|Fort Morgan, Alabama|
On the heels of the state's bloodless occupation of the Mount Vernon Arsenal north of Mobile the previous day, Alabama militia forces moved against Fort Morgan at the entrance of Mobile Bay 150 years ago today.
A massive masonry fortification, Fort Morgan had been built in 1819-1833 on the site of a War of 1812 defense called Fort Bowyer. In conjunction with Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, the fort was designed to sweep the entrance to Mobile Bay with artillery fire to defend it from foreign attack. It had been a major stopping point on the Creek Trail of Tears in 1836-1837, but since 1842 had been in caretaker status. On the eve of the Civil War, it was held only by an ordnance sergeant and a handful of men.
|Fort Morgan Parade Ground|
|Casemates of Fort Morgan|
DEAR SIR: I have been superseded by Colonel Todd, of the Militia of Alabama, and he took and receipted for all the property belonging to the Ordnance Department and fort.
I wait for orders from the Adjutant-General.
In the weeks that followed, Alabama moved hundreds of militia soldiers into Fort Morgan, putting them to work clearing the fort for action and conducting much needed maintenance. Fort Gaines, across the bay entrance, was not immediately occupied by state forces (although many modern sources indicate that it was also seized on January 5th). It would remain in U.S. hands for another two weeks.
To learn more about Fort Morgan, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortmorgan.