Fort Edgecomb in 2003
|Location||On Davis Island in the Sheepscot River, Edgecomb, Maine|
|Area||3.1 acres (1.3 ha) (original)
less than one acre (1991 increase)
|Architectural style||Octagon Mode|
|NRHP Reference #||69000020 (original)
|Added to NRHP||October 01, 1969|
|Boundary increase||December 22, 1991|
Fort Edgecomb, built in 1808–1809, is a two-story octagonal wooden blockhouse and restored fortifications located on Davis Island in the town of Edgecomb, Lincoln County, Maine, United States. It is the centerpiece of the Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site. On October 1, 1969, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and on December 22, 1991, its boundaries were increased to create a historic district.
Fort Edgecomb is located on Davis Island, actually a peninsula jutting into the Sheepscot River across from the village center of Wiscasset. Davis Island is separated from the mainland by a short neck, and Fort Edgecomb is located at the island's southern end. Its principal feature is an eight-sided blockhouse, whose second floor is larger than its first, measuring 30 feet (9.1 m) compared to 27 feet (8.2 m). The ground floor walls have loopholes through which muskets could be fired, while the upper level had portholes for firing cannons.
The fort was built as part of the U.S. second system of fortifications, guarding the then-important port of Wiscasset, then one of the largest shipbuilding centers in New England. It was built not only for defense, but also to prevent ships from breaking the embargo. Thomas Jefferson's Embargo was not popular with Maine's merchants, and it is said that the only time Fort Edgecomb's cannon were fired was in salute at James Madison's inauguration (or, less tactfully, to celebrate his lifting of Jefferson's Embargo).
During the War of 1812, this post saw considerable activity, holding British prisoners of war, many of them brought to Wiscasset harbor by American privateersmen. In 1814, Fort Edgecomb became an important base in defending against a possible British attack on mid-coast Maine. It remained manned until 1818, and was reactivated during the Civil War.
The Friends of Fort Edgecomb celebrated the bicentennial of the Fort June 13, 2009, on the grounds of the fort.
- Smith, Joshua M. Blockhouse & Battery: A History of Fort Edgecomb (Edgecomb, ME: Friends of Fort Edgecomb, 2009)
- Smith, Joshua M. Borderland Smuggling (University Press of Florida, 2006)
- Smith, Joshua M. "Maine's Embargo Forts," Maine History, Vol. 44, No. 2 (April 2009), 143-154.