I recently went to Marblehead, MA for a few hours with my son, who was bicycling around Marblehead Neck. Among other things we went to Fort Sewall, which was built in 1742 to protect from potential French raiders. Not much of a fort, but easy to see from the pictures why it was built there, as it protected Marblehead Harbor. Marblehead was a big fishing port. Just to the north of the fort is the entrance to Salem Harbor and Beverly Harbor. I'm not sure if the fort in later times was ever meant to protect them or if it was too far from the sea lane. In 1814 the USS Constitution sailed into Marblehead Harbor under the fort's guns after its mainmast had split.
Attached are some pictures of the fort,in other posts following are pictures of the view from the edge of the fort, looking across the harbor more-or-less east southeast to Marblehead Light, and then out to the open sea.
The first three pictures are of the fort itself, from inside the park (There is a small parking area right nearby). A short trail leads to the park. The fourth picture is the sign at the start of the trail. The fifth picture shows the layout of the fort; was hard to take with the sunlight. If I find a better picture on the internet I will post later. The sixth picture is a commemorative stone of General John Glover, whose regiment of "fishermen" played two very important roles in the revolution: in getting the army off of Long Island onto Manhattan, and getting it across the Delaware. I read in the paper afterwards that while we there re-enactors were helping re-dedicate the newly built Glover School.
Pictures from the headland of Fort Sewall, looking across the harbor towards Marblehead Neck and Marblehead Light, out to the open sea, and towards Cape Anne. From Fort Sewall it is about the same distance (as a bird flies) to the eastern extremity of Cape Anne (Rockport/Gloucester) and downtown Boston.
First picture shows Marblehead Light to the left. It is located on Chandler Hovey Park. It is located on Marblhead Neck. Looking more or less ESE. Second and third pictures looking more or less SE towards one of the three yacht clubs in Marblehead. This is the Corinthian Yacht Club. The Boston Yacht Club in the past won and defended America's Cup from Marblehead. The fourth picture is looking out the channel towards the open sea. The fifth picture is looking more or less ENE - navigation buoys can be seen. The sixth picture is looking more or less to the NE towards Cape Anne, in this case Beverly and Manchester-by-the-Sea. You can see the navigation buoy which would also be followed by a mariner leaving Salem or Beverly Harbor.
Some "how the other half lives" photos from Marblehead Neck - across the harbor from Fort Sewall. In the first picture, the house on the right is for sale. Nice view, for sure. I think the house one to the left was also for sale. Second picture is of the entrance to the Chandler Hovey Park, where Marblehead Light is. The Light can be seen. A parking area there. Often out-of-state plates. While there I saw Rhode Island, Maryland, and Delaware. Third picture shows the other side of the Corinthian Yacht Club. The fourth picture is looking towards downtown Marblehead. The red structure being renovated is Abbot Hall, which is the town hall and a museum. The museum includes the famous "Spirit of '76" painting and materials relating to native son and former US vice-president Elbridge Gerry - the father of "gerrymandering." The fifth and sixth pictures show some of the many nice boats - notice the Boston skyline in the distance. The tall buildings to the left are downtown Boston. Several miles to the left of these buildings and behind them is Castle Island in South Boston. The two to the right are the John Hancock building and the furthest, the Prudential building. They are in the Back Bay section of town. The Boston Marathon ends in the Back Bay. The Prudential is a mile or a little more from Fenway Park.
While we there, we saw a large group of people in their 50s and 60s cycling. They were from Quebec. There are often cyclists on the neck, who sometimes don't yield so readily to traffic. Also, I would say Marblehead Neck, which includes some 8 figure mansions, must have the highest per square mile ratio in Massachusetts of lawn cutting vehicles from lawn care companies- the lawn mowers, the trailers, etc. Very dusty sometimes from this when I'm walking, I kid you not. Many joggers always along Devereux Beach, the main beach. It is on the causeway out to the Neck. The good people of Marblehead tend to be in good shape. Many boaters, skiers, etc. Often young people in wet suits at Devereux Beach, and windsurfers.
Shubie's is the place to eat - all the locals go there.
Some more photos
1. Two of the very few boats out - looking towards Beverly
2. Red Right Return
3. A solitary gull and Children's Island
4. A solitary windsurfer and Children's Island
5. Devereux Beach - water temp. about 59F
6. From near the public boat launch area - across from the beach, across the causeway road, on the "back side" of the harbor - looking towards some nice homes
Last edited by lakechampainer; 27 Jun 14 at 13:35..
It is hard to find information about the raids by French privateers on New England ships and settlements(if any): the best overall description of the background I found in of all places History.com of the Weider History Group, from 2006.
The early spring of 1745 saw New England preparing for war. Seaports bustled as a makeshift armada prepared to carry a newly raised, inexperienced colonial army of farmers, fishermen, merchants, and frontiersmen into battle. The unlikely objective was Louisbourg, a heavily fortified seaport and capital of the French colony of Ile Royale some six hundred miles northeast of Boston.*
Longstanding colonial rivalries between Great Britain and France fueled the expedition. By the mid-eighteenth century, Britain had driven Portuguese and Spanish fishermen from the rich Newfoundland banks; New Holland and New Sweden had become the British colonies of New York and Delaware; and many Native North Americans had been decimated and displaced. Among European powers, only the French to the north and the Spanish to the south contested the British dominance.
