Friday, July 24, 2009
Forts of Mobile Bay, Alabama - Fort Conde
The next few posts will look closer at Mobile Bay's fascinating collection of historic forts. These range from a reconstruction of the early French post Fort Conde to concrete batteries in use as late as World War II.
Although there were earlier French forts at Dauphin Island and up the Mobile River from the site of the present-city of Mobile, it was Fort Conde that would protect the important colonial city for nearly 100 years.
Begun in 1723 to replace earlier structures of earth and wood, Fort Conde was named for a French prince and was a massive brick and stone structure with projecting bastions on all four corners. Perhaps the strongest fort of its era on the Gulf Coast, it dominated the early Mobile waterfront.
Surrendered peacefully to the British at the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, the post was renamed Fort Charlotte and was an important British post during the American Revolution. Allied forces laid siege to the fort in 1780 and captured it in one of two critical American Revolution battles fought in Alabama.
Held by the Spanish until 1813, when it was seized by U.S. troops under General James Wilkinson.
The fort's history came to an end in 1820 when Congress approved its demolition. The current reconstruction represents about one-third of the original fort, but includes ramparts, barracks, cannon and a visitor center for the city of Mobile. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortconde.