"A pristine stretch surrounding a preserved Civil War fortress, Fort Totten Park provides not only recreation and relaxation but a fascinating glimpse into New York’s past. Public records show the Fort Totten site go back to 1640.Originally inhabited by the Matinecock Indians, the neighborhood of Bayside was first settled during the American Revolution. This site was first named Willets Point, but later renamed for General Joseph Totten (1788-1864) after his demise in the Battle of the Wilderness. Plans were initially prepared by Captain Robert E. Lee in 1857, and construction of the fortification began in 1862. Built across the East River from its counterpart, Fort Schuyler, Totten was initially charged with defending the eastern approach to New York Harbor. Soon after its completion, however, with the rapid advances made in fortification design by battlefield engineers and commanders fighting the Civil War in the South, Fort Totten became obsolete as a defensive structure and its facilities were remanded to the position of casualty support and hospital care (1864-1965)."