Fort Ontario Commemorates War of 1812 Attack with Self-Guided Walking Tours May 5 to 9

OSWEGO – Fort Ontario State Historic Site will host free, self-guided walking tours of the 75-acre Fort Ontario National Register District Wednesday, May 5 through Sunday, May 9. The tours commemorate the Battle of Oswego, which took place in May 1814. The fort is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, for people to do the walking tour.

The tour was designed by Friends of Fort Ontario AmeriCorps members Corey King and Marilyn Huntington. Hikers are to report to the old stone fort where they will receive a booklet which includes maps that will guide them to stopping points of the battle. They will walk in the footsteps of history and use original sources to help them imagine how the landscape was devastated by the battle. The tour ends back at the old stone fort where participants will return the booklet and talk with history interpreters to ask questions and learn more about the battle.

“The battle began in the afternoon on May 5, 1814, with hours of heavy artillery fired from the British ships and the American guns at Fort Ontario,” recounted Huntington. “The artillery could be heard as far north as Kingston, Ontario, Canada and as far south as Syracuse.”

After a storm forced the British ships to head for deeper water during the night, they returned the next morning and commenced a land assault with more than 900 troops against the only 400 Americans at Fort Ontario. The British forced the Americans to withdraw from Fort Ontario, leaving behind 13 dead, 18 wounded and over 30 captured soldiers. British losses were 19 killed and over 50 wounded.

Flags will be placed where the soldiers are believed to have been killed, wounded, or captured during the battle.

The walking tours will be socially distanced and COVID-19 protocols will be followed. Masks will be required to be worn while inside the old stone fort.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego. For more information on Fort Ontario visit For an Oswego County visitor guide and more Oswego County history, go to or call 1-800-248-4386.

ANNIVERSARY OF HISTORIC BATTLE – Fort Ontario State Historic Site will host self-guided walking tours May 5 through 9 to commemorate the May 1814 British land and naval attack on Fort Ontario. Flags will be placed where American and British soldiers are believed to have been killed, wounded, or captured during the battle. The Americans were outnumbered 900 to 400 and forced to retreat.

attack on oswego old print

“Attack on Oswego (from an old print).” Benson Lossing’s “Field Book of the War of 1812.”

1812 attack

“Attack of Fort Oswego, on Lake Ontario, North America.” Drawn by Captain Steele, Engraved by R. Havell & Son.