Saturday, January 31, 2009
Fort Conde - French Fort in Mobile, Alabama
Over the last couple of days we've been looking at some of the significant historic sites around Alabama's Mobile Bay. While major Civil War sites like Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan easily attract the attention of history enthusiasts, it is easy to overlook another significant old fort.
The walls and cannon of Fort Conde now stand guard over the official Welcome Center of the City of Mobile. Located at 150 South Royal Street in the heart of the coastal city's downtown district, the fort is rich in colonial history.
Fort Conde, named after the Prince of Conde, was built by the French in 1723 to protect the growing settlement of Mobile. Then part of French Louisiana, the city was emerging as an important strategic and commercial center.
The original defenses covered roughly 11 acres in the heart of Mobile. Constructed of brick with a stone foundation and surrounded by additional earthwork defenses, the fort was one of the most powerful fortifications on the entire Gulf Coast.
Surrendered peacefully to the British in 1763 due to negotiations that ended the French and Indian War, the fort was renamed Fort Charlotte and garrisoned by British troops during the American Revolution. The Battle of Fort Charlotte, fought here in 1780, was one of Alabama's two significant Revolutionary War battles and resulted in the capture of the fort by Spanish forces. Spain was allied with the United States in the conflict and American volunteers took part in the battle.
Spain held the fort, now called Fort Carlotta, until 1813 when it was seized by U.S. troops under General James Winchester. The fort was abandoned and dismantled just seven years later. One third of the original structure has been restored on an 80% scale and gives visitors a chance to learn more about Mobile's early history as a European settlement in the edge of the Alabama wilderness.
To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortconde.