Fort Wayne (fort)
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (March 2008)
Coordinates: Fort Wayne on a portion of what is now Fort Wayne, Indiana, was a series of three successive military log stockades (forts) existing between 1794 and 1819 in the Miami Indian village of Kekionga on the portage between the St. Mary's and St. Joseph Rivers in northeastern Indiana near the Ohio border. The first fort with that name was built in 1794 by Captain Jean François Hamtramck under orders from General "Mad" Anthony Wayne as part of the campaign against the Miami Indians during the Northwest Indian War. It was named after General Wayne, who was victorious at the just prior Battle of Fallen Timbers. Wayne may have chosen the name himself—the fort was dedicated the day after he left it. The fort was officially occupied by the army on October 21, 1794. The fort was a basic stockade with few buildings, and was located near the present intersection of Berry and Clay streets.
The fort was constructed to secure gains in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and saw service in the war of 1812. After the war, settlements started growing up around the fort.
The fort was abandoned in 1819 with cessation of Indian hostilities and the modern city of Fort Wayne was platted in 1823. A replica of the fort as it existed in 1815 (called The Old Fort) was created in a different location in the city, and is a tourist attraction today.
Fort Wayne was the successor to several previous French (later British) military outposts at the location, the Indian village of Kekionga, which was the capital of the Miami tribe prior to the Northwest Indian wars. French Canadian soldier Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes built the first fortified trading post on the site in 1704 called Fort Miami.
Wayne's Legion arrived at Kekionga on 17 September 1794, and Wayne personally selected the site for the new U.S. fort. Wayne wanted a strong fort built, capable of withstanding not only an Indian uprising, but a possible attack by the British from Fort Detroit. The fort was finished by 17 October, and was capable of withstanding 24-pound cannons. It was named Fort Wayne and placed under command of Major Jean François Hamtramck, who had been commandant of Fort Knox in Vincennes. The fort was officially dedicated 22 October (the fourth anniversary of Harmar's Defeat), and the day is considered the founding of the modern city of Fort Wayne.
The garrison at Fort Wayne normally consisted of about 100 men and their families. In 1796, the garrison was ordered to march down the Maumee River to counteract a British demonstration. The force received the transfer of Fort Miami from the British before Colonel Hamtramck was transferred to Fort Detroit - later the site of another Fort Wayne, and near the future town of Hamtramck, Michigan. Colonel David Strong, a veteran of the American Revolution and Wayne's Legion, succeeded him as commandant of Fort Wayne for two years, before transferring commands with Colonel Hamtramck in 1798.
Colonel Thomas Hunt—a veteran of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, and Wayne's Legion—took command of the fort on 16 May 1798, and built a substantial new fort several hundred yards north of the original, near the modern city's Old Fort Park. The new fort contained multiple guard houses and Indian "factories" (trading posts). The first fort was demolished about 1800.
During the War of 1812, Fort Dearborn (in present Chicago) was evacuated and the residents tried to reach Fort Wayne, but were massacred before they arrived. Fort Wayne was next besieged by the Indian forces of Tecumseh during the Siege of Fort Wayne. Captain James Rhea was in charge of the fort and considered surrendering the fort, but his two lieutenants relieved him of duty. General William Henry Harrison arrived on September 12, 1812 and broke the siege. Captain Rhea was formally relieved of duty and one of the lieutenants, named Ostrander, was given official command of the fort. After the war, a town began growing around the fort.
A third fort was built in 1815/16 by Major John Whistler. The fort was officially abandoned on April 19, 1819, and its contents shipped to Fort Detroit. The last of the old fort was demolished in 1852 to make way in the town.
Commanders of Fort Wayne
|Colonel John Hamtramck|
|Colonel David Strong||1796–1798||Transferred with Second American Regiment to Fort Lernoult|
|Colonel John Hamtramck||1798||Transferred back to Fort Lernoult. His son, John Francis Hamtramck, was born in Fort Wayne during this year, and is sometimes considered the first U.S. citizen born in Fort Wayne.|
|Colonel Thomas Hunt||1798–1802||Built new fort in 1800|
|Captain Thomas Pasteur||1802||Former commandant of Fort Knox and Fort Massac.|
|Colonel Henry Burbeck||1803|
|Major Zebulon Pike||1803||Father of explorer.|
|Captain John Whipple||1803–1807||In command during Quaker Agriculture missions to the Miami.|
|Captain Nathan Heald||1807–1810||Married Rebeckah Wells, niece of William Wells. Transferred to Fort Dearborn (Illinois)|
|Captain James Rhea||1810–1812||Commander during the Siege of Fort Wayne|
|Lieutenant Ostrander||1812||Relieved Capt. Rhea of command during the Siege of Fort Wayne
Later arrested by Capt Moore, and died 13 July 1813, while in captivity.
|Captain Hugh Moore||1812–1813|
|Major Joseph Jenkinson||1813||Assumed command after commanding flotilla of supply boats to Fort Wayne.|
|Major John Whistler||1814–1817||Was a British soldier at the Battles of Saratoga. Had been with Wayne's legion and helped build original Fort Wayne. Also built first Fort Dearborn, where he served as the first commandant. Built third Fort Wayne in 1815. Transferred to St. Louis.|
|Lieutenant Daniel Curtis||1817||Was at Siege of Fort Wayne. Served 3 months as temporary commandant.|
|Major Josiah N. Vose||1817–1819||Last commandant of Fort Wayne. Garrison abandoned fort 19 April 1819.|
- "Vincennes, Sieur de (Jean Baptiste Bissot)," The Encyclopedia Americana (Danbury, CT: Grolier, 1990), 28:130.
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