Fort Jefferson is located on the Dry Tortugas, a series of islands 68 miles west of Key West. The first European to see the islands was Juan Ponce de Le who visited in June 21, 1513. Ponce de Le caught 160 sea turtles there and subsequently referred to the islands as the "Tortugas" (turtles). They are called Dry owing to the absence of surface fresh water on the island. This turned almost into a curse, attempts to capture rainwater for the fort were met with various problems as the cisterns cracked and let in salt water.
It hard to cvxdfff678 get there, especially since it is James Jones Youth Jersey a significant distance from the nearest island. There are three ways you can get to the island. You can take a high speed boat, you can take a seaplane, or you can take your own boat and dock at the dock. The boat is a full day trip, the seaplane a half day trip.
The design called for a three-tiered six-sided 420 heavy-gun fort, with two sides measuring 325 feet (99 m), and four sides measuring 477 feet (145 m). The walls met at corner bastions, which are large projections designed to allow defensive fire along the faces of the walls they joined. The heavy guns were mounted inside the walls in a string of open casemates, or gunrooms, Robert Griffin III Nike Jersey facing outward toward the sea through large openings called embrasures. Fort Jefferson was designed to be a massive gun platform, impervious to assault, and able to destroy any enemy ships foolhardy enough to come within range of its powerful guns.
Living quarters for soldiers and officers, gunpowder magazines, storehouses, and other buildings required to maintain the fort were located on the parade ground inside the fort's massive brick walls. The Army employed civilian machinists, carpenters, blacksmiths, masons, general laborers, the resident prisoner population, and slaves to help construct the fort. By 1863, during the Civil War, the number of military convicts at Fort Jefferson had increased so significantly that slaves were no longer needed. At the time, there were 22 black slaves employed on the project.
Fort Jefferson's peak military population was 1,729. In addition, a number of officers brought their families, and a limited number of enlisted personnel brought wives who served as laundresses (typically four per company). There were also lighthouse keepers and their families, cooks, a civilian doctor and his family, and others. In all, there were close to 2,000 people at Fort Jefferson during its peak years.
In order to support such a large population in an area lacking fresh water, an innovative system of cisterns was built into the walls of the fort. Sand-filled columns were placed at regular intervals in the inner walls, spanning their height from the roof Seahawks Chris Clemons Jersey to the foundation. The columns were intended to filter rainwater from the rooftop for long-term storage in a series of underground chambers. However, the system was never used in practice, as the enormous weight of the outer walls caused them to subside; this created cracks in the cisterns, allowing seawater to contaminate the fresh water supply.
Active Use: 1860s - 1930s
The fort remained in Federal hands throughout the Civil War. With the end of hostilities in 1865, the fort's population declined to 1,013, consisting of 486 soldiers or civilians and 527 prisoners. The great majority of prisoners at Fort Jefferson were Army privates whose most common transgression was desertion while most civilian prisoners transgressed by robbery. However, in July 1865 four special civilian prisoners arrived. These were Dr. Samuel Mudd, Edmund Spangler, Samuel Arnold, and Michael O'Laughlen, who had been convicted of conspiracy in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Construction of Fort Jefferson was still under way Cheap Frank Gore Jersey when Dr. Mudd and his fellow prisoners arrived, and continued throughout the time they were imprisoned there and for several years thereafter, but was never completely finished. Mudd provided much-praised medical care during a yellow fever epidemic at the fort in 1867, and was eventually pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and released. By 1888, the military usefulness of Fort Jefferson had waned, and the cost of maintaining the fort due to the effects of frequent hurricanes and the corrosive and debilitating tropical climate could no longer be justified. In 1888, the Army turned the fort over to the Marine Hospital Service to be operated as a quarantine station.
On April 6, 1908, Theodore Roosevelt created Tortugas Keys Reservation by executive order. This set the islands aside as a native bird refuge, but avoided significantly interfering with their military use.
Now let's get back to the photos. But first, a few maps are in order.
The fort was never finished. Time and weather did a lot of damage. Many of the buildings inside the parade grounds had to be torn down. In addition, the metal doors that kept people from firing at the canon crews while opening up from the air that came out of the canon in front of the canon ball caused massive damage on the exterior wall as they decayed and warped. Here are some of the unfinished and destroyed buildings as well as photos of the outer walls. The later are currently being restored with new maisonary.
So what else is there to do? You can snorkle and see the wonders of the reefs around the fort. You can actually camp overnight. If you do, you have to remember the word DRY, there is no fresh water here (what little is available is for the rangers at the fort) and the few composting toilets only are open after the boat leaves (you need to use the boat's limited facilities while it is docked).
And so we get back on the boat and head to Key West. If you ever visit Key West for more than one day, Customized Nike Falcons Jersey don't forget to reserve a day to see Fort Jefferson; you will be glad you did!