American Forts: East

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Camp Acosta | Fort Augusta | The Battery | Benedict Field | Fort Berg | Bourne Field
Fort Christian (1) | Fort Christian (2) | Fort Christian (3) | Christiansted Marine Barracks
Cowell's Battery | Duurloo Plantation | East Point Battery | English Battery | Fort Flamandor
Fortuna Hill Res. | Fort Frederick (1) | Fort Frederik (2) | Fort Frederik (3)
Frederiksted Marine Barracks | Camp Harwood | Kings Hill Marine Barracks | Lind Battery
Mafolie Battery | Mosquito Bay Battery | Fort Mylner | Protestant Cay Battery | Fort Sale
Fort Segarra | Fort Shipley | Shipley's Battery | Shoys Point Battery | Fort Skytsborg
Fort St. James | St. Thomas Barracks | Fort St. Thomas | Tower Fort (2) | Fort Trygborg
Fort Willoughby

OFFICIAL USVI TOURISM
DANISH WEST INDIES - DANISH ARCHIVES (English Version)
ST. CROIX LANDMARKS SOCIETY

Last Update: 25/JUNE/2012
Compiled by Pete Payette - 2012 American Forts Network

Fort Frederick (1)
(Virgin Islands National Park)
(1718 - 1780, 1801 - 1802, 1807 - 1814), Fortsberg Hill, St. John
Only ruins remain of the fort here. It protected the approach to Coral Bay, the first Danish settlement (1718) on the island. It was overtaken and held by rebellious slaves for six months during a bloody uprising beginning in November 1733. British troops were sent from Tortola in January 1734, but were ambushed. Additional Brtitish troops from St. Kitts were sent in February 1734, but they too were withdrawn. French troops from Martinique finally put down the rebellion in May 1734. The fort was rebuilt with four bastions in 1760. The fort was occupied by the British in 1801 - 1802, and again in 1807 - 1814. Private property within the authorized national park boundary. Also known locally as Fort Berg. See also Fort Berg from See St. John.com

A British five-gun shore battery (aka English Battery) (built 1807) was located 1000 feet southeast below the fort at Battery Point. A few rusty guns still remain here.

Duurloo Plantation Encampment
(1733 - 1734), Caneel Bay, St. John
The sugar plantation's great house was fortified as a stronghold for the island's Danish planters and other able-bodied men against the rebelling slaves in 1733. It was one of the very few plantations never taken by the rebels. The preserved ruins of the great house are located on the grounds of the Caneel Bay Resort.

Fort Christian (2) ?
(1734 - 1825 ?), Cruz Bay, St. John
Built after the 1733 slave revolt was finally put down. Expanded in 1825 to include a prison and courthouse. The present-day St. John Administration Building (aka The Battery) was built on the foundation ruins. A museum is planned in the future after current renovations (2008).

Lind Battery
(1801 ? or 1807 ?), near Cruz Bay, St. John
A small British shore battery located on Lind Point north of town. Access via the Lind Point Trail from the NPS Visitor Center.

Fort Christian (3)
(Christiansted National Historic Site)
(1749 - 1878, 1917 - 1929), Christiansted, St. Croix
Built on the site of an earlier French fort (name ?) and settlement named Bassin (1665 - 1696). Partially rebuilt in 1771. Enlarged between 1835 - 1841. Converted to a police station and courthouse after local labor riots in 1878. The American takeover ceremony took place here in April 1917. The U.S. Marines garrisoned the fort as part of the Christiansted Marine Barracks until withdrawn from the island in July 1929. The fort has been restored to the 1830's period. Admission fee. Hurricane Hugo damaged the outer wall in 1989.

Protestant Cay Battery
(unknown, 1917 - 1919), Protestant Cay, Cristiansted, St. Croix
The Danish had shore batteries emplaced here in the colonial days (dates ?). U.S. Marines also had a camp and shore battery emplaced here in 1917.

Fort Louise Augusta
(1647 - unknown), Christiansted, St. Croix
A British four-gun semi-circular battery was originally located here as early as 1647, according to a Spanish map of the period. The battery was modified several times by various owners over the centuries. The adjacent barracks were built in 1788 by the Danes and named after a princess in the Danish royal house. Located adjacent to the lighthouse on Lagoon Bank (Altona Lagoon), at the far eastern end of the St. Croix Marina. The barracks were modified in the late 1930's as the island's first radio station. The abandoned structure burned down in December 2011. The stone-built battery is still extant.

Shoys Point Battery
(1918 - 1919), near Shoys, St. Croix
U.S. Marines had a camp and shore battery emplaced here.

