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History of Fort Montgomery►
Fort Montgomery State Historic Site in New York is on the Northern border of Bear Mountain State Park. It sits on 14 acres and overlooks the Hudson River and Popolopen Creek. Fort Clinton is on the other side of the creek.
American Patriots built this pair of forts in early 1776. The Continental Congress of 1775 ordered fortifications along the Hudson Highlands to maintain control of the River. Fort Montgomery defended the Hudson. Fort Clinton, on higher ground, guarded Fort Montgomery.
On October 6, 1777, the British attacked Fort Montgomery and Fort Clinton. They had a combined force of 2100 Loyalists, Hessians and British. They destroyed the chain placed across the river as a blockade and had support from British ships on the river. Outnumbering the Patriots 3 to 1, the British burned both forts down.
Because of the Battle of Fort Montgomery, the British troops were too late to reinforce General Burgoyne at Saratoga. Americans forced Burgoyne’s surrender while the reinforcements were still in Southern NY state.
Fort Montgomery’s ruins have been excavated by archaeologists. You can visit the remains via a network of trails behind a small museum. Interpretive signs along the trail explain what you are looking at. In non-Covid times, the museum stages living history demonstrations.
Autumn visit to Fort Montgomery►
I met up with a photography group one chilly autumn morning at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site. After watching the sun rise over Bear Mountain Bridge, we headed down the Fort’s trail to the suspension bridge. This modern bridge over Popolopen is in the approximate location of the Revolutionary War pontoon Bridge.
According to the fort’s map, there are 19th-century schooner wrecks here, but I didn’t see them. This is also an access point for the Hudson River Valley Greenway Water Trail. The Water Trail has over 100 access sites for paddlers on 256 miles of the Hudson River.
I peeked into the small museum with its interesting mannequins and artifacts. Then I walked the trails around the ruins and found a cannon or two.
- Bear Mountain State Park
- Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
- Croton Gorge County Park
- Bear Mountain Bridge
Location: 690 Route 9W, Highlands, NY 10911
Designation: State Historic Site, National Historic Landmark
Date designated/established: NHL-November 28, 1972
Date of my visit: October 18, 2020