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What Is Fort Morgan?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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Fort Morgan is a historical United States military fort near Mobile, Alabama. This fort was built during the 19th century, and it was used during several American wars, including the American Civil War. Despite the fact that it became damaged over the years, this fort is still a popular tourist destination.

Named after Daniel Morgan, an American Revolutionary War hero and Virginia representative, Fort Morgan is one of the forts positioned at the entrance of Mobile Bay off the coast of Alabama. Fort Gaines is another fort located on Dauphin Island, also at the entrance of the bay. Unlike many other forts, the main part of Fort Morgan is shaped like a five-pointed star. It was modeled after a design created by Napoleon Bonaparte's military engineer.

Construction on Fort Morgan began around 1819. After the first two contractors died, the Army Corps of Engineers took over the job. Slaves and Army engineers worked to construct this fort until 1834, when it was finally finished.

Fort Morgan is most well known for it role during the American Civil War. The Battle of Mobile Bay began on 5 August 1864, when Admiral David Farragut ordered his Federal fleet to sail straight through a mine field set up by the Confederate Navy. After this risky but successful move, Farragut then managed to gain control of Fort Gaines and Fort Powell. On 23 August 1864, the commander of Fort Morgan finally surrendered after he sabotaged the fort's cannons.

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This fort was also used during three other major American military conflicts. American troops were stationed at Fort Morgan during the Spanish-American War in 1898. It was also used as a training facility during World War I, and an airfield was built next to it during World War II. In 1960, this fort was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Over the years, Fort Morgan began to fall into a serious state of disrepair. Along with the damage inflicted during the Civil War, hurricanes also caused damage to several wooden structures. As a result, this fort has been considered an endangered historical battlefield since 2007.

Today, however, Fort Morgan still gets a number of visitors each year. Visitors can tour the fort and surrounding areas, and actors occasionally re-enact the Battle of Mobile Bay. There is also a museum on the property, where visitors can learn about the history of the fort and see war memorabilia.

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