The designer of Fort Sanders, Confederate Gen. Danville Leadbetter, learned his engineering trade at West Point, where he graduated in 1836.
He then designed Gulf of Mexico lighthouses, several of which still stand. His work included Sand island, off Mobile; Pass a l’Outre at the mouth of the Mississippi River; Sabine Pass, on the Texas side of the Sabine River; Port Pontchartrain, in Louisiana; and the Aransas Pass light, at Aransas Pass, Texas.
A Leadbetter design for Cape San Blas in the Florida Panhandle was never built. Of the ones that were, the lights at Sabine Pass and Aransas Pass still operate.