Fort Steele (2)
Fort Steele (2) (1861-1865) - A Confederate U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1861 near Mayport, Duval County, Florida. Named Fort Steele after Captain Holmes Steele the first fort commander. Abandoned in 1862 and captured by Union forces. Rebuilt by Union forces in 1864. Abandoned at the end of the war in 1865.
The Jacksonville Light Infantry company was formed in 1857 with Captain Holmes Steele as its commander. After the secession of Florida from the Union on 10 Jan 1861, the company was the first company officially accepted by Florida into state service. The company was divided into detachments and sent to the mouth of the St. John's River to build fortifications. Four cannon were moved from Fort Marion (1) for installation in a small fort built with palmetto logs and earthworks at St. John's Point near Mayport. Construction of the fort was supervised by retired Captain John L'Engle. That post was named Fort Steele after the company commander, Captain Holmes Steele. Steele was a prominent man in Jacksonville having been Mayor of the city and a physician.
Note: On 3 Jan 1861 Fernandina Confederate Volunteers traveled 60 miles down to Fort Marrion in St Augustine which had been a Union munitions and supply storehouse. There they found a vast storehouse of cannon, ammunition, and guns. They brought back 10 cannons (seven 32-pounders and three 24-pounders) and a battery of four light 6-pounder field guns along with a variety of small arms and ammunition. These items were transported back to Fernandina and to Fort Clinch via the steamship Everglade. The Jacksonville Light Infantry Company probably duplicated their effort to bring back the four cannons mentioned above.
The Jacksonville Light Infantry was then mustered into Confederate service on 10 Aug 1861 as Company A, 3rd Florida Infantry, stationed at Fort Steele. They remained at Fort Steele until Union forces approached in March 1862. The guns were spiked and the fort was left to the Union forces who held it for most of the war. The fort was reportedly rebuilt in 1864 and used until Union troops departed.
Captain Holmes Steele resigned his commission in November 1861.
The site is located on U.S. Navy property, Naval Station Mayport, and was excavated in the 1990s. Public access is restricted. The coordinates provided are for St. John's Point and not necessarily the exact site. No visible remains.
Visited: 24 Aug 2021