Fort Mifflin - History - Reconstruction Through War of 1812

Reconstruction Through War of 1812

The ruins of Fort Mifflin lay derelict until 1793. Pierre L'Enfant, also responsible for planning Washington, D.C., supervised the reconstruction and designed the rebuild in 1794 under President John Adams. Reconstruction work began on the fort in 1795 under the auspices of Louis de Tousard, who from 1795 to 1800 traveled along the coast between Massachusetts and the Carolinas working on coastal defenses. The Army probably built the outer room of "Casemate #11" during the reconstruction of the fort from 1794–1798 and used it as a "proof room" to make cannon charges. The buildings at Fort Mifflin included barracks for soldiers in the 1790s, measuring 117 feet (36 m) by 28 feet (8.5 m) and consisting of two stories. The original barracks contained 7 rooms, 5 of them each designed to house 25 men. The Army officially named the fort after Thomas Mifflin in 1795.

Over a cross-shaped hole in the ground previously designated as a last-ditch defensive area near the center of the fort, the army built the extant citadel structure to house the commandant in 1796. Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Rochefontaine replaced Pierre Charles L'Enfant as chief engineer at Fort Mifflin in 1798 and completed the citadel structure to house the commandant. Lieutenant Colonel Rochfontaine used but improved original designs of L'Enfant. The Commandant's House exemplifies Greek Revival architecture, rare on Army installations in the United States. The army also built the six cavelike casemates as defensive structures in the case of an enemy siege during the reconstruction of 1798-1801. Soldiers used a "bake oven" just inside the main gate and the entrance to the bomb-proof casemate for baking bread, as a chapel, and as a mess hall. The army designed the largest casemate (#1) as a barracks. The three smaller casemates were used for storage. The architects intended Casemate #5, about half the size of Casemate #1, as the headquarters of Fort Mifflin in the time of attack.

The army built the blacksmith shop before 1802, it is probably the oldest surviving complete structure at Fort Mifflin. (RG77 NAB)

The army built a two-story officers quarters, measuring 96 feet (29 m) by 28 feet (8.5 m), in 1814 (#475, RG 77, NAB).

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