Thursday, February 5, 2009
Fort Pickens - Pensacola, Florida
Construction is now underway on the road repairs that will soon reopen the Fort Pickens area of Gulf Islands National Seashore to cars once again. The road was heavily damaged during Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis in 2004-2005 and has been closed ever since.
As the road reopens later this spring, it will once again allow visitors easy access to one of the most historic sites on the Gulf Coast. Built between 1829 and 1834, Fort Pickens was the largest of four major U.S. forts built to protect Pensacola Bay from foreign attack.
The fort played a major role in the Civil War. A standoff over possession of the fort was temporarily resolved in 1861 by the Fort Pickens Truce, an agreement that prevented the first battle of the war from being fought at Pensacola. Union forces violated the truce after Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, however, and by the end of 1861 fighting had broken out at Pensacola Bay.
A major attack was launched against the outer camps and batteries of Fort Pickens in October of 1861 and heavy bombardments followed in November and again in January of 1862.
Fort Pickens remained an important U.S. Army post in the years after the Civil War. The famed Apache leader Geronimo was imprisoned there during the late 1800s along with other members of his tribe.
To learn more about Fort Pickens, please visit our new Fort Pickens page at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortpickens.