In 1808, the threat of a second war with the British inspired President Thomas Jefferson to construct Fort Madison, named for his Secretary of State, James Madison. In 1814, Jefferson’s fears were realized. The British invaded Penobscot Bay. The under-manned
American troops stationed at the fort fired four volleys at the advancing fleet before destroying their own cannon and fleeing to Bangor.
Legend has it that Castine’s minister, Reverend William Mason, waved his wife’s white tablecloth and surrendered the town. The British occupied Fort Madison for the remainder of the War of 1812.
Fort Madison was once again fortified during the Civil War. The Union feared that either Castine would be attacked by Confederate privateers or that the British would ally themselves with the Confederacy and attack from Canada. Fort Madison never saw battle and was abandoned at the end of the war.
Fort Madison is now a public park, with stunning views of Penobscot Bay.