A Brief History of Fort Presque Isle: May, 1753

The first of four forts built by the French to protect their claim to the Ohio Country. It was located on a bluff in Presque Isle Bay, in what is now Erie, Pennsylvania. The fort protected the northern terminus of the Venango Path, an American Indian trade route that led from the Forks of the Ohio (Pittsburgh) north to Presque Isle. After the 1759 British victory at the Battle of Fort Niagara, the French burned the fort and retreated from the area. The British rebuilt the fort, which in its turn which was captured by American Indians during Pontiac’s War. On June 19, 1763, the fort was surrounded by about 250 Ottawas, Ojibwas, Wyandots, and Senecas. After holding out for two days, the garrison of approximately sixty men surrendered on the condition that they could return to Fort Pitt. Most were taken captive, fates unknown, except for Ensign John Christie, who had been in command of the fort. He was returned to the British at Fort Detroit.

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