Historic Fort Gaines, on Alabama’s Dauphin Island, is one of the best preserved, 19th century shoreline fortifications on the east coast. Best known for its Civil War role during the Battle of Mobile Bay, the fort is now a historic site offering living history tours.
Fort Gaines has been guarding the entrance to Mobile Bay since 1862. The fort’s well-preserved ramparts on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island command panoramic views of Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Work began on the fort in 1821 but cost overruns and other difficulties didn’t see it finished until 1862 – after it was captured by Southern troops!
Fort Gaines Historic Site consists of five buildings inside the fort’s exterior walls, with tunnel systems throughout. Corner bastions with spiral stone staircases lead to cannons that were actually used in the Battle of Mobile Bay. There are also “disappearing guns” and bunker systems that were added to the fort during the Spanish-American War.
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