ECW Weekender: Visiting Forts (from the archives)

This Friday we’re taking a look back through the ECW Weekender archives and revisiting blog posts about visiting and touring historic forts. Enjoy the return to the forts!

Exploring Fortress Monroe (Virtually)

For many enslaved men, women, and children, Fortress Monroe became their place to find and create freedom. Self-emancipation pressured Union military officers and Federal politicians to face the realities of slavery and question how freedom could cripple the local Southern homefronts and potentially reduce military effectiveness. If you’re not able to visit Fortress Monroe in person… READ MORE

View from the Ramparts – Fortress Monroe, Virginia

In the gathering dusk of Saturday, March 8, 1862, a young Union telegrapher, John Emmet O’Brien, stood on the ramparts of Fortress Monroe on Old Point Comfort dominating the entrance to Hampton Roads, Virginia. He looked to the right and watched the USS Congress flaming like a gigantic torch stuck in the mud. The once-mighty warship had been blown to splinters and set afire by the new Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack. That afternoon, Virginia also rammed and sank the USS Cumberland; O’Brien’s cousin had been among the crew… READ MORE

Fort Monroe (NPS)

Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas

Located 67 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida and comprised of 16 million bricks sits the still unfinished Third System Fort Jefferson. Construction began in 1846 and the installation was named after the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Future American Civil War officers, Horatio Wright who supervised the construction of and Montgomery C. Meigs who drafted the plans, played a major role… READ MORE

Fort Scott, Kansas (Virtually)

Fort Scott, established in 1842, was a frontier military outpost in Kansas, and it was garrisoned by the U.S. Army through 1853. In 1855, local settlers were allowed to purchase the abandoned military buildings and two years later the civilian community at Fort Scott… READ MORE

Fort Clinch (visiting with Terry Rensel)

I’ve been coming to Amelia 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… READ MORE

Fort Clinch (visiting with Phill Greenwalt)

In the northeast corner of the state, on the northern tip of Amelia Island, Florida, sits one of the best preserved 19th-century brick and mortar fortifications. Fort Clinch.

The fort was part of the third system program, part of the United States Congress’s $800,000 appropriation for seacoast defense in 1816, following the ending of the War of 1812… READ MORE

Interior of Fort Clinch
(author collection)

High Ground Park (Fort Higley)

Have you heard of High Ground Park in Knoxville, Tennessee? You’ll definitely want to add it to your list of must-see Civil War site near that city. It’s a well-preserved and interpreted tract of thirty-nine acres which also serves as a wonderful example of how a community can use battlefield land as “community green space.” High Ground Park offers Civil War enthusiasts glimpses of wonderfully preserved earthworks and features a walking/running trail and gathering area for all to enjoy. READ MORE

Drewry’s Bluff (with Edward Alexander)

Drewry’s Bluff is the most unique and iconic location among Richmond National Battlefield Park’s thirteen units. The last stop on the Park Service’s recommended seventy-mile see-it-all driving tour, the site is certainly worth an extended visit on its own merits. READ MORE

Fort Pickens

My love for old forts started with a surprise trip to Fort Niagara in 2008. My preference is for forts that are not super famous and are off the beaten path. Fort Pickens was always a geographically an obscure place… READ MORE

“Preservation work at Fort Pickens” NPS Photo

Fort Anderson

While its nearby “sister fort,” Fort Fisher, is better known, Fort Anderson likewise played an important role in the defense of the Cape Fear River. Built in 1862, Fort Anderson sat on the west bank of the river, several miles upstream from Fort Fisher and several miles downstream from the vital port of Wilmington, North Carolina… READ MORE

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