Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fort Mackinac

Whoops!  I lied.  The next post is Charlevoix.  First I gotta tell you about Fort Mackinac.

Fort Mackinac has the distinction of apparently being so worthless and weak that every country to garrison the facility gave up and surrendered at the slightest threat of invasion.  It was built by the British and did not transition to American administration until many years after independence, This would later be known as The Great Pack Your Stuff We Are Walking Outa Here of 1796.

Mackinac Bridge peeks into view on the right in the distance.

During the War of 1812, the British attacked the fort by canoe (!).  At the time, the Americans staffed the fort with just a few tens of men and the sight of a few hundred guys in canoes sent the Americans into a frantic tizzy and the order was given to surrender the facility with nary a shot fired.  This became known as The Great Pack Your Stuff We Are Walking Outa Here of 1812.

The town off to the west and south of the front fortifications.

After he signing of the Treaty of Ghent at the end of the War of 1812, American Forces re-occupied the Fort in what would become known as The Great Pack Your Stuff We Are Walking Outa Here of 1815

Looking down on Marquette Park and the shoreline and marina .  Round Point and Passage Lights in the distance.

The fort was not totally historically inept however, as it is universally considered as the "Birthplace of Gastric Physiology."

Looking Southeast from the fortifications.

See, this fur trader dude by the name of Alexis Saint Martin was accidentally shot in the gut, undoubtedly by some military enlistee or another from one of the many groups leaving in surrender without firing a shot toward the bad guys.  This Martin fellow lived after being cared for by Doctor Beaumont, chief surgeon, barber, and tooth puller of the fort. Martin survived with a cork in a hole in his belly, which allowed Beaumont to feed him various things and then peek inside Martin's gut to see what the food looked like after a period of time.  This Bar-B-Que Peek-A-Boo shenanigans continued for several years and resulted in the Beaumont's book, Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice, and the Physiology of Digestion.  I'm sure it is one hell of a read.

Awesome weather vane.

The view over the town and of the Lights, from the walls of the Fort.

The Grand Hotel in the distance.

Like most historic fortifications not related to massive battles and sweeping armies of destruction, Fort Mackinac is mostly of local importance.  It is an interesting look at life on the fur trading frontier during the turn of the 19th century however, and well worth a visit.  You will also hear a lot about some French guy named Marquette.  Apparently he did something of some importance up there also, but in my era dominated by satellite TV and Facebook, I can't be bothered with the goings of of long since dead Jesuit priests.

*watches for the lightening bolts*


Steve Reed said...

I thought Katie Couric's televised colonoscopy was pretty daring, but I think Alexis St. Martin was definitely more courageous.

Anonymous said...

I would recheck your facts...especially about attacking by canoe! Sure they traveled by canoe, but they landed on the north side and lugged a cannon to the high ground with about 600 people (British, Canadian militia, and native tribes). That's when they attacked. Against a very small garrison. No, the fort wasn't huge for decisive watersheds, but was important for the hold of the American Revolution, War of 1812, and designation of the US's 2nd National Park.

utahDOG! said...

Spoken like a board member of the "Mackinaw-nac Historical Society for the Preservation of Old Stuff"

Sorry, but the 'attack by canoe' was so fearsome and threatening that facility commander, Lieutenant Hanks, faced court martial proceedings for giving up without firing a shot.

Do you actually have an alert set to tell you when some obscure personal blog makes a few dimwitted jokes and includes the phrase "Fort Mackinac"?

Its all in fun, people. Don't believe everything you read on the Interwebs.