The underground stockade of Fort Sewall, with surrounding parklands
|Architectural style||No Style Listed|
|Part of||Marblehead Historic District (#84002402)|
|NRHP Reference #||75001908|
|Added to NRHP||April 14, 1975|
|Designated CP||January 10, 1984|
Fort Sewall is a historic coastal fortification in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It is located at Gale's Head, the northeastern point of the main Marblehead peninsula, on a promontory that overlooks the entrance to Marblehead Harbor. Established in 1644, it is one of the oldest English coastal fortifications in the United States. After the American Revolution, the federal government took over the property. During the War of 1812, on April 3, 1814, the USS Constitution, perhaps the most famous American ship of war ever to sail, took shelter under the guns of Fort Sewall from a pursuing pair of British frigates, the Tenedos and the Endymion. Despite lacking the ammunition and powder needed to sink or drive off the two frigates, the fort's garrison was able to bluff the British by running out all of their guns and acting as though they were preparing to attack. Faced with a 36-gun frigate and the defensive batteries of a fort, the British elected to retreat, none the wiser. The fort was turned over to the town in 1922, and is now open as a public park. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
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