Fort Pickens – Pensacola, Florida:
After the War of 1812, the United States decided to fortify all of its major ports. French engineer Simon Bernard was appointed to design Fort Pickens. Construction lasted from 1829 to 1834, with 21.5 million bricks being used to build it. Much of the construction was done by slaves. Its construction was supervised by Colonel William H. Chase of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During the American Civil War, he sided with the Confederacy and was appointed to command Florida’s troops.
Fort Pickens was the largest of a group of fortifications designed to defend Pensacola Harbor. It supplemented Fort Barrancas, Fort McRee, and the Navy Yard. Located at the western tip of Santa Rosa Island, just offshore from the mainland, Fort Pickens guarded the island and the entrance to the harbor.
By the time of the American Civil War, Fort Pickens had not been occupied since shortly after the Mexican–American War. Despite its dilapidated condition, Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, in charge of United States forces at Fort Barrancas, decided the fort was the most defensible post in the area. He decided to abandon Barrancas when, around midnight of January 8, 1861, his guards repelled a group of local civilians who intended to occupy the fort. Some historians claim that these were the first shots fired in the Civil War.
On January 10, 1861, the day Florida declared its secession from the Union, Slemmer destroyed over 20,000 pounds of gunpowder at Fort McRee. He then spiked the guns at Fort Barrancas, and moved his 51 soldiers and 30 sailors to Fort Pickens. On January 15, 1861 and January 18, 1861, Slemmer refused surrender demands from Colonel William Henry Chase of the Florida militia. Ironically, Chase had designed and constructed the fort as captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Slemmer defended the fort against threat of attack until he was reinforced and relieved in April 1861 by Colonel Harvey Brown. Despite repeated Confederate threats, Fort Pickens was one of only three Southern forts to remain in Union hands throughout the war,
Montgomery C. Meigs, an Army engineer, was ordered by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Seward to Fort Pickens. During the war, Meigs would also construct the Washington Aqueduct and the dome on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. – wikipedia
360º Virtual Tour of Fort Pickens