ECW Weekender – Fort Clinch

I’ve been coming to Ameila Island and Fernadina Beach, Florida on and off for near 20 years. I always try to make Fort Clinch, at the mouth of the Amelia River, a stop.

Fort Clinch facing Cumberland Sound/Amelia River

Construction on the fort began in 1847, and was only 2/3 completed by 1860. Confederate forces occupied the fort when Florida seceded, but didn’t contnue construction as they built batteries in the town of Fernandina.

As Confederate forces began withdrawing form the area in early 1862 Federal warships and troops arrived to sieze the fort on March 3rd. Company E of the 1st New York Volunter Engineers continued the work on the fort, which was never completed and it was placed into caretaker status in 1869.

Quartermaster Sargent, 1st NY Vol. Engineers

Today, the fort, is interpeted as it would have been in 1864. You can usually find at least one living historian, portraying a member of the 1st NY Vol. Engineers, any day. The day that I visited, there was a quartermaster sargent there to provide interp.

They do Federal Garriosns on the 1st full weekend of each month, Conferedal Garrison on the 3rd weekend of March, ans 2nd weekend of October. There are also a Spanish-American War and WWII Garrisons done at various times of the year, as well as Cabdlelight Tours. They are aways looking for volunteers throughout the park, and specifically to garrison the fort.

Fort Clinch State Park is located 16 miles east of Exit 373 of I-95, along A1A, in Florida. The park hours are 8 a.m. to sunset, 365 days of the year. The park has an admission fee, currently $6 a car, and there is an additional fee for the fort and exhibits, currenly $2.50 a person. They also have campground sites available to rent. You can find out more about the fort, and park, as well as how to volunteer, at www.floridastateparks.org/park-events/Fort-Clinch.

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1 Response to ECW Weekender – Fort Clinch

  1. I visited Fort Clinch last year during Union Garrison day and it was a fantastic experience! The place was packed with reenactors, more than I anticipated, interpreting just about every rank and station. The hospital building had a nurse to explain about their medical practices and there were at least two women laundresses as well. They really got into character and often portrayed in first person. They also had artillery demonstrations and mock drills on the parade ground. It’s one of the better of my many fort visits and definitely not one to skip on.

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