Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The American Forts Of Old. P.2

The fort is a important part of the American history and its important for the family’s who are researching their family’s history to learn what was happing in and around the fort so they can learn what life was like for them. The information here will be on the same forts named on page one with new ones added, for the people who are just researching a fort this information well help you get a better picture of the forts history. The information is about the constitution and repairing of these forts, these reports tell of rivers and land and of diseases and of storms, things that may not be found in other forts history’s.

Now there were a lot of forts so I may not name them all. The word fort is a missed used word to those who do not know what a fort really is, and it did not help when are ancestors wrote home and told the family they were at fort so and so when in fact they were at a post or fortification, it may help the non professional researcher to know the deferent’s between them well a Post is a military base where a military operation is carried out and a fortification is a place were a wall or walls are built and the digging of ditch’s at the place you are defending from the known or unknown enemy. The fort is a permanent compound with groups of buildings and permanent troops stationed there and it may have a wall built around it or it may not and is strategically located. If you would like a full copy of any of these reports feel free to ask.

Note. This information comes from the reports of the Chief Engineer of the War Department.

Important note. As you read these reports you will note some of the reports will state that work is done or will be done by such a time, then the next year they are still working on it. This is caused by the lack of funds or they ran low of funds or Congress give no appropriation for that year or was slow doing so. All so note when I give a date for the year of a report this is for the work of the year before, the report for1832, is for 1831, and so on.

Fort Adams, Newport, Mass.

The report of 1832, states, The work was directed principally to the turning and roofing of the casemate arches of the main work and to the completion of the scarp-wall on the east front and to the construction of the permanent galleries under the southwest bastion. The counterscarp walls of the southeast and southwest exterior fronts, and the permanent draining.

Note. From time to time I will give the meaning of words to help you understand what is being read.

Important Note. The American forts of old is in three parts, do not forget to look over page three, page three will contain maps of forts. It will also have a list of many names of forts which were not put on page one or two.

Note. The meaning of:
Casemate, is a rampart where a cannon is mounted.

Rampart, is a defensive fortification made of an earthen embankment, often topped by a low protective wall.

Scarp-wall, is the inner wall of a ditch, in front of a fortification.

Galleries, is a covered or enclosed walkway.

Bastion, is a projecting part of a wall, rampart, or other fortification.

There are no reports on Fort Adams from 1833-35 other then to say that all work was going as planed and it was now at the end of the work season (winter.)

Fort Adams, Narraganest, Rhode Island.

In the report of 1836, it was stated, No appropriations for the work for 1835, the operations were discontinued from spring of last year till July of the present year, and were resumed with vigor the moment the current appropriations were granted. The excavations of the ditches of the fort are finished, a small portion of the excavation of the esplanade, and a considerable part for the parade itself, remains to be executed. The glacis, terribleness, and embankments of certain fronts, with their places of arms and covert ways, are completed, with the exception of some turfing. The masonry of several fronts of the fort is well advanced and in parts completed. Some of them have all the arches turned, roofed, leaded and covered with earth. On others the entire masonry is completed, with the exception of the breast-height walls. All the gun embrasures ( in number 104 ) and all the carronade embrasures ( in number 67 ) are built. The two large ovens, many of the cisterns, and fireplaces for the soldiers barracks are finished.

Fort Calhoun, Hampton Roads, Virginia.

In the report of 1832, it stated, That the work was still suspended and nothing of importance has been done, further then to receive the materials that will be required in its construction. The material was distributed over parts of the site to be occupied by the walls in which they will be used, it will require 20,000 ton of stone to compensate for the subsidence of the mole during the next two years. The estimate is that 26,000 tons of building and breakwater stone will be added within the next year.

In the report of 1833, it was stated, The leading object at this work is to compress the substratum, by accumulation of materials upon it, to a state which will produce an equilibrium when it shall be required to sustain the weight of the walls and armament of the fort, 12,500 tons of stone have been added to the mole, and 11,800 tons of building stone have been deposited on and near the walls during the year.

The report of 1834, states, Upwards of 28, 000 tons of stone have been added with in the year to that previously received, of the whole quantity received 654.04 tons have been dressed for building, leaving 5,139.07 tons of rough building stone, and 22,073 tons breakwater stone. There has been 3,665 cubic yards of sand which has been deposited within the interior to elevate the terreplein. All the stone received this year is required for the extension of the mole to its proper limits, has been placed so as to act with a uniform pressure over the foundation of the walls of the fort. It is estimated that the fort, when finished and garrisoned will add to the permanent weight now acting on the foundation of about 63,000 tons.

