Fort Morgan

A. Roy

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
Yep, that is the portion. Just was always curious about that.

Yes, the more I look at that, the more I wonder about it. In the bottom of the bay, there's a dark mass. Could be just a stack of materials, but it also makes me think of machinery. At first I wondered whether this bay could be some kind of lift shaft. There was elevator technology by then, but I don't know whether it had the capacity to be used in a setting like this.

Also, aren't there some wooden panels lifted at an angle on the roof? Made me wonder whether they could cover a hatch opening. Or maybe they are there as fencing or revetment or something...

Anyway, I created a detail of that area:

FtMorganCitadel_StructureOnSide.jpg


Roy B.
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Yes, the more I look at that, the more I wonder about it. In the bottom of the bay, there's a dark mass. Could be just a stack of materials, but it also makes me think of machinery. At first I wondered whether this bay could be some kind of lift shaft. There was elevator technology by then, but I don't know whether it had the capacity to be used in a setting like this.

Also, aren't there some wooden panels lifted at an angle on the roof? Made me wonder whether they could cover a hatch opening. Or maybe they are there as fencing or revetment or something...

I recently reached out the Fort Morgan State Historic Site to inquire about this structure. Turns out that this structure was a siege latrine. Construction started in the 1850s which would explain why it wasn't on the original plans.
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
Across the bay at Fort Gaines, it had a self-flushing latrine; when the tide came in it would collect the refuse and when the tide went back out, it would take the refuse with it.

The Castillo de San Marcos, the Italian trace fort in St. Augustine built by the Spanish in the late 17th Century, also has a latrine flushed clean by the tides. When I volunteered there with the NPS I pointed this out to visitors as an example of the Roman mindset of the Spanish.
 

jrweaver

Corporal
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
I'm glad folks revived this thread today. Trying to learn more about Fort Morgan, I found this nice aerial shot. This, I guess, shows the tunnel entrance in @Irishtom29 's photo.

View attachment 364062

Credit: Edibobb, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

This is the original plan from 1817. Looks as if the tunnel entrance was part of the original structure.

View attachment 364063

Drawn by Captain William Tell Paupin. Via Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

Roy B.
Guillaume (William) Tell Poussin was the topographical engineer, designer, and draftsman to Simon Bernard, the designer of the fort. He was Swiss, but worked with Bernard in France and came to the United States with him. When Bernard returned to France, Poussin stayed on and had a great reputation here in the USA.
Are you talking about this structure here with the rectangular footprint? Has kind of a tall open bay? It sure doesn't show up on the 1817 plan.

View attachment 364331

Roy B.
Marty Morgan and Mike Bailey solved the mystery. This was a latrine built by Confederate forces, tacked onto the outside of a citadel wall, during the war but (obviously) prior to the siege. It was referred to as the "siege latrine," causing me to think there was a latrine outside the walls of the fort at one time. That, however, is a presumption not a fact.
 

jrweaver

Corporal
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Forts Gaines and Clinch both have defendable latrine buildings set along a curtain wall; great place for a last stand.

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A fantastic feature is that the latrine had a corrugated tin roof! If you look closely you can see where the bricks were cut to accommodate the corrugated roof and there are portions of the tin remaining. I'm talking about the latrines at Forts Clinch and Gaines, not Morgan.
 

jrweaver

Corporal
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Nice traditional bastioned artillery fort in decent shape as of my last visit about 4 years ago. The glacis, covered way and ditch are in nice shape. Note the unusual entrance which is a tunnel through the glacis rather than a cut.
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The fort is still in great shape! I was there a few weeks ago, and Wendy from the staff shot some video of me explaining components of the fort. They are releasing the video in short clips on their Facebook page; they've released two of them already. They plan to put them out at a rate of about one per month, each clip around 5-8 minutes long.
 

jrweaver

Corporal
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Yes, the more I look at that, the more I wonder about it. In the bottom of the bay, there's a dark mass. Could be just a stack of materials, but it also makes me think of machinery. At first I wondered whether this bay could be some kind of lift shaft. There was elevator technology by then, but I don't know whether it had the capacity to be used in a setting like this.

