bronze Coehorn mortar

Video: Firing the 4-1/2-Inch Bronze Coehorn Mortar

If you ever get the chance to visit Fort Niagara, New York, make sure to catch the firing of the bronze Coehorn mortar.

Maybe the most entertaining thing about this day was watching and listening to the young man in charge. During the demonstration, he explained how our ancestors protected Fort Niagara.

The fort, which is positioned right at the mouth of the Niagara River where it meets Lake Ontario, was built in part to defend access to the Great Lakes and points west.

Protecting it from invasion was done in a way that seems ancient and extreme by today's standards, but this is how they repelled the invaders:

And that was the smaller of the two mortars!

Fort Niagara has so much history that it's hard to find a place to begin. Once you've had a look at their website, you'll be planning your own trip.

First constructed by the French in 1679 as Fort Conti, it was taken over by the British in 1759 and held throughout the American Revolution. It was then yielded to the U.S. by treaty in 1796—recaptured in the war of 1812—only to be yielded again after the same conflict.

There are many wrecks at the bottom of the lake from the war, maybe even a few due to the Coehorn mortar!

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