Fort Frederick was constructed by Maryland Governor Horatio
Sharpe between 1756 and 1758 as an English stronghold during the French
and Indian War. The fort has stone walls that stand about 18 feet high
and it was designed in the style of the French military engineer Sebastien
de Vauban. It did not actually see any battle during the French and Indian
War, but it did serve as a staging area to support the English cause.
Use of the fort ceased in 1758 after the English captured Fort Duquesne
in Pittsburgh and relieved pressure on the Maryland frontier. It was briefly
pressed into service again during the 1763 Pontiac Rebellion, but again
the main battles took place in Pennsylvania and the fort was soon abandoned.
During the American Revolution, Fort Frederick was used
as a prisoner of war camp for English and Hessian soldiers. It also saw
some action during the U.S. Civil War when two Union companies were stationed
there. In between these military conflicts, the land surrounding the fort
In 1922, Fort Frederick was purchased by the
State of Maryland to become a state park. Since then the walls
and some stone foundations have been reconstructed. Part of the
Fort has been restored to its 1758 appearance and other parts
have been converted into interpretive spaces for visitors.
Several archaeological projects have taken place at
Fort Frederick since the State purchased it in 1922. The Civilian Conservation
Corps (CCC) excavated numerous trenches at the site in the 1930s in order
to help with reconstruction efforts. Additional trench testing took place
in 1973 under the supervision of William Liesenbien who was looking for
the powder magazine. In 1975, Stephen Israel did additional testing prior
to more reconstruction and utility placement.
Two years later, John Milner & Associates excavated
18 test units in the southwest bastion and north and west of the fort
walls. These excavations found a great deal of disturbance from earlier
excavations and did not identify specific activity areas, but they did
determine the presence of undisturbed deposits dating to the initial 1756-1758
occupation of the fort.
Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc. performed additional
excavations in 1999 and 2000 that tested areas throughout the fort. Again,
they found a great deal of disturbance from previous excavations and reconstruction
efforts, but they also identified some intact 18th-century deposits. Numerous
18th-century artifacts were recovered from both disturbed and undisturbed
|https://jefpat.maryland.gov/NEHWeb/Assets/Documents/FindingAids/18WA20 - Fort Frederick Finding Aid.htm.
|Boyd, Varna G., David Berg, James Kochan, Nancy H. Anthony,
Kathleen A. Fergerson, Carey A. O’Reilly, and David L. Weinberg
|Archaeological Investigations Report Fort
Frederick State Park, Washington County, Maryland. Report on
file at the Maryland Historical Trust.
The Fort Frederick archaeological collections
are owned by the Maryland Historical Trust and curated at the Maryland
Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.