Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Northern Early America
Fort Ligonier is located on U.S. Route 30 and Pa. Route 711, in Ligonier, PA.
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In the middle of the eighteenth century, two European powers, Great Britain and France, began a contest for ownership of the immense inner basin of North America. The resulting conflict for empire became worldwide and was known in America as the French and Indian War. French victories over George Washington and Edward Braddock in 1754-55, wrested from Britain control of the strategic forks of the Ohio River (modern Pittsburgh).
By 1758, General John Forbes was assigned the daunting task of seizing Fort Duquesne, the French citadel at the forks. He ordered construction of a new road across Pennsylvania, guarded by a chain of fortifications, the final link being the “Post at Loyalhanna,” fifty miles from his objective, to serve as a supply depot and staging area for a British-American army of 5000 troops. The fort was constructed in September 1758. By late October, Washington had arrived at Loyalhanna, but not before the defeat of a British force at Fort Duquesne on September 14, and the successful defense of Loyalhanna from a French attack on October 12. Heavily outnumbered, the French abandoned Fort Duquesne, which Forbes occupied on November 25. He designated the site “Pittsburgh” in honor of Secretary of State William Pitt. Forbes also named Loyalhanna “Fort Ligonier” after his superior, Sir John Ligonier, commander in chief in Great Britain.
During the eight years of its existence as a garrison, Fort Ligonier was never taken by an enemy. It served as a post of passage to the new Fort Pitt, and during Pontiac´s War of 1763, was a vital link in the British communication and supply lines. It was attacked twice and besieged by the native Americans, prior to the decisive victory at Bushy Run in August of that year. In March 1766, Arthur St. Clair was appointed civil caretaker, and Fort Ligonier was decommissioned from active service.
Please call for further information, 724-238-9701. Adults ($12), Seniors 62+ ($10), Students 17-21 ($10), Military/Vets ($6), Youth 6-16 ($6), Children 5 and under (free). Group tours available by reservation.
Open Friday through Sunday
Monday through Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
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