Williamsburg was the captital of Virginia until the Revolutionary War.  Many famous Revolutionaries spent time in Williamsburg including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, both governors of Virginia at one time.
    Touring Williamsburg is like being in a time machine.  The people who work in Williamsburg are dressed in traditional colonial garb and play the part of a colonist talking as if they actually lived in colonial times.  Much of the discussion in the various shops and homes centers around life before the Revolutionary War with England.  There is much talk of taxation without representation and how the behavior of the colonist in Massachusetts, in particular Boston, is bad.  Many people in Williamsburg are disturbed that the Sons of Liberty threw the tea in the Boston Harbor.  Others feel this was warranted.  This created much conflict within the colony as there were colonists who wanted liberty from England, Patriots, and colonists who wanted to remain under English rule, Loyalists.
    One place that the colonists gathered to discuss the politics of the day was the coffeehouse.  This was run by a wigmaker, Mr. Charlton, and his wife.  If you tour the coffeehouse today, they will serve you either tea or hot chocolate.  I recommend the tea, as the hot chocolate is not sweetened and tastes very bitter.
    The Governor's Palace is the centerpiece of Williamsburg.  In front of the Palace is the Palace Green.  This is a wide open green space with homes and shops.  Celebrations were held on the Palace Green.  When you enter the Governor's Palace, the first thing you will notice is guns.  Lots and lots of guns.  This was to warn guests that there would be no nonsense tolerated.  The Palace is three stories with a basement.  In its heyday, it took 25 servants to man the Palace.  Two of the most famous governors to live in the Palace were Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.   When the capital of Virginia was moved to Richmond, the Palace served as a hospital to soldiers wounded at the Battle of Yorktown.
    One of the private homes located along the Palace Green is the George Wythe house.  George Wythe was a Patriot, and the first colonist to sign the Declaration of Independence.  His house became the head quarters for George Washington during the Battle of Yorktown.  George Wythe was an attorney and a teacher.  One of his most famous pupils was Thomas Jefferson who also spent time at his house.  On the walls in the parlor you will notice a photograph of a man and woman.  These are not Mr. and Mrs. Wythe.  They are the framed covers of British fashion magazines.  Upstairs there is a child's room that includes many toys played by colonial children.
    Across the street from the Palace Green is the magazine.  A magazine is a building that stores ammunition and arms.  It was at the magazine that the Revolution in Virgina started to take hold.  The British governor of Virgina, Governor Dunmore, ordered soldiers to seize all of the gunpowder from the magazine.  The citizens of Virginia saw this and drums were sent through the city to warn the colonists.  The soldiers fled, but the colonists threatened harm to Governor Dunmore.  Just a week later, the battles of Lexington and Concord occured with the British soldiers trying to seize the gunpowder in Massachusetts.  Looks like they were using Virginia as a dress rehearsal!  British rule in Virginia ended in early June when Governor Dunmore fled Virginia.
    While in Williamsburg, you can visit many shops and see deomonstrations of the trades.  Not all of the shops were open when we visited, but we did get to see the weaver, the milner (dress maker), the silversmith, and the shoe maker.  I suspect that if you visit Williamsburg during the summer months more of the shops would be open for business.
    Wilmington is located on the Cape Fear River, which made it an excellent location for the colonists to settle.  Not only is it located on a river making it a great location for a port, but the long growing season made it attractive to farmers.  Wilmington is the only southern colonial city that was not burnt to the ground by Union soldiers during the Civil War.  As a result, it is a colonial city full of original architecture.  We toured this beautiful city by taking a horse drawn carriage ride.  During our ride, we discovered that the colonists used everything from the ship that brought them from England to the colonies.  The stones that were in the bottom of the boat to steady it (balast) were used as walls around the colonists home.  Doors from the ship were used as decorative features on their homes.
    Because there was no refrigeration, a warehouse was built over the Cape Fear River.  Farmers brought their produce to the market to sell, and the cool water below the warehouse kept their fruits and vegetables fresh.
    Boston is a city filled with colonial history.   The best way to see the significant historical sites of Boston is to follow the Freedom Trail.  This is a path marked in red that runs through the city.  It is designed to take you past historical buildings and places significant in our quest for independence from England.  While we were there, we did a walking tour of the downtown portion of the trail.  This was very informative.
