Friday, May 20, 2011

Fort Barrancas at the Pensacola Naval Station

We have traveled to Pensacola, FL to visit the excellent Naval Aviation Museum located at the Pensacola Naval Base and as we entered through security onto the base, we noticed this old fort next to the road. Of course, we had to pull over and take a look!

This is actually part of a large fortification facility that guarded Pensacola Bay in the mid 1800's and what we first thought was the major fort, was in fact, called the Advanced Redoubt and was the forward part of the Fort Barrancas facility located close by. We were surprised to see these major forts and made sure to stop at the National Park Service area to learn more about these.

You can see that quite a bit of thought was put into the design of the fortification. The "moat" area was designed to be a dry crossfire field of fire where attackers would face fire from protected soldiers from all sides. Each window in the wall could allow rifle fire at close range. This is part of the advanced redoubt which was actually attacked by the Confederates in the early Civil War period, but Union troops successfully defended it.

This is a picture of the actual Fort Barrancas as it looks out over the bay. During the Civil Way, no ship could survive the fire from this fort, and the others across the bay. The white area seen above is called the Water Battery since it was located close to the water line and could fire at a low angle of attack into the wooden ships of the time.

Orinda was very impressed with the Fort and was surprised to learn that the original Water Battery had been built by the Spanish in the later 1700's to defend their colonial goals in Florida. They ceded Florida to the United States in 1821.

The Fort had a number of guns like these ready for action, but after the Civil War, the fort became obsolete by advances in naval gunnery and was abandoned. Today, it is a fascinating insight into a period of US history that is often overlooked.


squawmama said...

We love that base and the fort... We'll be there again in a couple of months. Thanks for the memories!
Have fun & Travel safe

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

The museum is great. We have been in the area for quite awhile, but have not made it to the fort.