Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches

Text for Page 006 [06-15-1861]

	   �Evening Post� Article.

[newspaper clipping: first column]
    The Defences of New York Harbor.
  A wealthy commercial city and seaport without
means of defense against the landing of hostile
forces upon its shores would resemble an opulent
householder who, avowedly keeping a large sum in
specie upon his premises, should leave open his 
front and back doors to temp the nocturnal ac-
cess of burglars.  That such is happily not the con-
dition of New York, few persons familiar with its 
bay and harbor will require to be reminded.  Yet,
though they possess a cursory knowledge of its
defences, the majority know little more, and to such
the information embodied in this article may be
  These, as indicated by its geographical position,
comprise three particular localities, specially adapt-
ed for three lines of defence�an inner, middle and
outer one.  The first comprises Ellis�s, Bedloe�s and
Governor�s Islands, and the fortifications erected
thereon.  The second consists of Forts Hamilton,
Lafayette, and the newly completed Fort Richmond,
(a formidable granite building, just ready to receive
its equipment of four tiers of guns); also batteries
Morton and Hudson, on the Staten Island shore, nei-
ther of which possesses any armament at present�
the ten and a half inch Columbiads belonging to the
former having been recently removed to Governor�s
Island, probably with the intention of rifling them.
The third and last line of defence is yet to be com-
pleted at Sandy Hook, where a large fortress is
erecting, and where floating or other batteries can
be permanently anchored on the bar.
  It is situated on the western portion of the beach,
within half a mile of the main ship channel, which,
passing directly in front of the fort, makes a sud-
den turn around a spit or stretch of sand towards
the city, so that for two miles in either direction
any invading vessel would be exposed to the fire of
the guns of the fortress.  There are also two other
channels crossing the bar, known as the Swash and 
Gedney, available to vessels of lighter draft, which
could be reached by long range guns, and, assailed
at the same time by a cannonade from the projected
floating batteries, must be inevitably destroyed and 
sunk.  The site of the fort, indeed, is of the great-
est importance; if seized by an enemy it would 
control the outer bay, permitting a hostile fleet to
anchor in its waters.

[newspaper clipping: second column]
  Its plan is part of a great national one, decided
upon after the war of 1812, of course subject to de-
lay in carrying it into effect.  About four years 
ago a beginning was made in the shape of the erec-
tion of a pier, which Jerseymen and New Yorkers
predicted would soon be destroyed by the fury of
the ocean�it remains, however, to this day.  The
laying of the corner stone of the fort occurred on
the 26th of March, 1859.  Since that time the works
progressed leisurely, under the direction of Captain
Benham, until the spring of the present year, no-
thing being done during the winter beyond the shap-
ing and preparing the stones.  In May, Captain J.
G. Foster, a gentleman who has now national dis-
tinction as one of the heroes of Fort Sumter, being
disqualified by a wound received in the war with
Mexico for more active service, obtained instruc-
tions at Washington to take command and push for-
ward the works with the utmost vigor; Captain
Benjam going west as chief-engineer of the army
there, and his successor assuming command on the 
fifteenth of the month.  Since then one hundred and
seventy-five men have been constantly employed 
upon it.
	          SANDY HOOK.
  Disembarking at the breezy pier, you behold a
long reach of sand with a few houses upon it, (one
staring sideways with all the force of its windows
into the Atlantic,) sundry light-houses, patches of
bright green vegetation and rushes, and, to the
left, where the sand stretches off into a curve or
hook, a telegraph-station resembling a windmill in
a Dutch landscape, deprived of its sails, and a huge
derrick, the predominant feature of the scene.
To the right, over the leaping and sparkling waves
of the Atlantic, are the grand old Highlands, look-
ing like the Catskills come to enjoy the benefit of
sea air.  And a five minutes� walk on a plank path-
way over the fine soft white sand brings you into 
the vicinity of certain sheds and outhouses, im-
mense blocks of granite of from six to eight tons 
weight, (from the quarries of Massachusetts and
Maine,) with their dimensions marked upon them,
piles of pebbles, great cauldrons, the creaking of
�guys� and windlasses, and a good many Irish
stone-masons, the musical chink of whose hammers
is answered by the melancholy swash of the un-
tiring sea.  All of which denotes the locality of the
future Fort Clinton�for such is the name sug-
gested as appropriate to be bestowed upon it.
	         THE FORTRESS.
  The fort will occupy a space of about twenty
acres, being only second in size to Fortress Monroe,
the most important stronghold belonging to the               
Loading content ...