Fort Gibson: Oyster Banks to Batteries

Fort Gibson: Oyster Banks to Batteries (HMXAJ)

Location: Jersey City, NY 07305 Hudson County
Country: United States of America

N 40° 41.942', W 74° 2.318'

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The earliest fort on this site was built in 1794. Great Britain's navy had been seizing American merchant ships and forcing their sailors into service on British vessels. Congress decided that the nation's most important harbors should be defended in case war broke between Great Britain and the United States. Charles Vincent, a French engineer, was hired to construct defenses in New York Harbor. He chose tiny Oyster Island (as Ellis Island was then called), known only for its oyster banks, shad fishing and as the location for a battery of eight cannons. Tensions rose again between the two countries when a British frigate fired on the USS Chesapeake in 1807, leading President Thomas Jefferson to further improve the nation's defenses and rebuilt many of its early forts.

Colonel Jonathan Williams, a grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin, oversaw the construction of the brick and stone structure, the remains of which you see here. The new fort was completed only months before the outbreak of the War of 1812. During this war British prisoners were housed on Ellis Island, but the fort was never attacked. In 1814, the fort was named after Colonel James Gibson, a 33-year-old officer killed at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 7:25pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 581219 N 4505792
Decimal Degrees40.69903333, -74.03863333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 41.942', W 74° 2.318'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 41' 56.52" N, 74° 2' 19.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)201
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1 Liberty Island - Ellis Island, Jersey City NY 07305, US
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