Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Fort Gibson: Oyster Banks to Batteries
The earliest fort on this site was built in 1794. Great Britain’s navy had been seizing American merchant ships and forcing their sailors into service on British vessels. Congress decided that the nation’s most important harbors should be defended in case war broke between Great Britain and the United States. Charles Vincent, a French engineer, was hired to construct defenses in New York Harbor. He chose tiny Oyster Island (as Ellis Island was then called), known only for its oyster banks, shad fishing and as the location for a battery of eight cannons. Tensions rose again between the two countries when a British frigate fired on the USS Chesapeake in 1807, leading President Thomas Jefferson to further improve the nation’s defenses and rebuilt many of its early forts.
Colonel Jonathan Williams, a grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin, oversaw the construction of the brick and stone structure, the remains of which you see here. The new fort was completed only months before the outbreak of the War of 1812. During this war British prisoners were housed on Ellis Island, but the fort was never attacked. In 1814, the fort was named after
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 40° 41.942′ N, 74° 2.318′ W. Marker is in Jersey City, New Jersey, in Hudson County. Marker is located on the north side of Ellis Island, near the American Immigrant Wall of Honor. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jersey City NJ 07304, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Gibson: Ammunition to Immigration (here, next to this marker); Fort Gibson: The Other Ellis Island Story (a few steps from this marker); Fort Gibson: Uncovering the Past (a few steps from this marker); The American Immigrant Wall of Honor ® (a few steps from this marker); Fort Gibson: Defending the Approaches (a few steps from this marker); Fort Gibson: The New York Harbor System (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named The American Immigrant Wall of Honor ® (within shouting distance of this marker); Delaware Indian Burials (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jersey City.
More about this marker. The right side of the marker contains a portrait of Col. James Gibson, courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives, Division of History & Cultural Affairs, Dover, DE.
Categories. • Forts, Castles • War of 1812 •
More. Search the internet for Fort Gibson: Oyster Banks to Batteries.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 9, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 458 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 9, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.