Experience Fort Ligonier through the links below. Click and drag an image, left or right, up or down to view the panorama. You will need QuickTime in order to view the QuickTime VR panoramas. Download the free QuickTime player from Apple Computer by clicking here.
An emplacement, permanent or temporary, constructed of earth and revetting materials, for a group of artillery pieces (cannons, howitzers and/or mortars). The battery was defined by the layout of the fort, and guns were grouped according to bastions or walls. Unlike a bastion, the battery did not have a particular geometrical outline. In a battery, guns were positioned at regular intervals, each opposite a wedge-shaped embrasure and shielded by the parapet; they were mounted on a platform of thick boards, which were elevated at the rear to check recoil.
View from the Battery
This centrally located area was the open space between the main structures of the fort. It was also sometimes called the esplanade. The parade ground was the location where the soldiers of the garrison were formally assembled for drill, review, inspection, roll call and witnessing of punishment. The most common corporal punishment for disciplinary infractions was flogging, whereby an offender was lashed with a cat-o’-nine tails (a multi-strand whip) as prescribed by British military regulations and tradition.
View from the Parade
North & West Bastion
The inner fort of Fort Ligonier was basically a square, about 200 feet on a side, with projecting bastions at each corner. A bastion was a four- sided work, usually placed at the angles of a fort, consisting of two flanks and two faces. It was so designed to enable the garrison to protect both the connecting curtain walls of the fort and the adjacent ground outside with a crossfire of musketry and/or cannon fire. Each fort wall was fashioned to act as a self-defending unit through the use of flanking fire, with the bastion at each end supporting the other and the curtain wall in between. The bastion system, which was well established by the eighteenth century, was incorporated into all but the humblest of stockades. The North bastion is a picketed wall.
View from the North or West Bastion
The horizontal log wall safeguarded the whole eastern side of the fort, the entire eastern bastion, a little more than half of the south bastion and half of the north curtain wall. Archeology confirmed that these details are in accordance with the contemporary maps. The log wall, which could resist an artillery bombardment, faced the level ground to the east in anticipation of probable French assault from that direction. Construction details are illustrated on a 1758 plan, which ensured the authenticity of the reconstruction. Two parallel log walls, ten feet apart, were sturdily joined with logs half-dovetail notched at the ends. The resulting basket-work was then filled with stones and earth, which was proof against most horizontal cannon shot. The top of the log wall was additionally secured with fraises.
View from atop the Double Wall
Military engineer Harry Gordon warned that a direct hit by enemy mortar fire on the vulnerable magazine in the south bastion could destroy the entire fort. In 1759 this underground magazine was built to secure the fort’s powder supply. The heavy construction employed, along with the steepness of the stairs and angle of the passageway, protected the powder from enemy fire and would help contain an accidental explosion. This fully restored building, based completely on archeological evidence, had between six- and twelve-inch wall timbers to hold back the surrounding earth and support the heavy roof. The wall timbers were tenoned at their ends and set into slots in the corner posts. The roof was made of two layers of eight-inch-thick squared logs with a heavy layer of yellow clay piled on top of the timbers. For safety, powder kegs were bound with copper or wooden hoops, and only non- ferrous tools were used.
View from the Powder Magazine
A wide, deep trench surrounding a fort or defensive work. It represented an excavated section of ground in front of the rampart, intended as an additional obstacle, simple but hazardous, in the path of an advancing enemy. The width and depth of the ditch were proportioned to the fortified work. When filled with water, it was called a moat or wet ditch, otherwise it was termed a dry ditch. Its inner slope was termed the scarp and the outer slope, the counterscarp. A ditch had the effect of creating a two storied vertical face against potential attackers, while presenting only a one storey target to distant artillery. Vauban believed that “a good ditch is always the best element in a work of fortification.”
View from the Moat