Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pensacola Pics: The Forts, Part One

While at Pensacola Beach, we spent time touring four forts.

Fort Barrancas is a complex of forts that sits on a bluff overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay on the site of the Naval Air Station. Fort Barrancas consists of three structures. The British built the Royal Navy Redoubt in 1763 of earth and logs. The Spanish built two forts here around 1797. Bateria de San Antonio was a masonry water battery at the foot of the bluff. Above it was earth and log Fort San Carlos de Barrancas. American engineers remodeled the Water Battery in 1840 and built a masonry fort on the bluff between 1839 and 1844, connected by a tunnel to the Water Battery.

Although we tried to tour the area last year, we arrived too late and the facility was closed. However, Modie later found an old invitation that belonged to her father. He served in the military at Fort Barrancas! This year we made a point to see the complex.

The Advanced Redoubt-We could only view this fort from the outside. Bricks were obviously added as there was more than earth and logs. The Redoubt is unique among the early American forts at Pensacola in being designed solely for resisting a land-based assault.

Fort San Carlos de Barrancas-This is the main fort on site, and also the newest. It was built on the site of numerous previous forts and was built to defend against both sailing ships entering the harbor and attacks across land.

Bateria de San Antonio-"The Water Battery" was reached through a steep, dark tunnel in Fort San Carlos de Barrancas. After going through the tunnel, all of the exterior brickwork was painted white. It was almost blinding to walk around in this area! In the second picture you can see Fort Barrancas looming above the battery.

The US Army deactivated Fort Barrancas on April 15, 1947. Designated a National Historic Site (NHL) in 1960, control of the site was transferred to the National Parks Service in 1971. After extensive restoration during 1971-1980, Fort Barrancas was opened to the public.

If you find yourself in Pensacola, we recommend a visit.

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