Commanders at Fort Belle Fontaine

Commanders at Fort Belle Fontaine

Lt. Col. Jacob Kingsbury
Born 1755 in Norwich, Connecticut. Began his military career as a Private in a Connecticut regiment during the American Revolution (Jul 11, 1775). Promoted to Sgt. while serving in the Continental Army, Connecticut Line. On April 26, 1780 Kingsbury attained the rank of Ensign in Col. Samuel B. Webb's Additional Continental Regiment (briefly to become the 9th Connecticut Regiment and shortly thereafter, the 3rd Connecticut Regiment (of 1781, under Col. S. B. Webb). In June 1783, Kingsbury began serving in Col. Heman Swift's Continental Regiment which disbanded at war's end (Nov. 1783) in New York City. Following the war, Hunt served in the 1st U.S. Infantry, attaining the rank of Lieutenant on Oct 15, 1787. On Jan 9, 1791 Lt. Kingsbury was in command of squad of soldiers at Dunlap's Station (near Cincinatti, Ohio) while it was besieged by hostile Indians. On Dec 28, 1791 promoted to Captain. Aug 20, 1794 in command of a company of Lt. Infantry during the Battle of Fallen Timbers. May 15,1797 promoted to Major, 2nd U.S. Infantry and served at Detroit and Mackinac. April 11, 1803 promoted to Lt. Colonel.

While serving a Commandant of U.S. forces at Mackinac, received orders on May 4, 1805 to build a cantonment north of St. Louis. Arrived in the area about June 20, 1805. The Belle Fontaine site was selected by Lt. Col. Kingsbury and Gen. James Wilkinson (U.S. Army Commander at St. Louis in charge of military operations in the West.) A company of enlisted men under the command of Capt. Benjamin Lockwood accompanied Kingsbury and provided the labor in building the fort. Lt. Col. Kingsbury went on to supervise the construction of Fort Adams on the lower Mississippi. On Aug 18, 1808, promoted to Colonel. From Apr 8, 1813 to Oct. 31, 1814 served as Inspector General. Honorably discharged on Jun 15, 1815. Kingsbury died at his Franklin, Missouri home on Jul 1, 1837. (Note: see the style of uniform Kingsbury probably worn As displayed by living historian, Greg Carter)

Major Russell Bissell
A native of Connecticut, began his military career in 1791 as a Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Infantry. Promoted to Quartermaster, with rank of Captain on Feb 19, 1793. Wounded at the Battle of Fallen Timbers (Aug 20, 1794), transferred to the 1st U.S. Infantry while stationed at Ft. Wilkinson, Georgia. Reassigned to "Cantonment Belle Fontaine" under the 2nd U.S. Infantry. After being promoted to rank of Major, Dec 9, 1807, he briefly served as Commandant of the fort. Maj. Bissell died Dec 18, 1807 and was buried at Fort Belle Fontaine. His grave was later relocated to Jefferson Barracks where a marble memorial can be seen in the Post section at Barrack's cemetery.

Maj. Russell Bissell's son, Capt. Lewis Bissell
Of the U.S. Army settled on a hill, known as "Bissell's Point" (4426 Randall Place now located near the Grand Ave. exit of I-70 in the north part of the City of St. Louis.) The Lewis Bissell Mansion is now a restaurant/dinner theatre and open to the public.

Col. Thomas Hunt
Col. Thomas Hunt of Massachusetts began his military career on April 1775 as a Sgt. in Capt Craft's Company of Minutemen. He first saw action at the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution. On Jan 1, 1776 he transferred to the Massachusetts Continentals and served as Ensign and as Adjutant. On Oct 20, 1776 promoted to "Brigade Major". On Feb 1, 1777 Hunt was assigned as "Captain Lt." and later as Captain in Col. Henry Jackson's Additional Continental Regiment which would become the 16th Massachusetts Regiment. During the winter of 1777-1778 Hunt experienced the suffering at Valley Forge. On July1, 1779, Hunt was wounded at the Battle of Stony Point and wounded again on Oct 14, 1781 at Yorktown. After the Revolution, Hunt served as Captain of the 2nd U.S. Infantry. On Feb 18, 1793 promoted to Major and served as Commandant at Ft. Defiance. Nov 1, 1796 transferred to the 1st U.S. Infantry and promoted to Lt. Col. on April 1, 1802. Promoted to Colonel on April 11, 1803. On Jul 30, 1805, Col. Hunt became Commandant at Belle Fontaine. Col. Hunt at the age of 54 died at Ft. Belle Fontaine on Aug 18, 1808.

Col. Daniel Bissell, a brother of Maj. Russell Bissell.
He began his military career as a Cadet in 1791. Bissell saw action at the Battle of Fallen Timbers (Aug 20, 1794) . On Nov 1, 1796 he served at Commandant at the Army Post at Presque Isle. On Jan 1, 1799 he was promoted to Captain ("Customs Collector") at Ft. Massac located at the southern tip of Illinois. Capt. Bissell was the American official to receive the transfer of Ft. Celeste (New Madrid, Mo.) and Ft. Miro (Monroe, La) from the Spanish government

On Aug 18, 1808 was promoted to Lt. Colonel and put in Command of Fort Belle Fontaine. In 1810 Bissell moved the fort from the low bottomlands where it was threatened by the river, to the top of the overlooking bluff. The blockhouses, barracks and surrounding palisade was completed by the following year. Bissell was promoted to a full Colonel on Aug 15 1812. During the War of 1812, On Mar 9, 1814 Bissell was promoted to Brig. General. On Oct. 19, 1814 Gen. Bissell fought British forces at Cooks's Mill, Lyon's Creek, Canada. After the War, Bissell returned to the rank of Colonel, 1st U.S. Infantry and was honorably discharged Jun 1, 1821. Bissell died on Dec. 14, 1833. The Daniel Bissell home located at 10225 Bellefontaine Road is still standing and has been preserved by the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation.