Fort Hamilton

From Ohio History Central
Fort Hamilton.jpg
This is an overhead view of Fort Hamilton as it appeared in 1792.

Arthur St. Clair, a general in the United States Army, ordered the construction of Fort Hamilton in September 1791. The fort was the first of many built north from Cincinnati in American Indian territory. Fort Hamilton served as a supply depot for American expeditions against natives living along the Great Miami River, the Auglaize River, and the Maumee River during the early 1790s.

Fort Hamilton consisted of a four-sided, square stockade. Each wall was approximately fifty yards in length. There were four diamond-shaped projections called bastions sticking out from the stockade's walls. St. Clair provided a detailed description of the Fort Hamilton's construction in his Narrative of the Campaign Against the Indians:

The circuit of the fort is about one thousand feet, through the whole extent of which a trench about three feet deep was dug to set the piquets [posts] in, of which it required about two thousand to enclose it; and it is not trees taken promiscuously, that will answer for piquets, they must be tall and straight, and from nine to twelve inches in diameter.
When found, they are felled, cleared of their branches and cut into lengths of about twenty feet. They were then carried to the ground and butted, that they might be placed firm and upright in the trench with the axe, or cross-cut saw; some hewing upon them also necessary, for there are few trees so straight that the sides of them will come in contact when set upright.

Upon the fort's completion in early October, 1791, St. Clair left a small group of soldiers and two cannons to garrison it. He proceeded northward forty-five miles, where he constructed Fort Jefferson. In early November, St. Clair's men marched northward. On November 4, 1791, the region's American Indians won a major victory against the invading Anglo-American settler forces in a battle that came to be known as St. Clair's Defeat. Fort Hamilton continued to serve as an important garrison as Anglo-American settlers continued their offensive against American Indian peoples residing in western Ohio. Modern-day Hamilton, Ohio, is located on the site of Fort Hamilton.

See Also


  1. Edel, Wilbur. Kekionga!: The Worst Defeat in the History of the U.S Army. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997. 
  2. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  3. Smith, William Henry, ed. The St. Clair Papers: The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair, Soldier of the Revolutionary War; President of the Continental Congress; and Governor of the North-western Territory; With His Correspondence and Other Papers, Arranged and Annotated by William Henry Smith. Cincinnati, OH: R. Clarke & Co., 1882.
  4. Wilson, Frazer Ells. Arthur St. Clair, Rugged Ruler of the Old Northwest; An Epic of the American Frontier. Richmond, VA: Garrett and Massie, 1944.