Fort Putnam

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Fort Putnam
Part of United States Military Academy
West Point, New York
Ft. Putnam's West Wall and Guns May 2010.JPG
The east wall and guns of Fort Putnam that face the Hudson River
Ft. Putnam, West Point, NY info plate -1.JPG
Site information
Owner United States Army
Controlled byUS Army
Open to
the public
Late spring until mid-fall. Check with USMA Museum for access hours and dates
Site history
Built byColonel Rufus Putnam
Battles/wars Revolutionary War
Garrison information
GarrisonWest Point

Fort Putnam was a military garrison during the Revolutionary War at West Point, New York, United States. Built by a regiment of Colonel Rufus Putnam's 5th Massachusetts Regiment, it was completed in 1778 with the purpose of supporting Fort Clinton, [1] which sat on the edge of the Hudson River about 3/4 of a mile away. [2] [3] The fort was rebuilt and enlarged in 1794 before falling into disuse and disrepair as the military garrison at West Point became obsolete in the early mid-19th century. It underwent a major preservation as a historical site in 1909, and has been continually in the process of preservation since. Sitting at an altitude of 500 feet above sea level, it was West Point's largest garrison during the Revolutionary War. The Fort is under the supervision of the West Point Museum Director, David M. Reel, and is operated by the United States Army Garrison, West Point. Access to the Fort is seasonal and as summer staff are available. [4] [5]



In 1778, Gen. Alexander McDougall wrote, "Genl. Parson, Clinton and Col. Delaradiere went with me to View the Rock & Crown Hills in the rear of our works..."(Fort Clinton). Tadeusz Kościuszko convinced them of the necessity of defending Crown Hill, and drafted blueprints accordingly. Gen. Israel Putnam's younger cousin, Col. Rufus Putnam, and three hundred men arrived on four sloops with lumber to build Fort Putnam. McDougall wrote, "The hill which Col. Putnam is fortifying is the most commanding and important of any that we can now attend to...the easternmost face of this work must be so constructed as to command the plain." [6] [7] :57

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Redoubt Four was a supporting defensive position of Fort Putnam during the Revolutionary War defensive network at West Point. It was constructed under the command of Tadeusz Kosciuszko in 1778-1779. During the war, it was a key defensive overwatch position for Fort Putnam 300 feet below, which was in turn the key overwatch position for Fort Clinton. According to Benedict Arnold, the fort required approximately 100 soldiers to man it. The redoubt was partially restored in 1975-1976 as part of the bicentennial celebration. It can be accessed by foot year round from Patrick Trail (road) approximately .5 miles from the West Point Post Exchange complex.


  1. "Fort Putnam". University of North Carolina. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  2. Hubbard, Robert Ernest. General Rufus Putnam: George Washington's Chief Military Engineer and the "Father of Ohio," pp. 64–72, McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2020. ISBN   978-1-4766-7862-7.
  3. "Fort Putnam". United States Military Academy. Archived from the original on 4 January 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  4. "Fort Putnam". New York State Military Museum. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  5. Hubbard, Robert Ernest. General Rufus Putnam: George Washington's Chief Military Engineer and the "Father of Ohio," pp. 71–2, McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2020. ISBN   978-1-4766-7862-7.
  6. Storozynski, A., 2009, The Peasant Prince, New York: St. Martin's Press, ISBN   9780312388027
  7. Hubbard, Robert Ernest. General Rufus Putnam: George Washington's Chief Military Engineer and the "Father of Ohio," pp. 64–5, McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2020. ISBN   978-1-4766-7862-7.

Coordinates: 41°23′24″N73°57′50″W / 41.390089°N 73.963923°W / 41.390089; -73.963923