The Old Fort House Museum was constructed by Patrick Smyth in 1772 with timbers taken from the ruins of Fort Edward, a French and Indian War fortification. Smythe was arrested at the house in 1777 by General Benedict Arnold for being a loyalist to the British Crown before General Burgoyne drove the American troops from Fort Edward, utilizing the house as his headquarters.
On July 22, 1777, Major Lieutenant General John Burgoyne outlines his plan to send out a contingent of troops to carry out a foraging raid in the Connecticut River Valley, and on August 4 Burgoyne issues his first order for an expedition that will “proceed up the Batten Kill to Arlington [VT]; cross over the Green Mountains to Manchester [VT]; then –after dispatching “Indians and light troops” to briefly raid northwards from Manchester; penetrate west to the Connecticut River; travel down this river to Brattleboro [VT] and finally return by road to Albany.” [View the Route]
The first sentence of his order reads: “The object of your expedition is to try the affections of the country [judge loyalist support], to disconcert the councils of the enemy [spread false rumors], to mount Reidesal’s [sic] dragoons [find them horses], to complete Peter’s corps [enlist loyalists into Lt. Col. John Peter’s Provincial Corps], and obtain large supplies of cattle, food and carriages.” The foreign appearance of the German troops makes an impression on one Fort Edward girl; she will later remember: “The Brunswickers as they were called … wore their beards on their upper lips parted each way, and curled around the corners of their mouths.”
[Note: Later, American General Stark erected a stockade fence around the house and for a time the building was called Fort Stark.]