Note. Meaning of:

Terreplein, A raised embankment or platform behind a parapet where heavy guns are positioned.

Parapet, A bank of earth, rubble, or sandbags piled up along the edge of a military trench for protection from enemy fire.

The report of 1835, states, More stone is being added to the foundations of the walls, and if no settling the construction will resume next spring.

In the report of 1836, it was stated, Operations at this work were resumed about the middle of July last, and notwithstanding the exertions that were made, a full force could not be assembled before the middle of September. They have been employed in removing from the walls the stone necessary for the superstructure and mole previously accumulated for the compression of the foundation preparing machinery and buildings.

Castle William, Governors Island, New York.

The report of 1836, states, The flagging of the barbette platform of Castle William has been relayed on a thick bed of cement mortar, which appears to be perfectly tight. The platforms of the second tier and floors of the third tier have been laid and the galleries repaired. All the work required to be done is expected to be completed in the course of the year.

Fort Caswell, Oak Island, Cape Fear River, North Carolina.

The report of 1832, says, This fort is ready to receive a garrison, although it is not entirely completed, because of a mistake in the estimate of last year. Work on the gun traverses and the furnaces for heating shot in needed.

The report of 1833, says, This fort will soon be completed and may be garrison before the end of the year.

The report of 1834, states, This work is in readiness to receive a garrison, and it is respectfully recommended the order to occupy it.

In the report of 1835, it states, This work was reported last year to be in readiness to receive a garrison. Sine that time it was found that in the storms so frequent on the coast inroads have been in the dikes by the sea, and a breach finally created, which even threatens more damage than has yet taken place. The walls of the fort have also had some motion since they were erected causing injuries to the arches and crenated galleries, and give indication of insufficient stability to resist the weight tending to their overthrow. Because of low funds no construct work was giving for the breast height walls, the parapets and furnaces &c.

Note. The meaning of:

Crenated, With a scalloped edge or a surface with rounded projections.

The report of 1836, states, The dike around the ditch has been repaired, and preparations made to commence immediately the permanent lock to regulate the admission of water into the ditches.

Fort Columbus, Governor’s Island New York.

The report of 1832, states, The repairs of the scarp walls were commenced last fall, work went on till the approach of cold weather, operation were resumed early spring and continued till the month of August, last when work was abandoned from the alarm created by the ( Malignant Cholera ), which was raging among the workers. Measures had been taken for the health of the laborers, and the interruption was short and on September 4, of last the workers were at their usual vigor. The stone masonry had been laid by years end September 30. The present barrack and quarters for the officers are in so bad a state of decay, independent of their wants of comfort and room, as to require to repair them perfectly, the entire removal of their floors, ceiling, and roofs; the mere shells that would remain not being worth preserving, it is deemed advisable to take advantage offered to remove, these barracks to a situation within the work. This would make accommodation of a grater number of troops and free the parade from the inconvenience of their present position.

The report of 1833, States that the repairs at Fort Columbus will be completed this fall or early spring.

In the report of 1834, states, The scarp-walls, except the pointing and parapets, have been finished, and the counterscarp revetments and revetments of the glacis are nearly completed. The facing of the cover-way revetment leading from Fort Columbus to Castle William will be done this fall. The masonry of the of the magazines and barracks, as well as that of the communications connecting the former is finished, as well as the facing of the redan. All the masonry of the barracks on the southwest and north fronts is nearly finished, and the roofs are in readiness to receive the covering; the work on the east front is going forward.

Note. The meaning of:

Revetments, A barricade constructed to protect against damage or injury from explosives.

Glacis, A slope in front of a fortification designed to make it easier to fire on attacking forces.

Redan, A pair of parapets that form a V-shaped projection from the wall of a castle or other fortification.

Parapet, a bank of earth, rubble, or sandbags piled up along the edge of a military trench for protection from enemy fire.

Magazine, A structure on land where weapons, ammunition, explosives, and other military equipment or supplies are stored.

Communications, a system of routes and transportation for moving troops and supplies.

The report of 1835, states, That repairs are on going and well be entirely completed this fall, except the laying of some of the gun traverses. The measures deemed necessary for repairing of the latter work have been attended with difficulty its inclination outwards from the weight of the arches of the casemates above. Arrangements have been made for laying the platforms of the second tiers of guns, and the work on the roof has commenced. The constant employment afforded to mechanics and laborers of every description in the city of New York, renders it very difficult to procure their services on the Island, which has operated very unfavorably to these works of the past season.

Fort Colmbus, Governors Island, New York.

The report of 1836, states, It is anticipated that the repairs of this fort will be completed this working season. The masonry of Fort Columbus is now finished except, the construction of some officer and steps and laying of a small portion of coping, flaggig, and the completion of some traverse circles and pintle beds. The necessary plastering and painting will be finished this month, as well as the Iron work and roofing of the barracks, at which time it is also expected the carpentry will be finished.

Fort Delaware, Delaware River.

The report of 1833, states, A commencement was made on the Pea Patch Island, to construct the temporary quarters and workshops, preparatory to a demolition of the walls of the old fort. This object has been effected and extended to provide for the accommodation of nearly all the laborers, mechanics, and others whose time and services will be needed in the construction of the works.

In a report of 1835, it stated, The walls of the old fort have been razed, and the materials applied to strengthening the dikes around the Island. The quarters of laborers, overseers, master workmen, and superintendent are completed; as also workshops, storehouse, lime sheds, and stables. The canals and roads have been constructed and the drainage of the whole Island rendered perfect. All arrangements were perfected at the close of last year, for receiving material in large quantities, and for commencing and rapidly progressing with the foundations of the fort in the spring.

The report of 1836, states, In the last annual report it was stated that large supplies of material had been previously collected, and arrangements made for construction when funds should became available for that purpose. The work remained suspended till July last, but at too late a season to effect anything advantageously. As soon as a force of laborers could be collected the excavations for the foundations were commenced, and the earth applied in forming a glacis. Some progress has been made, in driving piles for the foundation of a magazine and scarp of the front on the Delaware channel, and further supply of material has been procured. The impracticability of procuring laborers and mechanics at so late a period of the year, even at the highest rate of wages, is the cause of so little progress.

Fort on Foster’s Banks Florida.

The report of 1834, states, That wharver, with other fixtures, and quarters have been proved, a large amount of materials has been collected and a well organizer force of mechanics and labor engaged.

The report of 1835, states, The platform foundations of this work was in progress, owing to the exposed positions of the site, required grate labor and activity to lay the masonry in secure and proper manor. As funds for 1834, were exhausted, Captain Chase the chief engineer felt that if the work stopped he saw grate injury would be done, he continue the work on his own credit, till the appropriations for 1835, However there would be no funds for 1835, and as captain Chase funds were low work slowed to a stop. As a large quantity of materials had been collected Mr. Strong, the contractor did not hesitate to proceed with the construction on his own credit, relying on the appropriations for 1836.

Fort Hamilton, Narrows, New York.

In a report of 1832, it was stated, The additions which consist manly for the means of draining the water from the roofs and of the casements and in the construction of the Guntraverses. The work is in such a forwardness that the work should end by this month.

In a report of 1832, it states, This work is almost completed for the year, but have to wait for sufficient time to allow the defers in construction that can not be foreseen to develop themselves.

The report of 1834, states, The slight defects in construction have been repaired, and the fort should be by the end of the year finished.

Fort Independence, Boston Harbor, Mass.

In a report of 1832, it was found that money from Congress would be impossible to get this year, for the repairs needed, and no officer could be found to command the work. It was proposed however to make some kind of arrangement this winter so the work on the repairs could be done by the end of next year.

In 1833, it was again found there would not be a sufficient amount of money for the repairs. As the estimates of the prices for the materials and labor were estimated at the 1831, prices but had gone up twenty-five per cent, so the amount fall short. It was decided to limit the work on castle Island to the building of a sea-wall for its preservation and repairing of the southwest wharf, which is now under contract.

