Is an old Civial War fortress hiding beneath Beneath Alcatraz?


Texas A&M researchers have made an amazing discovery under the infamous American prison, Alcatraz. Using ground-penetrating radar, the researchers were able to discover the remains of an old military fortress that was believed to been completely destroyed.

The San Francisco Bay Island was once the site of the Fort Alcatraz, which was built when there was the discovery of gold in the area and it was transformed into a line of defense during the Civil War.

Though the fort never fired a shot during the war, the fortress did hold Confederate sympathizers who were imprisoned for denouncing the federal government. The radar the researchers used was able to reveal old fortifications along with buried magazine buildings and tunnels that dated long before the main prison building was built in 1915.

“From 1850 to 1907 was the era of Fortress Alcatraz,” explains Mark Everett, the Texas A&M professor of geology and geophysics. A large portion of the fortress is inaccessible under current prison buildings; but, archeologists hope to begin the excavation process soon on what is believed to be an important discovery under the prison’s parade ground.

“It is called a caponier, and it is a large structure that juts out into the bay and provides defensive cover. We have seen it in the old photographs but it has completely disappeared from present view,” says Everett.

Everett told the Huston Chronicle that the National Park Service had asked his team to search for Civil War-era structures at the site. They plan to use equipment that scans the Earth in a way “similar to the way people look for oil deposits.”

Another notable find: there is believed to be some of the oldest concrete in the US which was most likely imported from Europe.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE