The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) has announced it acquired a historically significant site of a War of 1812 battle between British and American forces.
The 24-acre property on Horse Island will become part of Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site in Jefferson County.
The property encompasses nearly the entire area of Horse Island, an island off shore from Sacket’s Harbor. Following the outbreak of war between the United States and Great Britain in June 1812, Sackets Harbor became the center of American naval and military activity for the upper St. Lawrence Valley and Lake Ontario.
In an attempt to destroy its shipyard, a British-Canadian force launched an attack on May 29, 1813. The attack began with an early-morning amphibious assault against American forces at Horse Island. Americans encamped on the island initially prevented the British from landing, but later were forced to retreat across a causeway to the mainland. The Americans eventually drove off the invasion in a narrow but costly victory.
The property also includes a lighthouse built during the 1870s that had been used as a summer residence for the island’s previous owners. State Parks is evaluating potential uses for the lighthouse as well as other steps to provide public access.
New York State Parks partnered with the American Battlefield Trust to purchase the property. The American Battlefield Trust procured a $683,798 federal grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, and State Parks provided $135,684 through the Environmental Protection Fund.
State Parks says Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site attracts approximately 80,000 visitors a year, who enjoy indoor and outdoor historic interpretation, guided and self-guided tours, a restored 1850s Navy Yard and Commandant’s House and outstanding views of Lake Ontario. During the summer months, guides dressed in military clothing of 1813 reenact the camp life of the common soldier.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual state parks, historic sites, golf courses, boat launches and recreational trails, which are visited by 71 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call (518) 474-0456 or click here.