Fort Knox is located on a small hill on the edge of Penobscot River in the state of Maine, it was built to protect the river from Naval attack, as during this period the river was an important network for the Maine area and its locals.
The local memory and humiliating defeat of Maine at the hands of the British during the American Revolution - In particular the defeat of Penobscott expedition in 1779 - which set out to defeat the British at Fort George (which was still in construction at that stage) and see the end of the British in the area - ended up a complete debacle. The Americans lost 43 ships and over 500 troops and is regarded as the worst naval defeat for the Americans prior to the Jap's attack on Pearl Harbour. If you have never read the book "The Fort" by Bernard Cornwall - I highly recommend it as it outlines the history and tales of this battle, with the Brits being heavily outnumbered and also just how badly the Americans were led during the course of the events and eventual battle and retreat. We got to visit the village Castine while in the area and visited the remains of Fort George (or sometimes know as Fort Majabigwaduce) and was great to see the area first hand after reading the book.
This defeat as well as other defeats in 1814 and during the Aroostook War in 1839, ultimately lead to the Americans building the fort here. The Fort cost close to a million dollars and construction taking over 25 years with it never being fully finished. The Fort never saw battle but it was indeed manned during times of war, and used for training.
The best feature of the Fort is the huge 15" Rodman cannons in "A" Battery and the
slightly smaller 10" Rodman cannon that was just inside the main fort structure (see photos I took) The large 15-inch Rodman (15-inch refers to the diameter of the bore) in "A Battery" was extremely powerful, but slow to maneuver. Twelve men were needed to load the cannon. They used a mechanical hoist to lift the 330pound (150kg) shell or 450pound (205kg) solid cannonball with two men having to manage the rammer alone! (so a very low rate of fire then ! . At a 20 degree elevation, the cannon could fire a solid cannonball 5.5kms.
Fort Knox's "A" Battery and "B" Battery each had a hot shot furnace. These small brick structures were built for use with the 32 pound cannons, which were the cannons that were originally planned for the batteries.(but never installed. 10 and 15 inch Rodmans were installed in their place) Hot shot furnaces heated cannonballs so hot that, when
the balls hit wooden ships , the ships were set on fire. But with the development of the ironclad ships in the American Civil War period, the firing of red hot cannonballs was no longer an effective means of defense and hot shot furnaces became obsolete, so were never used at the fort.
So enough text lets get to the photos
|Overall Aerial Photo - I took this from a billboard of course|
|The main entrance or Gate house|
|The long Alley - note the rifle slots|
|The Dry Moat - defense from land assaults|
|Being caught in the crossfire with rifle slots each side of the Moat and some cannons at each end as well.|
It would be of been terrible to assault this Fort
|The 10" Rodman Cannon - this thing is huge !!|
|Massive stonework arches|
|Looking into the Inner Courtyard|
|Cannons facing along the Gatehouse|
|The Original number of Rodman Cannons - mostly all recycled during WW2 for scrap metal|
|Battery A looking back towards the Fort and flanking howitzers from sally port|
|Battery A - Rodman 15" Cannon - now that's a cannon indeed !!|
|Hot shot furnaces|
|Cannon and Rifle ports looking down into the Dry Moat|
|The Bakery and kitchen|
|Love the brick arches|
|Battery A overlooking the River|
|Across the River - overlooking the Fort|
|The River wall - a steep climb for a would be attacker|