Fort Holmes (1)

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Fort Holmes (1) (1812-1895) - First established in 1812 during the War of 1812 by British troops as Fort George (5) on Mackanic Island in present day Mackinac County, Michigan. During an unsuccessful attack by American troops on 4 Aug 1814 American Major Andrew H. Holmes was killed. The fort was renamed Fort Holmes for Major Holmes after the post was turned over to the United States at the end of the war. Turned over to the State of Michigan in 1895.

Fort Holmes Marker
Fort Holmes Log Sallyport
Fort Holmes Earthworks and Wooden Sallyport

War of 1812 (1812-1814)

Stairs up to Fort Holmes

At the start of the War of 1812 in June 1812, Fort Mackinac was garrisoned with about 60 men under the command of American Lieutenant Porter Hanks. On 17 July 1812, a force of British troops and their Indian allies landed on the northern end of Mackinac Island and surprised the American garrison which promptly surrendered. The British then built Fort George (5) at the highest point on the island, anticipating an American attempt to retake the island.

Just two years later, in July 1814, an American squadron of five ships landed a force of about seven hundred men on the north side of the island and attempted to assault Fort George (5). The assault failed and the defeated American forces retreated back to their ships and sailed off.

The war ended in December 1814 with the Treaty of Ghent and the Americans reoccupied the Island in July 1815. Fort George (5) was renamed Fort Holmes (1) after Major Andrew H. Holmes who was killed in the 1814 assault of Fort George (5). In the post war years, Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes were used as staging points for troops headed elsewhere and that sometime left the post almost unoccupied. The Mexican-American War and the U.S. Civil War saw little military activity on the island and much of the time only an ordnance sergeant cared for both posts.

In 1875 the post was designated Mackinac National Park, only the second National Park in the country. This designation brought troops to the park just as it had in Yellowstone National Park, the first National Park. The troops not only protected the park but also functioned as park rangers for visitors. Unlike Yellowstone, Congress closed the fort and the park in 1895 and turned it over to the State of Michigan. Michigan then created their first State Park from the properties.

Current Status

Fort Holmes Marker

Part of Mackinac State Park, Mackinac Island, Mackinac County, Michigan. The blockhouse was rebuilt by the Mackinac Island State Park in 1904 but it burned down in 1933. U.S. Army engineers rebuilt it as an authentic recreation in 1936 but that replica also burned down. The fort now has earthworks, a wood sallyport and just a depression where the blockhouse was located.

Location: Mackinac Island, Mackinac County, Michigan.

Maps & Images

Lat: 45.8530686 Long: -84.6178227

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 738'

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Visited: 26 Aug 2013

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