Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Fort Conde - Mobile, Alabama
It is a little known fact that the Mobile Bay area of Alabama usually receives more rain each year than famously rainy places such as Seattle, Washington. It is not uncommon for a summer hurricane or tropical storm to bring 8 to 10 inches of rain in a single event, sometimes more. These heavy tropical rains washed away earthworks and rotted the log stockades erected by the French to defend their toehold on Mobile Bay.
As a result, in 1723, the French started construction of a solid masonry fort on Mobile's waterfront. Built of brick on a foundation of stone, the square bastioned fort was the strongest erected on the Gulf Coast to that point. Armed with numerous cannon, the work was named Fort Conde after the Prince of Conde and was surrounded with a dry moat and additional defensive earthworks.
Fort Charlotte was surrendered to Galvez's overwhelming force and remained in Spanish hands until it was seized by the United States in 1813. The fort was in bad condition then and was not held for much longer. It was dismantled during the 1820s.
Fort Conde's history, however, was far from over. Now partially reconstructed, it serves as a welcome center that greets visitors to Mobile. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortconde.