Fort Knox (Maine)

Fort Knox (Maine)

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Fort Knox (Maine)

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Fort Knox, now Fort Knox State Park or Fort Knox State Historic Site, in Maine was built from 1844-1869. It is located on the western bank of the Penobscot River in the town of Prospect, Maine, about from the mouth of the river. It was the first fort in Maine built of granite (instead of wood). It is named after Henry Knox, the first US Secretary of War, who at the end of his life lived not far away in Thomaston, Maine. The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

Construction began during a period of tension between the United Kingdom and the United States over issues about the Canadian border following the Aroostook War. The intent was to defend the Penobscot River and Bangor, Maine, a major source of shipbuilding lumber. Construction funding from Congress was intermittent, and the fort's design was never fully completed although nearly a million dollars were spent. Granite was quarried five miles (8 km) upriver from Mount Waldo in Frankfort, Maine.

It had two batteries facing the river, each equipped with a hot shot furnace to heat cannon shots hot enough to set ships on fire. These became obsolete with the changeover from wooden ships to ironclads.

The fort was manned during the U. S. Civil War by volunteers from Maine (mostly recruits in training before assignment to active duty). At this time the bulk of the work on the fort, including adapting the batteries to use the recently invented Rodman cannon...
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