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Amelia Island: A Civil War Perspective at Fort Clinch

Welcome to Fort Clinch, Amelia Island

This past weekend, mom and I took a step back in time to the Civil War when we visited Fort Clinch on Amelia Island. Clear blue skies made the perfect backdrop to viewing a piece of history against the backdrop of the Amelia River.

From the moment we hit the entrance to the park until the time we left, we enjoyed every moment of our visit. The park rangers are knowledgeable and make sure every question you may have is answered.

View of Fort Clinch from the river DeniseSanger.com
View of Fort Clinch from the river bank.

After you pay the $6 per vehicle park entrance fee, you enjoy a leisurely three mile drive through a beautiful winding road. The tree canopy is dripping with Spanish moss and there are plenty of places to pull over and look around. We did not pull over this time but will definitely in the future.

Hiking trail after hiking trail takes you through the woods with plenty of benches to rest if needed. You can view the Amelia Island Lighthouse from Egan’s Creek Overlook. The Amelia Island Lighthouse is the oldest in Florida built in 1838.

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We were taking our time as we meandered down this beautiful road as there were plenty of families out hiking and biking. A Fort Clinch sign welcomes you to the Fort at the end of the road.

Fort Clinch River View DeniseSanger.com
Fort Clinch windows overlooking the river.

As we entered the building, we were again greeted by a very knowledgeable park employee who answered all our questions. The fee to view the Fort? $2.50 per person.

You are provided a map when you pay your entrance fee which details the Fort which is off the museum. We took a brief stroll around the museum before heading into the Fort. What a treat!

This is from the Florida States Park history of Fort Clinch website page (located here: History of Fort Clinch):

Barracks in Fort Clinch
Fort Clinch Barracks

Following directly after the wide-spread destruction of the War of 1812, the desire to protect the country from other nations in times of conflict grew. The “Third System Fortifications” entailed a series of forts built along the coastline of the United States to defend against foreign invaders. Construction of Fort Clinch began in 1847, with visions of a triumph of masonry and stone built mostly by civilians and the US Army Corps of Engineers to protect the coast of southern Georgia. However, by the outbreak of hostilities at the start of the Civil War, only about two thirds of the fort had been completed, and cannons had yet to be mounted on the walls. At the start of the Civil War the fort came by default under Confederate control, who established fortifications and batteries on Amelia Island and the surrounding area.

As the Union started to gain control of coastal and southern Georgia, General Robert E. Lee gave the order to evacuate, and Union troops arrived in early March of 1862. More work on the fort commenced thanks to Company E of the New York Volunteer Engineers, but it was still not completed by the end of the war, and by 1869 was left empty.

Rooms including the kitchen, barracks, hospital, guard rooms and even a prison are available to tour and are furnished as they would have been during the Civil War.

Shark tooth hunting on the shore near Fort Clinch.
Shark tooth hunting on the shore near Fort Clinch.

Windows in the Fort’s perimeter walls give a glimpse into how soldiers would have protected the Fort. Long brick tunnels would have been run through to get to the canons that still stand guard overlooking the river.

After investigating each and every nook and cranny, we followed a path to the river’s edge where we did some serious shark tooth hunting. We didn’t find any this time but came away with many new sea shells to add to our collection.

There is so much history to be found and enjoyed, we have already started planning our next trip to Amelia Island. If you are planning a trip to Amelia Island I recommend this article: 8 best things to do at Amelia Island Florida

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About Denise

Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH.  Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise

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