Monday, September 6, 2010

Big Guns over Gloucester in the Civil War

The fact that Confederate raiders didn't attack Gloucester, Massachusetts during the Civil War means these guns did the job without firing in "anger."  The Official Records of the Civil War note two earthworks and a platform battery. The platform battery was the old Fort Defiance and the earthworks were on Eastern Point and Stage Point, now Stage Fort Park.

Stage Fort Park  

In the artwork of Fitz Henry Lane. The fort is the green area between the point and the hump.

Today there are MORE display guns than back during the Civil War.

The "no-name" fort on Eastern Point was built during the Civil war in response to Confederate raiders attacking Gloucester fishing boats on Georges Bank in June 1863.

The "Ramparts" mansion was built on the site after the Spanish American War..

Today from inside the grounds. (Private property)

The old "Fort Defiance" ruin was refitted with new guns for the Civil War. Nothing remains today.

An 1835 map of the ruins of the 18th Century fort.

From the pre-war art of Fitz Henry Lane

Fort Defiance also features in the Sea Serpent sightings. Fort Defiance is on the hill to the right just before the schooners in the picture of the sea serpent below.

The outline of Fort Defiance was shown in 1887..

I hope readers will remember that I'm currently living in Gloucester.


  1. Interesting place to have locally

  2. Did the raiders cause harm to the crews of the fishing boats, or were they just after the fish?

    (an ex-Gloster! Different Gloucester though!!)


    "...During this period rumors were in circulation that rebel cruisers were to be dispatched among our fishermen, on the Banks, and wreak havoc to the fleet. At first these reports caused considerable alarm but nothing serious having developed,the fears of the people were allayed. But they were destined to a rude awakening. On the morning of June 24, 1863, the schooner "Laurena," of this port, arrived with the rigging and a portion of a burned topmast which was recognized as a new spar recently fitted to the schooner " Marengo," also of this port. The "Laurena" was fishing on Georges Bank at the time and sighted a burning schooner. The craft was headed for the scene but the vessel in the meantime had disappeared. Suspecting that something was wrong, the crew of the " Marengo," after picking up the article referred to, set sail for home, but before she was off the Bank, saw a strange barque with four fishing vessels near by. Fortunately a fog set in, under cover of which the "Laurena" made good her escape. The schooner "Cadet" arrived later in the day and confirmed this report. The " Cadet" was anchored on the Bank, a thick fog prevailing at the time, which, suddenly lifting, disclosed a strange barque, with four fishing vessels in tow. Some distance away they discerned a vessel in flames. The crew, surmising the cause, immediately hove up their anchor, the fog opportunely shutting in again, and, by towing the vessel with a dory, the schooner was gotten to a distance of safety, and when the wind breezed up escaped unharmed.

    Later advices gave confirmatory particulars. The marauding barque was the Confederate cruiser " Tacony," and the vessels destroyed belonging to this port were the schooners, " Marengo," " Ripple," " Elizabeth Ann," " Rufus Choate," " Ann " and "Wanderer." They were among the finest in the fleet, valued at $2,000 to $5,000 each. Several had good fares of fish when taken."

    History of the town and city of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts
    By James Robert Pringle

  4. Fascinating, thanks for that, and it would seem from you post today, that they were following a tradition laid-down in the sixteen-hundreds!! "Let's go to Gloucester and steal somebody else's fish!