    Many people think that the Puritans were the first people to settle in Boston.  This is not the case.  A man by the name of William Blackstone was already living in Boston when the Puritans came.  He was a hermit who had farmland near Beacon Hill.  The Puritans had run out of fresh water on their journey from England, and stopped in the harbor looking for spring water.  William Blackstone took them a spring, which is now commemorated with a plaque on a building.  The colonists decided to stay much to the dislike of William Blackstone.  They assured him they would stay near the harbor, but as more and more Englishmen came to the Massuchesetts Bay Colony, they moved further inland closer to where William lived.  He eventually sold his farmland to the city of Boston, and it became Boston Common.  Today it is a very large park.  The current state house overlooks the Common.  The gold dome was originally copper and was designed by none other than Paul Revere. 
    Before the current state house was built, the colonists conducted their government out of the Old State House which was where the English ruled.  On one side of the building is a unicorn, on the other a lion.  These are the symbols of England.  After the British evacuated Boston, the lion and unicorn were removed.  In later years, they were put back on to show people what the Old State House originally looked like.  The colonists did not want their government office to be located in the same building that the English had occupied, but it took them 21 years to level the top of the Beacon Hill which is where they wanted to build their state house.  The land from the hill was dumped into the bay to create the harbor.
    During colonial times, Boston was not a diverse city.  The largest minority were French Huegonots.  Peter Faneuil, a French Huegonot, was a wealthy merchant.  He wanted to build a place where he could conduct business, but he had to have his plans approved by council.  When he said that the second floor would be a great hall where the colonists could meet, the council approved his plan immediately.  Since the English could see Faneuil Hall from the Old State House, the colonists did not put a door on that side of the building.  They did not want the English to know who was coming and going.
    Outside of the Old State House is where the Boston Massacre occurred.  The events of that night are depicted in a famous engraving done by Paul Revere.  Although Revere was not present when the Boston Massacre occurred, Samuel Adams told him what to draw.  He used this as propaganda to incite the colonists about the wrong doings of the British soldiers.  The Boston Massacre was actually precipitated by an incident that had occurred about two weeks earlier when a Tory killed a 12 year boy, Christopher Snider.  The crowd that gathered outside of the Old State House taunted the British soldier on guard.  Eventually, a crowd gathered, and the captain of the British, Thomas Preston, came to try to calm things down.  When a British soldier was knocked to the ground by a club thrown by the Patriots, he fired a shot at point blank range.  When the riot finally ended, 5 colonists were dead.  These five victims, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, Patrick Carr, and Crispus Attucks, along with the Christopher Snider, are buried in one gravesite in Granary Cemetary.
    In this cemetary are also the gravestones of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Mary Goose, otherwise known as Mother Goose.  John Hancock has the largest memorial.  It is said that he paid for much of the Revolution with his own money.  The Franklin family is also buried in this graveyard.  The one Franklin missing is Ben.  When Ben was 17, he and his brother fought over their father's printing business.  The fight was awful, and Ben left Boston and settled in Philadelphia.  He never returned.
    Right beside the cemetary is a church, King's Chapel.  If you look closely, you will notice that there is no steeple.  This is because the church was rebuilt.  In order to continue having services, the builders built around the old church.  Once it was completed, they dismantled the inside of the church and threw out the windows.  This was a costly process, and they run out of money.  As a result, there was no money left for a steeple.
    Down the street from King's Chapel, is where the first public school, Boston Latin School, was located.  It is marked by a plaque in the sidewalk.  Studying the Bible was the most important part of the school day, and central to the Puritan religion.  Children could attend school without paying tuition, but they did need to pay for the firewood.  Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock,  and Samuel Adams attended school here, but Ben Franklin dropped out.
    Another church, Old South Meeting-House, is located close by.  This is where the Sons of Liberty planned the Boston Tea Party.  When the British soldiers found out the colonists planned the Boston Tea Pary at a church, they turned the church into a stable.  After the British evacuated Boston, it took years for the colonists to get the stench out of the church.
    If you continue on Freedom Trail, you will come to the North End of Boston which is where the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house are located.  The Old North Church is the famous church where Paul Revere watched for the signal light from Robert Newman.  This would alert him as to how the British were coming.  His job was to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the Redcoats were coming to arrest them.  In fact, the Redcoats were coming to seize the weapons and ammunition that the Patriots had in Concord.  The Old North Church is still an active church today.  There are pew boxes in the church that contain the names of the original colonists who owned them.
    Also located in the North End is Paul Revere's house.  It is the oldest building in Boston.  It was built in the 1600's.  The Revere's purchased the house in 1790 when it was almost 90 years old.  The house had seven rooms, and was quite comfortable for the Revere family.  By today's standards, the house is very small.  Although Paul had 16 children in all, no more than 8 of the children lived in the house at one time.
