Newport Barracks

Historical marker #599 commemorates the Newport Barracks, which was a military prison during the War of 1812.

Built in 1804 at the juncture of the Licking and Ohio Rivers, the Newport Barracks was an arsenal and recruiting ground. When the War of 1812 erupted, the importance of the post was highlighted. The area quickly became a staging ground for U.S. troops.

In 1813, Kentucky soldiers assembled at the Barracks prior to invading Canada. Led by Kentucky governor Isaac Shelby, these troops defeated British soldiers and their Indian allies at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813. As the war continued, the Barracks became a large prisoner-of-war camp. By 1814, the post contained more than four hundred British prisoners.

After the War of 1812, the Barracks was used as a recruiting station. During the Mexican War it was a major recruiting area for volunteers. Activity again peaked during the Civil War, when the Barracks was a hospital and prison for pro-Confederate civilians.

Floods and a lack of repairs took their toll on the Barracks, which was given to the city of Newport in 1894.