There are many old and abandoned forts in the United States - perhaps one of the most remarkable and picturesque is the massive Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. The United States fought the War of Independence, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Spanish and American War, so through the 1800s, there was always the risk of war and the need to defend the coast.
The region of Chesapeake Bay was always one of the most strategically important locations on the Atlantic Coast. This is where the main docks and naval base was (in Norfolk in Virginia), and the gateway to some of America's most important cities - like Baltimore and Washington D.C.
What To Know About The Deserted Fort Carroll
Fort Carroll is located in the middle of the Patapsco River just south of Baltimore in Maryland. It is a 3.4-acre (1.4 ha) artificial island built to be a hexagonal sea fort. Its history began in 1847 went Maryland gave permission to the War Department to build a fort in the shallow water of Soller's Point Flats.
- Named: After Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737–1832) (One of The Signers of The Declaration of Independence)
- Part of: Baltimore's Third System defense
The purpose of the fort was to protect the important city of Baltimore (that had been threatened by the British in the war of 1812). It became an important part of the defense of the city. Before it was built, the only fort protecting Baltimore was Fort McHenry just outside the city. In fact, Fort McHenry was the only military defensive installation between the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore.
Side Note About Neighboring Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry was a pentagonal bastion fort and is famous for its role during the War of 1812. In that engagement, it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from the British navy and the site that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" that was later set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven". Which later went on to become the national anthem of the United States and was renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Today it is National Monument and Historic Shrine and everyone should visit.
The Remarkable History of Fort Correll
Fort Correll was designed and its construction was overseen by none other than Robert E. Lee (then a Brevel-Colonel) in 1848. At that time Robert E. Lee was in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lee left Baltimore in 1852 and became Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
- Built: Started In 1848
- Overseen: By Robert E. Lee (then In The Army Corps of Engineers)
Originally it was intended for the fort to have some 225 cannons on three levels. But when the Civil War broke out in 1861, the fort was far from completion with only five gun platforms being ready and only two of them actually armed with guns.
- Original Plans: For 225 Cannons
- Civil War: When The Civil War Broke Out It Was Only Partly Built
The fort was maned again during the Spanish-American War of 1898 - although by then its batteries had become fully obsolete. The Army then modernized the fort building three batteries - Battery Towson, Battery Heart, and Battery Augustin with their guns. They were only ready in 1900 - after the war had finished.
- Spanish- American War of 1898: Upgraded But Finished After The War Ended
With the outbreak of World War I, the guns started to be removed from the batteries and by 1920 there were no guns left on the fort. The Army officially abandoned Fort Carroll in 1921 and removed whatever military equipment was left from the fort and it was declared excess property in 1923.
- Abandoned: Abandoned Progressively Through World War I, Fully Abandoned In 1923
During World War 2, the Coast Guard used the fort for firing practice.
Sold Of And Fort Carrol Today
In 1958 a Baltimore attorney called Benjamin Eisenberg bought the old fort for $10,000 and had plans to build a casino on the island. But that never happened and in 2015 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- Purchased: By Benjamin Eisenberg To Build A Casino On the Fort
- Listed: On the National Register of Historic Places
Today the fort is deserted but private property. It is described as "Privately owned, and with no public access, it is overgrown and deteriorating." by Fort Tours. If one would like to get a look at it, the best views are from Fort Armistead.
- Private: Today The Fort Is Privately Owned
- Public Access: There Is Currently No Public Access