Fort Severn

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Fort Severn (1808-1865) - A U.S Army Second System coastal fort established in 1808 in near Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Transferred to the Navy in 1845 and regarrisoned by the U.S. Army in 1861, abandoned in 1865.

U.S. Naval Academy at Fort Severn


Fort Severn was built out as a circular masonry structure enclosed by a 14 foot stone wall. The fort mounted some eight to twelve cannons on a platform just below the parapets. At the center of the enclosure was a brick magazine. The post was located on the south bank of the Severn River at Windmill point.

On 15 Aug 1845 the U.S. Army transferred the site of Fort Severn to the U.S. Navy for use as the U.S. Naval School (now the United States Naval Academy). Structures transferred to the Navy included the Fort, the Commander's Quarters, officer quarters, enlisted barracks, a hospital, and support buildings; in Niles' National Register of 31 Jan 1846, we find the following description of the fort: "Fort Severn is situated on the Chesapeake Bay, at the junction of the river Severn with the harbor of Annapolis, and commands a view of the commerce of Baltimore which passes this point, also of a roadstead much frequented in heavy weather by vessels of all classes. This circumstance is important as tending to keep alive nautical associations and the lessons of experience. The inclosure of the post is by a brick wall and comprises an area of about ten acres. In an angle of the water front stands the battery, which is a small circular rampart, mounting en barbette ten heavy guns, and is provided with a magazine and a furnace for heating shot." The fort proper, stripped of its guns, was used by the Academy as its gymnasium until the construction of Macdonough Hall; its training facilities included among others a small swimming pool.

The U.S. Army garrisoned the fort during the U.S. Civil War and abandoned it at the end of the war.

The United States Naval Academy used the post until it was demolished in 1909. The former site is now occupied by Bancroft Hall; the site of the actual building was the center of the east "L" of the present second-battalion wing.

Current Status

The site is a part of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Location: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Map point is approximate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.9818 Long: -76.4812



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