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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces an appendix to
Early History of Illinois

Sidney Breese

published by E. B. Myers & Company,
Chicago, 1884

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p300  H

The following is the description given of Fort Chartre, by Captain Philip Pitman of the Royal Engineers, as it was in 1765, when he saw it:

"The fort is an irregular quadrangle, the sides of the exterior polygon are four hundred and ninety feet; it is built of stone and plastered over, and is only designed as a defense against the Indians, the walls being two feet two inches thick, and pierced with loop-holes at regular distances, and with two port-holes for cannon in the faces, and two in the flanks of each bastion. The ditch has never been finished. The entrance to the fort is through a very handsome rustic gate; within the wall is a small banquette, raised three feet for the men to stand on when they fire through the loop-holes.

"The buildings within the fort are the commandant's and commissary's houses, the magazine of stores, corps de guarde and two barracks; they occupy the square. Within the gorges of the bastions are a powder magazine, a bake-house, a prison, on the lower floor of which are four dungeons, and in the upper, two rooms, and an outhouse belonging to the commandant.

"The commandant's house is thirty‑two yards long and ten broad. It contains a kitchen, a dining-room,  p301 a bed chamber, one small room, five closets for servants, and a cellar.

"The commissary's house, now occupied by officers, is built in the same line as this — its proportions and distribution of apartments are the same.

"Opposite these are the storehouse and guardhouse. They are each thirty yards long and eight broad. The former consists of two large store-rooms (under which is a large vaulted cellar), and a large room, a bed chamber, and a closet for the storekeeper, the latter, of a soldier's and officer's guard-rooms, a chapel, a bed chamber and closet for the chaplain, and an artillery store-room.

"The lines of barracks have never been finished. They at present consist of two rooms each for officers, and three rooms for soldiers. They are good, spacious rooms of twenty‑two feet square, and have betwixt them a small passage.

"There are five spacious lofts over each building, which reach from end to end. They are made use of to lodge regimental stores, working and intrenching tools, etc.

"It is generally allowed that this is the most commodious and best built fort in North America.

"The bank of the Mississippi next the fort is continually falling in, being worn away by the current, which has been turned from its course by a sand bank, now increased to a considerable island, covered with willows. Many experiments have been tried to stop  p302 this growing evil but to no purpose. When the fort was begun in the year 1756, it was a good half mile from the water side. In the year 1766, it was but eighty paces. Eight years ago the river was fordable to the island; the channel is now forty feet deep." — History of the European settlements on the Mississippi, by Captain Philip Pitman: London, 1770, pp45, 46.

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Page updated: 11 Sep 16