Kings Hill Marine Barracks
(1918), Kings Hill, St. Croix
Temporary barracks were established here for a detachment of U.S. Marines during World War One.

Benedict Field
(1941 - 1947), St. Croix
A WWII U.S. Army Air Corps field. Transferred to the U.S. Navy after the war. Renamed the Alexander Hamilton Airport, now known as the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport. Part of the former base became the University of the Virgin Islands - St. Croix in 1964. Located on the south coast east of Frederiksted.

Between 1940 and 1942, the War Department acquired approximately 2,581 acres to create Benedict Field. The Army Air Corps utilized Benedict Field as an auxiliary field for Borinquen Field in Puerto Rico. A fighter squadron was stationed at the site; it was also used as an aircraft reconnaissance outpost and training base for missions required in the Caribbean Frontier. A garrison of approximately 1,000 men were stationed at Benedict Field, and the Field included housing, a landing field with two runways, roads, utilities, storage facilities and an air warning station on a nearby hill. The site also included a bombing area for practice bombs, a small arms range and a magazine storage area. The Municipality of St. Croix owns the majority of the site and uses it for a municipal airport. St. Croix Alumina (a private company), US Virgin Island Air National Guard, highways, horse racetrack and a drag racetrack also are on the site.

Fort Frederik (2) (Museum)
(1752 - 1920), Frederiksted, St. Croix
Originally here was located British Fort St. James (1640's). Briefly taken by the Spanish in 1650, then controlled by the French. The present fort was completed in 1760. It was built primarily to prevent smuggling along the island's western shore. This fort claims to have given the first foreign salute to the U.S. flag in 1776. Here in July 1848 was proclaimed by the Danish governor the emancipation of all slaves in the Danish West Indies. U.S. Marines garrisoned the fort in 1917 as part of the Frederiksted Marine Barracks. The Marines transferred to Fort Christian (3) in 1920. The fort was later used for local government offices until 1973. Opened as a historic site in 1976. Restored to the 1840's period. Admission fee. (note spelling)

Fort Sale
(Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve)
(1643 - 1695), Salt River Bay, St. Croix
A Dutch triangular earthwork fort, also known as Fort Flamandor, which was also later used by the British (1645 - 1650), Spanish (1650), and French (1650 - 1695). In 1653 the fort/settlement was leased from the French crown by the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta until about 1665, when the French crown reestablished authority and the main settlement was relocated to Bassin (present-day Christiansted). The fort and settlement was abandoned in 1695. Ruins still extant near the NPS visitor center (built in 2004).

Salt River Bay is one of only two documented sites in United States territory associated with Christopher Columbus, who came ashore here (Cape of Arrows) in November 1493. The National Park was created in 1992.

Fort Christian (1)
(1672 - 1870's, 1917 - 1931), Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Attacked by the French in February 1678. A three-story oval gun tower, named Fort Trygborg, was built in 1676 near the north wall. It was demolished in the 19th century. The fort has been reconstructed several times over the years. It once housed the entire colony of St. Thomas in times of natural disaster. Also known as Fort St. Thomas according to a 1707 Danish map. This is the oldest extant structure in the Virgin Islands. After demilitarization it served as a police station, jail, courthouse, church, and the Governor's Residence. A clock tower was added in the late 19th century to replace the demolished north curtain wall. U.S. Marines garrisoned the fort in April 1917 as part of the St. Thomas Marine Barracks. The last Marines were withdrawn from St. Thomas Island in May 1931. The fort now houses the Virgin Islands Museum. Admission fee.

St. Thomas Barracks
(1874, 1917 - 1930), Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
The Virgin Islands Legislature Building was originally built as barracks for Danish troops and police, replacing a two-story wooden structure originally here. It served as the main U.S. Marine garrison post in 1917. It became a public school in 1930, then became the territorial legislative house in 1957.
NOTE: Charlotte Amalie was also known as St. Thomas during the colonial period.

Fort Skytsborg
(1678 - unknown), Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
A Danish five-story tower fort located near the summit of Government Hill, north of Fort Christian. Now the site of "Blackbeard's Castle", a hotel and restaurant built around the ruins. The pirate Blackbeard had nothing to do with this site. The nickname was applied in the 19th century.

Tower Fort (2)
(1679 - unknown), Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
A Danish tower fort (name ?) on the summit of Bluebeard (aka Luchetti's) Hill, east of Fort Christian. Now the site of "Bluebeard's Castle", a hotel and restaurant built around the ruins. The pirate Bluebeard had nothing to do with this site. The nickname was applied in the 19th century.

Fort Mylner
(unknown), Fort Mylner, St. Thomas
No data. A small village located east of Charlotte Amalie at the junction of VI Route 38 and VI Route 39.

