|oastal Georgia and Florida boast many examples of
various types of maritime fortifications. The many isolated
settlements of colonial North America produced numerous small forts and a handful of large
ones. For 150 years following the creation of the United States, maritime forts were the
cornerstone of the national defense. Until the air age, America's potential enemies could
reach her only by sea, and forts were an economical, purely defensive alternative to large
The prospect of war with European powers in the 1790s led to a national program of fortification building spanning seventy years in three phases. By the Civil War, advances in armaments made masonry forts obsolete.
A tour of the Golden Crescent allows visitors to trace the evolution of armaments and fortifications over a three-hundred-year span. While some of these forts never saw a single shot fired in anger, many were scenes of combat during colonial wars, the Revolutionary War, or the Civil War. Taken together, these fortifications reveal much about the settlement of America and its subsequent defense.