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.


Pittsburgh’s Vintage Grand Prix

In 1982 some vintage car enthusiasts wanted a chance to race their beautiful and historic cars. Art McGovern thought that Pittsburgh’s Oldest Park would be a beautiful and challenging setting for the drivers, he and Mary Beth Gmiter began to plan, and soon those plans gathered a following that was meeting in driver Alan Patterson’s Garage. Soon adding local TV and Radio personality and the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Myron Cope to the mix.

The committee decided that the race could be used to raise money for local charities, which would be helpful in a time when Pittsburgh had just witnessed and felt the results of the collapse of the steel industry. Many Pittsburgh charities had see a fall in their contributions and a greater need for help in that time period. The charities chosen were the Allegheny Valley School which helps special needs children with basic education and activities of daily living, the other charity being the Autism Society of Pittsburgh which helped parents with autistic children and those with autism a vast amount of their needs. The groups also gained support of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA).

Because they wanted the race in Schenley Park, the idea came with one issue; Mary Schenley who donated the land for the park to the City of Pittsburgh did so with the caveat that an entry fee could not be charged for the park. Through working with the City of Pittsburgh, then Mayor Caligiuri and the Citiparks office, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix was born, with the first race scheduled for Labor Day weekend, 1983.

The First Race Poster, 1983 –

Since that first race, the activities of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Association have expanded. They have added race week activities including a Road Rallye, car shows at multiple places around the city of Pittsburgh and a Black Tie Gala on the Friday before the races. The PVGP has also added a second weekend of racing at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex (PittRace). All of these activities are organized an run by an amazing group of volunteers dedicated to the charities

Over the years that the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has been in existence they have given over $5 Million to the charities. In 2019, the races will be held at Schenley Park the weekend of July 20-21. To find out more about Race Weekend visit their website.

Before Fort Duquesne

Growing up in Pittsburgh, I always had an understanding that the French built Fort Duquesne and when the French found out that a large British Army Contingent was on their way to take the fort, the French destroyed it. What I never learned in school was that when the French arrived at the forks of the Ohio, they found that the building of a British Fort was already in progress.

In early 1754, William Trent, a veteran of the Pennsylvania Provincial Militia during King George’s War was working for the Ohio Company. Trent was commissioned by Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia to recruit a unit of soldiers and tradesmen and meet with Half-King (Tanacharison) a Seneca leader who was allied with the British, Half-King wanted the British to build a Fort at the forks of the Ohio to help stop the French expansion into the Ohio Territory. At that same time, Lt. Gov. Dinwiddie instructed Major Washington to recruit 100 soldiers to prepare to help and defend the fort.

The Half King – Painting by Robert Griffing

Trent had no difficulty recruiting the men he needed to begin the task for which he was given. Washington had a great deal of difficulty recruiting soldiers to travel so far away and protect a fort in the Ohio Country. Trent and his men constructed a store house at the mouth of the Redstone Creek (Modern Day Uniontown PA) and continued on to build a store house and the beginnings of a fort at the Forks of the Ohio, Half-King laid the first log of the store house.

The building of the fort would be short lives as French Troops came down the Allegheny River from Fort Presque Isle (Erie PA) to take the land for France. An action that would happen in April of 1754, when the French Commander sent notice from Shanopin Town to the fort to vacate, or be besieged by the French Army. Shanopin Town was a native settlement on the shore of the Allegheny River (approximately 30th street in Pittsburgh). The next day, Trent’s third in command capitulated to the French demands and the fort was evacuated.

The story of Trent, his company and the struggles they incurred are well written in a new book by Jason Cherry, who also happens to be the commander of Trent’s Company, a living history reentactment group. You can find his book Pittsburgh’s Lost Outpost from many retail sellers. I strongly suggest that if you a fan of History, especially Pittsburgh and French and Indian War history that you pick up a copy of this book. The author, Jason Cherry, includes documents of Trent’s Company and deciphering of documents written by Trent within the book.

