Brief Chronology of Military History

Dinnertime at the Mess Hall

Dinnertime at the Mess Hall

After British warships bombed and burned Portland (then known as Falmouth) on October 18, 1775, a guard of eight soldiers was posted at Portland Head to warn citizens of additional British attacks.

14 acre parcel purchased at Portland Head to establish a sub-
post to Fort Preble at Spring Point.

76 additional acres purchased to develop fortification at Portland Head.

First three batteries—Sullivan, DeHart, and Hobart completed

Fortification at Portland Head named Fort Williams, in honor of the late Brevet Major-General Seth Williams, Assistant Adjutant-General, United States Army

Soldiers in the field 1907

Soldiers in the field 1907

Decade of building expansion. Officers’ quarters, non-commissioned officers’ quarters, enlisted barracks, hospital, gymnasium, post exchange, guard house, bakery, laundry and fire station built.

Underground, protected telephone switchboard and disappearing searchlight, raised and lowered by a counterweight, added to Fort

Fort fully manned by artillery companies and National Guard troops. Anti-aircraft guns added to the defenses.

Balloon hangar and hydrogen generator house built but later abandoned for a variety of reasons such as wind, weather, cost.

Disappearing gun at lighthouse

Disappearing gun at lighthouse

Fort served as headquarters of the Harbor Defenses

Fort Williams’ mission officially changed from a harbor defense post to a logistical and administrative support installation for all military units and personnel in State of Maine.

Fort Williams officially closed and turned over to the General Services Administration to be sold.

Historical Photos Courtesy of Ken Thompson

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