Fort Independence (1)

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Fort Independence (1) (1801-1960) - Fort Independence began as a First System fort built on the rubble of previous forts in 1801. Located on Castle Island, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Initially abandoned 25 Nov 1879 it was regarrisoned briefly during the Spanish American War and saw service in World War I and World War II. Finally declared surplus in 1960.

Fort Independence Sallyport
Fort Independence 15" Rodman Cannon
Fort Independence South Side
Fort Independence on Castle Island

First System (1794-1808)

Fort Independence circa 1852 at Completion

Established on Castle Island in Boston Harbor to protect the main ship channel into Boston. Construction of the star shaped fort began in 1800 and was almost complete in 1803. Planned to mount 42 guns with two outer batteries each mounting six guns.

Second System (1808-1816)

Fort Independence was extensively repaired under the Second System plan.

Third System (1816-1867)

In 1833 construction began on a Third System granite fort built on the foundation of the Second System Fort. The new fort was pentagonal with a bastion at each corner. The fort walls were 30 feet high and 5.5 feet thick. Construction was first supervised by Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, a top military engineer and early graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who had then become its Superintendent and true founder, then by Charles H. Bigelow (Cullum 787), Edward H. Courtenay (Cullum 262). The fort was completed in 1851, although further modifications were made in 1865‑1867 under the superintendence of Charles E. Blunt (Cullum 1247) and Henry W. Benham (Cullum 891).

U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

At the start of the U.S. Civil War in 1861, Fort Independence was garrisoned by the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. During the war the fort mounted as many as 96 cannon, including some 15 inch Rodman guns, capable of firing a 450 pound shot more than 3 miles.

The fort was placed in caretaker status in 1879. In the Spanish-American War the fort was re-occupied as a mine and torpedo station.

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Fort Independence Plan 1914

Fort Independence (1) Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1813 1815 Captain Gates, William 11
1863-08-15 1863-10-28 Major Floyd-Jones, DeLancey 1316
1865-12-08 1866-03-20 Major Neill, Thomas H. 1357
1866-08-01 1866-09-24 Lt. Col. Haskin, Joseph A. 995
1867-02-28 1867-04-19 Lt. Col. Hunt, Henry J. 1004
1875-05-29 1875-11-30 Major Arnold, Richard 1462
Dates are formatted in yyyy-mm-dd to sort correctly.
The Cullum Number is the graduation order from the United States Military Academy by year and class rank and links to a page for the officer on the website version of the Cullum Register. Listings without a Cullum Number indicate that the person was not a graduate of the United States Military Academy.

Current Status

Opened to the public as a Boston City Park in 1975.

Location: Castle Island in Boston Harbor, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, now attached to the mainland.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.338333 Long: -71.011111



Visited: 18 May 2012

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