History of Fort Severn
The renewed tension with Britain in 1808 led to the building of forts to protect American ports. Fort Severn was built in 1808 on a ten-acre site at Windmill Point. Fort Severn replaced a patriot fort that had been built at the same location in 1776. This new fort was much more substantial than the earlier revolutionary-era fort. It sported a 10 or 11-gun circular masonry rampart. Fort Severn was garrisoned in 1814 on the threat of a British attack that never came. The fort was transferred to the Navy on October 19, 1845, when Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft, wanted to establish the Naval School, using the old fort as a school facility. Bancroft chose the site as a "healthy and secluded" location that would protect the young trainees from the "temptations and distractions that necessarily connect with a large and populous city." The school was first known as the Naval School at Fort Severn. In 1850, it changed its name to the United States Naval Academy. This name and location has remained the same until this day, except for a brief time during the Civil War (1861 - 1865) when the Naval Academy transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, and the Army took control of the Annapolis site. The old fort was demolished in 1909. A plaque is on Bancroft Hall which was placed by the Fort Severn Chapter of the NSDAR.