USNA History Department
Annapolis, MD 21402
Dr. Mechelle Kerns Galway, RPA of the USNA History Department & the USNA Museum
will present a lecture on her 2012 findings titled “Archaeology at USNA: The Fort Madison Project.”
Fort Madison, along with her sister gun battery Fort Severn, were part of the “Second System” of defensive coastal fortifications constructed in the early 19th century under the direction of President Thomas Jefferson. Vital harbors along the East Coast were chosen to protect the commerce of the nascent United States. The two forts were constructed starting in 1808 and completed by 1811 to protect the harbor of the City of Annapolis, Maryland. The battery of Fort Severn was located on what is now the US Naval Academy grounds where Bancroft Hall stands. Fort Madison was located on the north side of the Severn River on the Naval Support Activity (NSA) property in the marksmanship training area. Artifacts recovered in the spring of 2012 during Phase I archaeological testing located some remains of Fort Madison from where it stood from 1808 to the early 1930s. The materials consist of brick, cut sandstone, granite, and concrete. All of the fort structure related materials are documented in US Army Corps of Engineers plans and period construction documents. Other artifacts such as prehistoric debitage and bullets document land use before and after the fort’s tenure.