The Old Guard

In 1778, General George Washington had concerns in the West. The British Army still held a fort at Detroit. Washington needed a strong defense, and he wanted it in the Ohio Country. Washington and the Continental Congress decided to send General Lachlan McIntosh to Fort Pitt, the fort was in control of the Continental Army and McIntosh was needed there.

McIntosh was born in Scotland in 1725, his father moved his family along with nearly 100 other Scots to Georgia in 1736, the elder McIntosh led the group and founded the town of New Inverness in Georgia (later renamed Darien). Later in his life Lachlan McIntosh would find work in a counting house with Henry Laurens, McIntosh and Laurens would end up becoming great friends. Laurens would later become the President of the Continental Congress. McIntosh whose family had a long military heritage would begin to study military science. When the American evolution broke out, McIntosh, who had received strong anti- British influence from Henry Laurens would join the revolutionary cause on the side of the continental army. in January of 1776, McIntosh was appointed Colonel of Georgia’s Troops and by September he was name a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.

Lachlan McIntosh –

Upon his arrival at Fort Pitt, McIntosh was to meet with three advisers sent by the Continental Congress from York, Pennsylvania. The advisers wanted McIntosh to develop a plan to remove the British from their outpost at Detroit. The advisers also wanted a force to cut down the number of raids against settlers in the Ohio Country. McIntosh knew he didn’t have the manpower to handle such a task, and the Continental Congress did not have the funds to support sending a large amount of troops to the West. McIntosh would try recruiting troops for the Continental Army from the frontier at Fort Pitt.

McIntosh felt that a part of securing the region from attacks, and a show of force against the British was to build and garrison forts in the Ohio Country. He charges the French Engineer, Chevalier DeCambray with the building of a fort at the mouth of the Beaver Creek. Upon completion of the fort in 1778, DeCambray would name the fort Fort McIntosh, in honor of Lachlan McIntosh.

Fort McIntosh Site- Beaver Area Heritage Foundation

In January of 1785, Fort McIntosh would be the meeting place of the new United States Government and over 400 representatives of the Chippewa, Delaware, Ottawa and Wyandot nations. In the Treaty agreed to at Fort McIntosh, the native nations would agree to settlements in the areas north of the Ohio River (now Western Pennsylvania and North Eastern Ohio). The treaty carved a large area reserved for the native nations in Western and Southern Ohio. The treaty itself was essentially a failure from the beginning since the Shawnee were not brought in as part of the negotiations and much of the land being ceded was their territory. Also, most of the native representatives that were present at the negotiations did not have the authority to negotiate on behalf of their nations.

Treaty of Fort McIntosh –

After the war, the fort would remain garrisoned with some supply staff from West Point and Fort Pitt, as well as militia from the region. Colonel Joshua Harmar named the regiment, ” The First American Regiment.” The regiment also gained the nickname, “The Old Guard” a name which sticks with it today. As part of the United States Army “The Old Guard” is now the official ceremonial unit for the President and the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, they are also the force to protect Washington D.C. in times of national emergency.

Fort McIntosh itself was abandoned in late 1785, an archaeological dig in 1974 found some of the structural remains of the fort. The land it currently marked with a historic marker and maintained by the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation.


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