Fort Pickens was designed by the French military engineer Simon Bernard, who had been hired by the United States as a consultant. In 1816 he was appointed to the board of engineers which was placed in charge of fortification. Although influenced by the French school of design, the unique considerations of harbor defense made U.S. coastal fortification uniquely American. (Location of Fort Pickens). A Civil War era map shows the relationship of Fort Pickens with Fort McRee and Fort Barrancas, which were designed to act in concert to defend the harbor mouth. Though Fort McRee no longer exists (damaged in the Civil War and destroyed by storms as the island it was on moved), there was a great site giving a “virtual tour” based on the original plans.