LIST OF AMERICAN SEACOAST FORTIFICATIONS
First and Second System Forts
When the War of 1812 began, the projects were essentially complete; at which time the results of the three programs— 1794, 1798, and 1807—were about as follows, all works being in good condition unless otherwise stated:
Passamaquoddy: Fort Sullivan, erected on Moose Island in 1808-1809, was a circular battery of stone, mounting four heavy guns, covered by a blockhouse.
Machias: Under the project of 1807 there was erected a circular battery of stone, mounting four heavy guns, covered by a blockhouse.
Penobscot: Under the project of 1807 there was erected a small inclosed battery, mounting four heavy guns.
Fort St. Georges, at Robinson’s Point, on the east side of St. Georges River, erected in 1808-1809, was a small inclosed battery, mounting three heavy guns.
Damariscotta: On the southeastern angle of Narrow Island, and in the town of Boothbay, on the Damariscotta River, there was erected, under the project of 1807, a small inclosed battery, mounting three heavy guns, covered by a blockhouse.
Edgecomb: On Davis’ Point, on the east side of Sheepscot River, there was erected a small inclosed battery, with six heavy guns, covered by a blockhouse, as a part of the project of 1807.
Georgetown: On Shaw’s Point, on the west side of the mouth of Kennebec River, there was erected in 1808 an inclosed work, with a battery of six heavy guns.
Portland: Fort Sumner, authorized in 1794, was built on the hill formerly occupied by Fort Allen as a small inclosed work with parapets supported by stone walls and sod; largely rebuilt in 1798-1799, and kept in repair until 1802; comprised also a blockhouse and a detached battery for heavy cannon near the water; rebuilt in 1808 as a battery of five guns, with a brick gunhouse containing four and eighteen-pounders on traveling carriages. Fort Preble (1808), on Spring Point, at the entrance to the harbor, was an inclosed star fort of stone and brick masonry, with a circular battery with flanks, mounting fourteen heavy guns. Fort Scammel (1808), on House Island, opposite Fort Preble, was a circular battery of masonry, mounting fifteen heavy guns covered in the rear with a wooden blockhouse mounting six guns.
Portsmouth: Fort Constitution, on the eastern point of Newcastle Island, at the entrance to Piscataqua River, three miles below Portsmouth, was begun in 1794 as a fort of masonry and sods, with a citadel; practically rebuilt in 1800-1801, it was completed under the project of 1807 as an irregular work of masonry, mounting thirty-six heavy guns. Fort McClary (1808), on Kittery Point, opposite Fort Constitution, was a circular battery of masonry, inclosed by earth and palisades, mounting ten heavy guns. In Portsmouth, a brick arsenal (1808) contained three 24-pounders and three 18-pounders on field carriages.
Newburyport: On the east point of Plum Island, at the mouth of Merrimac River, an inclosed battery of timber and earth, mounting five heavy guns, was built as part of the project of 1807.
Gloucester (Cape Ann): In 1794 a battery and a blockhouse were erected at the head of the harbor on the site of an old fort. Omitted from the project of 1798. An inclosed battery, mounting seven heavy guns, covered with a blockhouse, was erected under the project of 1807.
Salem: Fort Pickering, situated on the west side of the harbor entrance, was erected in 1794 on the site of old Fort William as an inclosed work of masonry and sods; repaired in 1800 and improved in 1808 to mount six heavy guns.
Marblehead: Fort Sewall, situated on the west point of the entrance to the harbor, erected in 1794 on the site of an old fort, was an inclosed work of masonry and sods, covered with a blockhouse; rebuilt in 1799 and improved in 1808 to mount eight heavy guns.
Boston: Boston Harbor was included in the project of 1794, but delay in securing State approval of the plans prevented any work except a limited amount of repairs among the ruins of Castle William, on Castle Island, on the south side of the inner harbor. Fort Independence, a regular pentagon, with five bastions of masonry, mounting forty-two heavy guns, and two batteries for six guns, was begun in 1800, practically completed in 1803, and extensively repaired under the project of 1807. Fort Warren, on the summit of Governor’s Island, opposite Fort Independence, a star fort of masonry, mounting twelve guns, was erected under the project of 1807. On the south point and the west bead of the island, circular batteries of masorny, mounting ten guns each, were also constructed.
Charlestown: Near the Navy Yard, on the point formed by Charles and Mystic Rivers, a circular battery of earth, on a stone foundation, mounting eight heavy guns, was erected in 1808.
Plymouth: On Gurnet Point, at the entrance to the harbor, an old inclosed fort, mounting five guns, was repaired with stone and sod in 1808
New Bedford: On Eldridge Point, at the entrance to the inner harbor, an inclosed work of masonery, mounting six guns, was erected in 1808.
