Prospect in Waldo County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)
A Question of Boundaries
The United States planned Fort Knox to prevent another attempt by the English to control Maine lands east of the Penobscot, as they had successfully done in the American Revolution and War of 1812.
Fort Knox's construction had not yet begun when a conflict over the location of Maine's border with Canada briefly brought England and the U.S. to war again in 1839 (the so-called "Bloodless" Aroostook War). The boundary dispute was finally settled three years later. The new boundary placed northern Maine directly between British-controlled New Brunswick and Québec, which England saw as a threat to the security of vital transportation routes connecting the St. Lawrence River and Bay of Fundy.
While construction began vigorously in 1845, work on Fort Knox lagged due to a shortage of funds. Fort Knox was thus slow to assume a proper defensive position relative to possible English aggression. Isaac Stevens, the fort's first on-site engineer, described his concerns about the situation in 1851:
The military position of Maine is one of unusual exposure and importance. As a frontier state, she borders the provinces of the most powerful nation (England)...and is enveloped by these possessions. In the event of a rupture with England, we may expect that the first blow will be struck on Maine soil...By her natural position,
When the Civil War began in 1861, the forts on Maine's coast and major rivers were still unfinished. Maine's Governor Israel Washburn appealed to President Abraham Lincoln for help in directing funds to the state's forts. Washburn claimed that an undefended Maine would be the first point of attack if, as seemed possible, England's troops and ships, based nearby in Nova Scotia, joined the South in war. In the end, England remained neutral in the Civil War. Although some Confederate ships conducted raids along the Maine coast, none sailed upriver to attack Fort Knox.
Erected by Maine Department of Conservation.
Location. 44° 33.984′ N, 68° 48.126′ W. Marker is in Prospect, Maine, in Waldo County. Touch for map. Marker is at the entrance to the fort, at Fort Knox State Historic Site. Marker is at or near this postal address:
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Grand Plan (here, next to this marker); The Architecture of Defense (here, next to this marker); Fort Knox (a few steps from this marker); Where Did the Soldiers Sleep? (within shouting distance of this marker); The Heart of the Fort (within shouting distance of this marker); Digging Down and Building Up (within shouting distance of this marker); The Casemate - Key to Fort Design (within shouting distance of this marker); Firing a Cannon (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Prospect.
Also see . . .
1. Fort Knox State Historic Site, Maine. (Submitted on May 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Border Dispute and the "Aroostook War". (Submitted on May 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles • Patriots & Patriotism • Peace • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 2, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 457 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.