The Calvin Shedd Papers > Background > Fort Taylor

Fort Taylor

Date(s) of Letter(s) Schmidt, Lewis G. The Civil War in Florida:  A Military History. Vol I: Florida's East Coast, Vol III: Florida's Key's & Fevers.    Allentown, Pennsylvania: L. G. Schmidt, 1989.
March 2, 1862
Construction on Fort Taylor began in 1845, shortly after Florida became a state, and in 1850 the facility was named for President Zachary Taylor who had died that year.  The fort is located on a shoal of 63 acres along the southwest coast of the island of Key West.  The site of the fort had been proposed in 1836, but delays due to lack of labor,  skilled artisans, and supplies slowed construction and the first three tiers of casements were not completed until 1855.  The fort was built of brick and the shape was a trapezoid, similar to a hexagon cut in half.  The long side faced the shore and was connected to it by a causeway.  The walls were five feet thick and rose almost 50 feet above the water.  The construction of the fort was not completed until 1866, by which time improved weaponry rendered it obsolete.  Fort Taylor was secured for the Union prior to the outbreak of the Civil War by Captain Brannan, who moved his troops into the fort to defend it from any planned takeover by supporters of the Southern cause.  Like Fort Jefferson, Fort Taylor was used for defense of the waters surrounding the southern coast of Florida and as a depot for transport ships carrying supplies to troops on the Gulf Coast.  (Schmidt, pp. XXII-XXVIII).
Fort Taylor in 1861