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Fort McRee

Fort McRee

Photo courtesy of the Florida Photo Archives.

    Fort McRee, built between 1834 and 1837, occupied a site at Foster's Bank on the eastern end of what is now known as Perdido Key. Together with Forts Pickens and Barrancas, Fort McRee guarded the entrance to Pensacola Bay. Slave labor built the forts with brick originally imported from Mobile and later manufactured locally. In 1861 the Florida Militia occupied all of Pensacola's defenses except Fort Pickens which was held by the Union army. In January 1862, during Fort Pickens' bombardment of the other fortifications, Fort McRee was badly damaged and then burned by evacuating Confederates. It no longer could be occupied and a hurricane in 1906 finished the demolition. The fort's remains now lie completely beneath the waters of Pensacola Bay, accessible only by snorkeling, within Gulf Islands National Seashore. The fort's name honors Colonel William McRee, an Army engineer distinguished in the War of 1812 who later studied fortifications in Belgium and France. McRee resigned from the Army in 1819, protesting the appointment by civilian authorities of French engineer Baron Simon Bernard as assistant chief engineer for the Corps of Engineers with a rank equal to that of the Corps' leader. Ironically, Bernard was responsible for Fort McRee's design.

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Additional Links:

Fort Barrancas
Fort Pickens
Battery San Antonio
Great Outdoor Recreation Pages

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