The Post-War Period

After the war, the massive earthen fortifications protecting the harbor were graded off and the battlefield reverted to farmland. Several blockhouses were converted to barns and another became an office for the commandant of the Navy Yard.

The shipyard remained under Navy control because of the presence of an unfinished first-rate ship-of-the-line, the New Orleans. It was designed to carry a crew of 900 and was enclosed in a huge wooden ship house to protect it for future use. In 1817, the Rush-Bagot Agreement between the United States and Great Britain limited all naval forces on the Great Lakes. During the 1840s, old naval buildings were removed and new quarters were constructed for the naval commandant and sailing master (lieutenant), to meet the needs of a continuing naval presence.

The Navy decided to scrap the New Orleans in 1883. The demolition of the vessel, together with improved Canadian-American relations, ended the need for a naval base in Sackets Harbor. The Navy maintained the facility until 1955, although it was seldom used except for training by the state’s naval militia.

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