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Alabama Gulf Coast: A bastion on Mobile Bay

Courtesy Alabama Gulf Coast CVB

Near the mouth of the Mobile Bay, across the water from Mobile itself, Fort Morgan State Historic Site is a military installation that saw action during the Civil War and housed navy troops and ships during World War I.

The fort was built just after the War of 1812, replacing an earlier installation on the site. Visitors who tour the fort and on-site museum today learn about how its construction was linked to issues of the day.

“This is one of the first places where the army used slave labor to build a fort,” said Blanton Blankenship, director of the historic site. “The army didn’t buy slaves, but they rented them. There was no clay here, so they had to make the bricks up in the bay and then ship them in here.”

During the Civil War, Alabama militia and Union troops fought over the fort during the Battle of Mobile Bay. The Union won that fight, and it was there that navy Cmdr. David Farragut uttered the now-famous phrase, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

Today, the museum at the historic site has a number of interesting exhibits dealing with the fort’s origins, its role in the Civil War and its later use as a coastal artillery base in the early 20th century and World War I.

Visitors can also tour the grounds of the fort, walking the now-empty batteries and looking into several of the buildings that remain from the 1890s.