The Rise and Fall of the Third System A History of American Seacoast Fortifications
The previous fortress design that was used to build hundreds of fortresses throughout Europe between the years of 1660 and 1800 was tested in battle many times, proving its design in defense. The Third System was built upon theory, and constructed without ever being tested in battle. Ultimately the Third System would get its test during the American Civil War in which it, and all other masonry forts became out-dated. Did the United States then sink a great deal of money into ineffective fortresses? Or were the Third System forts an unfortunate victim of rapid advancements in naval and artillery technology that led to its demise in 1862. This paper discusses the evolution of the Third System, the development of this new type of military architecture, and analyses the continuation of construction of these forts as major technological changes were being made throughout the world.