We visited Fort Massachusetts during our 2016 vacation to New Orleans, we spend a couple of day in Gulf Port Mississippi so we could visit several third system forts in the area.
Visiting West Ship Island involves a hour long ferry ride to the small island in the gulf. On our trip it seemed that most people were going to visit the beach, not the fort.I headed in the fort as soon as we arrived hoping to avoid the crowds that never materialized. I spent so time with the park ranger who talked a lot about the fort and it's history.
In 1861 the Confederate army left the fort and the United Sates Army returned and completed construction. You can view the different eras of construction by the different colored brick layers in the fort. The fort was then named after the warship USS Massachusetts.
Fort Massachusetts is one of the smallest of all Third System forts and was designed for 37 guns on two tiers. The seward front of the fort is comprised of an almost 2/3 circle joined in the gorge by a front with 2 demibastions.
The fort made use of concrete which was very innovative for the time. Concrete walls were faced with brick on both the inside and outside walls with the bulk of the thickness being a concrete fill. This saved a great deal of brick and labor. The fort also had a innovative water system that employed a system of piping in the columns leading to a underground cistern. Slate was used for piping and the lining of the cistern but unfortunately lead was used to seal against leaks.
Today Fort Massachusetts is under the control of the National Park Service and is very well preserved. Which the beach is very nice the fort is the best visit. This is one of the finer forts we have visited and I am looking forward to our next visit.