Historical Tid-Bit

Fort Pickens, located on Santa Rosa Island, Florida was built after the War of 1812 along with Fort Barrancas, Fort McRee, and Navy Yard to fortify Pensacola Harbor.

On 8 January 1861 guards at Fort Barrancas repelled an attack by a group of local men (some historians consider these as the first shots fired in the American Civil War) causing Lt Adam J Slemmer to destroy 20,000 pounds of gun powerd at Fort McRee, spike the guns at Fort Barrancas, and evacuate his troops to Fort Pickens (which had not been occupied since the Mexican-American War) because he consider that to be a much more defensible location.  History proved Slemmer to have made a wise move, since Fort Pickens was the only fort in the South that the Union forces held throughout the war.

In 1960 Fort Pickens was designated a national historic site and opened to the public in 1976.

In 1960 Fort (San Carlos de) Barrancas was designated a national historic site and opened to the public in 1980.

I have some very old film shots of Fort Pickens that I will likely eventually digitize and post to my gallery; though this summer I’ll get some digital stills of both Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas and the remnant foundations and views from Fort McRee (a nice hike, but nothing much is left).

All three forts (along with Fort Massachusetts, MS) are part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore which stretches along the coast of Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida.


Fort Pickens NPS, Wikipedia; all three forts NPS; Fort Barrancas Wikipedia; and Fort McRee Wikipedia.

Other notable forts along the coast in the Southeast:

Fort Pike Wikipeda and Fort Macomb Wikipedia are in Louisiana.

Fort Massachusetts NPS, Wikipedia (off the Mississippi coast) is closed this year for major renovations.

Fort Morgan Wikipedia and Fort Gaines Wikipedia are in Alabama.

Fort Jefferson (Dry Tortugas National Park) NPS, Wikipedia and Fort Marion/Castillo de San Marcos (St Augustine) NPS, Wikipedia are in Florida.

Fort Frederica NPS, Wikipedia and Fort Pulaski NPS, Wikipedia are in Georgia.

Fort Sumter NPS, Wikipedia is in South Carolina.

Originally posted 2010-03-31 02:00:02.