4. Ellis Island was a Fort During the War of 1812

Image from Library of Congress made by Historic American Landscapes Survey.

After the island was sold by the Ellis family, the US government proceeded to fortify it and had a role in various wars. First, a twenty-gun battery, magazine, and barracks were built after acquisition in 1808, known as Fort Gibson. During the War of 1812, the island served as a garrison and POW camp. By 1861, the fort was decommissioned and replaced with a naval magazine. During the Civil War, it served as an ammunition supply depot.