Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fort Bedford Visit

It was a beautiful late Summer day in Western Pennsylvania and I had a few hours to kill so I decided to stop at Fort Bedford in Bedford Pa.  Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

  Fort Bedford Location lies East of Fort Necessity and Southeast of Fort Pitt.  In the lower right of this map.

Fort Bedford was a British Stockade built in 1758 as part of the  campaign against the French at Fort Duquesne. After several failed attempts in the early 1750's, the British launched a major offensive against Fort Duquesne in 1758. Facing the formidable task of crossing the Allegheny Mountains and the threat of attack, numerous stockades were built along the trek west. Fort Bedford was constructed as a key fortification along the military path, Forbes Road, and served as the staging area for the successful campaign. After the war, Fort Bedford was used as a British outpost on the frontier as refuge from Indian attack as the exploration westward increased. The stockade stood strong until the 1770's. 

In the Museum I found this model of what they believe the fort looked like

The reproduction on the current location only replicates a small corner of the original layout>  The town of Bedford PA has been built on the location previously occupied by the fort.

Possible location of the Postern Gate Overlooking the river.
The stockade, known as Raystown and later named Fort Bedford, had been built by Forbes' capable deputy, Col. Henry Bouquet. Bouquet constructed one of the best of the frontier forts at Bedford. Embracing an area of 7000 square yards, the fort had five bastions, places for the use of swivel guns, which guarded the corners of the irregularly shaped stockade (see image, below). The main gate was on the south side of the fort parallel to modern-day Pitt Street, a smaller gate faced the west side and a postern gate opened northward.

The Western Side.  

It is interesting to note that several articles I read on the fort indicated that there was no artillery present.  Yet in the Museum they show several shells and from the archaeological finds in the area it appears that they had discovered they believe there had been an "artillery park" at one time where they found a concentration of unused shells and some artillery tools and they found a concentration of obviously spent/used shells about 200 Meters from the proposed "park" .  Target practice or crew drills perhaps being the cause of the spent shells as there is no reported battle at Fort Bedford.

Artillery Shells found near Ford Bedford

Original Bedford Flag in the Fort Bedford Museum
The Fort Bedford Flag was a gift to the British forces at Fort Raystown by the Fourth Duke of Bedford, England. Between November 28th and December 14th, 1758, Fort Raystown was renamed Fort Bedford in honor of the Duke and his honored flag. Known as a "red fly," this type of flag also was used on British ships. While no evidence that the flag ever flew over Fort Bedford exists, the official Fort Bedford Flag was hung in the officer's quarters and only brought out on special occasions. (copied from Fort Bedford website

The small city of Bedford is interesting and the surrounding countryside was beautiful.  Nearby there is an "old Bedford Town" which replicates what the town might have looked like in the 18th century.  It is apparently frequently used by reenactors.  


  1. Tom - I like permission to use the photo of the Fort Bedford model to illustrate the biography of Brev. Lt. Col. William Grant in my book (Kilts & Courage. Grant commanded at Fort Bedford, Pennsylvania with a company of the 42nd Regt. in 1764-1765.

    Contact me at paullaurapace[insert "at" symbol]

  2. You noted that: "The stockade, known as Raystown and later named Fort Bedford..." It should be noted that the stockade was never known as Raystown. The name Raystown was only applied to the trading post (i.e. town) operated by John Ray. When Bouquet chose the spot to construct the fort, he chose a spot about a half mile west of Ray's trading post or 'town.' The stockade was unnamed until given the name Fort Bedford.