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Fort Mifflin - The Fort That Saved America

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Fort Mifflin - The Fort That Saved America

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Date Posted:April 30th, 2006
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Description: After Washington's defeat at Brandywine in 1777, a force of 20,000 British and Hessian troops marched into Philadelphia, led by General William Howe. With the Colonial Army weakened, Howe could have attacked them west of the city and wiped them out -- probably defeating the Revolution -- but his own forces had run short of supplies. The supplies were waiting on the Delaware on a fleet of ships.

Before General Howe arrived with his 20,000, the rebels, led by General Thomas Mifflin, had occupied and strengthened the partially built British fort that guarded the waterways. The British attacked Mifflin's stronghold, and around November 16, 1777, Fort Mifflin finally fell. As well as inflicting severe casualties upon the British, however, the Colonists accomplished their mission: the British supply ships were delayed. Winter had set in, and General Howe was unable to attack Washington's troops. Restored in 1795, Fort Mifflin was again manned during the War of 1812, though it saw no action. During the Civil War it was used as a prison camp. The Fort was disarmed in 1904.

Today Fort Mifflin is restored to its 1834 appearance. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities at this busy historic site. From Self-Guided to Guided (by docents in period uniforms) Tours to Uniform and Weapons Demonstrations, Soldier Life Programs, Cannon Demonstrations and much more. Guided Tours are available Wednesday through Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Hours can vary, so call ahead. A Uniform and Weapons Demonstration is given twice daily.

The complex includes Casemates -- vaulted, bombproof enclosures used to shelter troops under attack; the Northeast Bastion, offering a special view of Philadelphia and the Delaware; the Arsenal, with four-foot thick walls that originally housed a prison; various batteries (though most of the guns are gone); Soldiers' Barracks; Officers' Quarters; Blacksmith Shop; and a variety of other structures and sites. In all, eleven restored buildings can be explored. Combined with the activities and re-enactments that take place here, they bring history to life in a vivid and memorable fashion. Call for a calendar of events.


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