Whitehall in 1815 – 1816

This map of Whitehall came from the National Archives in Washington. It was drawn by John Anderson and Isaac Roberdeau, U.S.A. in late 1815, early 1816. It was a year before the Champlain Canal was started here in 1817, long before the land between Skene Mountain and the Island was cut by a canal that took traffic from the natural lake and around Fiddler’s Elbow and before the Whitehall lithograph of 1819.

During the War of 1812 the Port of Whitehall was an entry port through which military materials and troops passed. A fort, called of other maps Fort Comfort or Fort Diamond, was constructed. Barracks were placed near the rise and entrenchments, which were never used, were dug. The powder magazine remnants were still in evidence in the first part of the twentieth century, remembered by older Whitehallers.

From this map may be seen the reason some early mapmakers called the narrow stretch of water an extension of Wood Creek rather than the head of Lake Champlain. After the battle of Lake Champlain in September 1814 Commodore MacDonough brought to this port some of the American fleet and some of the British prize fleet. The ships were moored on the west side of the Lake in December 1814. In apprehension that the British might strike from the north the guns were taken from the ships and mounted on land.

After the hostilities had ceased Whitehall was a naval depot for many years. The old storehouse on the east side of the harbor was constructed in 1816. When Stillman, the noted traveler, went through Whitehall (visiting Henry Francisco) he saw the sailors looking out the portholes of the ships. In the decade of the 20’s the ships were sold, stripped of valuables and moored in East Bay-Poultney River area. The location of some is known where they are preserved under water for scientific examination of historic artifacts. Two have had such study, TICONDEROGA and EAGLE. One other is waiting it, the British LINNET. The story of this study has been published in the book entitled “History and Construction of the United States Schooner, Ticonderoga” by Kevin Crissman who made the study at Skenesborough Museum of the Ticonderoga, researched its history from primary sources, dived in the river, and wrote his thesis at the University of Texas. He is presently working on the EAGLE.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – Whitehall Independent – April 23, 1986

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