New London in New London County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
This sturdy granite building is the oldest surviving structure at Fort Trumbull State Park. At the urging of President George Washington, Congress authorized funds to fortify American seaports in 1794. A French engineer, Stephen Rochefontaine, directed the fortification effort in New England. This blockhouse, sometimes called a citadel, was built under the 1794 federal program, when the first Fort Trumbull was repaired and reconfigured. The first Fort Trumbull had been built almost twenty years earlier on and around this site.
The thick stone walls of the blockhouse taper upward and have few openings. Rochefontaine designed the building to be “bomb proof,” meaning that exploding shells could not penetrate the walls. He included a magazine, which is a chamber for storing ammunition, in the cellar. Plans called for the building to serve as living quarters for twenty-two soldiers during peacetime and to crowd in fifty men during a war. The building was also intended to serve as a final defensive stronghold if the fort came under attack and all else failed.
Out of all the buildings constructed from Georgia to Maine under the 1794 federal fortification program, this is the only one that still stands today.
Erected by Fort Trumbull State Park.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is located in Fort Trumbull State Park. Marker is in this post office area: New London CT 06320, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. North Battery (within shouting distance of this marker); Parade Ground (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Trumbull (within shouting distance of this marker); The Barracks (within shouting distance of this marker); Cold War (within shouting distance of this marker); Maury Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Scientific Research (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Merchant Marine (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New London.
More about this marker. An old map appears at the upper right of the marker. It has a caption of “This detail of a map from the period by Captain Lyman shows the first Fort Trumbull at the time that the traitor Benedict Arnold commanded a brutal attack on the revolutionaries in New London and Groton, in 1781. Captain Lyman was a Tory, an American who sided with the British, opposing the Revolution.
Construction of the first fort started in 1775, when Connecticut
Made of earth and sod, the fort’s walls were sixteen feet thick and faced the harbor, but the fort lacked such solid protection on the landward side. The single line across the back of the fort may depict a row of wooden posts set side by side, a defense called a palisade.
The fort was repaired and reconfigured in the 1790s, when the blockhouse was built.
Also see . . . History of Fort Trumbull. Friends of Fort Trumbull website. (Submitted on October 13, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 13, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 13, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 5. submitted on October 14, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.