Forgotten Forts Series - Fort Gorges

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Since everyone that has been following this series seemed to be impressed with Fort Scammel in Maine I thought I'd focus on another fort in Maine that actually was created to help support Fort Scammel on House Island in the defense of Portland and Casco Bay.

Fort Gorges is a six-sided granite fortification located on Hog Island Ledge. Military officials thought a third fort should be built to help support both Fort Scammel and Fort Preble and in 1857 construction began on the fort which somewhat resembles Fort Sumter. Fort Gorges, named after Sir Ferdinando Gorges who helped found the colony of Maine, was one of the final Third System fortifications to be built in the United States.
800px-Fort_Gorges_-_2.jpg

The original plan for Fort Gorges called for two tiers of casemates with a parapet tier above. Work went smoothly from 1857-58 to the beginning of the American Civil War when work quickly pressed on. Fort Gorges was not completed until 1865 just prior to the end of the war and was never garrisoned by Union troops nor did it play a role during a raid by Confederate troops posing as fisherman into Casco Bay in June of 1863.
Island-Pics-12-Large.jpg

Following the war because of advances in artillery during the war the fort was rendered obsolete and was marked for an update. Initially the modernization of this harbor fort went as planned until the 1870s when funding was cut short and all work on the fort halted. Because the parapet tier was never armed except for one or two guns it was covered with sand for protection of not only the structure but casemates and magazines on the lower tiers. The fort had 34 guns mounted including 10 inch Rodmans and Parrotts along with a small detachment of troops stationed at the fort through the Spanish-American War when both the guns and troops were removed from its walls and the fort was placed under caretaker status. Wikipedia says there is still one Parrott Rifle mounted at Fort Gorges however I can neither confirm or disprove this statement nor could I find any photos so if anyone knows anything about that please feel free to post an update.
Fort-Gorges-Casco-Bay-Maine-2.jpg

The fort remained on caretaker status until 1916 when it was abandoned until World War II when it was used as an anti-submarine site and for storage of mines. In 1960 the fort was taken over by the city of Portland and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the fort is open to the public however it is not regularly maintained so visitors are told to visit only at their own risk. The fort is not featured on any type of regular tour so a private boat is needed to visit. Once on the island you can explore the parade ground, casemates, magazines, and if you can work your way through the heavy brush the top tier. This fort is definately on my list of "places I want to visit" if I ever have a reason to head to the state of Maine.

http://fortwiki.com/Fort_Gorges
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Gorges

Link to nearby Fort Scammel and other "Forgotten Forts Series" threads.
http://www.civilwartalk.com/threads/forgotten-forts-series-fort-scammel.79382/

Enjoy,
Nate
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Not hard to imagine that rifle hidden under all that brush on top.

Wouldn't be surprising. Disarming that fort with minimal man power and removing a Parrott from the top tier certainly wouldnt be a fun task so I could see where they could cut their losses and leave it. By that time it would have been obsolete anyways.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
There are a series of fortifications around Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a long time naval base, some pre Civil War. There is a Fort Popham on the mouth of the Kennebec River, and Fort Knox, a beautiful granite structure opposite Bucksport, Maine, on the Penobscot River.
 
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