Prior to the age of missiles and jets, the nation’s coastlines were dotted with strategically placed coastal forts. Several of those that survived have seen storm surge fill their dry moats again.
As Matthew swept up the Florida coast and into Georgia and the Carolinas, a number of these vintage fortifications, which in many cases were manned from the Civil War and both World Wars in one form or another, were in the storm’s path.
Georgia’s Fort Pulaski got about a foot of water throughout the structure and the moat is full for the first time in a long time. Historically the dike was built to withstand close to a 12-foot storm surge, unfortunately, Fort Pulaski experienced a record 12.56 feet.
The fort, on Cockspur Island between Savannah and Tybee Island, was the scene of a historic siege in 1862 that proved modern rifled guns were more than a match for its walls though it was retained by the military through World War II and even used as the filming location for a number of films including Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies.
Speaking of moats, the Castillo de San Marcos (Fort Marion) in St. Augustine, Florida is full again as well.
The oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, it dates back to 1672 and was originally built by the Spanish and used by the British until the Americans picked it up in 1819. The War Department turned it over to the National Park Service in the 1930s.
And volunteers have already shown up to pick up debris.
Fort Cinch in Fernandina Beach, Florida got not only water built also a good bit of sand activity.
A state park since 1938, the park has reopened but its unclear if the Fort itself (a sweet $2 tour into the Civil War era) is open.
Both Pulaski and San Marcos are closed until further notice as NPS disaster response teams head to the area to inspect the damage. But one thing is for sure, they don’t make them like that any more.