The Battle of the Monongahela, The Death of Braddock

As a group of nearly 1500 British and Colonial Militia soldiers make their way through the thick forest of what is now Southwestern Pennsylvania, the group met an ambush just after crossing the Monongahela river roughly 10 miles upstream from the forks of the Ohio, where Fort Duquesne sat. The ambush was the work of 300-600 Native American warriors from a variety of tribes and roughly 40 French Colonial troops.

The British forces were on their way to the forks of the Ohio to remove the French fort and set an outpost of their own. Braddock expected the men under his command to follow orders and push forward through the dense forest from Virginia to Pennsylvania. General Edward Braddock lacked command experience. Braddock was influenced by a group of young officers headed by his aide de camp Captain Robert Orme. Orme had served with Braddock in the Coldstream Guards, the regiment in which Braddock had spent most of his service. Braddock expected the men under his command to follow orders and push forward through the dense forest from Virginia to Pennsylvania.

Braddock’s Death, Washington Takes Command –

Braddock’s Campaign had blazed a trail through the forest in a short period of time. Along with the nearly 1500 soldiers also came the supplies for those men, as well as, a Royal Artillery unit of 60 officers and men, six 12 pounders, six 6 pounders, 4 howitzers and around 30 Coehorn mortars. Braddock planned to lay siege to Fort Duquesne upon arrival at the forks of the Ohio.

Braddock and his troops would not make it to Fort Duquesne. After crossing the Monongahela on July 9th 1755, the front of the train encountered a well camouflaged force of Native Americans and French soldiers. A party of some 300 – 600 Indians and around 40 French colonial troops came down the path and attacked the advance party of Lieutenant Colonel Gage and three companies of foot. Firing broke out and the Indians fanned out down the flanks of the army in a horse shoe style attack. Troops began to retreat, clashing up against the troops that were advancing causing a mass of mayhem which the native, French allies continued to fire into. The confusion caused British troops to fire on each other causing a majority of the deaths.

Braddock was shot through the lung and fell from his horse, he was aided by George Washington and Braddock’s Aide-De-Camp, Orme. The troops retreated back across the Monongahela. The troops buried Braddock in the roadway that they had cut through the forest, hiding the place where he was buried so that his body would not be recovered by the enemy.

The artillery pieces and much of the supply train ended up in the hands of the French and their Native American allies and were used against the British and Colonial troops in later battles.

The defeat of Braddock was an embarrassment to the British army and is largely remembered as one of their most notable defeats. Braddock’s defeat, however would lead to the continued rise of a Virginia Provincial officer, George Washington.

Historic Destinations in Ohio

Continuing the series of historic sites to visit for free or inexpensively, this week, we go to Ohio. The sites listed below are free to visit unless otherwise noted. The descriptions below are a mix of my words and the words of the sites.

Allen County Museum and History Center – Lima OH – The Allen County Historical Society has helped preserve the rich history of Allen County and Lima, Ohio for over 100 years. The museum has exhibits featuring transportation, industry, local art and photographs as well as a rocks and minerals exhibit.

Southeast Ohio History Center – Athens OH – The Athens County Historical Society and Museum showcase the history of Athens County. The collection features permanent and changing exhibits that explore the region’s history. Genealogists are available to assist visitors with researching family history.

Historic Bear’s Mill – Greenville OH – Bears Mill is a working grain mill still powered by hydro-motors from the waterway that passes by. Self guided tours are free during regular business hours.

Buffington Island Monument – Portland OH – The Buffington Island Monument is a monument to Ohio civil war soldiers who fought raiders from the Confederacy during Morgan’s Raid. There is no website for the site, the address is 55890 State Route 124 in Portland, Ohio.

Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis Historic Site – Fallen Timbers Battlefield in Toledo, Ohio is the historic battle site where General Anthony Wayne had a decisive victory resulting in the Indians of the Northwest Territory signing the Treaty of Greenville. The treaty gave the southern and eastern regions of Ohio to the settlers. The name Fallen Timbers was derived due to a massive windstorm knocking down trees just before the battle. The park also has a monument honoring Wayne, the soldiers, and Indians who died there.

