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Fort McClary was named after Major Andrew McClary who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War. The fort saw little conflict during the following five wars; Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, although manned during each war. This is typical of most Maine forts. During each war the fort was modified to meet defensive needs. Fort McClary was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

  • Fort McClary
  • Main entry to the blockhouse
  • Entrance to the Caponier
  • Third Floor to the blockhouse.
  • Remaining pintle from a gun position on the Lower Battery. Most likely left from an 1840s Parrott gun emplacement.
  • Interior of the Powder Magazine
  • Mounted Cannon in the blockhouse.
  • Fort McClary Entrance

The site that currently occupies Fort McClary was originally owned in 1689 by William Pepperell.  The original structures were simple earthworks and a small blockhouse named Pepperell's Garrison or Fort Pepperell.

The original fort, Fort William, was built in 1720 to provide defense at the river for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay.

In 1775 when the Revolutionary War started the Pepperell family remained loyal to the British Crown.  The family was forced to leave the land. Until 1779, the New Hampshire militia manned the fort.

Not until 1808 did the historical site take the current name of "Fort McClary".  Modifications continued up until 1844 with a new "Second System" being added. In 1846 the fort was abandoned and deactivated.

During the Civil War the fort was again manned with the company, Kittery Artillery (50-man company of old men and young boys) and Battery B 1st New Hampshire Artillery.  Battery B was stationed on the fort from September 1863 to May 1864, returning November 1864 due to the fear of Confederate raids. In 1864 it was noted that Vice President Hannibal Hamlin spent three months at the fort under the Kittery Artillery

During the Spanish-American war as part of the Harbor Defense of Portsmouth, New Hampshire three 15" Rodman smoothbore cannons were placed at the fort. During World War I (1917-1918) the fort was only used as an observation post.