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Developing America's Defenses

Plattsburghers – Sepcial Collections, Feinberg Library

Although never again at center stage after the War of 1812, the waterway continued to play a strategic role in America's defenses. Dozens of regiments marched off to the Civil War from this hotbed of Abolitionism. Local Morgan horse breeders contributed stock to keep the cavalry units mounted. Fort Montgomery guarded the border, once a treaty relocating the border with Canada corrected the blunder of building it outside the country. The Plattsburgh Barracks maintained an army presence in the valley from 1815-1853, trained troops for both the Mexican and Spanish American Wars and two world wars. The Army turned the Barracks over to the Navy in 1944. Growing concern for air defense prompted the Air Force to construct a base in support of the Strategic Air Command in 1953 (the base closed in September 1995). Missile silos and NORAD switchboards protected the northeast during the Cold War. The Saratoga Cemetery brings today's veterans home to the place where the tide of the American Revolution turned in our favor.