Unveiling the Hidden Legacies of America’s Coastal Fortresses

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Explore the coastal fortifications that have guarded America’s shores through centuries of conflicts and technological advancements. This 20-part journey highlights key sites, each with its own story of defense and vigilance.

1. Fort Sumter, South Carolina

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Enrico Della Pi

The flashpoint of the Civil War, where the first shots were fired. A tour here offers insights into early artillery and masonry fort construction.

2. Fort McHenry, Maryland

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Image credit: Shutterstock / FloridaStock

Famous for withstanding the British bombardment in 1814 and inspiring the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Fort McHenry symbolizes early American resilience.

3. Castle Clinton, New York

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Lifes_Sunday

Originally built to prevent a British invasion in 1812, this sandstone fort now stands as a gateway to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

4. Fort Monroe, Virginia

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Kyle J Little

Known as the “Freedom’s Fortress,” this site played a crucial role during the Civil War and remained in military use through WWII.

5. Fort Adams, Rhode Island

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Darryl Brooks

One of the most complex coastal fortifications in the U.S., known for its innovative design and extensive tunnel systems.

6. Fort Point, California

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Image credit: Shutterstock / PhotoExpozure UK

Located beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, this fort helped protect San Francisco Bay from Confederate and foreign attacks during the Civil War.

7. Fort Jefferson, Florida

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Image Credit: Pexel / Charles Shepherd

Situated in the Dry Tortugas, this massive but unfinished fortress is one of the largest masonry structures in the Americas, serving as a prison during the Civil War.

8. Fort Hancock, New Jersey

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Walt Bilous

A former U.S. Army fort at Sandy Hook that housed defenses protecting New York Harbor and hosted the first proving ground for the U.S. Army.

9. Fort Pulaski, Georgia

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Image credit: Shutterstock / EWY Media

Captured early in the Civil War, this fort demonstrated the obsolescence of traditional fortifications against rifled artillery.

10. Fort Ticonderoga, New York

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Steve Heap

Once a key point in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, this fort was integral in early American defense strategies.

11. Fort Pickens, Florida

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Krumpelman Photography

Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, it played a significant role during the Civil War and remained active through World War II.

12. Fort Clinch, Florida

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Kurt Nichols

Used during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War II, this fort showcases the evolution of military architecture and armaments.

13. Fort Worden, Washington

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Zack Frank

A part of the “Triangle of Fire,” Fort Worden’s batteries protected Puget Sound from naval invasion in the early 20th century.

14. Fort Knox, Maine

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Yingna Cai

Not to be confused with the Kentucky gold depository, this fort was built for the War of 1812 but never saw combat.

15. Fort Casey, Washington

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Tim Ventura

Another component of Puget Sound’s coastal defense system, known for its large disappearing guns still on display.

16. Fort Matanzas, Florida

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Erica Finstad

Built by the Spanish in the 1740s to guard St. Augustine’s southern river approach, this fort is an example of a watchtower-like defense.

17. Fort Morgan, Alabama

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Image credit: Shutterstock / George Dodd III

Played a pivotal role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War and was used through both World Wars.

18. Fort McAndrew, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Image credit: Shutterstock / S. Vincent

This Canadian base protected American interests during World War II under the Lend-Lease program, highlighting international military cooperation.

19. Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Viagens e Caminhos

Known as the “fort that saved America” for delaying British forces in 1777, this site has a rich history from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War.

20. Battery Gunnison, New Jersey

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Walt Bilous

Restored to its 1943 appearance, this battery in Fort Hancock shows the final evolution of coastal artillery before the missile era.

Along the Coast

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

This tour through America’s coastal defenses offers a unique perspective on the country’s military history, from colonial times to modern defenses, illustrating the technological advances and strategic shifts over centuries.

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Carles Iturbe

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / donvictorio

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Image Credit: Pexels / Adrian Newell

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nicoleta Ionescu

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nejdet Duzen

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The post Unveiling the Hidden Legacies of America’s Coastal Fortresses republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Krumpelman Photography.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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