Photographing Fort Carroll From Afar

While taking aerial photographs near the Francis Scott Key Bridge close to Baltimore, Maryland, I unexpectedly came across Fort Carroll, a deserted sea fort situated in the midst of the Patapsco River.

Hovering over the expanse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, near Baltimore, Maryland, my quest for the perfect photograph led me to an unexpected discovery. There, amidst the swirling currents of the Patapsco River, lay Fort Carroll, a relic of ambition and defiance, forgotten by time. This fortress, bearing the name of Charles Carroll of Carrollton – a defiant voice in the chorus that penned the Declaration of Independence – stands as a monument to what could have been.

Designed under the watchful eye of none other than Brevet-Colonel Robert E. Lee, before his name was etched into the annals of Civil War history, and built by the stalwart hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1848 and 1861, Fort Carroll was a fortress halted in its tracks. Its walls, meant to brim with soldiers and the thunder of cannons, instead echo with the silence of abandonment. The Civil War, that great American tempest, along with the relentless march of progress, rendered it obsolete before it ever fulfilled its purpose.

By 1921, Fort Carroll was forsaken, a shadow of a dream of American military might, and by 1923, the War Department washed its hands of the fort, declaring it excess. What remains is a sentinel in the river, a testament to the ghosts of American history and the paths not taken.

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