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Fort Barrancas

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New page: {{wikipedia}} thumb|right|300px|''Aerial view of Fort Barrancas. The water battery is the white section.'' '''Fort Barrancas''' (1839) or '''Fort Sa...

[[Image:Nps Fort Barrancas.jpg|thumb|right|300px|''Aerial view of Fort Barrancas. The water battery is the white section.'']]

'''Fort Barrancas''' ([[1839]]) or '''Fort San Carlos de Barrancas''' (from [[1787]]) is the name of a historic United States military fort in the [[Warrington]] area of Pensacola.
<ref name=VFOforts>
"The Forts of Pensacola Bay" (history),
Visit Florida Online, 2006, webpage:
[ VFO-Forts].
<ref name=NPSfull>
"Fort San Carlos de Barrancas" (history),
[[National Park Service]] (NPS), webpage:
[ NPS-fort2].

The hill-top fort, connected to a sea-level water battery, overlooks [[Pensacola Bay]], from what is now [[Naval Air Station Pensacola]]. Because the hill-top fort was rebuilt of brick, becoming ''Fort Barrancas'', the older, water battery has also been called ''Fort San Carlos'', separately.

Spanning a multi-century history, the U.S. Army deactivated Fort Barrancas on [[April 15]], [[1947]], and after restoration during [[1971]]-[[1980]], Fort Barrancas was opened to the public. See: ''[[#Timeline|Timeline]]'', below.

== Construction ==

Fort Barrancas was built on the site of numerous previous forts, including from [[1698]], Fort '''''San Carlos de Austria''''', destroyed in [[1719]] (See: ''[[#Timeline|Timeline]]'', below, for a condensed history of the site).<ref name=NPSfull/>

The site was used as a harbor fortificaton by the [[British colonization of the Americas|British]], building the ''Royal Navy Redoubt'' in [[1763]].<ref name=VFOforts/> The [[Spanish colonization of the Americas|Spanish]] captured Pensacola in [[1781]], and completed the fort ''San Carlos de Barrancas'' in [[1797]].<ref name=VFOforts/> ''Barranca'' is a Spanish word for ''[[bluff]]'', the natural terrain feature that makes this location ideal for the fortress.

When [[Florida]] was acquired from Spain in [[1821]], Pensacola was selected as a navy yard, and harbor fortifications were constructed to protect its deepwater bay. After [[1829]], [[Fort Pickens]] and [[Fort McRee]] were built to defend the pass to Pensacola Bay.<ref name=VFOforts/>

Fort Barrancas, expanded with brick between [[1839]]-[[1844]],<ref name=VFOforts/> is on the mainland. It was built to defend against both sailing ships entering the harbor and attack across land. The ''Advanced Redoubt'' was built north of the fort, and a trenchline connected them. This system protected the navy yard to the east from infantry attacks.

Fort Barrancas was designed by [[Joseph Gilbert Totten]], and connected to the Spanish-built water-battery by an underground walkway tunnel. Major [[William Henry Chase]] supervised the construction, done mostly by slave labor.

==Civil War==
[[Image:Nps pensacola bay sketch.PNG|thumb|right|300px|''Sketch of harbor defenses at entrance to Pensacola Bay'']]
In [[1861]] there was a company of 50 U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Barrancas, under the command of [[John H. Winder]]. On January 8th, Florida state troops under Colonel William Henry Chase demanded that the federal troops surrender the fort. As Winder was not present (and would later be promoted to General in the Confederate Army), Lieutenant [[Adam J. Slemmer]] was in charge. LT Slemmer Knew that [[Fort Pickens]] was easier to defend, so he spiked the guns at Barrancas and loaded ammunition and supplies on a flatboat. He moved his company across the bay to Fort Pickens, and held that fort for the Union throughout the Civil War.

Confederate soldiers from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi were then stationed at Fort Barrancas. While a small company of soldiers could man the fort successfully, additional sand batteries were constructed along the coast, and operated by these soldiers.

General [[Braxton Bragg]] took command of Confederate Pensacola on [[March 11]], [[1861]], and continued work on the batteries. On [[October 9]], a Confederate force of 1000 troops landed east of Fort Pickens, but was repelled by Union forces. [[Fort McRee]] and Fort Barrancas exchanged heavy cannon fire with Fort Pickens on [[November 22]] and 23, [[1861]] and [[January 1]], [[1862]]. In May of [[1862]], after hearing that the Union Army had taken New Orleans, Confederate troops abandoned Pensacola.