Fort Amanda – Wapakoneta OH – Fort Amanda captures what war was like in 1812. Visitors can read the diary of Ohio militiaman Ensign William Schillinger, which provides a daily account from everything like the weather, events unfolding, personal thoughts, and other observations. The fort itself served as an important supply depot during the War of 1812. It included five blockhouses, cabins, and storage buildings. The walls of the fort were nearly 12-feet above ground.

Gnadenhutten Museum and Memorial – Gnadenhutten OH – Gnadenhutten, Ohio’s oldest existing settlement, prospered until the outbreak of the Revolutionary War when the Indians were driven from their homes. In February 1782, they were allowed to return to their village. On March 8, 1782, following a night of hymn singing and prayer, 90 men, women and children were massacred and all of the cabins were set on fire by the Pennsylvania Militia. Today, a museum, mass grave and monument, and two reconstructed log buildings commemorate this tragic event. In 1798, the village was re-established as a white settlement. A 35-foot monument was erected on the grounds of the Historical Park. The museum houses artifacts as well as an extensive arrowhead collection.

Inscription Rock – Port Clinton OH – Inscription rock has Native American petroglyphs that are dated between 1200 and 1600 BCE. To reach the island, you must take a the Kelley’s Island ferry, information for that is available on the website.

Leo Petroglyph State Memorial – Ray OH – Leo Petroglyph State Memorial has around 37 inscriptions in sandstone marking the culture of the Fort Ancient Indians, dating between the years 1000 and 1650. The drawings, who’s meanings have not yet been translated, are of Indians and animals representing the time and region. Today, visitors can view these creations as well as a scenic ravine, gorge, and cliffs.

Lima Firefighters Memorial Museum – Lima OH – The Lima Firefighters Memorial Museum is a local tribute honoring the brave firefighters of the area. It features vintage displays depicting their history of service to the surrounding community. Here, you’ll see a horse-drawn steam pumper from the 1800’s, a memorial to those who were lost in service, and of course homage paid to firefighters past and present.

Mahler Museum – Berea OH – The Mahler Museum is dedicated to the local history of women in the Berea area. The museum documents women’s history from the 1800’s through the 20th century and had women’s activist records from 1882 – 1936.

Mansfield Soldiers and Sailors Memorial – Mansfield OH – The Mansfield Soldiers & Sailors Memorial was built in 1888 and is the oldest building in Richland County. It displays artifacts of the county’s military, civil, and natural history artifacts.

Massillon Museum – Massilon OH – The Massillon Museum has a room filled with circus memorabilia. Local history and its many artifacts are found in this museum as well. The museum itself is located in the former Stark Dry Goods building, which was renovated to house the museum and its belongings.

For further free sites in Ohio, visit HERE! I hop you get out to enjoy some of these sites. Next week we will focus on New York State also a non-series post coming out on Friday.

Maryland, Visit Your History

This is part of a continuing series of articles detailing free or inexpensive historic sites for you to visit. The reason for this series is from an article I posted on my Facebook page about attendance at historic sites on the decline, several friends with children and others stated that it was prohibitively expensive to visit historic sites. So I made it my mission to find inexpensive and free sites in the states around where I live in Pennsylvania. The sites listed below are free to the public, unless they are marked as inexpensive, the price rating for inexpensive is adult prices of $10 or less, and a child price of $6 or less. Below are sites located in Maryland, for those in Western Maryland, I’d also suggest looking at the West Virginia article since some of the sites overlap.

Fort Frederick – Big Pool, MD – Fort Frederick served Maryland during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the American Civil War. The stone fort and building are open to the public and offer programs most weekends. The park office has a $5 parking fee per vehicle, but the rest of the site is free. Fort Frederick is part of a state park and has camping available for additional fees. See my article on Fort Frederick Here!

