Preceded by another fort, Fort Bowyer during the War of 1812, Fort Morgan is a Third System masonry fort built between 1819 and 1833. Standing guard where the bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, the fort played a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864. Used intermittently through the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, the site showcases the evolution of seacoast fortifications and adaptations made by the U.S. Army for the defense of the country. On June 28, 1946, the majority of Fort Morgan was re-conveyed to the State of Alabama and in 1957, the hotshot furnace was conveyed to the State of Alabama under the Historic Surplus Property Program. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, the property continues to operate as historic site under the administration of the Alabama Historical Commission.
site of Fort Morgan originally called Fort Bowyer has protected many men whom
dwelled in the different structures for protection. This site was part of the
Louisiana Purchase by the Americans in 1803 from France. Colonial John Bowyer
finished the fort, made of earth insulation and wooden walls to protect Mobile
Bay from British in the early years of 1800’s. The layout was first in a D
shape with the curve facing the water. The last battle that was fought here
when it was called Fort Bowyer was on Feb 8, 1815.
Jackson had garrisoned the fort and left command of the fort to Major William Lawrence
in September 1814. The British arrived in the bay with several small boats and
the large flagship HMS Hermes. The
flagships rigging was injured by a cannonball from the fort. The boat floating
into the shallows of the coast. Thus giving the victory to Andrew Jackson and
his army that day.
Andrew Jackson was fighting for New Orleans, the British attacked Fort Bowyer
and this time leveling the fort. The War of 1812 had ended with a peace treaty
signed in December of 1814. In 1819, Andrew Jackson had ordered the fort to be
rebuilt and was renamed Fort Morgan after General Daniel Morgan whom was famous
at the Battle of Cowpens in the Revolutionary War. The land under the fort was
an important piece, that whomever possessed it would control the Mobile Bay and
possibly New Orleans.
American slaves were brought in to help build the new Fort Morgan, and was
completed in 1833 the fort was finished. The external walls was now brick and could
hold more cannons. The fort is now in a star shape. Later it became a resting
point for the Indians on the Trail of Tears. The fort was utilized in the Battle of
Mobile Bay during the Civil War occupied by the Confederates who surrendered to
the Union Navy.
Fort Morgan’s Lighthouse Battery, stands a hotshot furnace. Replacing an
earlier War of 1812 furnace, between November of 1843 and February of 1844, the
new furnace was constructed of local firebrick and New York ironwork.
the beginning of the Civil War hotshot had been supplanted by
exploding artillery shells which proved just as effective. Thus, during the
battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, Fort Morgan's hotshot furnace sat
unused. During the siege of the fort between the 9th and 23rd of August, the
hotshot furnace was badly damaged by Union artillery fire. After the Civil War
the furnace was repaired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but years of
neglect eventually led to the collapse of much of the structure.
Morgan was reactivated and served as a coast defense post during both the
Spanish American War and World War I, during which time it was the largest permanent
military base in Alabama. Closed in 1924, the post was deeded to the State of
Alabama on May 24, 1927 for use as a state park. Interest in the old furnace
was renewed when a photograph of the dilapidated structure appeared in the
February 1939 National Parks Service’s Regional Review and it was restored.
by the U.S. Government in November 1941, Fort Morgan was reactivated as a coast
defense base during World War II. On June 28, 1946, the majority of Fort Morgan
was re-conveyed to the State of Alabama and in 1957, the hotshot furnace was
conveyed to the State of Alabama under the Historic Surplus Property Program.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, the property continues to
operate as historic site under the administration of the Alabama Historical