Fort LafayetteEdit profile
Fort Lafayette was an island coastal fortification in New York Harbor, built offshore from Fort Hamilton at the southern tip of what is now Bay Ridge in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Construction of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge forced the fort's destruction in 1960; the Brooklyn-side bridge pillars now occupy the fort's former foundation site. Constructed on Hendrick's Reef during the War of 1812 and finally completed in 1818, Fort Diamond was renamed in 1825 to celebrate the Marquis de La Fayette, hero of the American Revolution who was returning to his native France after his year-long grand tour of the United States. Before 1861, the fort's 72 heavy cannon commanded the primary approaches to the harbor, but during the Civil War, the casemates were used to house Confederate prisoners of war and politicians opposed to Abraham Lincoln's administration policies. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and many Americans were arrested for perceived disloyalty to the Union cause. Fort Lafayette came to be known as the "American Bastille". Robert Cobb Kennedy, one of the Confederate conspirators in the plot to burn New York, on November 25, 1864, was imprisoned and hanged at the fort on march 25, 1865. The plot to burn New York was to be retaliation for Sherman burning Atlanta . Francis Key Howard, grandson of Francis Scott Key was a newspaper editor of the Baltimore Exchange,a newspaper sympathetic to the southern cause. He was arrested on September 12, 1861, by order of U.S. General George B. McClellan, and taken to Fort McHenry, then called Fortress Monroe. He was then transferred to Fort Lafayette and from there Fort Warren in Boston. Rebuilt after a catastophic fire in 1868, the fort was later used for ammunition storage and transfer until World War II. It was demolished in 1960 when the island was used for the base of the Brooklyn tower of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.