Thursday, December 20, 2018

Here's your chance to help solve a mystery related to Fort Amanda.

During the War of 1812, the men at Fort Amanda spent most of their when not shipping materials, or building boats, they spent a large amount of time making cartridges (bullets).

Cartridges were, as the picture above shows, basically a paper tube with a lead ball on one end and the other end of the tube filled with gunpowder. They were torn open, the powder dumped down the barrel of a musket, the ball inserted in the barrel and pushed down with a ramrod (the paper served as wadding)

Because most of the frontier forts in 1812 where cartridges were made, had a gunpowder storage area called a "magazine."

They generally were built underground or at least partially underground and protected by large log walls and roof to contain blast damage in the even of an accidental explosion. At Fort Meigs powder was stored in a heavily timbered blockhouse; a frequent target of British artillerymen. Others were built totally underground with stairways leading down to the powder.

Fort York (Toronto) Steps leading down to a powder c

The vast numbers of cartridges assembled at Fort Amanda suggests that there must have been a powder magazine constructed somewhere in the general area. But the question is where?

Below is a map of the general area of the Fort Amanda site

It's likely the gunpowder was stored fairly close to the fort too far for obvious reasons; soldiers needed easy access to it plus my assumption is it needed to be easily visible so sentries could see if it was threatened.

Back in the 1970s I noticed a ground feature on the property south of the fort near the property line that looked very much like the outline of a structure of some kind. I'd always thought perhaps it was an old farm building but now I wonder could be the outline of a building associated with the fort, even (I realize this is a stretch) the long lost powder magazine? The feature in the circle is an exact scaled tracing of the ground feature. Look closely at the feature to the right you can clearly see it is in the form of a rectangle.

I'd be very interested in your thoughts.