Fort Macon, Morehead City, North Carolina
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Brig. Gen. Simon Bernard designed Fort Macon and built by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The fort was named after Nathaniel Macon, the most noted statesman of the period. The US Army Corp of Engineers began construction in 1826 and was completed in December, 1834. Significant upgraded were added during 1841-46. Colonel Robert E. Lee designed and supervised these upgrades. Total cost was $463,790. Fort Macon only had a full compliment of personnel during the years of 1834-36, 1842-44, 1848-49, 1897-1903 and 1941-44.
Fort Macon pentagon in shape, constructed of brick, stone and cement. There are twenty-six casements that are enclosed by the outer walls. The thickness of the walls varies, but the average is about 4 feet.
Today, danger of naval attack along the coast of North Carolina is unlikely, however, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the coastal areas accessible through Beaufort Inlet were attacked. Blackbeard and other pirates are known to have used Beaufort and Ocracoke Inlets and traveled up the Pamlico/Tar River as far as Grimesland, North Carolina. Beaufort fell to Spanish troops in 1747 and again to the British in 1782. The colonial leaders of the Carolinas and Virginia recognized that coastal defenses were needed to deter attacks. The North Carolina colony began construction of Fort Dobbs on the eastern point of Bogue Banks in 1755.
Fort Macon served as a federal prison from 1866 to 1877. It was recommissioned March of 1897 and manned during the Spanish-American War, mainly serving as a coal refueling station. Fort Macon was decommissioned in 1903. Congress sold the fort to the State of North Carolina in 1923 making it into the second state park. During 1934 to 1936 the Civilian Conservation Corps refurbishing, restoration and consolidation activities. Fort Macon was recommissioned again in 1940 and played a key role in coastal defenses during World War II.