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Like Fort Duquesne, Fort Frederick was constructed during the French and Indian War. Located south of Big Pool on the C&O Canal, the fort was constructed between 1756 and 1757 by the colony of Maryland when Governor Horatio Sharpe requested and received £6,000 from the Maryland Legislature to construct a frontier fort. Designed by Sebastian Vauban, a French engineer famous for designing forts, the fort was built of native sandstone and designed as a quadrangle with diamond-shaped bastions at its corners, and named after Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore. It was intended to be used as a place of refuge for settlers. It would later see use in the American Revolution and Civil War.


Between 1757 and 1758, Indians were raiding surrounding settlements, causing the settlers to flee eastward.  A garrison of militia as well as regulars from the 60th Regiment of Foot were stationed at Fort Frederick at the time.  They responded by sending ranging patrols out in an attempt to engage Indian raiding parties.  Fortunately the remoteness of the region made the French unable to transport artillery to the area and bombard the fort, as it had not been built to withstand artillery barrages.  Though it was used as a shelter as intended during Pontiac's Rebellion, the fort was never directly attacked.

It was also never attacked during the American Revolution, though it was used from 1777 to 1783 as a POW camp.  Up to a thousand British and German soldiers captured after the Battles of Saratoga and Yorktown in 1777 and 1781 respectively were quartered at Fort Frederick.  The fort was auctioned off in 1791 and abandoned.  Then in December 1861 the 1st Maryland Infantry, Potomac Horse Brigade garrisoned the fort and used it as a gun emplacement to protect the C&O Canal and B&O Railroad.  On December 25, 1861, a Confederate raiding party attacked the 1st Maryland's H Company at the fort.  Fort Frederick was then abandoned in February 1861, the military usefulness of it at an end, though it was occupied by a 12th Illinois Cavalry picket in October of that year.

In 1922, the property was acquired by Maryland as Maryland's first state park.  The fort had deteriorated, but discovery of the original plans allowed a complete reconstruction.  The Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt it during the 1930s.  Two of the three barracks buildings have been restored.  Fort Frederick, intended as a shelter, has been used as a patrol base, prison camp, and gun platform, and now serves as a tourist destination, and is used for the occasional historical reenactment.

1. "Fort Frederick State Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia," Wikipedia.org, accessed May 31, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Frederick_State_Park