    At the end of the Freedom Trail is Charlestown.  This is the home to the USS Constitution which is the first commissioned boat by the new US government.  It was built to protect American merchants from pirates.
    At the end of the Freedom Trail is where the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought.  There is a large statue that looks like a miniature version of the Washington Monument commemorating the battle.  The monument has 291 steps.  It is a difficult climb, but well worth it. The Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed's Hill.  The Patriots wanted to fortify the hill because it was a good vantage point in that they could see the whole city and harbor.  Because the Patriots were low on ammunition, the captain told them not to fire until they saw the white's of their eyes.  There were a total of 3 attacks.  The first two resulted in the British retreating.  The third time the British attacked the Americans ran out of ammunition, and retreated to Cambridge, about a three mile march.  Dr. Warren, who ordered Paul Revere's famous ride, said that he hoped he died fighting the British.  He stayed until the end of the battle, but was shot in the head and died instantly.  There is a statue in his honor.
    On March 17, the British finally evacuated Boston.  Thirteen years after the British evacuation, President Washington visited Boston again.  In his honor they named the main road in Boston Washington Street, and said that no streets should bisect it.  Since there were streets that did just that, they renamed the streets on each side of Washington Street a different name!!  It makes getting around Boston a little confusing.   Evacuation Day, which is also St. Patrick's Day, is a holiday still celebrated today in Boston.  In fact, children do not have school on Evacuation Day!! 
    St. Augustine was the first permanent European settlement in the United States.  It was founded on Easter Sunday in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon.  He thought he had discovered an island and named it La Florida which means the flower.  When Ponce de Leon decided to take settlers to Florida to establish a colony, the Calusa Indians were not very happy.  There were constant attacks, and Ponce de Leon was wounded in the thigh by a poisoned arrow.  He eventually died back in Puerto Rico when the wound became infected.
    There are a number of places to visit in St. Augustine.  One point of interest is the Fountain of Youth Park.  It is located where the spring is that Ponce de Leon believed to be the Fountain of Youth.  He thought that drinking from this spring would allow him to remain youthful since the Native Americans he saw there were healthy, very tall, and the area had plenty of food.  If you visit this park, you can drink from the spring, but the water is warm, and really does not taste very good!! 
    In the Fountain of Youth Park, there is a presentation in a planitarium that shows how the explorers used the stars at night to navigate from Europe to the New World.  It is a good thing we have GPS today!!!  The Fountain of Youth Park is also an archaelogical site.  You can tour buildings around the park and see the artifacts that archaelogists have uncovered.
    Touring the Spanish Quarter is a worthwhile experience.  It is set up much like Williamsburg, but on a smaller scale.  Two of the places in the Spanish Quarter that we toured were the homes of officers who worked at the Castillo de San Marcos.  These homes were much larger than the average home.  They were comprised of two relatively large rooms.  One room was the kitchen/dining area.  The main meal was cooked at noon, and was typically stew.  Women did not bake their own bread.  Instead, they made dough and then took it to the baker to bake.  The baker's payment was a loaf of bread!!  There was a suspended board above the table.  This was where the food was stored.  Although the officers had an indoor kitchen, most of the colonists in St. Augustine cooked outside.  The second room in the officer's house was the living room/bedroom.  There were usually 5-7 people who slept in this one room.  The parents used the bed, and the children slept in a sofacoma.  A sofacoma is a bed stuffed with hay that could be folded up during the day. 
    In order to keep their homes as cool as possible, the colonists made their walls of tabby.  To make tabby, the colonists would gather oysters, eat them, dry the shells, and then burn them.  To the oyster ashes they would mix water which would then create a plaster called tabby.  The walls actually feel cold to the touch.  Another way the colonists kept cool was in the placement of their windows.  There were no windows on the north side of the house, and none of the windows contained glass.  This allowed the ocean breeze to keep them cool.  On the south side of the house was a porch.  Since there were no windows on the north side of any house, the colonist could sit on the porch in privacy.
