With no true garrison present at the start of the Civil War, the Confederates simply took control with no resistance. The Rebels didn't attempt to finish the fort, but they did establish some gun batteries in the fort and other places on this island and across the inlet on Cumberland island, Georgia. With resources stretched thin, however, the Confederates decided in 1862 that they couldn't cover every single island outpost and abandoned most of them, allowing the Union to retake the fort - again without a shot fired - in March 1862. The Union, led by the 1st New York Engineers, then continued to work on the fort and by 1867 it was nearly completed (the war ended in 1865) when the army decided to deactivate the fort and construction was halted.
The fort was reactivated for the Spanish American war in 1898 but while a mount was built to hold a modern gun, it was never put in place and the fort was again abandoned in September of that year. The army sold the fort and land to private buyers in 1926 and in 1935 the state of Florida bought the complex for preservation and outdoor recration. The Civilian Conservation Corps (a byproduct of the "New Deal" from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to pull America out of the Great Depression) developed the property into Fort Clinch State Park, with the fort, nature trails, camping, beach access, and wildlife protection.
Confederate artillerists fire a Civil War era 3 inch Ordinance Rifle. (3 inch refers to the size of the shell fired.) This would not be used in a fort, but none of the larger guns in the fort are opperational, so they use this smaller gun for demonstration purposes.
Another view of the fort's internior, showing a building that is used for storage and staff offices. The large cannon on the right of the building are 10-inch Rodman Seacoast guns, a common Civil War-era fort cannon. More about the Rodmans and closeup photos Saturday.