40 for 40: The Story of Fort Bull
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40 for 40: The Story of Fort Bull

[music plays] [music continues] [sounds of birds] [birds chirping] [birds chirping] [muffled conversations] Fort Bull was built in 1755. People will call this “Fort Bull,” but it’s not really the original Fort Bull. It’s a replacement fort, built to replace the fort that was destroyed by the French in 1756. The French had already destroyed a lot of the munitions and supplies that were on their way to Oswego in 1756. That kind of ruined the British plans to attack the French at Fort Niagara. The British realize they had to have a defensive fort here. They had to guard all of the stores and munitions that were on their way to Oswego. Oswego is the next British post on Lake Ontario. There’s nothing between here and there. So, it’s a long route. By water. Through Wood Creek. Oneida Lake. Ah, the Oneida River at the time was called the “Onondaga River.” And from there, at Three Rivers, you’d join with the Oswego River. And that leads to Lake Ontario. When you walk around it, you’ll see it’s an exact same shape that Fort Stanwix is. With basically a square with four cornered bastions. It held at one time, 150 troops from the New Jersey “Blue” Regiment. And before they evacuated it, the garrison was reduced down to, like, 30 or 40 troops. So, at that point, Fort Wood Creek is the westernmost bastion of the British Empire in the New York Colony. Every once in a while, the French would have some parties coming down here. They wanted to disrupt this supply route. And they would cut some trees down themselves and fell them into the creek. In August of 1756, the French attack the forts at Oswego, and take and destroy all three of them up there. The British hear about it here and, the British commander who finally arrives, his name was Daniel Webb, General Webb. He’s starting to wonder if it’s worth holding this place. Cause now, kind of the reason for this place existing is gone. Webb, General Web, has a decision to make: Am I going to hold this possession or am I gonna retreat? He decides to retreat. He doesn’t want to leave this stuff to the French, so all these newly built forts, he orders burnt and destroyed. They’re all burnt and destroyed. There are many military expeditions that came through the area. with hundreds and hundreds of batteaux. Thousands of troops. Supplies. So, it’s hard for me to imagine all these batteaux, and troops, and supplies, piled up here. Waiting for the water to rise. So they can be sent down to Canada Creek. And the biggest force ever to come through here was in 1760 under General Jeffrey Amherst, on his way to attack Montreal, thus ending
the Colony of New France. But he came through here, with about 10,000 troops. [birds chirping] [birds chirping]

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