Located at the entrance to Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan National Historic Landmark is a site rich not only in history, but also in scenic beauty. The 500-acre site is located at the end of a long narrow peninsula bounded by the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Mobile Bay to the north. This area is considered by many to be one of the most historically significant places in Alabama.
In 1814 and again in 1864 the fate of the United States rested on events occurring at this site. During the War of 1812 had the predecessor of Fort Morgan, a small sand and log work called Fort Bowyer, fallen to the British, the entire course of the war would have been changed. Similarly in 1864, a Union defeat in the Battle of Mobile Bay might have resulted in Lincoln's defeat for re-election.
The centerpiece of the historic site is quite naturally Fort Morgan. The brick fort, completed in 1834, achieved fame during the Battle of Mobile Bay. The fort's guns fired 491 rounds at Union Admiral D. G. Farragut's fleet as it fought its way into Mobile Bay. It was during this battle that Admiral Farragut reportedly gave his famous order "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
Following the battle, Fort Morgan underwent a two-week siege culminating in a massive artillery bombardment that forced the surrender of the fort. Repairs of much of the battle damage are still visible in the brickwork.
The fort continued to serve the nation until the latter part of World War II, when it was turned over to the state of Alabama for use as a historic site. Today the Alabama Historical Commission administers the site. A small museum outside the fort features exhibits detailing the fort's long history. Several areas on the grounds are nationally known for the wide variety of migratory birds that can be seen each year in the spring and fall.
Pictures and information were provided by the Alabama Forts and Battlefields
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