Fort Constitution is one of my favorite places of historical value to visit in New Hampshire. Besides being a wonderful place to reflect on the past, its views offer some of the prettiest coastal scenery in the state. While the purpose of this website is to promote New Hampshire during the Civil War, it is important to start this post with a tale of revolution.
New Hampshire Takes Action
Fort Constitution is located in New Castle, NH on the mouth of the Piscataqua and was built to protect Portsmouth Harbor. The British built it during the colonization of New Hampshire and named it Fort William and Mary. After a ride by Paul Revere to Portsmouth on December 13th, 1774, Sons of Liberty, under the guidance of John Sullivan took action on December 14th raiding the fort and taking supplies that would eventually be used in the Battle of Bunker Hill. After the American Revolution the fort was rebuilt and renamed.
View of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor, circa 1705 – Library of Congress
Fort Constitution and the Civil War
Here is a short list of some prominent names that visited Fort Constitution previous to the war.
Major Robert Anderson (“the defender of Ft. Sumter”) – was garrisoned at the fort before the Civil War.
General Robert E. Lee – Historians speculate that Lee visited the fort in the 1850s as the military conducted surveys of coastal fortifications. Lee was in the area working on fortifications and stayed with General Issac Stevens in Portsmouth.
Robert Parker Parrott (native to Lee, NH) – was at the fort in 1829. Of course he is most famous for his innovation in weaponry. His guns were featured in the fort during the 19th Century.
During the war
– There was construction of a three-tiered granite structure on the fort during the Civil War but it was never completed.
– Lastly, the fort was used during the war to train soldiers.
For a much more detailed history:
The Capture of Fort William and Mary on December 14-15, 1774:
A General History of Fort Constitution: