6.6.08

Fort Macon

While June 6 is the anniversary of D-Day it is also my wife Suzanne's birthday, we met at fort Macon (pictured below) on her birthday June 6, 1982

Happy Birthday Suzy. Your adoring husband Richard.

The five-sided Fort Macon is constructed of brick and stone. Twenty-six vaulted rooms (also called casemates) are enclosed by outer walls that average 4 1/2 feet thick.

In modern times, the danger of naval attack along the North Carolina coast seems remote, but during the 18th and 19th centuries, the region around Beaufort was highly vulnerable to attack.

Blackbeard and other infamous pirates were known to have passed through Beaufort Inlet at will while successive wars with Spain, France and Great Britain during the Colonial Period provided a constant threat of coastal raids by enemy warships. Beaufort was captured and plundered by the Spanish in 1747 and again by the British in 1782.

North Carolina leaders recognized the need for coastal defenses to prevent such attacks and began efforts to construct forts. The eastern point of Bogue Banks was determined to be the best location for a fort to guard the entrance to Beaufort Inlet, and in 1756 construction of a small fascine fort known as Fort Dobbs began there. Fort Dobbs was never finished, and the inlet remained undefended during the American Revolution.

Early in the 1800s, continued strained relations with Great Britain caused the United States government to build a national defense chain of coastal forts to protect itself. As a part of this defense, a small masonry fort named Fort Hampton was built to guard Beaufort Inlet during 1808-09. This fort guarded the inlet during the subsequent War of 1812, but it was abandoned shortly after the end of the war. Shore erosion, combined with a hurricane in 1825, swept this fort into Beaufort Inlet by 1826.

The War of 1812 demonstrated the weakness of existing coastal defenses of the United States and prompted the US government into beginning construction on an improved chain of coastal fortifications for national defense. The present fort, Fort Macon, was a part of this chain. Fort Macon's purpose was to guard Beaufort Inlet and Beaufort Harbor, North Carolina's only major deepwater ocean port.

Construction of the present fort began in 1826. The fort was garrisoned in 1834. In the 1840s, a system of erosion control was initially engineered by Robert E. Lee, who later became general of the Confederate Army. At the beginning of the Civil War, North Carolina seized the fort from Union forces. The fort was later attacked in 1862, and it fell back into Union hands. For the duration of the war, the fort was a coaling station for navy ships.

Fort Macon was a federal prison from 1867 to 1876, garrisoned during the Spanish-American War and closed in 1903. Congress offered the sale of the fort in 1923, and the state purchased the land, making it the second state park. Restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1934-35, the fort was garrisoned for the last time during World War II. More...

Jhesu+Marie
de Brantigny

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