Named in honor of one of our nation’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, Fort Hamilton is the fourth oldest installation in the United States Army. We are located in the southern part of Brooklyn next to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, and “We are the Face of America’s Army in New York City.”
We are the home to Army Active duty, Reserves and National Guard Soldiers and their family members. Major units on the installation include:
- The North Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for the Army engineering districts from New England to Virginia, and in all of Europe.
- The 2nd largest Military Entrance Processing Station in the United States, which provides a gateway through which applicants enter the armed services and ensures those who raise their right hand are qualified to serve.
- The 2nd largest Army Recruiting Battalion in the United States with over 300 Soldiers stationed throughout NYC committed to enlisting into our Army talented and qualified volunteers from across the area.
- National Guard and Reserve units stationed on the installation perform a variety of missions across the region.
- Most notably is Joint Task Force Empire Shield, from the New York National Guard, that was activated in response to the September 11th attacks. They work alongside local, state, and federal partners to keep the New York City transit centers safe.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York National Guard’s 24th Weapons of Mass Destruction - Civil Support Team activated in support of FEMA and emergency operations through the city and at the Javits Center.
Fort Hamilton also provides, when directed, Defense Support to Civil Authorities in the New York City area of operations, and has done so in response to 9/11, the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and COVID-19 operations.
Our installation provides essential services to an estimated 50,000 veterans, retirees, the Department of Defense civilian workforce, military personnel and their families - both on and off post.
The fort’s history stems back to June 11, 1825 when the fort’s cornerstone was placed. Construction was completed on July 10, 1831, and the fort became part of a system of fortifications built throughout New York City to support two missions:
- The first was to support actions against enemy warships seeking to pass through the Narrows, the primary entrance into New York City’s harbor.
- And the second was to defend itself and the other Narrows forts against land based attacks.
Some notable dates in our history include:
- August 22, 1776, when there was a British amphibious landing on much of what is present day Fort Hamilton. Five days later, the Battle of Brooklyn commenced.
- Fort Hamilton also acted as a recruitment center and headquarters for the 3rd U.S. Infantry during the Civil War.
- During WWI and WWII, Fort Hamilton served as a staging area for troops as part of the Port of Embarkation, and the post served as the headquarters for the famous 1st Infantry Division during the interwar period.
- The last artillery piece was removed from Fort Hamilton in 1948, and by the 1960s the massive concrete gun emplacements had been demolished which included the remaining portion of old Fort Hamilton’s seacoast wall.
- Finally, Fort Hamilton was designated a Historic Landmark in the National Registry in 1974.
While many of the original structures are gone, some having yielded to the construction of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, still part of the old fort remains on the grounds of the United States Army Fort Hamilton Garrison. Colonels Row, the Fort Hamilton Community Club, and the Harbor Defense Museum are on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic Harbor Defense Museum is located in part of the garrison’s original masonry fort and is virtually untouched; it collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets historically significant material related to the history of Fort Hamilton and the seacoast defense in New York City. As the only Army Museum in New York City, the Harbor Defense Museum has a fine collection of military artifacts from the American Revolution through to World War II.
Fort Hamilton is part of the fabric of Brooklyn history, culture, and life. It represents one of the very last connections that American citizens of dense, urban environments have with their military.
Fort Hamilton stands ready to aid and assist the military and our interagency partners with current operational requirements, natural disasters, or national emergencies.