Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A strategic British "Negro Fort"

A strategic British "Negro Fort"

During the Revolutionary War, the British built a fort as a defense of the strategically important Boston Post Road that would have run along Van Cortlandt Avenue East across today's Grand Concourse. This fort, which was probably more an "outpost" or "redoubt" has become known as "Negro Fort" because it was run by "freed men of color" who were fighting on the British side. Military dispatches mention the fort in 1777 and may have remained into 1779.

Historian Ultan says that it's likely the fort was involved in a number of important skirmishes, including an attempt by American forces to besiege the Brits' much more important Fort Independence. "But the 'Negro Fort' was in the way," Ultan said.

In recent years, local officials have been seeking to set a placard at the site of the former fort, which would have been located on today's St. George's Crescent. When apartments were built there, some small musket balls were found, but little else remains of the site.

(Credit: The Bronx County Historical Society Collections)

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