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Fort Preble. Spring Point Ledge Light and Fort Gorges are in the background

Fort Preble is a military fort in South Portland, Maine, United States. Fort Preble is on the campus of Southern Maine Community College.

Henry A. S. Dearborn built this second-system fortification as an "embargo fort" in 1808 and named it in honor of Commodore Edward Preble. Along with Fort Scammel, it was built to enforce the unpopular trade embargo that President Thomas Jefferson enacted against Great Britain by preventing Maine merchants from trading with the English. In October of 1808, Dearborn ordered a company of soldiers to occupy the fort and instructed them to do whatever was necessary to enforce the Embargo Act against embargo-breaking ships. The embargo was finally lifted in March of 1809.

In addition, various units manned Fort Preble during the War of 1812. Among them were elements of the Regiment of Light Artillery, the 21st, 33rd, and 34th Regiments of Infantry, as well as U.S. Volunteers — and in times of crisis local militia. When Winfield Scott and other American soldiers returned from British imprisonment in Quebec, they were landed at Fort Preble. Many of them were emaciated and ill, and some died at this post's hospital.

The fort saw action during the American Civil War, when Confederate Army raiders entered Portland Harbor on June 26, 1863, aboard a captured ship named Archer. The Confederates captured the ship Caleb Cushing the next day, and attempted an escape. Calm seas forced them to set the ship on fire, and they were captured by Union forces. Twenty-three Confederate prisoners were captured and taken to the fort.

The fort remained manned through the American Civil War, World War I, and World War II. It was decommissioned in 1950.

Spring Point Ledge Light was built near the site in 1897. A 900-foot (270 m) granite breakwater that extends from the fort and surrounds the lighthouse was later added in 1951.

References

Smith, Joshua M. "Maine's Embargo Forts," Maine History, Vol. 44, No. 2 (April 2009), 143-154.

Coordinates: 43°38′55″N 70°13′35″W / 43.64861°N 70.22639°W / 43.64861; -70.22639

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