    While in the Spanish Quarter, we watched a handyman building a fence.  The fence posts were pointed so that the rain water would run down the sides and not sit on the top of the post.  We visited the leathermaker, who had an apprentice working with him.  She was in the process of making a leather mug the was she was going to soak in beeswax in order to waterproof it.  The blacksmith and the carpenter were also hard at work, and we were able to watch a musket being fired.  Colonists were expected to load and fire their muskets three times per minute.  The muskets were very unreliable and inaccurate.  Seven out ten times the muskets misfired.  This happened twice during the demonstration.  For this reason, bayonettes were attached to the ends of the muskets.  There is also a tavern in the Spanish Quarter.  During the colonial period, there were approximately 40 taverns in St. Augustine, a town of only 2,000 people.  The taverns existed because St. Augustine was a port town, and Europeans selling their goods needed a place to eat and sleep.
    The Government Museum is another attraction that is worth visiting.  There are various exhibits that detail life in St. Augustine as well as details regarding the journey from Spain to St. Augustine.  A ship making the journey from Spain to the New World would have 15 mariners and 30 passengers aboard.  Each day the people on board were allotted one and a half pounds of bread, two pints of drinking water, one pint of bathing water, and two pints of wine.  Also on board were horses, which Spain introduced to the New World.  Horses were held up by winches so that their legs didn't touch the deck.  This prevented the horses from breaking their legs, but many horses died during the journey.  If the ship was sent for exploration purposes, there would be a witness.  This witness was assigned by the queen to keep the explorer honest.  The queen wanted to be sure that the explorer didn't keep what they found for themselves.
    The marquee of St. Augustine is the presidio or fort, Castillo de San Marcos.  The Castillo was built after Sir Francis Drake burnt St. Augustine and its wooden fort to the ground.  Spain recognized that St. Augustine needed to be defended so the queen ordered that a new fort be built out of stone.  The fort was built from coquina which is soft shellrock that does not burn.  James Olgethorpe, who founded Georgia, attacked St. Augustine because he wanted to take over Florida and control the trade routes to the Carribean.  The attack lasted one month, but did little damage to the fort.  Olgethorpe and the English retreated.  To take a virtual tour of the Castillo de San Marcos, visit the website: http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/castillo/castillo.html
    Spain and England flip-flopped control of Florida during the colonial period.  As you know, Florida was discovered and first owned by Spain.  After the French and Indian War, Florida was transferred to English control, and St. Augustine became its capital.  During the American Revolution, Florida was a Loyalist colony.  After the Revolution, Florida was returned to Spain as part of the negotiations that ended the war.  Finally, Florida became an American territory in 1821.
    Of all of the cities that I have had the opportunity to visit this year, Savannah is the most unique.  The iron work is exquisite.  Iron became the popular ballast for ships transporting cotton since it could be sold.  This, and the two fires that nearly destroyed Savannah in the 1800s, caused residents to use iron in their buildings since iron does not burn as easily.  Before iron became the popular ballast for ships, stones were used.  These stones were then used to "pave" roads.  Cobblestone streets still exist in Savannah making for a bumpy ride!!  There are many squares throughout the city that act as parks today.  Although the squares add beauty and character to the city, it makes getting around a little challenging!!
    The city of Savannah, the first city in Georgia, was founded and designed by James Olgethorpe.  James Olgethorpe had a friend in England who had died in debtors prison.  A debtor is a person who owes money.  James Olgethorpe wanted to give these debtors another chance, so he organized trustees in England to start the 13th colony in the New World.  The king of England was on board with a new colony because he thought that this new colonly would buffer South Carolina from Florida which was owned by Spain.  Georgia was also established as a safe haven for Protestants.  Eventually Jews from Spain and Portugal came to Georgia for religious freedom as well.  Indigo and cotton were the cash crops that helped Georgia to survive.  James Oglethorpe was considered extremely humane as he outlawed slavery, but it is interesting that he never owned land in Georgia. 
    Many of the buildings in Savannah have historical significance.  Chatham Bank was an inn during colonial times.  President George Washington stayed there during his southern tour because he did not want to offend families who had offered their homes to him.  While on his southern tour, he dined with Mrs. Greene, the widow of Nathanael Greene.  Nathanael Greene was second in command of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  He was commander of all of the troops from Delaware to Georgia.  There is a statue commemorating Nathanael Greene in Johnson Square in Savannah.  His remains are buried under the statue.
    Mrs. Greene, Nathanael Greene's widow, was instrumental in Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin.  Eli Whitney came to Georgia to teach.  He became acquainted with Mrs. Greene, and while staying with her, made a new embroidery frame for her.  When cotton planters came to her house in Savannah and began complaining about stripping the cotton seeds from the plant , she told them to talk to her friend Eli Whitney.  She said he could create anything.  Sure enough, Eli Whitney invented the time saving cotton gin.