In 1834, it was reported that the sea and wharf wall are nearly competed and their total length is 1,052 feet and 2,342 cubic yards of stone have been used in its construction. All that part of the Island is exposed to the abrasion from the action of the waves, with the exception of about 150 feet, now amply protected. A portion of the old wall is however in a ruinous, and should be rebuilt without delay. A revised project for rebuilding Fort Independence, with improvements was presented by the board of engineers. However the project could not be settle on, so it was deemed proper to limit arrangements to the collection of materials to be used by the original plan, it was also noted that the materials and workmenship of the fort in its present condition are as such as to make it probable that the whole works will have to be rebuilt.

In 1835, the people of Boston wanted something done with Fort Independence on castle Island, as it was still considered indispensable, the vote passed one house of Congress but not the other, but later they got their money for the preservation of castle Island and the repair of Fort Independence, the work began in the late part of 1835.

Fort Lafayette, Narrous, New York.

The report of 1834, states, A portion of the unexpended balance remaining on account of this work has been applied to the repairs of the sea-walls. This became necessary in consequence of the failure of the mortar with which it was pointed, and the settling of the wall in many places.

Fort Livingston, Grand Terre, Louisiana.

The report of 1834, states, At this time of making the appropriation for this work, the land on which it was to be located on was private property. Much time has unavoidably been consumed in effecting a purchase.

Te report of 1834, states, The negotiation for the purchase of the site of this works, pending at the date of my last report, was as anticipated soon brought to a satisfactory termination. The purchase had been effected, and considerable preparation made for an efficient prosecution of the fort, when the works were suspended in consequence of a want of an officer of engineers to take the immediate direction of the operations.

Fort Macon, Beaufort, North Carolina.

The report of 1832, states, That the work is nearly finished. The operations at present is directed to the construction of the works for the preservation of the site.

The report of 1833, says, That the work will be completed and ready for inspection by the middle of the present month.

The report of 1834, states, That after the last report it was found necessary to fit up some of the casemates for the accommodation of the troops, and rebuild the wharf, which had become useless from decay, and to construct for it to be connected with the fort. This work being done, the fort is now ready for inspection. The report of 1835, stated that the fort had passed inspection and is now garrisoned.

Fort Marion St. Augustine, Florida.

The report of 1833, states, Operations have for some time been directed to the repairing of the sea wall with hope it will be completed in January or February.

The report of 1834, states, In the early part of the season that the officer in charge with operation at it failed, in the application of the funds, to produce any satisfactory result. He was immediately suspended and brought to trial. He is still in arrest, and no report as to the condition of the work has been received.

The report of February 5, 1836, states, The condition of Fort Marion has not been overlooked and $20,000 have already been asked for to commence the repairs required, it is not supposed that this sums will complete all the work necessary.

Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The report of 1832, states, The counterscarp wall of this fort is finished, nearly 1,000feet having been constructed within the year, and the casemated covert way was arched, the exterior revetment in part constructed. Nearly 1,000 feet of sloop wall in the ditch is finished. In the month of August last, the ( Malignant Cholera ) made its appearance among the labors, and compelled the engineer in charge to suspend his operations.

In the report of 1834, it states, All the permanent parts of this fort were completed last year. The ramparts of fronts 5, 6, and 7, together with the glacis and road in advance of these fronts were, with the exception of a small portion of front 5, formed and covered with earth. The rampart of covert way and place of arms, in advance of front 5, was in a state of forwardness, along its whole extent and 15 thousand cubic yards of sand were deposited towards the construction of the redoubt.

Note. This is a long report to long for here it talks of the protection of the beach, and casemated battery and glacis and the conduit pipes. There was work on the Piazzas of curtains, and bridges and gates and more. If you would like the full report for this date just ask and I will send it to you.

Note. Meaning of:

Conduit, A pipe or channel that carries liquid to or from a place.

Piazzas, A covered passageway that has arches on one or both sides and is usually attached to a building.

Curtains, wall connecting other structures: a length of wall, especially one that connects two towers or gates.

Fort Monroe.

The report of 1836, states, The entire counter scarp of the ditch must be permanently reverted in order to be preserved, and that dimensions given to the scarp wall of the fort are not sufficient to resist the weight of the ramparts, these been formed by sand, every vibration within the fort causes to act with the power of a wedge against the walls, to thrust them over. The land front is without the means of resisting a regular attacks; its scarp wall is entirely exposed, it has no covert way, place of arms, or glacis; and the casemated battery in advance of the adjacent water front; containing the most powerful water battery of the fort; is thereby liable to be taken in flank and silenced. No furnaces for heating shot have yet been provided, nor any other quarters for the garrison except the casemates.

