War of 1812-Fort Bowyer
Fort Bowyer was constructed by the U.S. Army during 1813 to guard against possible British attack. This small log and sand fortification was attack twice by the British during the War of 1812. The first attack made by four British warships and a combine force of British Royal Marines and Creek Indians came on September 15, 1814. The ensuing battle was total American victory. One warship, the H.M.S. Hermes was sunk and the marines and Creek Indians were forced to withdraw. During a second battle which took place during early February 1815, a combine British land and naval force forced the vastly outnumbered American troops to surrender the fort. By the terms of the treaty that ended the War of 1812, the British had to return Fort Bowyer to the United States. Fort Bowyer defended Mobile Point until the early 1820's.
Construction of Fort Morgan
Construction on Fort Morgan began in 1819. The fort was built by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers mostly through the use of African-American slaves. Brick and mortar were the only materials that could be obtained locally. Other essential construction materials such as finished granite, sandstone, iron work, and cement had to be shipped by water from New York. The fort was known as the "Work on Mobile Point" until April 1833 when it was named to honor Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan. Fort Morgan was completed in 1834.
Fort Morgan During the Civil War
Fort Morgan was seized by troops of the State of Alabama on January 4, 1861. Turned over to the Confederate Army in March of 1861, the fort served as the first line of defense for the city of Mobile and provided protection for blockade runners entering Mobile Bay. On the morning of August 5, 1864, Union naval forces fought their way past the Fort Morgan and defeated a Confederate naval squadron which included the C.S.S. Tennessee, one of the most powerful ironclads constructed in the South during the war. Union land forces commenced siege operations against Fort Morgan on August 9th. On the morning of August 22nd, Union artillery began one of the most intense bombardments of a single fort recorded during the Civil War. The Confederate's losses were 17 men killed. The Confederate garrison's 581 men were forced to surrender the next morning.
The "Modern" Era at Fort Morgan
Beginning in 1895 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a new fortification system at Fort Morgan. Reinforced concrete batteries replaced the old brick fort as the main fortification protecting Mobile Bay. During time of war, electrically detonated under water mines protected the entrance to Mobile Bay. Between 1900 and 1923, Fort Morgan became the largest permanent military base in Alabama with a garrison of over four hundred Coast Artillery soldiers. Over one hundred structures were build by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department to support the coast defense mission. During World War One, two thousand troops were stationed at the fort. Many of these men trained on the new artillery weapons that were becoming commonplace on the battlefields of France. With the end of the World War, Fort Morgan's garrison was steadily reduced and in 1923 the post was ordered closed. However, Fort Morgan role as a coast defense post was not over. In November 1941, the U.S. Navy reoccupied the post and in April 1942, units of the 50th Coast Artillery Regiment arrived to renew the fort's coast defense mission. In July 1944, Fort Morgan was abandoned for the last time and its role in America's coast defense officially came to an end.