Fort Morgan (1)

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Fort Morgan (1) (1819-1946) - Construction began in 1819 and continued until 1834 on this Third System Masonry fort designed by Simon Bernard. Named after Revolutionary War hero Daniel Morgan in 1833. Abandoned after World War I and reactivated during World War II, it was returned to the State of Alabama after the end of World War II.

Damage to Fort Morgan Citadel, 1864
Fort Morgan Bastions & Ditch, 1864
Panorama taken from the Fort Morgan Water Tower circa 1911

Fort Morgan (1) History

Part of the Harbor Defense of Mobile, Alabama. Established to defend the narrow entrance to Mobile Bay, Alabama along with Fort Gaines (1).

Fort Morgan Sallyport
Fort Morgan Ditch

Fort Morgan was constructed of brick as a regular pentagon with bastions at each of the five corners and a large ten sided citadel in the center. The three tiered citadel housed the troops and was the largest of any Third System fort. The sea coast batteries were mounted on the two primary and two secondary fronts of the fort. Other land batteries were placed to protect against assault from the landward side. The entrance to the fort was a tunnel under the gorge protected at both ends by large doors.
For several months in 1837 the fort housed over 3000 Indians who were being relocated from the Montgomery area to the Indian Territory now known as Oklahoma. William T. Sherman was stationed at Fort Morgan in 1841-42 as a 1st Lt.

U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

Mobile Harbor, 1862

At the beginning of the U.S. Civil War in 1861 the Alabama State Militia seized both Fort Gaines (1) and Fort Morgan from Federal troops. Fort Morgan remained in Confederate hands until 23 Aug 1864 when it was surrendered after the Battle of Mobile Bay to a Union fleet commanded by Adm. David Farragut. The Confederate defenders managed to sink the Federal monitor Tecumseh in the battle and the fort sustained more than 3000 cannon ball impacts on 22 Aug before surrendering on 23 Aug. The Battle of Mobile Bay was the occasion for Adm. Farragut's famous order, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!", referring to torpedoes strung across the channel into Mobile Bay.

After the U.S. Civil War the garrison was withdrawn and the fort was placed in caretaker status 31 Dec 1867.

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Post buildings

In March of 1898 the fort was reactivated and garrisoned by Battery I, 1st U.S. Artillery in anticipation of the Spanish American War and as a result of the explosion that sunk the Battleship Maine in Havana Harbor 15 Feb 1898. Construction began on the first Endicott Period battery, Battery Bowyer in 1898. A total of six Endicott Period batteries were built between 1898 and 1901. Only Battery Duportail was built inside the Fort Morgan walls. The Spanish American War was quickly over but the strengthening of coastal defenses continued.

Fort Morgan (1) Endicott Period Batteries (edit list)
Battery
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Duportail 2 12" Disappearing 1898-1900-1900-1931 $ 172,646
Battery Dearborn 8 12" Mortar 1900-1901-1901-1931 $ 150,000 4 mortars removed in 1918
Battery Bowyer 4 8" Disappearing 1898-1898-1898-1917 $ 187,812
Battery Thomas 2 4.7" Armstrong 1898-1899-1899-1917 $ 15,000
Battery Schenck (2) 2
1
3"
3"
Masking Parapet
Pedestal Mount
1900-1923
1900-1923
$ 9,000
$ 7,966
Battery Experimental 1 10" Disappearing 1916-1918 $ ? Test conducted 13-14 Mar 1916
Source: CDSG
Fort Morgan Plan 1921


World War I (1917-1918)

During World War I Fort Morgan was used as a training base. After World War I Fort Morgan was again deactivated and placed in caretaker status 1 Apr 1923. Subsequently abandoned 15 Oct 1931.

World War II (1941-1945)

At the onset of World War II the fort was reactivated and manned in April 1942 by Battery F, 50th U.S. Coast Artillery Corps. In 1946, after the close of the War, the fort property was returned to the State of Alabama and became Fort Morgan State Park.

Fort Morgan (1) World War II Batteries (edit list)
Battery
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery 155 - Fort Morgan 2
3
155mm
155mm
Mobile on Panama Mount
Mobile in Field Positions
1942-1944 $ ? 1 Panama Mount Visible
No Trace
Source: CDSG

Current Status

Current view of the Post Site


Fort Morgan State Park operated by the Alabama Historical Commission.

  • U.S. Civil War Armament on display (from the CDSG Representative Site Report):
    • one 32-pounder Columbiad on a seacoast carriage
    • two 24-pounder flank howitzers on carriages
    • one 100-pounder Parrott on a concrete pedestal
    • one 7” Brooke rifle on a concrete pedestal
    • one fieldpiece in the ordnance casemate
    • two 20-pounder Parrott rifles temporarily mounted on concrete blocks
  • No Endicott Period weapons on display
  • World War II armament on display
    • 1918M1 155mm gun on a Model 1918 carriage.

Location: Mobile Point, Baldwin County, Alabama

Maps & Images

Lat: 30.228073 Long: -88.022944

Sources:

Links:

Visited: 23 Dec 2011, 10 Dec 2009

Fort Morgan (1) Picture Gallery

Click on the picture to see a larger version. Contribute additional pictures - the more the better!

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