The forts of Gulf Islands National Seashore span almost 150 years, from the Spanish colonial Bateria De San Antonio (1797) to the World War Two-era Battery 234. This reflects the historic value of the anchorages at Pensacola Bay, Florida, and Ship Island, Mississippi. Most striking among these are the American Third System forts: Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas, and the Advanced Redoubt in Florida and Fort Massachusetts in Mississippi, all of which saw action during the Civil War.
Fort Barrancas sits on a bluff overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay. The natural advantages of this location have inspired engineers of three nations to build forts. The British built the Royal Navy Redoubt here in 1763 of earth and logs. The Spanish built two forts there around 1797. Bateria de San Antonio was a masonry water battery at the foot of the bluff. Above it was earth and log Fort San Carlos de Barrancas. American engineers remodeled the Water Battery in 1840 and built a masonry fort on the bluff between 1839 and 1844, connected by a tunnel to the Water Battery.
Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay and its navy yard. The fort was begun in 1829, completed in 1834, and was named in honor of Major General Andrew Pickens of the South Carolina militia, who fought with distinction in several Revolutionary War battles. Fort Pickens was one of only four forts in the South that were never occupied by Confederate forces during the Civil War.
The Advanced Redoubt of Fort Barrancas was built between 1845 and 1870 as part of a defensive network for the Pensacola Navy Yard. Forts Pickens, McRee, and Barrancas protected the entrance to the harbor; the Advanced Redoubt was constructed to defend the northern side of the peninsula on which the navy yard was located. The Redoubt is unique among the early American forts at Pensacola in being designed solely for resisting a land-based assault.
See the website for directions to various entrances
and for the hours of operation.