This is of course the frantic work of 1898. When the USS Maine blew up in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898, the US decided that this dastardly act had been the doing of the eternally wicked Spainish, upon whom the US declared war within two months. A number of practically derelict US coastal forts were suddenly very important indeed, as surely the vast Spanish Armada would immediately swoop down (up?) on America's coast and lay waste to all.

When the troops of Battery A of the US Army's 6th Artillery Regiment arrived at Fort Clinch shortly after war was declared, they found the fort, which had been gently declining under the care of a single ordnance sergeant since 1869, a mess. The Swing Bridge was rotted and useless, the main gate mostly blocked by sand, and there were no sanitation facilities or fresh water.