Monday, April 18, 2011

Pic of the Day: Ft. Clinch NW Bastion Gorge

A companion piece to yesterday's picture, taken at Fort Clinch, the twin to Fort Gaines.

Where yesterday's picture had us looking straight down from a bridge across Gaines' gorge pit, this time we're at the top of a flight of stairs leading down into the northern half of Clinch's pit.

The retaining wall is to the left, the gorge wall of the bastion to the right. Straight ahead, spanning the pit, is a caponniere. This defensive work controls access to the pit, the bastion, and the fort's parade ground: there are four tall, narrow openings to allow musketmen to fire up the stairs and a heavy door facing on each half of the pit. Lock those doors and the bastion becomes a miniature fort complete with a powder magazine and room for four cannons on the ground level.

One interesting detail of Fort Clinch's history can be seen in the stretch of red brick atop wall in the background. When the Civil War began, the fort was incomplete. It was briefly held by the South, who abandoned it when they realized they didn't have the men to hold on to it. The Union guys moved back in and got back to building. Since they couldn't buy brick from the South anymore, they had to source them from Northern suppliers. Different clay, different brick color. The upper half of the west, southwest, and south walls and parts of the south, north, and east bastions were all built between then and 1867.

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