Fort Oswego was an important frontier post for British traders in the 18th century. A trading post was established in 1722 with a log palisade, and New York's governor Burnet ordered a fort built at the site in 1727. The fort was a log palisade and established a British presence on the Great Lakes. This fort was captured and destroyed by the French in 1756. The site is now included in the city of Oswego, New York.
|Table of contents|
2 The French and Indian War
3 Later Actions
Oswego Fortification System
Many historic references to Fort Oswego actually refer to other forts. The terrain at the site explains this. The original fort was built around the trading post on the lower ground on the south east side of the river. This was convient to canoe and bateaux traffic. A Stone Blockhouse was added in 1727, and was called Fort Burnet. A triangular stone wall, ten feet high and three feet wide was added in 1741, and the entire enclusure was called Fort Pepperrell. Besides these expansions, Fort Ontario as built on the high ground on the north side of the river, and Fort George was added to the bluff located a half mile to the southwest.
To confuse matters further, Fort George was also called Fort Rascal or the West Fort. Fort Ontario was also known as the Fort of the Six Nations or the East Fort. The French knew Fort Oswego as Fort Chouaguen. Some refernces to Fort Oswego refer to the entire complex.
The French and Indian War
During the French and Indian War, the French commander, General Montcalm, arrived in August with 3,000 men. His force included 3 regiments of regulars, several companies of Canadian militia, and numerous Indians. He first captured Fort Ontario, then began the assault on Fort Oswego. Oswego was the stronger fortification, but it was now down hill from 120 cannons in the abandoned Fort Ontario. Montcalm swept the fort with cannon fire, killing the British commander, Colonel Mercer, in the bombardment. British forces were forced to surrender on August 15, 1756.
Montcalm gave much of the British supplies to his Indian allies, and destroyed the fort. He returned to Quebec in triumph with 1,700 prisoners. His actions made a very strong impression on the Indian allies of the British, and caused te Onieda and the Senecca tribes to switch to the french side.
The site was used for shore bateries in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, but was never again fortified. Revolutionary War references to Fort Oswego are actually referring to Fort Ontario. The original site is commeorated at West First and Lake Street in Oswego, New York. Fort George was located in what is now Montcalm Park.