Wartime New York

New York: The City of Forts

The vestiges of America’s oldest wars surround us to this day. New York City has had more military fortifications contained within it than perhaps any other major American city. Part of this has to do with its roots in the American Revolution and the subsequent fears of a return invasion in the early 19th century. Today’s existing forts […]

Fort Wadsworth and the ghosts of the Civil War

Battery Weed pictured above, a peaceful ruin with almost two hundred years of history In 1864, there were few places in New York harbor more intense than the three fortesses alongside the Narrows. On the Brooklyn side, Fort Hamilton served as a training site, while Fort Lafayette partially functioned as a Confederate prison, notably holding […]

A Fort Hamilton axe murderer — and a missing chess set

Sure, the Narrows looks all nice and calm, until an axe murderer comes along. (Pic courtesy Library of Congress) The image above is an 1861 illustration — a Currier & Ives illustration, no less — of the lovely waters of the Narrows and, behind it, the bucolic loveliness of Staten Island, as seen from the […]