Fort Mackinac was home to more than 4,500 British and U.S. soldiers between 1780 and 1895. These soldiers constructed buildings and walls, drilled on the parade ground, marched sentry beats, and performed myriad maintenance and administrative duties in support of the fort’s strategic military function. That function varied greatly over the fort’s 115-year history. During the first half-century of its occupation the island fort protected and controlled the upper Great Lakes fur trade and served as an administrative center for maintaining alliances with the region’s Native Americans. By the late 1830s the decline of the fur trade and acquisition of Native American lands that resulted in the creation of the state of Michigan diminished the fort’s strategic value. It was not until after the Civil War that Fort Mackinac regained a role of importance, when it became the headquarters for the country’s second national park. In this volume, Mackinac State Historic Parks’ director Phil Porter tells the story of Fort Mackinac through the lives and activities of its soldiers. This book is profusely illustrated with more than 150 historic oil portraits, maps, and photographs collected from libraries and museums across the United States and Great Britain. Military historians and readers interested in Mackinac’s rich military history will appreciate the interesting and visually compelling story of soldier life at Fort Mackinac in The Soldiers of Fort Mackinac: An Illustrated History.
British Soldiers at Mackinac, 1780–1796 and 1812–1815
U.S. Soldiers at Mackinac, 1796–1812
U.S. Soldiers at Mackinac, 1815–1861
U.S. Soldiers at Mackinac, 1862–1895
“Literally a who’s who of those that served at the fort on Mackinac Island, The Soldiers of Fort Mackinac is an outstanding study of the military men who left an imprint on the island’s history. Phil Porter’s expertise and depth of knowledge about the history of the island and its landmark military fort is on full display in this volume.”
—Larry J. Wagenaar, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Michigan and Publisher of Michigan History magazine