This is the location to several casemates which is were the Rodman Cannons were located. The casemate carriage was designed to fire from casemates which were chambers in permanent forts. The carriage was essentially a front-pintle design, with the pintle fixed in the masonry in front of the chassis and below the guns embrasure. A tongue connected the chassis to the pintle.
The American Revolution and the War of 1812 brought enemy British ships to the Penobscot River. During both wars, Great Britain seized control of the river, fought battles in the river valley’s towns, and claimed the surrounding land for the British crown. With America’s defeat of Great Britain in the two wars, British claims to the area did not last. Still, the United States government recognized that a defenseless Penobscot River could be attacked again and the river’s increasingly prosperous towns, such as Bangor, threatened. By 1825, the nation’s defense plans thus included a fort at the present-day site of Fort Knox. But, no funds were actually provided for construction until nearly two decades later, with tension still present between the United States and Great Britain, most recently over the location of Maine’s northeast border.
After acquiring land and designing a large, modern fort, the U. S. Department of War and its Corps of Engineers began building Fort Knox, sited to guard the narrow channel through which all enemy ships traveling upriver would have to pass. Lieutenant Isaac Stevens, a young West Point graduate, was placed in charge of the massive project. Construction began in May 1844.
Stevens and his crews first built the gun batteries nearest the river and tried to get them ready for cannons. Workers then excavated the main fort site and by about 1853, work began on the granite foundations and walls of the large, central fort building.
The fort saw two periods of military activity. From 20 to 54 troops were garrisoned here during the Civil War. As the fort was still under construction at that time, they lived in temporary wooden buildings behind the fort’s granite structure. About 575 troops from Connecticut lived at the fort for one month during the Spanish-American War. They lived outside the main fort structure in large tents. No enemy ships ever appeared on the Penobscot or threatened its towns during these wars.
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