In the northeast, natural barriers separated the heartlands of New England and New France. Lake Champlain and the Hudson River offered a corridor between New York and Montreal, but the distance separating the rival settlements offered each a measure of security. Maine was disputed territory, claimed both by the New England colonies and by Acadian settlements on the Bay of Fundy.
French privateers followed this success by attacking New England's fisheries and commerce. The raiders began by striking at rival vessels encountered off the Nova Scotia coast and eventually extended their reach down to New England itself. French warships on their way to and from Louisbourg also attacked New England shipping. But the British colonies soon replied with privateers of their own and, by August, had largely bottled up French shipping in Louisbourg
From cato.org - Privateering and the Private Production of Naval Power
Why do governments actively promote criminal behavior? History up to the present day provides
many examples where states have not suppressed but rather supported activities like extortion,
production of illegal commodities, smuggling or outright terrorism. Yet evidence strongly
suggests that the costs involved are dramatic: countries have lower economic growth and a high
potential for political conflict. This study uses new quantitative evidence on eighteenth-century
British and French privateering – state-licensed piracy and commerce raiding by private ships –
to identify the conditions under which states promote criminal and semi-legal activities, and how
these activities influence economic and political performance. Privateering is an institutional
arrangement that enforces property rights of domestic merchants but denies foreign merchants
the same rights. A selective property rights model is used to demonstrate how legalizing illegal
piracy as privateering was also a domestic political instrument that worked much like patron-
client networks in binding elites to the interests of state-building princes. For merchants,
privateering was a means to compensate for trade losses during war. For state-building rulers, it
provided a supplement to the navy at no cost and, in true mercantilist fashion, undermined the
trade of rival states.
Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period by J. Franklin Jameson
n a few months after the declaration of war, the American waters swarmed with French privateers. Several were equipped at Louisburg, Cape Breton, with amazing despatch, and made a great number of prizes before vessels of war could arrive to protect the British colonial shipping. Louisburg became, in all respects, a kind of hornets' nest in regard to New England, its trade and fisheries, which it was now determined to dig out if possible.
Meanwhile, M. Duquesnel, governor of Cape Breton, embarked part of the garrison of Louisburg with some militia and made a descent upon the settlement of Canso, in Acadia, which he burnt, and made the garrison and settlers prisoners of war. He then summoned Annapolis, but was deterred from investing it by the arrival of a reinforcement from Massachusetts. Duquesnel returned to Louisburg, where he died shortly thereafter. Governor Shirley had for some time conceived the project of taking possession of Cape Breton, now rightly regarded as the seaward bulwark of Canada, and a highly-important post as a safeguard to the French fisheries and to American trade. The fortifications of Louisburg, the capital, even in their uncompleted state, had taken twenty-five years to construct, at a cost, it was reported, of thirty million livres (nearly one million five hundred thousand pounds sterling). They comprised a stone rampart nearly forty feet high, with embrasures for one hundred and forty-eight cannon, had several bastions, and strong out-works; and on the land-side was a fosse fully fourscore feet broad. The garrison, as reported afterwards by the French, was composed of six hundred regulars and eight hundred armed inhabitants, commanded by M. Duchambois. Upon the same authority we may mention here that at this time there were not more than one thousand soldiers in garrison, altogether, from the lower St. Lawrence to the eastern shore of Lake Erie.
From The Salem Evening News: A picture from 170 ft tall Abbott Hall - City Hall in Marblehead - on the cover of today's paper - workers were putting a new weathervane up - notice the harbor to the upper right - Marblehead Light at tip of Marblehead Neck - Fort Sewall at the tip of mainland across from the Light.
Last edited by lakechampainer; 03 Jul 14 at 19:55..
Lake Champlainer, Great catch that link. You might also be interested in this book, if you haven't read it already. Governor Shirley played an important part in the deportation/depopulation of the Acadians in Nova Scotia. Massachusetts had strategic business and defense interests in the region in those days, not to mention territorial ambitions related to what later became Maine.
Article in today's Salem, MA News - Colonial Fort Sewall Due For Repairs
I can't post a link - I have read my five or whatever free articles for the month or quarter. I'm not a freeloader - I buy the actual paper the majority of days.
MARBLEHEAD - "It was built in 1644," said Marblehead town planner Becky Cutting. "Think of that."
Fort Sewall is one of the oldest surviving forts in the nation and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Its age and its past places a unique responsibility on the town that owns it. Consequently, Marblehead has spent $24,700 for a study on what should be done both to preserve the fort and make the best use of it.
The recommendations of the consultants include attending to leaks in the fort's rooms and restoring doors and corroded bars, he said. Also given priority are efforts to make the fort accessible to the handicapped and to keep it safe. More signs telling a little more of the fort's history are also envisioned. Its stone walls are rated as in generally good condition.
"Our primary goal is historic preservation,", Sands said.
Any effort to restore the fort involves deciding which era it should reflect. And Cutting said it ought to tell just how menacing a defense it offered, as the site was often bristling with 12 cannons. At the moment, she said, "You get no sense of that."
From Castle Rock in Marblehead tonight before sunset - first picture showing some prime private beachfront on the open Atlantic - I imagine quite a pretty penny was paid for that. Second picture, looking toward Cape Anne. The third picture, too bad I took it with my phone, the cheapest possible, instead of my wife's iphone. The fisherman mid-photo had two companions and the estate in the background has an American flag high on a flagpole. Oh, well.
Last edited by lakechampainer; 21 Aug 15 at 21:40..