Antietam National Battlefield – Sharpsburg MD – Antietam is the site of the bloodiest battle in United States History. The Union Army repelled the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in their first attempt to invade the North. The victory at Antietam prompted President Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It is free to tour the Battlefield, however there are fees for the museum.

Pry House, National Museum of Civil War Medicine – Sharpsburg MD- The Pry House museum tells the story of the surgeons, civilians and soldiers who helped the injured at the Antietam Battlefield. The Pry House served as a field hospital at the battle of Antietam and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine maintains the site and offers programming. The Pry House is an inexpensive site.

Monocacy National Battlefield – Frederick MD – The Monacacy Battlefield is the site of a Confederate invasion of the North late in the war. The plan was for the invading force to attack and capture Washington D.C. while a large number of Union forces were fighting at Petersburg. The Confederate forces met Union resistance at Monocacy Crossing and though the Confederate forces were victorious, the strong work by outnumbered Union Forces allowed the Union defenses in Washington to get better prepared and repel Confederates. I have a blog article written about this battle for more information see: Monocacy.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park – Church Creek MD – Visit a monument to the work of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. The Museum has a museum with exhibits highlighting Harriet Tubman’s work as leader and liberator of enslaved peoples.

Baltimore American Indian Center Heritage Museum – Baltimore MD – A museum dedicated to preserving the heritage and contribution of Native Peoples to the rich history of this country. The BAIC Heritage Museum is an inexpensive site.

Historic St. Mary’s City – St. Mary’s MD – Experience what life was like in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland during the 17th Century. Exhibits include colonial times, shipping and Native Peoples. You can explore archaeological sites and a working plantation. Historic St. Mary’s is an inexpensive site.

We hope you take the opportunity to explore some of these historic sites in Maryland.

Visit History, West Virginia

Last week, I began a series to encourage people to visit historic sites. After posting an article on the a drop in the number of people visiting historic sites and museums, several people stated that it was mainly due to cost. So here is a list of sites that you can visit for free, or for a low cost. The “Low Cost” definition is and adult price at $10 or less and a child price of $6 or less. I hope that this will get more people visiting and learning at historic sites.

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park – Summersville WV- On September 10, 1861 Union troops led by Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans engaged the Confederates and forced them to evacuate an entrenched position on the Henry Patterson Farm which overlooked Carnifex Ferry. The Confederate commander, Brigadier General John B. Floyd retreated across the ferry to the south side of the Gauley River and on eastward to Meadow Bluff near Lewisburg. This Civil War battle represented the failure of a Confederate drive to regain control of the Kanawha Valley. As a result, the movement for West Virginia statehood proceeded without serious threat from the Confederates. This is a free site.

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex – Moundsville WV – The heart of the site is probably the most famous and certainly the largest of the Adena Burial mounds. A massive undertaking, the total effort required the movement of more than 60,000 tons of earth. Artifacts and exhibits interpreting the lifestyle of the Adena people are displayed in the Delf Norona Museum, adjacent to the 2,000 year old mound. The mound and museum are both free.

Pricketts Fort – Fairmount WV – Prickett’s Fort State Park uses a living history style of interpretation to preserve, document and exhibit the past. It features an 18th century recreation of the original Pricketts Fort which provided a place of refuge from Native American attack. In addition, guests enjoy visiting the original 19th century Job Prickett House, Prickett Cemetery, Visitor Center, and Museum Gift Shop. This is a low cost site.

Jefferson County Museum – Charles Town WV – The Jefferson County Museum is located in historic downtown Charles Town and shares a building with its partner organization, the Charles Town Library. Since its founding in 1965, the museum has been dedicated to fostering the understanding and love of history. The museum is committed to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of objects of historical value and relevance to the county and the region. The Jefferson County Museum is a low cost site.

Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park – Harpers Ferry WV – The raid on Harpers Ferry was intended to be the first stage in an elaborate plan to establish an independent stronghold of freed slaves in the mountains of Maryland and Virginia. Choosing Harpers Ferry because of its arsenal and because of its location as a convenient gateway to the South, John Brown and his band of 16 whites and five blacks seized the armoury on the night of October 16. Quickly the entire countryside was alerted, and combined state and federal troops overwhelmed the raiders in two days.  The raid on Harpers Ferry was intended to be the first stage in an elaborate plan to establish an independent stronghold of freed slaves in the mountains of Maryland and Virginia. Harper’s Ferry is a low cost site, the price is $15.00 for a private vehicle, or $7.00 for an individual.

Historic Sheperdstown & Museum – Sheperdstown WV – The Historic Shepherdstown Museum is located in the Entler Hotel, at the corner of Princess and East German Street in Shepherdstown. In 1983 the Historic Shepherdstown Museum was founded to preserve and display artifacts, furniture, and historic documents that might otherwise have been lost. This is a low cost site.

Tu-Endie-Wei State Park – Point Pleasant WV – Located on four acres in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, Tu-Endie-Wei State Park is home to an 84-foot granite monument commemorating the frontiersmen who fought and died in the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant. The monument was erected in 1909, and rests where the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers meet. The name Tu-Endie-Wei is a Wyandotte word meaning “point between two waters.” Tu-Endie-Wei is day park open year-round.

West Virginia Independence Hall – Wheeling WV – Nearly six years before President Lincoln signed the proclamation making West Virginia the 35th State in the Union, construction had begun on the Wheeling Custom House, headquarters for federal offices for the Western District of Virginia. Its completion, coinciding with the beginning of the Civil War, provided a facility for heated political discussions and constitutional conventions that led to eventual statehood for West Virginia in 1863. Here, issues dividing many Virginians – slavery being one of many – were debated, compromised and shaped into the skeleton of statehood. Serving as the Restored Government of Virginia (aligned with the Union) from 1861-1863, it is appropriately known today as West Virginia Independence Hall.

World War I Memorial – Kimball WV – The World War I Memorial in Kimball was the first memorial built in the US to honor African-American Veterans of World War I. Today it is the only such memorial remaining.

Veterans Memorial of Southern WV – Hinton WV – Collections & memorabilia from the Revolutionary, Civil, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam & the Gulf Wars. General MacArthur’s footlocker, vintage Jeep.

West Virginia Mine Wars Museum – Matewan WV – Step into this unique museum to experience the history of The West Virginia Mine Wars through the eyes of mine workers and their families.

Camp Allegheny – Elkins WV – This haunting, windswept encampment was successfully defended on December 13, 1861, when Confederate Gen. Edward Johnson’s troops repelled an attack by Union forces. However, the loss of men contributed to the decision to abandon it in April 1862. Earthworks, gun positions and chimney falls from the encampment are evident. Location: From U.S.250 near the Virginia/WV state line, turn south at sign on County Rd. 3, turn right at the T junction, then go 2 more miles (Road may be closed due to snow in winter.) Open: year-round, dawn to dusk.

Rich Mountain Battlefield – Beverly WV – Rich Mountain Battlefield Civil War Site includes the battle site, Confederate Camp Garnett, and connecting section of the old Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike. On July 11, 1861, Union troops under Gen. George B. McClellan routed Confederates holding the pass over Rich Mountain. This victory led to General McClellan’s appointment to command the Army of the Potomac. It also gave the Union control of northwestern Virginia, allowing the formation of the state of West Virginia two years later. Visitors are strongly encouraged to go to the visitors center in Beverly for directions and information before proceeding to the battle site at the top of the mountain.

Cheat Summit Fort – Valley Head WV – Gen. George B. McClellan ordered this pit-and-parapet fort to be built in 1861 under the command of Gen. R.H. Milroy to secure the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike and protect the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The Confederate failure to take the fort in September 1861 was central in the failure of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s western Virginia campaign.

This gives anyone a great opportunity to visit historic sites all over West Virginia. I hope this encourages you to get out and visit some of these sites.