    There are many other buildings in Savannah with historical significance.  There is a train station which is now part of the College of Arts and Design.  During colonial times, cotton was transported from this train station in Savannah to Macon, Georgia where it was then shipped to England for processing.  Another building that is still standing is the first church that was built by African slaves so they had a place of their own for worship.  The Second African Baptist Church is also still in use in Savannah and is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tested out his "I Have a Dream" speech.  Also located in Savannah is the birthplace of Juliette Lowe, who was the founder of the Girl Scouts of America.  
    As we toured Savannah, we couldn't help but notice streets honoring famous colonists and Revolutionary War heros.  One of the main streets in Savannah is Olgethorpe Avenue named after Georgia's founder, James Olgethorpe.  Another main street used to be named King Street, but was renamed President Street after the Revolutionary War.  I guess the colonists did not want any reminders of the King of England!!  Many tourists believe that Lincoln Street was named after Abraham Lincoln, but that is not the case.  Lincoln Street is named to honor Benjamin Lincoln, a general in the Revolutionary War who officially accepted the British surrender at Yorktown.
    The many squares in Savannah are also named to honor people of historical significance.  Many of the squares have a memorial or a statue that commemorates the person it is named after.  On our tour we saw Olgethorpe Sqaure, named after James Olgethorpe.  We learned that Reynolds Square was named after John Reynolds, the royal governor of Georgia.  He lasted only one summer in the Georgia heat, and it is said that the colonists were very happy to have him leave.  Several Squares are named after Revolutionary War heros:  Washington Square, Lafayette Square, Franklin Square, and Warren Square.  Warren Square has a statue of Joseph Warren who died at Bunker Hill in Boston.  He never visited Savannah, but he is honored in there because during the Boston Tea Party and the events that followed, Savannah sent aid, in the form of rice, to Boston.  In return, Boston sent aid to Savannah during the Civil War even though the two were on opposing sides.
    Colonial Cemetery is another place of interest in Savannah.  General Sherman's Conferderate army camped here during the Civil War.  Many of the colonists who are buried in Colonial Cemetery died in pistol duels.  This was a common way to solve differences and arguments.  The unfortunate part is that usually one or both parties involved in the duel were either injured or died.  The most famous colonist buried in Colonial Cemetery is Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh were bitter enemies.  They dueled shortly after Gwinnett signed the Declaration of Independence.  They walked 12 paces, turned, and fired at the same time.  McIntosh took a bullet to the leg and survived.  Gwinnett took a bullet to the hip and died three days later.  I am glad we have safer ways to solve our differences!!
    Savannah is home to the first motorized fire department and the first public art museum in the South.  Many movies have been filmed in Savannh.  Miley Cyrus's The Last Song was filmed there.  It is also famous for the scene in the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest is sitting on a bench in Chippewa Square and says, "My Momma always said life is a box of chocolates."   Other movies filmed in Savannah include Glory, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Paula Deen, who has a show the Food Network, has a restaurant in Savannah.  When we were there, the line to get into her restaurant wound around the block.  It is easy to see why Savannah is a popular city to visit.

    Ligonier is a small town nestled in the Laurel Highlands, close to both Seven Springs and Idelwild.  Ligonier is located right off of Route 30 and is made up of two parts.  The first is a museum which contains artifacts, pictures, and a history of Fort Ligonier.  It is also home to George Washington's  autobiography which describes his military experience on the Pennsylvania frontier, and two of his saddle pistols that historians believed he carried with him at Valley Forge.  After going through the museum, there are doors that lead you to the fort itself.  Although this structure is a replica of the fort, the materials and techniques used to reconstruct it were based on maps and drawings found.  It is impressive to say the least.
    Fort Ligonier was built in 1758 during the French and Indian War.  During this war, England and the colonists battled France and their Native American allies over land near present day Pittsburgh.  But it was the French and their fort, Fort Duquesce, who controlled Pittsburgh and its three rivers.  William Pitt assigned brigadier general John Forbes the task of seizing Fort Duquesne.  Forbes realized that for this to happen, he needed a "road" that contained a chain of forts from Fort Duquesne through the Laurel Highlands.  This road was known as Forbes Road, and ended with Fort Ligonier, also known as the "Post at Loyalhanna".  Fort Ligonier was designed by engineer Harry Gordon.  Harry Gordon was the captain of the Royal Americans and is also credited with the building of Fort Pitt and Fort Bedford.  It was named after Sir John Ligonier, who was the commander in chief of the British armies.  It was the first fort built west of the Allegheny Mountains by Anglo-Saxons.
