Tour Fort Pickens
Maintained by the US National Forest Service, Fort Pickens is the biggest of four forts in the Pensacola Bay area. It was built from 1829 – 1834 and was named after Major General Andrew Pickens, who was in a number of battles during the Revolutionary War. Pickens is also known for leading battles against the Cherokee Nation, who knew him by the name “Wizard Owl.”
Although the Pensacola area isn’t a renowned military area, as it was never occupied by the Confederate Army, this particular site is a landmark within the US Navy shipyard fanbase. Fort Pickens was critical during the Lincoln election of 1960, as well as during the battle on Ft. Sumter in 1861. Following the Ft. Sumter incident, Ft. Pickens was reinforced and this action stopped the Confederates from taking control of the Pensacola Bay and Navy Yard.
A Must for Military Buffs
Ft. Pickens was home to a variety of attacks, including an 1861 night attack during the Battle of Santa Rosa Island involving 1,800 men. Ft. Pickens retaliated over a two-day period where nearly 500 “shots and shells” were fired, which ultimately led to the Confederate Army withdrawing from the bay in 1862. The fort was built during the era of wooden ships and cannons that fired round balls. Later, armored ironclads, steam engines and bigger cannons were added.
Concrete gun batteries were added until the 1940s. After WWII, the fort was largely abandoned until the National Parks Service revitalized and re-opened it to tourism in 1976. Today, you can schedule a complimentary tour throughout the year by calling 851-934-2600.