Although Fort Niagara was far from the Civil War’s theaters of combat, the fort still played a role in the conflict. The fort was garrisoned for almost a year by elements the Seventh Infantry after they were captured near St. Augustine Springs, New Mexico in July 1861.
As part of the surrender terms, the Seventh promised not to fight until exchanged for Confederate prisoners. This brought them to Western New York, where they would serve far from the action until October 1862.
Later in the war, fearing British intervention from Canada, the Union refortified many of its northern border outposts including Fort Niagara. Visitors to the fort today can still see the brick revetments and casemates built between 1863 and 1866.
Old Fort Niagara has announced a program looking at Fort Niagara’s role in the Civil War, on Sunday, February 12th, in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
The program will include special tours and programs including hourly musket demonstrations, a cannon firing, tours describing the fort’s appearance during the Civil War and a 1 pm presentation about the Seventh United States Infantry. The program, illustrated with photographs, artwork and maps, is entitled “From the Rio Grande to the Niagara.” It traces the journey of the Seventh from New Mexico’s July heat to Niagara’s November cold.
Old Fort Niagara is located at 102 Morrow Plaza, in Youngstown, Niagara County, NY. For more information, call (716) 745-7611 or visit the Fort’s website.
Photo of Old Fort Niagara provided.
Bernard McCann says
This was a great story that I was unaware of. Fort Niagara isa special place for me. Growing up in WNY I frequented the fort on many occasions. While at Niagara University (just down the road from the Fort) our ROTC Unit held receptions in the WW11 Officers Club. The walls of the main room of the club contain murals that were painted by German Prisioners of War who were held captive at the Fort.