Newport: In 1794, a fort on Goat Island, a guard house on Tammany Hill, and a battery at Howland’s Ferry were erected. Fort Adams, on Briton (Brenton) Point, on the east side of the entrance to the harbor, was an irregular fort of masonry, with an irregular indented work of masonry adjoining it, mounting seventeen heavy guns, begun in 1798 and repaired and extended in 1808. Fort Wolcott, on Goat Island, in the center of the harbor, was a small inclosed irregular work, with open batteries, extending from two opposite flanks, of stone and earth, mounting thirty-eight heavy guns; principally built in 1798 on the site of the 1794 fort, and repaired and extended in 1808. OnRose Island, situated to defend the north and south passages of the harbor, a regular work of masonry with four bastions (two of them circular), to mount sixty guns, was begun in 1798, but was left unfinished. On a bluff of rocks called the Dumplins, on Conanicut Island, nearly opposite Fort Adams, a circular tower of stone, with casemates, was begun in 1798, but was left unfinished. On Eaton’s Point, at the north point of the town, an elliptical stone battery had been erected, but was in ruins by the end of 1811. In Newport were some guns on traveling carriages.
Bristol: Ten guns on traveling carriages protected this town under the project of 1807.
Stonington: A brick arsenal, with four 18-pounders on traveling carriages, was provided by the project of 1807.
New London: Fort Trumbull, situated on the west side of the harbor, was an inclosed irregular work of masonry and sod, mounting eighteen heavy guns, erected during the Revolutionary War, repaired in 1794-1795, restored in 1799, and further improved in 1808.
Groton: A fort of earth and sods was begun in 1794, but was left unfinished.
New Haven: Fort Hale, on the eastern side of the harbor, was an elliptical inclosed battery, mounting six heavy guns, erected in 1808-1809.
New York: Fort Jay, on Governor’s Island, within half a mile of the city, was a regular inclosed work, with detached batteries for heavy cannon and mortars. The first fort, of earth, with two detached batteries, which had been built in 1794-1795, was rebuilt in 1798-1801 at considerable expense; but in 1806 the whole was demolished except walled counterscarp, grate, sallyport, magazine, and two barracks) and removed as rubbish to make room for a new work of the same shape. Fort Columbus, built on the site of Fort Jay, was a regular inclosed pentagonal work of masonry, with four bastions and a ravelin, mounting sixty heavy guns. Castle William, on a projecting point of rocks at the western extremity of the island, begun in 1808, was a stone tower, with fifty-two 42 and 32-pounders, mounted in two tiers, under a bomb-proof roof with a terrace above intended to mount twenty-six 50-pounder Columbiads. Bedloe’s Island, nearly opposite Governor’s Island, was provided with a battery in 1794. Fort Wood, a star fort of masonry, mounting twenty-four heavy guns, with a brick arsenal, was erected in 1809-1810. Ellis (Oyster) Island, opposite Fort Columbus, was also provided with a battery in 1794-1795. Fort Gibson, an inclosed circular battery of masonry, mounting fourteen heavy guns, was erected in 1809 to cover the entrance to North River. In New York, a formidable battery of heavy cannon and mortars, erected at the southwest point of city in 1794-1795, was in ruins by 1806. Castle Clinton, an inclosed circular battery of stone, mounting twenty-eight heavy guns, was erected in 1809 about a hundred yards in front of the west head of the grand battery. Humbert Battery, an inclosed circular stone battery, mounting sixteen heavy guns, was built in 1809 one mile up North River. Within the city was a brick arsenal, with one brass 24-pounder, seven 12-pounders, 4 brass howitzers, and twenty-two iron 18-pounders, all on traveling carriages; and three miles above the city was a brick arsenal and laboratory.
Sagg Harbor: Under the project of 1807, a brick arsenal, with four 18-pounders on field carriages, was provided.
West Point: Fort Putnam was repaired and altered in 1794-1795.
Philadelphia: A fort on Mud Island, seven miles below Philadelphia, was begun in 1794, and a large pier, as a foundation for a battery, was laid on a sand bar opposite the island. Fort Mifflin, principally built in 1798-1800 and extensively repaired in 1808-1809, was an irregular inclosed work of masonry, defended by bastions, demi-bastions, etc., mounting twenty-nine heavy guns, with a water battery without the works, mounting eight heavy guns.
Wilmington, Del.: A site was selected and surveyed in 1794, but no works were erected. A brick arsenal, with four 12-pounders on field carriages, was built in 1809.
Newcastle: A brick arsenal, with four heavy guns on field carriages, was built in 1809.
Baltimore: Under the project of 1794, a battery was erected and some guns mounted. Fort McHenry, at the entrance to the harbor, erected principally in 1798-1800, was a regular pentagon of masonry, mounting thirty guns, with a water battery, mounting ten heavy guns.
Annapolis: A site was selected and surveyed in 1795 and some preliminary work was done, but an unfavorable report caused the project to be abandoned. Fort Madison, at the western entrance to the harbor, erected in 1809, was an inclosed work of masonry comprised of a semi-elliptical face, with circular flanks, mounting thirteen guns. Fort Severn, on Windmill Point, a circular battery of masonry, mounting eight heavy guns, was erected in 1809.
