Fort Dayton (1)

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Fort Dayton (1) (1776-1783) - A Revolutionary War Fort established in 1776 in the present day town of Herkimer in Herkimer County, New York. Named Fort Dayton after Colonel Elias Dayton who supervised the construction of the fort. Abandoned as a fortification in 1783 at the end of the war.

Herkimer County Historical Society Building.

Fort Herkimer (1756-1760)

The first fort established on this site was a British blockhouse built during the French & Indian War known as Fort Herkimer.

Fort Dayton (1776-1783)

Fort Dayton Wall Marker.

In the fall of 1776, Major General Philip Schuyler dispatched Colonel Elias Dayton to German Flatts along the Mohawk River to build a fort for the protection of the settlers. Colonel Dayton built a complete fortification that included a stockade, blockhouse, bastions, curtains, barracks and an artillery park on the site of old Fort Herkimer. The compound was bounded by present day Main, Court, Washington, and German streets. The fort was well built but apparently poorly sited and a strong blockhouse was required to protect an overlooking elevation.

On 4 Aug 1777, General Nicholas Herkimer marched from Fort Dayton with about 800 men from the Tryon County militia, and a party of Oneida men to assist a besieged Fort Stanwix garrison. General Herkimer's column was ambushed in a narrow ravine at Oriskany, six miles from Fort Stanwix by a force of 450 Loyalists and Indian allies on 6 Aug 1777. The ambush was very successful, with the Patriot casualties numbering some 450 while the Loyalists suffered only 150 casualties. General Herkimer himself was seriously wounded and died on 16 Aug 1777 after his leg amputation went badly. Herkimer's column returned to Fort Dayton and the seige at Fort Stanwix was later lifted by a column under the command of General Benedict Arnold. The Battle of Oriskany was one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War.

Fort Dayton was unsuccessfully attacked several times, including during a large attack in September 1778 on the area protected by both Fort Dayton and Fort Herkimer (2) known as German Flatts. The attack swept through the whole area destroying homes and crops but the residents had been warned by scouts and had gathered in the forts. The forts proved too strong for the attackers led by Mohawk leader Joseph Brant. Some 700 people were made homeless by that one raid. The area was again raided in the fall of 1780 with similar results.

Fort Dayton became the most western fortification in the Mohawk Valley following the destruction of Fort Stanwix by fire on 13 May 1781. In 1782 the fort was unsuccessfully besieged by Loyalist forces under Joseph Brant.

The fort was abandoned as a fortification at the end of the war in 1783 and left to ruin.

Current Status

The Herkimer County Historical Society occupies part of the site. Two interpretive panels are located in front of the Historical Society and a stone monument with a plaque indicates that General Nicholas Herkimer took command of the Tryon County Militia here in 1777. A wall marker is in place at the Herkimer County Clerk Building, 108 Court Street.

Location: Herkimer in Herkimer County, New York. The yellow outline indicates the bounds of the fort.

Maps & Images

Lat: 43.02935 Long: -74.98964

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 407'

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Visited: 14, 17 Jun 2016

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