|Fort Jefferson (NPS Photo)|
On this date 150 years ago, U.S. forces showed growing confidence in their ability to hold three key forts on islands along the Florida coast.
At Fort Jefferson, the largest masonry fort in the western hemisphere, 64 soldiers and four officers came ashore from the chartered steamship Joseph Whitney. Commanded by Brevet Major Lewis G. Arnold, they had left Fort Independence at Boston Harbor eight days earlier in a secret mission to land combat troops at Fort Jefferson before state troops from Florida could move to seize the massive fort.
Sometimes called the "Gibraltar of the Gulf," the fort was still unfinished and covered more than 13 acres, but was in a sufficient state of completion and was so remote that it would be all but impossible for secessionist forces to attack it. The fort is now part of Dry Tortugas National Park and is located 70 miles off Key West.
|Fort Taylor (Florida State Archives)|
If you are interested in following a day by day accounting of the military events surrounding the Secession of Florida, please visit our sister blog: http://civilwarflorida.blogspot.com.