Hassel Island Forts
(Virgin Islands National Park)
(Hassel Island Historical Archive)
(1779 - 1790's, 1801 - 1802, 1807 - 1815), Hassel Island, St. Thomas
British works were located on Hassel Island in St. Thomas Harbor during a brief occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, when Denmark was allied with France. These were Fort Willoughby at Magens Point, Cowell's Battery at Cowell's Point, and Fort Shipley (aka Shipley's Battery) on the highest point on the north side of the island. Barracks, magazines, a hospital, and other support buildings were also constructed. Fort Willoughby was located on the site of an earlier Danish fort named Fort Frederik (3) (1779). Cowell's Battery was later used as a signal station for St. Thomas Harbor. Also here are ruins of a drydock used by the Royal Navy, and an 1840's marine railway and a coal and oil depot. The island is accessible by passenger ferry. The island was created in 1860-65 by the Danish government by excavating out the narrow isthmus that connected the former peninsula to the mainland, and the channel was widened in 1919 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The U.S. Navy had a naval station at Careening Cove from 1917 - 1931, reactivated 1941 - 1947 (several old buildings still extant). The island has been administered by the NPS since 1978 as a subunit of the Virgin Islands National Park. Preservation efforts began in 2007. Hassel Island info and photos from See St. John.com


COAST DEFENSES of ST. THOMAS HARBOR

Mafolie Battery
(1917 - 1930), Mafolie, St. Thomas
U.S. Marines emplaced a fixed four-gun 7-inch naval gun battery on the heights of Mafolie Hill, overlooking the town and harbor of Charlotte Amalie.

Mosquito Bay Battery
(1918 - 1919), St. Thomas
U.S. Marines had a camp and shore battery here.

East Point Battery
(1918 - 1919), St. Thomas
U.S. Marines had a camp and shore battery here.

NOTE: St. Thomas (Charlotte Amalie) Harbor was protected by anti-torpedo nets during WWI.


HARBOR DEFENSES of VIEQUES SOUND (partial)
(see also Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico)

Fort Segarra
(1944 - 1950), Water Island, St. Thomas
The U.S. Army's main garrison post was located on Water Island. Originally named Camp Harwood. World War II seacoast batteries here were Battery 314 at Flamingo Point (1944, never completed), one two-gun 90mm AMTB battery near Druif Bay (never completed ?), and a two-gun 40mm AMTB/AA battery at Providence Point (completed and armed). Three ammunition bunkers/igloos still exist near Carolina Point. The uncompleted post was transferred to the Army's Chemical Warfare Division in 1948 for testing poison gas on goats and pigeons. The island was leased by the Federal government to private developers from 1952 until 1996. Access to the island is by ferry. Water Island info and photos from See St. John.com

Fortuna Hill Military Reservation
(1944 - 1948), near Fortuna, St. Thomas
Battery 401 (1944 - 48, never armed) was located on Fortuna Hill (900 feet elevation) on the western slope of the main island.

ALSO: Elsewhere on St. Thomas, AMTB Battery Muhlenfels Point (1942 - 1946) was located on Muhlenfels Point, three miles south of Charlotte Amalie. It has been incorporated into a scenic overlook for the adjacent Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel. Battery 315 was planned for "Hill 411", north of Little Coculus Bay near Frenchman's Bay (it was never built). Camp Acosta (1942 - 1944) was located four miles northeast of Charlotte Amalie. It later became a Peace Corps school. Bourne Field was originally built in 1935 by the U.S. Marines, expanded in 1941 by the U.S. Army Air Corps. It became the Harry S. Truman / Cyril E. King Airport after 1947. Part of the former base became the University of the Virgin Islands - St. Thomas in 1963. The U.S. Navy submarine base was built at Crown Bay in 1941. Navy seaplanes were based at Lindbergh Bay. The U.S. Army Signal Corps had a radio communications facility on St. Peter Mountain (aka Signal Hill) (1500 feet elevation) at Mountain Top (northwest of Charlotte Amalie). The present cell phone tower was built over the Army's underground bunkers.


NOTE: Discovered by the Spanish in 1493, but never colonized. English and French settlers arrived on St. Croix (Santa Cruz) in 1625. The Dutch came in 1643. The Spanish took over St. Croix in 1650, but were driven out the same year by the French. Denmark took control of St. Thomas in 1666, St. John in 1684, and St. Croix in 1733. Formerly known as the Danish West Indies since 1754, they were purchased by the U.S. in 1917 to prevent German capture, and promptly renamed. Administered by the U.S. Navy until 1931.

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Eastern Forts