Sons of the American Revolution, Duneland Chapter in Valparaiso, Indiana
Petit Fort was a structure located in northwestern Indiana, in or near the Indiana Dunes, near the mouth of Fort Creek, now known as Dunes Creek. It may have been a French military outpost, but was more likely a private residence, trading post, or at most a support station for larger forts in the area. The National Park Service refers to it as a "fur depot."
The fort came under the dominion of the British following their ultimate victory in the French and Indian War. It is unclear whether the British ever really utilized Petit Fort; at best it was a station for British fur traders. It was abandoned in 1779 as American settlers rebelled and Great Britain consolidated power in more fortified strongholds.
There are few records of Petit Fort, it being mentioned in only a few letters and at least one map. "Petit Fort" is, in fact, a description rather than a proper name, translating literally to "small fort." It is remembered primarily due to a small military action that occurred there during the American Revolution.
The raiders returned by way of the Sauk Trail with pack-horses loaded down with plunder, mostly trade furs. British Lt. Dagreaux Du Quindre, however, learned of the raid and quickly formed a band of loyalist traders and Potawatomi under Chief Anaquiba and his son, Topeneble. They followed Brady's company and overtook it at the sandy dunes South of Lake Michigan. A race ensued for miles through the dunes, until the raiders took up defensive positions at
Petit Fort. Major DePeyster reported the action 8 January 1781 in a letter to General Henry Watson Powell.