Also, aren't there some wooden panels lifted at an angle on the roof? Made me wonder whether they could cover a hatch opening. Or maybe they are there as fencing or revetment or something...

Anyway, I created a detail of that area:

View attachment 364377

Roy B.
it's just a stack of materials. This was a latrine added on during the war.
 

jrweaver

Corporal
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
I recently reached out the Fort Morgan State Historic Site to inquire about this structure. Turns out that this structure was a siege latrine. Construction started in the 1850s which would explain why it wasn't on the original plans.
it was built by Confederate engineers under the command of Leadbetter.
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
A fantastic feature is that the latrine had a corrugated tin roof! If you look closely you can see where the bricks were cut to accommodate the corrugated roof and there are portions of the tin remaining. I'm talking about the latrines at Forts Clinch and Gaines, not Morgan.

Interesting. I'd assumed the buildings had sod roofs that were missing, or in Clinch's case never built.
 

jrweaver

Corporal
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Here are two pictures of the remains of the roof of the latrine at Fort Clinch. The first one shows the iron supports that held the roof - they are original. The second one shows the bricks that were cut to accommodate the corrugated tin roof, with some of the tin still visible in between the bricks!

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Mr. King

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 15, 2014
Location
Carolina Coast
I don't think I updated you guys after my Labor Day trip to Fort Morgan.

It's a great piece of history. I was in awe of the amount of CW history that occurred right under my feet.

I will warn you, though.... The mosquitoes at the fort, and even on the beaches, were the worst I've ever experienced. I grew up in Louisiana, and spent plenty of time hunting & fishing in swampy bayous and sloughs. Those mosquitoes at Fort Morgan literally chased us from the beach to our house every day when the sun went down, and at the fort, they inhabited every single shadow. If the sun wasn't shining on you, you were literally losing blood by the second.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
Always thought it was a shame the extensive citadel located in the middle does not still exist. The original structure housed the garrison and was meant as a last line of defense had the outer defenses been breached. It caught fire during the Battle of Mobile Bay causing extensive damage. After the the war much of the damaged citadel was used to make repairs to the outer works of Fort Morgan and the rest of the structure was later razed in order to make a breakwater and additionally make room for the Endicott fortifications built a decade or so later.
View attachment 364274
Absolutely !

Fort Morgan would have an entirely different "look" if the citadel had survived.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
The Castillo de San Marcos, fort in St. Augustine built by the Spanish in the late 17th Century, also has a latrine flushed clean by the tides. When I volunteered there with the NPS I pointed this out to visitors as an example of the Roman mindset of the Spanish.

The Castillo de San Marcos is extremely interesting.

The first time I visited as kid, I was amazed this Spanish fort had been constructed of oyster shells and concrete?. Anyway it worked.
( absorbed shelling better than traditional stone)

It's outpost, Fort Matanzas was also impressive.

But back to Alabama and Fort Morgan . . .
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
The Castillo de San Marcos is extremely interesting.

The first time I visited as kid, I was amazed this Spanish fort had been constructed of oyster shells and concrete?. Anyway it worked.
( absorbed shelling better than traditional stone)

It's outpost, Fort Matanzas was also impressive.

But back to Alabama and Fort Morgan . . .

The fort is made of blocks of coquina, a sedimentary stone composed of zillions of ancient shells. The stone is very soft when quarried and easy to shape. It gets harder over time and blocks were allowed to age for a year or so before being used. But it's still soft and friable and visitors to the fort are discouraged from touching the walls as the blocks will shed shells and every week a pail or two of such shells are swept up.


The seawall outside the fort and many floors in the fort are made of tabby, which is concrete that uses shells rather than gravel as the aggregate.

The coquina indeed had the virtue of absorbing shot rather than shattering, rather like pushing your finger into a moist cake. After the siege of 1740 the Spanish engineer who repaired the shot damage to the fort erected scaffolding and replaced the damaged blocks, some of which had British shot sunk 18" into them.

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South of St. Augustine, near old Marineland, is a beach with outcroppings of coquina. The stone is now protected by Florida law and is quarried in only a couple of places.

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