    Fort Ligonier became the staging area for the attack on Fort Duquesne.  Forbes understood the importance of a friendly relationship with the Native Americans so he established the Treaty of Easton.  This was a blow to the French because they lost their Ohio allies which was significant for the British in the seizing of Fort Duquesne.  During this time, 5,000 troops comprised Forbes Army.  These troops were made up of Native Americans (due to the Easton Treaty), artisans, women (the British army allowed for six women per company), who joined the army as laundresses, cooks, and nurses, and children.  Forbes said that his army with the exception of "a few officers, all are an extremely bad collection of broken innkeepers, horse jockeys, and Indian traders."  That did not seem to matter because when the French got word of the large number of British troops headed to attack Fort Duquesne, they abandoned their fort and burnt it to the ground.  Forbes named the area Pittsburgh in honor of William Pitt who was the Secretary of State at that time.  Throughout this expedition, Forbes was dying from an unknown disease; however it did not deter him from accomplishing his mission.
    Once you walk out of the doors of the museum, the first thing will see is a wall made of what looks like wooden sticks with sharpened points.  This is known as Friesian horses.  It is used to block entrances or close gaps in the fort wall.  It is a daunting structure!  On the other side of the Friesian horses is a moat.  An enemy entering the fort would have a few obstacles to get over. 
    Surrounding the fort are a variety of weapons.   A field piece is the most mobile piece, so it is good for the battlefield.  It throws a six pound shot.  A howitzer is another weapon.  It is a gun combined with the mortar of a field piece and has large wheels.  It can throw an eight inch shell.  Finally, there is the cannon.  This is the first weapon that would be fired during battle because of its large range. 
    Before you go into the interior of the fort, you will notice several carts each designed to haul supplies.  The truck carriage was used to carry timber short distances.  The tumbull cart was used to carry tools, and had a covered part that was was designed to carry the money for the army.  The last cart you will see is the powder cart.  This cart could carry four barrels of powder and was covered with oil cloth to keep the powder dry. 
    There are also several buildings located on the outside of the fort.  The one I found the most interesting was the hospital.  It was called a flying hospital because it was considered mobile.  The patient wards are the part of the hospital located outside of the fort's wall.  The wards have shutters and roof ventilators so that healty air could be circulated.  A smithshop is also located outside of the fort walls.  When the British arrived at Ligonier, this smithshop served Native Americans and traders.  The last building we saw before going into the fort itself was the smokehouse.  Colonel Bouquet, Forbes's deputy, ordered the smokehouse to be built in order to preserve 1,500 cattle for the drive to Fourt Duquesne.
    Once we passed the sentry box, which is a small shelter for guards on duty during bad weather, I was amazed at the size of the interior of the fort.  Although it is much smaller than the Castillo de San Marcos located in St. Augustine, Florida, it was larger than I expected.  One of the first structures we saw was the officer's mess hall.  The officers ate and drank well.  They received double or even triple the rations that enlisted men received.  Their rations included wine, cordials, coffee and tea, chocolate, fruit and chesses, smoked meats, and salad oil.  If I were to join the army, I would certainly prefer to be an officer!!  Another perk of being an officer is that officers had barracks or permanent shelter.  Enlisted men slept in tents.  Eventually, the storehouse was made into a barrack for soldiers.  Since enlisted men were not treated as well as officers, theft became a problem for the quartermaster, who was in charge of distributing clothing, equipment, and tents.  The powder magazine, which is where the ammunition was stored, was worth the risk!  To get to it, you need to go down steep steps as it is located underground so that if there was an attack on the fort, the powder would remain unharmed.  Something I found interesting was that the surgeon's hut was located in the interior of the fort, but the patient's ward was on the outside of the fort.  Forbes's hut was located towards the back of the fort.  
    After the French and Indian War, the fort was maintained, but with a much smaller army.  It was attacked twice by Native Americans who were frustrated that colonists were settling their land.  During one attack, the English burnt the surrounding town of Ligonier so that the Native Americans would not have a place to hide.  The colonists took refuge in the fort, and fought off the attack.  Fort Ligonier has the distinction of never having been surrendered to an enemy.
    If you are ever in the Laurel Highlands, I would recommend a visit to Fort Ligonier.  It is well worth the trip. 
Last Modified on September 7, 2011