The point is a natural feature jutting out into the straits we call the Golden Gate. Spain's army put their castillo there in 1794 to control the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Thus, when the U. S. Army arrived in 1846, there was already a fort on this point, so the location was called Fort Point. When the Corps of Engineers began building this fort in 1853, they called it The Fort at Fort Point. Original documents are on display with that name.
This fort was completed in 1861, just in time for America's Civil War. It was equipped with 103 smooth-bore canons, and the artillery corps stood ready throughout the war. In August, 1865, the Confederate ship Shenandoah was on its way to attack when it received word that General Lee had surrendered four months earlier. Thus, The Fort at Fort Point played no active part in that war.
There were similar masonry fortifications on the Atlantic coast during the Civil War, and they proved to be vulnerable to the new rifled-bore artillery. Therefore, the next time the Army needed to protect this area they built concrete fortifications, but left the old brick fort in place. The fort also survived the building of the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930's, though, as you can see, it was a tight fit.
So there it stands today. It has never had a proper name. It has never been attacked, and therefore has never fired a shot in battle. As a fortification, it was obsolete by the time it was completed.
And yet, as preserved and interpreted by the National Park Service, it gives a fascinating look into a moment in our nation's military history. In a 90-minute visit I tripled what I know about artillery. You never know when you might want to hurl a thirty-pound object several hundred yards with great accuracy.
Finally, Fort Point is beloved of San Franciscans and movie fans because at its outside corner (not pictured) Jimmy Stewart pulled Kim Novak out of the bay.