Historic Fort Morgan
For a marked map with descriptions -- click here -- Also available in PDF form
Fort Morgan is a Third System Coastal Defense Fort and like all the other Third System forts it was built after the War of 1812 when Congress realized the southern and eastern coastlines needed stronger fortifications. Construction of Fort Morgan began in 1819 and was completed in 1834. Fort Morgan was named for General Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War hero. The fort was designed to protect Mobile Bay and Fort Morgan's star shape allowed the defenders of the fort to concentrate heavy fire on invading forces. Fort Morgan was active in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and was also used as a training base during World War I. In 1941 the Fort was reactivated and manned by the Navy and Coast Guard before being deactivated in 1946 and turned over the State of Alabama.
During the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864 an 18-ship Union fleet that was commanded by Admiral D. G. Farragut was heading for Fort Morgan and the entrance to Mobile Bay. The Confederate soldiers that were at Fort Morgan opened fire. Soon after the leading Union Monitor known as the Tecumseh hit a mine (called a torpedo at the time) and sank almost instantly. The Union fleet hesitated for a moment and at that time Admiral Farragut gave the famous order of "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead !". The remaining ships made it past the fort, through the minefield and into Mobile Bay.
You can visit Fort Morgan for a nominal fee. Tickets are classified as Children, Adult, Senior, Family Pass (2 Adults, 2 Children), and there is also a group discount for groups of 10 or more. There should be a sign at the gatehouse specifying where you go to pay. They also host Civil War re-enactments as well.
Morgan - 1833
1833 is the year Fort Morgan was named - it was actually completed in 1834
Friends of Fort Morgan has a unofficial website about Fort Morgan that has photos, maps, history and a virtual tour etc at http://www.azaleacity.com/fortmorgan/information.htm
Coastal Fortification on the Gulf of Mexico--Another nice website is Fort Wiki, compiling information about forts, camps, and other historical defense installments in the United States and Canada. You can find the Fort Morgan page here. Fort Morgan was also the site for later fortification, which added to the original fort, which was by then obsolete. More gun emplacements were built in the late 1890's and early 1900's at the direction of a fortification board headed the William C. Endicott, who was the Secretary of War during the mid 1880's.
See some old postcards of historic Fort Morgan from Alabama State archives.
Fort Morgan Road is in Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542 USA