French and Indian War Era

The year is now 1756 and the French are planning to attack the Carry. This attack comes on the day of March 26th. A raid by Lieutenant Gaspard de Lery leaves Fort Bull in ruins and its garrison dead, including the commander Captain William Bull. The total cost in lives due to the attack is estimated at 63 men and women. As a result British Major Charles Craven was sent into the Mohawk Valley with a minimal force to reinforce the defenses at the Carry. Two new forts were constructed, thus bringing the total to four defenses along the Carry.

Rumors began to unnerve the British high command. Fearing a massive French invasion, via Fort Ontario, General Daniel Webb was sent to reinforce the Mohawk Valley and to prevent it from falling into French hands.

The western end of the carry of the carry had been left defenseless after Fort Bull was destroyed. When Colonel Bradstreet arrived here, he dispatched a company to reconstruct another fort upon its ruins. The new defense bore the name of Fort Eagle. This fort also shows up on maps as Fort Wood Creek and also Captains Bull’s Fort. Fort Eagle was designed by Patrick Mackellar and built under the supervision of Major William Craven. It was a small stockade fort with a wet ditch on 3 sides and a lake on the fourth. Once complete, the fort was garrisoned by 160 men of Colonel Peter Schuyler’s New Jersey Regiment. General Webb considered Fort Eagle to be a sturdy defense able to repel an attack of 500 enemy troops, but never once inspected it. However, General Webb was the only one who saw this as a sturdy defense, because the British council of War reduced the garrison to a mere 50 men.

Fort Ontario was attacked and destroyed on August 14, 1756. 6000 French Regulars began to converge on the Mohawk Valley. Webb, fearing a massacre of his men, without orders razed the Carry’s defenses and re-established his command at German Flatts. The Carry was now left completely defenseless. The French seized the Carry without a shot being fired. At German Flatts was a single defense, Fort Herkimer. On November 12, 1757 a group of French-Canadians and Indians moved from the Carry to make an attack on Fort Herkimer. The invaders were able to destroy a large portion of the settlement living there. Five months later, the French again attacked the German Flatts and as before several lie dead from the fighting.

Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain, fell to the French and seemed as if the final battle lines of the war were being drawn. The British council of war made the decision to build an extremely large fort at the Carry. They were through with this back and forth fighting and decided that the Carry would not be lost to French hands again. In March of 1758, Brigadier General John Stanwix was ordered to the Carry and he took with him the 60th Royal American Regiment based at Albany. General Stanwix was allocated 5600 men to execute the Mohawk-Frontenac Campaign. Colonel John Bradstreet of the 60th was to attack the large French supply base at Fort Frontenac (on the St. Lawrence River) with 3600 men and the remaining 2000 were to remain with General Stanwix to construct the fort. When Bradstreet returned from his mission, his men were to also assist in the building of the fort. Colonel Bradstreet's attack on the Frontenac was successful and he returned to the Carry with honor. The first log for the new fort was laid on August 26, 1758. The fort was completed by the summer of '59.

The fort was patterned after the Marquis de Vanban star fort design. Perfectly geometrical, not elongated as often depicted in many sketches. This design was important to gain accurate and destructive crossfire’s from all vantage points by the forts garrison. The picket, sharpened vertical posts, and fraise, sharpened horizontal posts, were placed close together to prevent scaling ladders from being placed directly against the walls of the fort, thus allowing for an easy breach. A dry ditch added 10 feet of height to the massive wooden walls. Once in the ditch, an attacker would be vulnerable to musket and cannon fire.

As the final stage of the war was coming to an end and the front lines shifting to the west, Fort Stanwix never saw combat in the war. By 1761 the garrison was a minuscule 50 men. The fort, which was crudely built, was in constant need of repair. From 1767 until 1772 the commander of the fort was Lieutenant John Galland. The daily life at the fort was usually boring with little to do other than survive. Occasionally they would help with the unloading of the Bateau.

In 1763 during the Pontiac Conspiracy, the fort was overhauled and a redoubt was added to its defenses. The conspiracy failed to gain momentum and the fort again became a scanty outpost in the vast wilderness. Also with the Treaty of Paris, the French and Indian War was now officially over with a British victory. In 1768 Fort Stanwix was used as the meeting place for the Iroquois Confederacy and British Indian Superintendent William Johnson. Here they signed the Treaty of 1768 or the Boundary Line Treaty. The treaty established that all lands southwest of Fort Stanwix down to the mouth of the Tennessee River belonged to the Indians and the land east of the fort belonged to the English.

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