Redoubt 4
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Constitution Island Fortifications

West Point Fortifications

The Great Chain 

Hudson River


 Sources and Author's Note   

Redoubt 4 seen from the west wall of Fort Putnam.


West Point Fortifications Staff Ride Note Cards 57
USMA History Department 2d Edition, March 1998 Redoubt 4 (Card #1)

(A redoubt is a small fortification designed to protect an important feature such as a hill or a pass. Redoubts contain infantry and, often, cannon.)

Purpose: To protect Fort Putnam

Kosciuszko s Plan. Orignally proposed by Kosciuszko in 1778 after viewing dominant hill 750m west and 300 higher than Fort Putnam. His concern for the high ground may have developed from his experience at Fort Ticonderoga. Kosciuszkos plan called for a redoubt positioned with three sides protected by steep slopes and an elevated gun platform inside redoubt to cover hollow to west. Parapet facing west designed to be higher and thicker than other sides to protect from even higher hills 700m further west. Chiveaux-de-frise and fraise would prevent escalade. Kosciuszko submitted plans as early as 6 Feb 1779.
McDougall provides specific instructions on 25 Apr 1779
- Make blockhouse bombproof
- Size not to exceed quarters for 100 men
- If practicable, build the cellar to hold 30 days of supplies (previous standard was 14 days)
- Enclose the blockhouse in a redoubt
- Parapet should withstand artillery, especially from the west

Construction began in 1779; probably completed by 25 Jun 1779
- Blockhouse erected in spring, but ground still too hard to dig
- Only redoubt with large reentrant angle at rear (w) side; designed to provide crossfire
- No evidence that gun platforms or bombproof were built IAW Kosciuszkos design. . .lack of materials? time? labor?  Distracted by British activity at Stony Point?
- Only redoubt with existent formal ditch (N and W sides)
- Dry masonry scarp walls (2 high)
- Double exterior wall on NE side (9 wide)
- Remains of parapet (soil) still fairly high (8 from bottom of ditch) and about 18 thick.
-One embrasure visible in NE wall; guns covered NW and SW approaches to Fort Putnam
- Entrance probably on eastern side

Ordnance:  two 6-pdrs
Garrison:   100 men (probably safe from surprise attack due to good observation/FofF)

Benedict Arnold (25 Sep 1780): wood 10 high and 4-5 thick. West wall faced w/stone 10 high and 4 thick. No bombproof. Two cannon (six pounders).

Conjectural profile of Redoubt 4 from Mead, Archaelogical Survey of Fort Putnam

This page maintained by Erik Riker-Coleman
Last updated some time ago...