Brooklyn, fort

The villages of Breuckelen and Nieuw Utrecht were first palisaded after director general and council in February 1660 sent councillor Nicasius de Sille to Long Island to implement defensive measures there. The timing was no coincidence: New Netherland was still involved in the First Esopus War and with spring near and the rivers becoming unfrozen, the chance of Indian raids even to Long Island was increasing. A new village, located on the East River near the ferry within sight of Fort Amsterdam, was to be fortified with a blockhouse (een blockhuijs tot haer defentie). But for the colonists living near the Waelebocht (Wallabout Bay) further east that location was inconvenient, not least because of the lack of suitable wells. Yet their request for a similar construction was denied. There are no references relating to the upkeep of these fortifications.

The 1660 ordinance for the enclosing of New Utrecht provides a few details that very likely also apply to the fortification works at Breuckelen. The inhabitants “shall collectively set palisades around their village in a proper manner,” with the absentee landowners fined six guilders per day unless they provided a substitute. In the middle of the village “a suitable blockhouse” was to be built, along with a gristmill, and a well. Trees outside the village had to be removed to provide good views.  Yet it is likely that the blockhouse was not built until the summer of 1663, as Stuyvesant reported in early 1664. 

Sources and literature

Jacobs, J., Dutch Colonial Fortifications in North America 1614-1676 (2015)