Fort Montgomery Lake Champlain
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Basic Information

Fort Montgomery is a U.S. Fort built in 1844 on the northern end of Lake Champlain on the border between the states of New York and Vermont. Its purpose was to guard against Canadian attack. Since British forces had come down Lake Champlain from Canada in both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, putting a fort on the lake near the Canadian border was a reasonable defense.

But Montgomery was the second fort to be built in that neighborhood. The first one is more interesting.

The United States originally began building a fort for this purpose in 1816, on a peninsula called Island Point close to the 45th parallel marking the boundary between the United States and Canada. It was planned to be an octagonal structure, 30 feet (9.14 m) high, with 125 cannons.

They were two years into the construction of the fort and had spent $275,000 on the project, when surveyors noticed that due to a previous error, the site of the fort actually lay about three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) north of the border. The fort build to defend against the Canadians was being built on Canadian soil.

The project stopped and the site was abandoned. Local residents looted the unfinished walls of the fort for stones, but nothing more was done to solve the problem of Border Security until 1842 when Daniel Webster helped negotiate a treaty moving the border slightly north. Work began on a new fort nearby, which was named Fort Montgomery after the Revolutionary War hero, General Richard Montgomery.

As it turned out, Neither the Canadians nor the British have invaded the U.S. since. After the Civil War, advances in artillery made traditional masonry forts less resistant to heavy shelling; and so between the changes in geopolitics and technology, the fort became superfluous and obsolete. The fort was closed and its guns sold for scrap in the late 1900s. The fort itself was auctioned off in 1926

Although it is sometimes also called "Fort Montgomery", the original, unfinished fort was never officially named. Unofficially, people called it "Fort Blunder".


Game and Story Use

  • The party might be assigned to building, or occupying a fortress in disputed territory only to realize that they're not where they thought they were.
  • Perhaps such an outpost has to be abandoned and the players must help evacuate it before the Canadians arrive to take it over.
    • Perhaps something important got left behind, and the players must enter enemy territory to retrieve it
  • An abandoned fort could be a good place for brigands to use as a hideout, if it is out of the way and no longer a pressing concern to whomever originally built it.
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