Stronger cannon and Ironclad ships developed during the Civil War made masonry forts like Fort Barrancas outmoded. The fort was used as a signal station, small arms range, and storage area by the Army until [[1946]], when newer weapon technology made coastal defense an obsolete concept. On [[April 15]], [[1947]], Fort Barrancas was deactivated, and the U.S. Navy incorporated the site into [[Pensacola Naval Air Station]]. At the same time, local leaders, Congress, and the National park service were working to designate the harbor defenses of Pensacola as a national monument. In [[1971]], Congress authorized the establishment of the [[Gulf Islands National Seashore]], as part of the National Park Service, and after a $1.2 million restoration, Fort Barrancas was opened to the public in [[1980]].

Fort Barrancas and the nearby Advance Redoubt are located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station, and are managed by the National Park Service. Access to Pensacola Naval Air Station may be subject to homeland security concerns.

== Timeline ==

The site of Fort Barrancas has been involved in numerous events over the past five centuries:
<ref name=NPSfort>
"Fort Barrancas" (history), [[National Park Service]], 2006, '''' webpage:
[ NPS-fort].
* [[1559]]-[[1561]]: when Spanish Pensacola is first settled on [[Santa Rosa Island]], the site is just a hilltop that looks across the water to the island;

* [[1698]]: the site becomes ''Fort San Carlos de Austria'';<ref name=NPSfull/>
* [[1719]]: ''Fort San Carlos de Austria'' has been completely destroyed by the French;<ref name=NPSfull/>

* [[1763]]: under [[British Pensacola|British rule]], the site becomes the ''Royal Navy Redoubt'' built of earth & logs;<ref name=VFOforts/>

* [[1787]]: under [[Second Spanish period|Spanish]] rule (from [[1781]]), the sea-level battery is built of masonry, becoming the ''Bateria de San Antonio'';

* [[1787]]-[[1797]]: under Spanish rule, a wooden and earthen structure is added on the hill-top bluff, overlooking the battery, as fort ''San Carlos de Barrancas'';<ref name=VFOforts/>

* [[1814]]: fort ''San Carlos de Barrancas'' is blown up by the evacuating British, as [[Andrew Jackson]] approaches;<ref name=NPSfull/>

* [[1817]]: under Spanish rule, fort ''San Carlos de Barrancas'' is rebuilt;<ref name=NPSfull/>

* [[1839]]-[[1844]]: under U.S. rule (from [[1821]]), the woooden hill-top structure is replaced with a massive brick fortress connected via tunnel to the battery (remodeled [[1838]]), becoming ''Fort Barrancas'';<ref name=VFOforts/>

* [[1845]]-[[1869]]: the ''Advanced Redoubt'' was built 1400 [ft]] (427 [m]) north of the fort;<ref name=VFOforts/>

* [[1861]]: under [[Confederate Pensacola|Confederate]] rule, ''Fort Barrancas'' is bombarded from Union-held [[Fort Pickens]] on [[Santa Rosa Island]], with heaviest attacks on [[November 22]]-[[November 23|23]] and [[January 7]], [[1862]];<ref name=VFOforts/><ref name=NPSfort/>
* [[1862]]: in May, the site and Pensacola are abandoned to the Union troops (after the fall of New Orleans);<ref name=VFOforts/>

* [[1941]]-[[1947]]: Fort Barrancas is used by the U.S. Army as a signal station and small arms range; the fort is deactivated [[April 15]], [[1947]];<ref name=NPSfort/>

* [[1960]]: on [[October 9]], ''Fort San Carlos de Barrancas'' becomes an NHL landmark.
* [[1966]]: Fort Barrancas Historical District (640 acres) enters the National Register of Historical Places, as district #66000263.<ref>
"National Register of Historical Places" (list), webpage:
[ NRfl].
* [[1971]]: Fort Barrancas becomes part of the [[Gulf Islands National Seashore]] managed by the U.S. National Park Service;<ref name=NPSfull/>

* [[1978]]-[[1980]]: Fort Barrancas is restored during an 18-month project and opened to the public as a National Historic Landmark.<ref name=NPSfort/>

During the past 450 years, the site has changed names several times, depending on which country ruled in the region.


==External links==



[[Category:National Register of Historic Places]]

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