Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Fall of Florida's Fort Clinch 150 Years Ago Today

Union forces occupied Fort Clinch this date 150 years ago after the Confederates had evacuated the fort with no resistance. General Lee had ordered that non-strategic coastal positions along the coast where the Union Navy could mass ships should be abandoned for interior, more defensible positions.

Fort Clinch is located by Florida's northeast corner, not too far from Jacksonville. Different militaries have occupied the site since 1736 (it is located on the border of Spanish Florida and English Georgia).

Located on Amelia Island, the fort guards the entrance to St. Mary's Island and Cumberland Sound.

Construction of the present fort began in 1847, part of the Third American System of forts, a program that also included Fort Pulaski at Savannah. Fort Clinch was a pentagonal brick fort with both inner and outer walls.

It was abandoned after the Civil War, but reactivated in the Spanish-American War in 1898. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort and the State of Florida bought it and 256 acres in 1935, making it one of its first state parks, opening in 1938.

Closed to the public during World War II when it was used as a communications and security post, it reopened after the war. In 1972, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Story of a Fort. --Old Secesh.

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