Fort Morgan Mobil Point, Alabama.

The report of 1832, states, The operations have been directed principally to the formation of the ramparts, banquettes, and glacis. It was discovered that the blind age of the citadel which was constructed of wood, was in so bad a state of decay as to require its entire removal. In 1834, the work is finished and now garrisoned.

The report of 1835, states, Arrangements were made to fit up thirteen casemates at the fort for officers quarters, store and guard rooms, the first are nearly completed.

Fort Moultrie, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.

In the report of 1832, it stated, The operation at Charleston have been directed during the past year, to the preservation of the site of Fort Moultrie, and to the formation of a mole on the shoal opposite to this fort, to be occupied as a new foundation to the new work projected for the defense of the harbor.

In a report of 1833, it was stated, Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie have been much improved as regards to their ability for the defense, and the latter thoroughly repaired. Works to arrest the encroachments of the water on the site of Fort Moultrie have been commenced.

The report of 1834, states, Operations in Charleston Harbor have been directed to increasing the mole previously commenced on the site of Fort Sumpter, and to the protection of the beach in the immediate vicinity of Fort Moultrie.

In the report of 1835, it stated, Operations in the harbor have consisted in the prosecution of the plan for protecting the site of Fort Moultrie. This plan, so far as tested, has answered the desired end, and a large accumulation of sand has taken place on the shore before exposed to the abrading action of the sea.

Fort Pickens, Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola Florida.

In a report of 1832, it stated, All the materials have been delivered agreeably to contract, and the condition of the work is in a high degree favorable; the most important parts that remain to be finished being of a nature to justify the belief that the whole work might be completed in the course of six months or less should the occasion require it.

The report of 1833, states, The condition of this work is in a high degree satisfactory. The masonry with the exception of a very small portion is completed, and the entire work will, in all probability, be finished by the end of March.

In the report of 1835, This fort was completed in October last, and occupied by a garrison. It has been sine necessary to give increased dimensions to the scarp walls of the two faces of the northeast bastion, to in sure their permanency against the immense pressure of the sand ramparts.

Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Savannah River, Georgia.

The report of 1832, states, The progress in the construction of this fort was in a high degree, satisfactory. The materials for the foundation of the work having been prepared, the grillage would have been entirely laid within that period but for an alteration in part of the foundation, which a better acquaintance with the substrata of the ground suggested as being necessary to insure a uniform stability throughout the work. About one-half of the grillage was laid and secured. The piles which are necessary for the southeast front were driven. The excavation for the entire rampart was made, and the earth for the glacis of four fronts and for the rampart of the outwork deposited.

In a report of 1833, it was stated, About two months of last working season was lost by the absence of the superintending engineer who was with drown from his command. The work prosecuted however, with grate efficiency during the remainder of the season.

The report of 1834, stated, This work has been prosecuted to the extent of the available means, the work is in a very satisfactory state.

In the report of 1835, it was stated, On September 30, 1834, The piling and construction of the grillage for the foundation of this work was completed, and the masonry commenced. All the counter arches and cross walls of the rampart, and to the completion generally of the counter arches of the communication and the piers, scarp and rear wall and counter forts.

Fort Warren, George Island, Massachusetts.

In a report of 1832, it was said, that, ( The site of a fort of the first importance projected for the defense of the harbor.) The sea-wall for the preservation of this Island is completed. However from 1833-35 no reports could be found that any work was done, even tho they were receiving money for the work.

Castle William, Governor’s Island New York.

In a report of 1832, it was stated, That no further repairs had been done, other then to construct a pier head for the accommodation of vessels engaged in the delivery of materials for that purpose.

The report of 1833, states, The repairs at Castle William has been confined to the building of a wharf and the collection of materials.

In a report of 1834, it was said, That the repairs of Castle William was going as speedily as practicable.

Fort Wood, Chef Menteur, Louisiana.

The report of 1832, states, Owing to a want of engineers, the repairs of this work were entrusted to the management of another officer who was already engaged in the discharge of important duties at another and distant post; and this officer not being able to leave the service with which he was occupied till late in the working season, it became difficult if not impossible to procure sufficient laborers and suitable materials so that but little progress has been made towards completing the repairs.