Fort Dayton

Variant name of place

Fort Deaton

Geographic position



"History." Village of Herkimer.; "Fort Dayton." New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center.; "Drums Along the Mohawk" (dir. John Ford, 1939).; Geo coordinates at

General note

Fort Dayton, located in what is now the town of Herkimer in central New York, was part of a defensive chain of forts built along the Mohawk River to fend off British and Indian attacks from Canada. It was constructed in 1776 by troops of the Fourth New Jersey Regiment under the command of Colonel Elias Dayton, on the north side of the Mohawk River at West Canada Creek in a settlement then called German Flatts because of the large population of German immigrants. Built on the site of the earlier Old Fort Herkimer, a dilapidated wooden blockhouse from the French and Indian War, it should not be confused with Fort Herkimer, which was located two miles east on the south side of the Mohawk River. Both forts offered the area's settlers protection during conflicts and a place to store their goods. On August 4, 1777, the Tryon County Militia mobilized about 900 men within the stockade of Fort Dayton, and General Nicholas Herkimer led this regiment from the Fort to relieve the British siege of Fort Stanwix. Enroute they engaged British troops in a small ravine near Oriskany, and though Herkimer was wounded, he won what later was determined to be one of the decisive battles that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War in favor of the Americans. After Herkimer's death a few weeks later, the area's inhabitants renamed their settlement "Herkimer" in his honor. On August 22, General Benedict Arnold (later to become the notorious traitor), also mustered a large army at Fort Dayton, which became a starting point for many military expeditions. It became the westernmost fort in the Mohawk Valley after the destruction of Fort Stanwix in 1781, and was besieged by the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant in 1782. General George Washington visited Fort Dayton in July 1783 on his tour of the fortifications of the Mohawk Valley. Fort Dayton was eventually abandoned and razed in 1832 to make way for the Erie Canal. It is the setting for the historical novel "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1936) by Walter D. Edmonds, which was made into a film in 1939 directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, Claudette Colbert, and John Carradine. Occom visited friends and preached in Fort Dayton in 1789 and 1790.