnahan. Carnahan, who was the son of Irish immigrants had come to Westmoreland County prior to the Revolutionary War and built the Carnahan Blockhouse located about 11 miles northeast of Hannahstown, and about two miles from the Kiskiminetas River. Adam enlisted in Captain Jack's Company Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Militia, and was called into service by order of the council on January 1st, 1778. He was transferred to Captain John Hodge Company on August 1, 1780 and served until the war ended in 1782.


His blockhouse became a regular station during the war and a place of more importance after the garrison had been withdrawn from Fort Hand and placed along the line of the Allegheny River. Adam's sons manned the blockhouse while their father was away. Adam's son, John Carnahan, was killed by Indians just outside the blockhouse while trying to protect his family and others.

Fort Allen (1774-1783?) - In 1774, about 800 pioneer settlers lived in Hempfield Township, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Fearful of Indian attacks, they petitioned the colonial government for aid and protection. In response, Fort Allen was built, believed to have been named for Andrew Allen of the state's then governing body, the Supreme Executive Council. Commanded by Colonel Christopher Truby, the post was also known as Truby's Blockhouse. The post protected the Harrold's and Brush Creek settlements during Dunmore's War in 1774 and the American Revolution; however, it was never involved in an emergency. There is nothing left of the fort today but a stone monument. It is located on the grounds of St. John's Harrold United Church of Christ at the corner of St. John's Church Road and Baltzer Meyer Pike, which is about 150 yards north of where the fort was located.


Fort Antes (1777-1778) - The home of Colonel John Henry Antes, a member of the Pennsylvania Militia, this fort was surrounded by a stockade. Built in about 1777, it was situated on the east side of Antes Creek, overlooking and on the left bank of the West Branch Susquehanna River on a plateau in Nippenose Township in western Lycoming County. See full article HERE


Fort Augusta (1756-1794) - A stronghold in the upper Susquehanna Valley from the French and Indian War to the close of the American Revolution, Fort Augusta was built on the site of Shamokin, the largest Indian town and trading center in Pennsylvania. Built with upright logs facing the river, and lengthwise in the rear, and was about two hundred feet square. The main wall of the fort was faced about half its height by a dry ditch. A triangular bastion in each corner permitted a crossfire that covered the entire extent of the wall. The main structure of the fort enclosed officers’ and soldiers’ quarters, a magazine, and a well, the last two of which are still preserved. it is said to have had sixteen mounted cannons.


On July 8, 1736 Shamokin was described as having eight huts beside the Susquehanna River with scattered settlements extending over seven to eight hundred acres between the river and the mountain. Terrified of vengeful white soldiers, the Indians burned their homes and abandoned the site in the days leading up to the French and Indian War. Within days, the British began construction of the fort in defense against the raids of the French and Indians from the upper Allegheny region.


American Revolution, Fort Augusta was the military headquarters of the American forces in the upper Susquehanna Valley. The activities of the Northumberland County Militia, the sending of troops to serve in Washington’s army, and the support and protection of smaller posts throughout the valley were all directed from the fort, where Colonel Samuel Hunter, the last commandant, resided.


During its use, Fort Augusta, with its strength and strategic location, was never forced to endure a siege. After the War, Colonel Hunter was allowed to retain the Commandant’s Quarters as his property. Over the years, it gradually deteriorated, but his descendants continued to live there until 1848, when the log house burned. Four years later, Hunter's grandson, Captain Samuel Hunter, built another home. Both men are buried in the Hunter-Grant Cemetery across the street.


In 1930, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the land on which the well and magazine are located, and, in 1931, acquired the larger tract, which included The Hunter House. The Fort Augusta property is now the headquarters of the Northumberland County Historical Society in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.



Fort Bedford, PennsylvaniaFort Bedford (1758-1770) - A French and Indian Warr-era British military fortification, this post was located in what was first called Raystown, Pennsylvania which was first settled in 1751. See full article HERE.


Fort Boone (1777-1779) - Located near Milton, Pennsylvania, this fortress was situated about one mile north of Milton near the mouth of the Muddy Run River. A gristmill, it was operated by Captain Hawkins Boone, who was not known to have been related to the more famous Daniel Boone. During the American Revolution, three locals, including Captain Hawkins Boone, Captain John Brady, and Captain Samuel Daugherty were mustered out of the 12th regiment and sent, at the request of the people of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River Valley, to lead their defense. Captain Boone stockaded his mill, assisted by the two other captains and his neighbors and troops who were defending it. A large, hardy, brave, generous man, he appears to have been highly respected by those knowing him. When the three captains at Fort Boone heard about a large attack on nearby Fort Freeland, they and their troops rushed to provide aid and all three were killed.

This area was extremely volatile during the Revolutionary War because it was at the farthest edge of the frontier, where there were frequent attacks on the colonists by the British army, American loyalists and Native American tribes aligned with the British. Beyond this point, there was no colonial government and no protection. However, there were several other small forts in this area, most notably, Fort Freeland. In late June, 1779 after repeated attacks by the British, a number of colonial families moved from their homes to live behind the walls of Fort Freeland. Although there were rumblings of a pending attack, the colonists were completely unprepared when more than 300 British soldiers and supporters stormed the Fort Freeland early on the morning of July 28, 1779. With all the able-bodied men already off to war, there were only 21 boys and old men to defend the fort. Seeing the hopelessness of their situation, the colonists soon negotiated a surrender. News of the attack reached Captains Hawkins Boone, John Brady, and Samuel Daughterty who were leading the defense at nearby Fort Boone. A relief party rushed into defend the Fort Freeland, not knowing that it had already surrendered. The battle that followed was one of the bloodiest of the American Revolution and pivotal because the fall of Fort Freeland left the colonial American frontier defenseless. All three captains were killed.  Later, another mill called the Kemmerer Mill was built at the same site as Boone's Mill. It was located about about midway between Milton and Watsontown.


Fort Bosley (1777-1883?) - Located in the forks of the Chillisquaqua River at Washingtonville, Pennsylvania, a gristmill was built in in about 1773 by a Mr. Bosley, who moved here from Maryland a few years before the American Revolution. The Chillisquaque Valley and its surroundings are among the most beautiful in Pennsylvania. This great scope of fine arable lands attracted settlers early and Bosley's Mills became a necessity. It soon became widely known; roads and paths led to it as a central point, and on the Indians becoming troublesome and the mill stockaded in about 1777. It became a haven of refuge at which the wives and families could be placed in safety at alarms, while the husbands and fathers scouted for intelligence of the enemy or defended the fort. It was soon recognized by the military authorities as post of importance and was garrisoned by troops. After the fall of Fort Freeland in July, 1779, the fort became even more important, holding the forks of the Chillisquaqua River and defending the stream below it. Though the fort was never heavily garrisoned, estimated to have had only 20 men at most, it was strong, and there are no records of any attacks. Somewhere, along the line Bosley's Mill was replaced by a more modern mill. It was located just outside of the town of Washingtonville, somewhere near Muddy Run and the Chillisquaque Creek meet.



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