Washington: Fort Washington, at Warburton, on the east side of Potomac River, between Alexandria and Mount Vernon, erected in 1808-1809, was an inclosed work of masonry, comprehending a semi-elliptical face, with circular flanks, mounting thirteen heavy guns, defended in the rear by an octagon tower of masonry, mounting six guns.
Alexandria: Some progress had been made in the construction of works in 1795, but an unfavorable report upon the plans caused the project to be abandoned.
Norfolk: Fort Nelson, on the western side of Elizabeth River, begun in 1794, extensively repaired and improved in 1802-1804, and again repaired in 1808, was an irregular work, defended by whole and half bastions, built of brick and sods, closed in the rear by a brick parapet, mounting thirty-seven guns. Fort Norfolk, on the northeastern side of Elizabeth River, a thousand yards distant from Fort Nelson, erected in 1794-1795 and rebuilt in 1808-1809, was an irregular inclosed work of masonry, comprehending a semi-elliptical battery defended on the flanks and rear by irregular bastions, mounting thirty heavy guns.
Hood’s Point: Fort Powhatan, on James River, begun in 1808, was a strong battery of masonry, intended for thirteen guns, but unfinished in 1811.
Ocracoke Inlet: The foundation of a fort was laid on Beacon Island in 1794, but no further work was done; in 1799 an inclosed work was ordered on the ruins of the former work, but none was erected.
Wilmington, N. C.: Fort Johnston, on the right bank of Cape Fear River, twenty-eight miles below Wilmington, was originally a colonial fort. In 1794, a battery was erected on the site of the old fort, and in 1799-1800 some progress was made in constructing new works. Delays prevented the completion of the fort until after 1806. As finished, it was a flank battery of tapia, mounting eight heavy guns.
Beaufort: Fort Hampton, on Old Topsail Inlet, erected in 1808-1809, was a small inclosed work, mounting five guns.
Georgetown, S. C.: A battery was begun in 1794, but was abandoned because of the unhealthfulness of the site. Fort Wingaw, a small battery and blockhouse, was erected in 1809.
Charleston: Charleston was included in the projects of 1794 and 1798, but, since the State had not then ceded any sites to the United States, little was accomplished until the project of 1807. Fort Johnson, on James Island, Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s lsland, at the entrance to the harbor, and Fort Pinckney were colonial or Revolutionary War forts. In 1794 Fort Johnson was ordered repaired and foundations for forts were laid at Forts Moultrie and Pinckney. Work was soon suspended, except for a battery (Fort Mechanic) in Charleston which was completed by the mechanics. In 1798-1799 the old works were repaired and improved but were practically demolished by an unusual storm it 1804. As rebuilt under the 1807 project, the new Fort Johnson was a marine battery of irregular form, built of brick and wood, mounting sixteen guns; the new Fort Moultrie was a brick work of irregular form, presenting a battery on the sea front, with the whole inclosed with ramparts, parapets, etc., mounting forty guns; Castle Pinckney was a brick work of elliptical form, with two tiers, mounting thirty guns; the new Fort Mechanic (Mechonric), on the point of the city, crossing its fire with that of the Castle at nine hundred yards, was a temporary masonry battery, falling into decay; in Charleston was a brick arsenal.
Beaufort, S. C: Fort Marion, a work of tapia, circular of form in front and straight line in rear, was begun in 1809 but was unfinished in 1811.
Savannah: Fort Green, on Cockspur Island, near the mouth of Savannah River, erected in 1794-1796, was an irregular work, with a battery. In 1804 the works were totally destroyed and a part of the garrison drowned in an unusually severe storm. Fort Jackson, at Five Fathom Hole, in a marsh on the west side of Savannah River, three miles below the town and twelve hundred yards from the nearest dry land, begun in 1808, was an inclosed work of masonry and mud, mounting six heavy guns.
St. Mary’s (Point Petre): A battery of timbers, filled with earth and in-closed with pickets, was erected in 1799-1801 but was abandoned before 1804. Included in the 1807 project, no work had been accomplished because no site had been secured.
New Orleans: Fort St. Philip, at Plaquemines, on the eastern side of Mississippi River, thirty-two nautical miles from the mouth, an irregular work of brick built by Governor Carondelet in 1793, was acquired in 1803 in poor repair and rebuilt as an inclosed work of masonry and wood, mounting twenty guns. At English Turn, on the ruins of some French works, an inclosed work, with two bastions and a battery of masonry, for nine guns, was built in 1809-1811. When acquired in 1803, New Orleans was surrounded by five redoubts— Forts Burgundy, St. John, and St. Ferdinand in the rear, and Forts St. Louis and St. Charles in front, all dilapidated—connected by a line of ditches. Fort St. Charles, immediately below and at the northeast corner of the city, was restored as an inclosed redoubt of five sides, of masonry and earth, mounting nineteen guns. On the site of the Spanish Fort St. John, on Lake Ponchartrain, at the mouth of Bayou St. John, a strong battery of six guns, commanding the approach to New Orleans by way of the lake, was erected under the 1807 project.