The History of Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores Alabama

Posted by Rachel Kelly on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 at 11:31pm.

A few miles west of the hustle and bustle of downtown Gulf Shores is the historical site of Fort Morgan. For over 100 years, Fort Morgan played an important role in the defense of Mobile Bay and the state of Alabama. Fort Bowyer was built in this area during the War of 1812 to protect the entrance to Mobile Bay from possible British attach. Fort Bowyer was actually built out of logs and sand, which were the best materials that could be found in the area at the time. The fort was attacked twice and one seized by British troops, but was turned back over to the American people as the result of a treaty signed at the end of the war. After that, Fort Bowyer was responsible for defending Mobile Bay into the 1820s.

In 1819, construction on a much bigger and stronger fort was ordered. Although mortar and brick were available in the area, construction materials such as finished granite, iron works, sandstone, and cement had to be brought in by boat from New York. Construction of what would become Fort Morgan took years, led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and carried out by African-American slaves. For years, this project was only known as "Work on Mobile Point" until it was formally named after Daniel Morgan, a hero of the Revolutionary War, in 1833. Construction was completed and Fort Morgan opened in 1834.

Fort Morgan was seized by the state of Alabama and turned over to the Confederate Army in early 1861 and soon became a pivotal defensive station throughout the American Civil War. Blockade runners entering Mobile Bay to convey materials to and from the Confederacy relied on Fort Morgan for their protection. Despite attempts by the Confederate Army to defend this point, Fort Morgan found itself under siege by Union forces and was eventually captured late in 1864. After the Civil War ended, Fort Morgan continued to be used to defend Mobile Bay from potential attacks. In 1895, refortifications and improvements were made to the area. Between 1900 and 1923, Fort Morgan was the largest permanent military installation in the entire state of Alabama and house in Baldwin County.

During World War I, Fort Morgan was again put to use when 2,000 troops were stationed there. After the war, Fort Morgan was ordered closed and abandoned in 1923. Despite the belief that the military was done using Fort Morgan as a defensive point, the area was once again called into use by the U.S. military during World War II. In 1941, units from the 50th Coast Artillery Regiment renewed their defenses at Fort Morgan and remained there until 1944 when Fort Morgan was closed for good.

Today, Fort Morgan is a protected historical site which attracts thousands of visitors every year and hosts living history events throughout the summer months. Visitors have the chance to explore Fort Morgan on guided tours and even, at times, to visit at night to hear stories from experienced guides about what life was like within its walls. Fort Morgan's distinctive star-shaped design continues to be an object of interest for American history enthusiasts who come from all over the country to see it.  We've included quick links to view Fort Morgan condos and homes near Fort Morgan.

Fort Morgan Aerial Imagery

Close up view of a cannon at Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores AL

Close up aerial picture of Fort Morgan

High aerial image of Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores Alabama

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