Main Gate / Flag

Main Gate / Flag (HM82M)

Location: Philadelphia, PA 19153 Philadelphia County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 52.517', W 75° 12.709'

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Inscription

1798 - 1808

Main Gate

Report from the Fort
21 January 1802 · Major J.J. Ulrich Rivardi

I was speaking of the eastern Gate which is not finished yet, as I understand by General Irvine that the materials are paid for and which he has some time ago estimates made which he no doubt transmitted ? The fort's units finishing and hanging the main gate.

Report from the Fort
20 May 1807 · Lieutenant Jonathan Williams,
Inspector of Fortifications


?the entrance of the fort, which is now much expanded, moving to the injurious position of the gate, which is totally unprotected by any part of the work ? The Gate is in a very imperfect state. The arch above it having been covered is beginning to decay, and the pieces at the side are carried but two thirds of the stone, already cut for finishing the Gate is lying at the landing. The position of this gate is so great a contradiction of that essential rule of fortification "that it might be in question whether instead of finishing it, it might be defended from the flank."

The monumental east gate that faces the Delaware was eventually finished in its original location and the doors were hung. By 1835 reports indicate that it was again in a decayed state. Repairs were completed by 1839. Evidently the gate's design was part of L'Enfant's overall plan begun in 1794. The gate faced the Delaware and the landing wharf of the water battery, ready to greet those who landed by ship. It is the only grand portal through the ramparts, and was the receiving entrance for horses, wagons, carts, large ordinance, marching troops, and the like.

A close look at the masonry construction of the gate and the adjoining walls readily identifies the construction periods. The eleven-foot wall of cut stone blocks to the left of the gate dates from John Montror's plan of 1772 with repairs from after the Revolution. A brick extension above the stone stems from the 1794 reconstruction for the mud ramparts. The gate identifies the approximate beginning of the post Revolutionary wall. The cut marble of the gate's piers is probably what Williams saw lying at the wharf, not yet installed even in 1807. The stone and brick wall to the right of the gate represents the newly extended wall that completes the enclosure and creates the northeast bastion housing the casemates. The narrow openings in the brick provide light and ventilation for the casemates.


Flag

Report from the Fort
27 May 1800 · Orders from Theodore Meminger to William Irvine,
Superintendent of Military Stores


One large flag for the use of the Gatehouse of Fort Mifflin

Report from the Fort
17 April 1801 · Order from Major J.J. Ulrich Rivardi, to the same

Be placed to deliver ... as much bunting as will make a flag for Fort Mifflin of thirty feet hoist and ninety feet fly.

The dimensions for this flag were revised three days later. Details for making the flag in the following design were also supplied:

I think that 55 feet in the fly will be sufficient. The hoist will be determined by the width of the Bunting, say half a yard including the same for each of the 16 stripes will make it 24 feet. The field ought to be square and formed of 8 breadths or half the hoist. The stars in my opinion look handsomer if arranged in the form of an oval, extending in the direction of the fly? As it is much wanted at the fort, I will thank you to have it made as speedily as possible.

The dimensions of the flag that Rivardi requested mean it could only have flown from an exceptionally tall and strong pole. This was probably a wooden octagonal pole placed in the same marble base that is used today. The flag that flies is a replica of the red, white, and blue striped flag depicted in drawings and art works of the Battle of Fort Mifflin in 1777. This flag has been an important symbol at Fort Mifflin, because the flying flag fooled the British and allowed time for the valiant American defenders of the fort to retreat to New Jersey.
Details
HM NumberHM82M
Tags
Placed ByFort Mifflin Historic Site
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 10:26am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 481886 N 4413936
Decimal Degrees39.87528333, -75.21181667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 52.517', W 75° 12.709'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 52' 31.02" N, 75° 12' 42.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)215
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 774 Fort Mifflin Rd, Philadelphia PA 19153, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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