The term redoubt is derived from Medieval Latin as a “secret place,” although by the 18th century it was a word used to define a specific type of military structure used as part of larger fortifications. Redoubts were mostly built in North America throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. They could be placed close to a fort’s walls or placed in the outer defense works of a fort. They could also be constructed even further away from the fort and its outer works. No matter where a redoubt was built, however, the main purpose was always clear: redoubts could serve as a first line of defense in the face of enemy fire or invasion. There was not any uniform way in which to build redoubts, and therefore they tended to be of various shapes, constructions and appearances. According to historian Brian Leigh Dunnigan, redoubts were “any small, self-contained fortification without flanking devices such as bastions…from small, square, round or polygonal forts to the familiar log blockhouse of the American frontier when the latter stood alone and was not part of a larger fort.” The Fort Pitt Block House – and presumably the other redoubts of Fort Pitt – was different from more traditional redoubts in that it had a roof, therefore making it seem more like a blockhouse. (Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Forts within a Fort: Niagara’s Redoubts, pages 5-8.)
Fun Facts About Fort Pitt
An 18th century stone sundial was found on the Block House property during its 1894 restoration. The sundial commemorates the Battle of Bushy Run of August 1763 in which both the 60th Royal American Regiment and 42nd Black Watch Regiment fought against Native American Indians in an effort to relieve the siege on Fort Pitt.