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Amelia Islander

Historic Fort Clinch a Favorite Amelia Island Landmark

Jul 06, 2016 02:00AM
Fort Clinch State Park is an Amelia Island Treasure! Besides being one of Florida’s most beloved vacation destination for camping, fishing, biking, beach combing, and bird watching, the fort itself is a fascinating historic site honoring the soldiers who served here.

Three systems of fortifications were designed to protect the coastline of the United States of America during its first century. First System Fortifications consisted of earthworks surrounding wood structures. Second System Fortifications were made of earthworks and stone and brick structures. Third System Fortifications built of thick masonry walls provided the ultimate design for fort structures from 1812 to 1868; Fort Clinch was a Third System Fortification.

Construction on Fort Clinch began in 1847. The fort, shaped like an irregular pentagon, has five tower bastions. It was built of masonry and stone with a two wall system of brick and earth. It was designed to garrison 500 soldiers and 78 pieces of artillery. A civilian workforce, directed by officers of the United States Army Corps of Engineers was employed to construct the fort. Progress was slow and by 1860 only two-thirds of the walls were completed and not a single cannon had been mounted. The guard rooms, prison, lumber sheds, and carpentry shops were completed. The storehouse and kitchens remained unfinished.

Fort Clinch was named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, a hero of the Seminole War and a Congressman from Georgia. It was named in honor of his service to his country. Today Fort Clinch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information call (904) 277-7226.