Fort Morgan Historic Site – Gulf Shores, Alabama - Atlas Obscura

Fort Morgan Historic Site

Gulf Shores, Alabama

This coastal port saw one of the most significant battles of the Civil War. 

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Situated on the west end of Mobile Point, Fort Morgan State Historic Site is right off Alabama Highway 180. It is about 23 miles west of Gulf Shores, a popular tourist and beach city. Within the Fort Morgan Historic Site, there are multiple batteries, beach access, a public boat ramp, as well as a museum and gift shop. On the site, there are three historical batteries: Battery Bowyer, Battery Thomas, and Battery Duportail. The Historical Mobile Point Lighthouse is also within the site.

Fort Morgan’s construction was completed in 1834, and the fort was built largely by enslaved people. In early 1861, Fort Morgan was seized by Confederate troops. Its situation on Mobile Point was optimal for the defense of Mobile Bay during the war. However, on August 5, 1864, Union naval forces advanced beyond the Fort and defeated Confederate naval forces in the famous Battle of Mobile Bay, which had one of the most dangerous ironclads constructed during the war in its fleet: the CSS Tennessee. 

As Union Admiral David Farragut was faced with the decision of pressing on towards Confederate forces through Mobile Bay, even though there were torpedoes and underwater mines and an ironclad from his fleet sank earlier that morning, he famously uttered the words, “Damn the torpedoes…full speed ahead,” just off the shores of Fort Morgan State Historic Site.

Four days later, the Union army began a siege on Fort Morgan that lasted for 14 days. Confederate troops surrendered the Fort to the Union on August 23, 1864. Of course, the Union was victorious in the Civil War, arguably as a result of the victory at the Battle of Mobile Bay. Thus, the famous Fort Morgan played a major role in determining the unity of the modern United States of America. 

Know Before You Go

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, college students, and children, or $20 for a family pass for 2 adults and 2 children. Admission is required for all activities on the site. The Fort Morgan Historic Site is open seven days a week, excluding Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. Hours of operation are from 8am-5pm for the grounds, and 9am-4pm for the museum and gift shop. 

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May 15, 2023

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