Fort Hamilton – Local Ohio Frontier History

In our back yard lies the location of Fort Hamilton in downtown Hamilton Ohio.

Markers to Commemorate Fort Hamilton


Fort Hamilton was created shortly after the Revolutionary War yet a key location on the Ohio frontier.  Modern-day Hamilton, Ohio, is located on the site of Fort Hamilton.

Why There:

Arthur St. Clair, a general in the United States Army, ordered the construction of Fort Hamilton in September 1791. The fort was the first of many built north from Cincinnati in American Indian territory. Fort Hamilton served as a supply depot for American expeditions against natives living along the Great Miami River, the Auglaize River, and the Maumee River during the early 1790s.

Fort Construction

Fort Hamilton consisted of a four-sided, square stockade. Each wall was approximately fifty yards in length. There were four diamond-shaped projections called bastions sticking out from the stockade’s walls.

Plaque in Downtown Hamilton Showing Layout of Fort Hamilton

St. Clair provided a detailed description of the Fort Hamilton’s construction in his Narrative of the Campaign Against the Indians:

The circuit of the fort is about one thousand feet, through the whole extent of which a trench about three feet deep was dug to set the piquets [posts] in, of which it required about two thousand to enclose it; and it is not trees taken promiscuously, that will answer for piquets, they must be tall and straight, and from nine to twelve inches in diameter.

When found, they are felled, cleared of their branches and cut into lengths of about twenty feet. They were then carried to the ground and butted, that they might be placed firm and upright in the trench with the axe, or cross-cut saw; some hewing upon them also necessary, for there are few trees so straight that the sides of them will come in contact when set upright.

Visual Interpretation of Fort Hamilton on Banks of Great Miami River

Base for Additional Campaigns:

Upon the fort’s completion in early October, 1791, St. Clair left a small group of soldiers and two cannons to garrison it. He proceeded northward forty-five miles, where he constructed Fort Jefferson. In early November, St. Clair’s men marched northward. On November 4, 1791, the region’s American Indians won a major victory against the invading Anglo-American settler forces in a battle that came to be known as St. Clair’s Defeat.


The location of Fort Hamilton is 39° 24.045′ N, 84° 33.886′ W.  There is a marker in downtown Hamilton, Ohio, which is in Butler County.  There is a marker at the intersection of High Street (Ohio Route 129/177) and Monument Avenue, on the right when traveling east on High Street.

Map of the Ohio Revolutionary War Trails network

Two Founding Generals

These two founding generals, Anthony St. Clair and Mad Anthony Wayne, had a long-standing rivalry during the American Revolution. General St. Clair was branded a poor leader after his defeat at the Battle of Wabash River, and was replaced by Anthony Wayne, who then commanded a newly formed military force known as the “Legion of the United States.” After the revolution, it was necessary to claim lands in the Ohio territory for settlement, and to finally end British involvement in the region.

In 1795-1796, following the battle of Fallen Timbers near Greenville, Ohio, Fort Hamilton was dismantled. Only the Powder House in the south corner of the Fort remained until it was destroyed by a flood that occurred along the Great Miami River in 1913.

Model of Fort Hamilton

Other Points of Interest within short walking or shouting distance of Fort Hamilton include:

Quick chronological history of the fort:

  • 1791 – Built as a depot for stores. central portion constructed under the command of General Arthur St. Clair.
  • 1792 – Northern and Southern additions constructed by order of General James Wilkinson.
  • 1793 – Improved by General Anthony Wayne.
  • 1794 – Indian Tribes defeated by United States legion.
  • 1797 – Fort abandoned after signing of Greenville Treaty with Indians in 1795.
  • 1913 – Last remnants of Fort Hamilton destroyed by flood waters of the Great Miami River.

Links of interest:

Butler County Historical Society –

Historical Marker Database –

Ohio Revolutionary Trails Map – showing early highways of Ohio –

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