Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Report from the Fort
21 January 1802 • Major J. J. Ulrich Rivardi
The Blacksmith shop, a brick building, two fires, 20 feet by 19 – very good.
In 1776 the Committee of Safety of the Delaware River ordered a “Smith Shop and Forge” to be built on Mud Island. This might be the building – rebuilt after the Revolution and described by Rivardi. One fireplace was removed in the 20th century, but the chimney shows its former location. When a blacksmith is on duty, the restored bellows blast the fire into a hot flame and the anvil rings from the sound of the smith’s hammer.
Blacksmiths in coastal fortifications were necessary for all metalwork associated with artillery, gun carriages, buildings, and utensils. Shoeing horses was less frequent. Muster rolls from 1812 show that some soldiers were trained as blacksmiths, but a civilian from a nearby farm could also have done the job.
Buildings needed nails, spikes, latches, hinges and often metal straps – all products of the blacksmith’s trade. The shutter hinges, straps for the heavy timber roof of the Citadel, the iron grates
When you go into the blacksmith shop, look up at the rafter construction. Notice that metal was not always the main method for holding timbers together.
Between 1835 and 1839 when restoration of the entire fort was undertaken, laborers were hired to live and work at Fort Mifflin. The 1836 accounts show the number of days work and wages paid. Brick work was extensive but cheap:
Cleaning 93,000 brick to repair the scarp walls……$65.90
Erected by Fort Mifflin Historic Site.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts or Castles • Notable Buildings • War, US Revolutionary.
Location. 39° 52.505′ N, 75° 12.813′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker can be reached from W Fort Mifflin Road, on the right when traveling east. Marker is along the walking tour of Fort Mifflin. Touch for map. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Artillery Shed (here, next to this marker); West Sallyport (a few steps from this marker); Citadel - 1796 (within shouting distance of this marker); Powder Magazine (within shouting distance of this marker); Torpedo Casemate (within shouting distance of this marker); Arsenal (within shouting distance of this marker); Soldiers’ Barracks (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Officers’ Quarters (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
More about this marker.
The top right of the marker contains an illustration of how wrought nails are made at the blacksmith shop.
Below this is “The Annual Statement of Expenditures at Fort Mifflin to the 30th September 1836,” Richard Delafield, Captain of Engineers. A table of "Days Worked and Earnings of Laborers at Fort Mifflin, 1836" lists Laborer, Days Worked, Wages Paid and Work Completed:
Masons…101.5…$130.42…Magazines and Quarters
Plumbers…25…$51.24…Arches of bombproofs
Stonecutters…73.5…$109.12…Capping of scarp walls
Bricklayers…535.5…$1230.24…Repairing and painting
Bakers…92…$72.90…Subsistence of employees
Laborers/Cooks…6554.5…$5278.30…Employed at the fort
Horses/carts…250.5…$878.39…Employed at the fort
Boatmen…108…$115.5…Employed at the fort
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This series of markers follow the walking tour of Fort Mifflin.
Also see . . .
1. The Fort that saved America. The Official Website of Fort Mifflin on the Delaware. (Submitted on October 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Fort Mifflin Groundplan. Layout of Fort Mifflin, the Fort that saved America. (Submitted on October 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,269 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 17, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 7. submitted on November 17, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.