On our trip to Alabama Gulf Shores one of the highlights for this civil war buff was the morning spent exploring Fort Morgan. Here was fought the battle for Mobile Bay and where Admiral David Farragut was heard to shout "Damn the Torpedoes, full speed ahead."
Today Fort Morgan is under the care of the Alabama Historical Commission and offers visitors an excellent museum with exhibits of not only the Civil War battles but the role the Fort played in the War of 1812 with England and its later use as a well fortified military position which lasted until after World War One.
From the ramparts there are wonderful views of where the gulf meets the bay and the dominant position enjoyed by the Fort. We were fortunate to be there on a cloudless late Fall day with even the most distant shores in sharp clarity. Our guide was Blanton Blankenship who is Operations Manager of the national historic landmark. He explained some of the events depicted in the museum exhibits as well as the construction that took place as the Fort entered the 19th century.
The road to the Fort was a most interesting drive for us since it treads the narrow peninsula with waters of the Gulf on one side and the shoreline of Mobile Bay on the other. This end of the shores still appears quite wild and a reminder on how isolated Fort Morgan was in its early history. Stories abound on how it was considered a most unenviable posting for soldiers throughout its years of service. For most of its history everything moved by water transport.
Today the Fort offers visitors, besides the historic tours, picnics areas and a fishing pier. It is open year round as is the museum. Call for hours of operation at 251 540-7127. The Alabama Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau has published an excellent account of "The Campaigns for Mobile 1864-1865,
By Land & By Sea". It contains a full account of the battles and is beautifully illustrated with engravings and maps. A copy can be obtained by calling 800 745-sand or at the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism offices, telephone 251 974-4625.
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