Historical Markers
Fort Pitt Historical Marker
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Fort Pitt

Pittsburgh Region


Marker Location:
Point State Park, Pittsburgh

Dedication Date:
May 8, 1959

Behind the Marker

Illustration of the fort
Fort Pitt (Pennsylvania), map published in 1765, drawn by John Rocque.
Named for British Prime Minister William Pitt, Fort Pitt marked the end of the markerForbes Road. It was built between 1759 and 1761 and was the largest and most formidable of the British forts in Pennsylvania. From the beginning, it was a point of contention between the British and their Indian neighbors. The Ohio Indians were no happier with the British fortifying the Forks of the Ohio than they had been with the French. This region was still their homeland, and they believed the British had promised to regard it as such at the 1758 Easton Treaty.

In 1759, British intentions became clearer as soldiers, laborers, and settlers congregated around the construction site of Fort Pitt. The Fort was an important depot for the fur trade, but when the British commander-in-chief Sir Jeffrey Amherst decided to stop granting diplomatic presents to the Indians, he permanently alienated those groups–Delawares, Shawnee, and Senecas–who had come to rely on the storehouses at Fort Pitt for their material well-being.

An artist's rendition of Fort Pitt as it appeared around 1776.
An artist's rendition of Fort Pitt as it appeared around 1776.
Amherst's policy sparked a large-scale Indian uprising against the British along the Great Lakes-Ohio frontier in summer 1763. Named after the Ottawa chief who led the siege of Detroit, Pontiac's Rebellion is a bit of a misnomer when applied to the Ohio Country. The Delawares, Shawnee, and Senecas in the Upper Ohio Valley were not under Pontiac's command, but they did share many of his grievances about the British failure to evacuate the old French forts and their refusal to engage in diplomatic gift-giving.

Forts LeBoeuf, markerPresque Isle, and markerVenango fell to assaults by Ohio Indians in June, who then laid siege to Fort Pitt, where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge. For more than a month, Fort Pitt remained cut off from the outside world, desperately awaiting aid that its inhabitants were not even sure was coming.

Marching west from Carlisle on the Forbes Road, Colonel Henry Bouquet engaged the Indians at markerBushy Run on August 6 and lifted the siege of Fort Pitt. The British abandoned the post nine years later, but during the Revolutionary Era, it was reoccupied by militias and civilians embroiled in hostilities with the British and Indians.
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