1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sackett's Harbor

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SACKETT'S HARBOR, a village in Jefferson county, New York, U.S.A., at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, on the south shore of Black River Bay, about 1 m. from its mouth, and about 10 m. W. by S. of Watertown. Pop. (1890) 787; (1900) 1266; (1905) 903; (1910) 868. Sackett's Harbor is served by the New York Central & Hudson River railway. It is built on low land, around a small, nearly enclosed harbour, the northern shore of which is formed by Navy Point, a narrow tongue of land extending about ¼ m. nearly due eastward from the mainland. About 1 m. to the W. by S. is Horse Island, approximately ¼ m. long (east and west), and nearly as broad, only a few feet above the lake level and separated from the mainland by a narrow strait, always fordable, and sometimes almost dry; at its eastern end is Sackett's Harbor Lighthouse. The harbour is deep enough for the largest lake vessels. The village is a summer resort. At Sackett's Harbor are Madison Barracks, a United States military post, established in 1813 and including a reservation of 99 acres; and a United States Naval Station. In the post cemetery is the grave of General Zebulon M. Pike, who was killed at York (now Toronto) on the 27th of April 1813.

The first settlement was made in 1801 by Augustus Sackett, and the village was incorporated in 1821. In the War of 1812 Sackett's Harbor was an important strategic point for the Americans, who had here a naval station, Fort Tompkins, at the base of Navy Point, and Fort Volunteer, on the eastern side of the harbour. In July 1812 a British squadron unsuccessfully attempted to capture a brig and schooner in the harbour. From Sackett's Harbor American expeditions against York (now Toronto) and Fort George respectively set out in April and May 1813; though scantily garrisoned it was successfully defended by General Jacob Brown (who had just taken command) against an attack, on the 29th of May, of Sir George Prevost with a squadron under Sir James Lucas Yeo. The British losses were 259; the American 157, including Lieut.-Colonel Electus Backus, commander of the garrison before General Brown's arrival. Almost all the American stores at the naval station were destroyed to save them from the enemy. The blockade of the harbour by Yeo was abandoned in June 1814 after the defeat of a force from the squadron sent out to capture guns which were being brought from Oswego to Sackett's Harbor to equip the “Superior.” an American vessel launched on the 1st of May, and a smaller vessel nearly completed. Sackett's Harbor was the starting-point of a force of 700 men under a Pole named von Schultz, who in November 1838, during the uprising in Upper Canada (Ontario) attempted to invade Canada, was taken prisoner near Prescott, was tried at Kingston, being defended by Sir John Macdonald, and with nine of his followers was executed in Kingston in December.

See A. T. Mahan, Sea-Power in its Relation to the War of 1812 (2 vols., Boston, 1905); and William Kingsford, The History of Canada, vol. viii. (Toronto, 1895).