|Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Battlefield at Right)|
Hoping to gain advantage over Great Britain, the King of Spain declared his support of the fledgling United States on May 8, 1779, and declared war on Spain's long-time rival. Two months later he extended the right to make war to his subjects in North America.
Spain then possessed what later became known as the Louisiana Purchase, which included the parts of present day Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, as well as the city of New Orleans. Spanish territory also extended up the great river to include present-day Arkansas, Missouri and other states.
|Revolutionary War Cannon at Baton Rouge|
Learning of the King's declaration, the Spanish Governor of Louisiana immediately began to prepare a campaign against the British at Baton Rouge. His name was Bernardo de Galvez and he was one of the most successful year least known generals of the American Revolution.
|The British fort stood near the Pentagon Barracks (right)|
Nothing remains above ground of the fort today, but it stood adjacent to the spot where the historic Pentagon Barracks were later built overlooking the river. The earthwork fortification was armed with cannon and held 400 British regulars from the 16th and 60th regiments, some militia, a few regular artillerymen and several companies from the 3rd Waldeck Regiment (Germans).
|Memorial to the 1779 Battle of Baton Rouge|
The Battle of Baton Rouge gave the Spanish control of the western end of West Florida and ended forever Great Britain's claim to the Mississippi River. Galvez went on to take Fort Charlotte at Mobile and Fort George at Pensacola in one of the most remarkable campaigns of the American Revolution. The Spanish general with his mixed army eliminated any British claim to the Gulf Coast and opened the door for the eventual United States capture and acquisition of the territory making up the modern states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
To learn more about the Battle of Baton Rouge, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/batonrouge1779.