Home Is Where We Park It: Escapees Rainbow Plantation, Summerdale, Alabama
September 3, 2020
Temperature 93 Degrees
Fort Morgan Historical Site
The heat and humidity is back in force. The next several days we’re looking at temperatures in the mid 90’s and humidity around 95/97%. All you have to do is walk out the door, take one lap around Elvira and you are all damp and your clothes just cling to you like a wet towel. Yuk!
Back to yesterday and our tour
of the Fort Morgan Historical Site.
The little booth where you pay your entrance fee. I got in for free since I am a Veteran, and Ms Barbara cost us a whopping five dollars.
One of the first things you notice as you enter the parking lot are these flags flying in front of the visitor center.
Some history about the Fort.
Construction of the Fort took a total of fifteen years – 1819 to 1834
The total cost of construction was $1,026,777.41 – in 1834
The Fort as the Flags indicate has been occupied by six different countries or forces
Best known for the Battle of Mobile Bay, August 1864 (Union against Confederate forces) – the fort’s guns fired almost 500 rounds badly damaging some of the Union ships but failing to sink them. The Confederate fleet was ultimately defeated by Union ships. At this time the Fort was cut off from relief and faced a two week siege. An overwhelming 24 hour Union artillery bombardment finally compelled the Confederate garrison to surrender.
1917 to 1918 – served as artillery training base for World War !
1924 – Fort was abandoned
1934 to 1937 – WPA put 500 men to work restoring the structures and ground surrounding the Fort
1941 to 1944 – U.S Army, Navy and Coast Guard operated the Fort as an ordnance depot and guarded against German U-boats in the Bay.
1946 – Fort Morgan turned over to State of Alabama as an historic site
OK, put your walking shoes on and let’s go take a tour.
Adjacent to the parking lot is a memorial to the men who fought each other during the Battle of Mobile Bay.
Surrounding the fort is a cleared area that slopes upward toward the fort which acts as both a defensive barrier and also protects the fort’s walls from direct artillery fire.
This is the main access tunnel leading into the fort. Doors located at either end of the tunnel were closed during periods of attack.
This is the main entrance within the tunnel that marks the actual entrance to the fort.
A sad note as you look at these walls – labor for the fort resulted in a slave labor contract between the U.S. Government and slave owners in the region. These men, women and children manufactured over 30,000,000 bricks as well as making the mortar as well. At it’s height, over 200 enslaved persons labored either at the actual fort or within the brick yards and mortar kilns along the bay.
We are now looking down at the interior of the main fort. The entrance tunnel is at the end of the concrete walkway. The round concrete circle you see in the lower right is one of four circular cisterns that were constructed under the parade ground of the fort. They were filled by collecting rainwater from the gutters on top of the fort. In the center of the large green area there once stood what was known as the
The current Visitor Center is a miniature replica of the fort’s citadel.
These high arched ceilings or casemates were designed to be bombproof in case of an enemy siege.
From the beginning there were issues with the stabilization of the casemates.
One of the fort’s casemates was used for ordinance storage.
This is a gun emplacement that was constructed between 1898 and 1899.
This gun emplacement mounted two 12 inch breech-loading rifled guns. The guns were mounted on
disappearing carriages that lowered the guns behind a protective concrete wall into the pit shown above. There they were loaded and primed for firing. The guns were then raised again into firing position.
Adjacent to the main fort you will find two additional batteries
This is Battery Schenck. Completed in 1900 it had two rapid fire guns (the rust colored items in the above picture).
The battery protected the mine field in Mobile Bay that was located directly in front of it.
These are the two types of mines that were placed in the bay.
This is Battery Thomas. Constructed in 1898, this concrete gun emplacement also protected the mine field located across the entrance to Mobile Bay.
There you have it, a snapshot of historic Fort Morgan. I found it to be a fascinating piece of history that I really enjoyed exploring – despite the heat and humidity. But be forewarned
there are stairs everywhere! I made all of them but
this set absolutely got the better of me. After I watched one couple literally crawl down on their butts I passed on these. I think back to those who served here and who probably double-timed up and down them and I take my hat off to them.
If and when you are ever in this area do take the time to tour the fort. It is a fascinating piece of history that is worth your time to explore. Be mindful of the stairs. And do take a bottle of water with you whatever the temperature.
So another day is in the books on The Road of Retirement. We’ve enjoyed our time here though we wish there had been more to do and see. We’ve made a number of new acquaintances. Now, though, our sights are shifting toward Florida. This time next week we will be there. So the task at hand now is to get ready once again to move. We have some shopping to do. A few minor projects yet to complete. Its time to go.
Thanks for joining us today. We always appreciate your company and your comments. Keep safe, keep healthy, enjoy the day that God has given you.
These are the voyages of Elvira and her two intrepid travelers. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have never been before.
See you on down the road!