Madison Barracks

From Jefferson County NY Wiki

Madison Barracks

From 1816 to 1819, after the end of the War of 1812, the first phase of Madison Barracks buildings was constructed by the Second U.S. Infantry, under the command of Colonel Hugh Brady. William Smith, a man who is largely forgotten today and who had a big influence on the development of Watertown and the surrounding areas, laid out plans for the buildings at Madison Barracks.

Madison Barracks was built at the site of Fort Pike (picture of the wall ruins of Fort Pike can be found here) on Black River Bay which was the eastern anchor of the Sackets Harbor defensive line. The barracks and the officers' quarters were built around a square parade ground.

President James Monroe visited Sackets Harbor in 1817 to view construction of Madison Barracks. In 1838 President Martin Van Buren visited Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor. A volley of muskets fired in his honor nearly resulted in tragedy when a ramrod; left in the musket barrel by one of the soldiers, flew through the air and speared the ground near Van Buren.

During the 1830's more buildings were built in response to the Patriot's Rebellion (in Canada).

During the 1840's the Eighth Regiment left Madison Barracks to serve in the war against the Seminoles in Florida.

It was all but abandoned in from around 1852 to 1861, but then was used as training for recruits. During 1879 a fire destroyed some of the officers' barracks, some of Stone Row, and some surrounding buildings.

President Grant, who was once stationed at Madison Barracks, had it enlarged and rebuilt in 1892 during his presidency. A polo ground was added and later in 1905 more buildings were added. Madison Barracks' post became a major Field Artillery garrison post. Training and firing ranges at Stony Point and Pine Camp were added. The pillboxes from the firing ranges on Stony Point can still be seen at Wehle State Park. For more pictures of the pillboxes see this site and for info on the park and trails see this site.

Madison Barracks was used by the National Guard, and medical and quartermaster units during World War II between 1941 and 1944.

In 1945 the U.S. Government considered closing both Pine Camp and Madison Barracks. But it was decided to expand Pine Camp and close Madison Barracks in 1947.

In 1974 Madison Barracks was listed on the National Register of Historic Places but was still mostly empty and continued to deteriorate. The Sackets Harbor Battlefield was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For current pictures of the old Madison Barracks buildings here are three links - 1, 2, 3.

Also See

Historic Structures in Jefferson County

Sackets Harbor

Sackets Harbor Battlefield

Sackets Harbor Village Historic District

Fort Pike

National Register of Historic Places

Stone Buildings