Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fort Drum

Location:   Near Watertown, New York
Year:   1809

Fort Drum Military Reservation (formerly Camp Drum, formerly Pine Camp) is a 168 square mile United States Military Reservation lying between Sackett's Harbor, New York and Watertown, New York, near the Canadian border. Fort Drum was given a permanent garrison in 1974, and is currently the home of the 10th Mountain Division.

The area first became a military post after the Revolutionary War, when troops were stationed nearby to interdict smugglers using this remote area to move goods across the Canadian border. It remained an important border post during the War of 1812, and was on alert during the Lower Canada Rebellion of the 1830s and 1840s. The camp was essentially abandoned thereafter.

In 1908, General Frederick Dent Grant (the son of President Ulysses S. Grant), suggested that Pine Camp be reactivated. Military units began training there in 1909 and summer training exercises continued throughout World War I.  The Camp remained nominally active thereafter. In 1935, the largest war games ever played to that time were staged at Pine Camp. 

With the outbreak of World War II in December 1941, Pine Camp underwent a major and very fast expansion allowing for year-round training. The U.S. Government bought five New York hamlets, razed them, and used the land to enlarge the Camp to its present size. All this building took place during the coldest North Country winter on record, in an area already notorious for its bitter winter weather. Fort Drum has been in constant full-scale use ever since.

Pine Camp also served as a Prisoner of War Camp for captured German and Italian soldiers. During the Korean War, troops were sent to  Camp Drum to acclimate to the cold and rough terrain they would experience in Korea.

Pine Camp was renamed "Camp Drum" in 1951, after General Hugh A. Drum of the U.S. First Army. In 1974, with the assignment of the permanent garrison, it became Fort Drum.

A July Day at Fort Drum  ;-)

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