Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Historical marker tells of 'Siege of Fort Charlotte' in Mobile in 1780

'Revolutionary War at Mobile' historical marker.
This week’s featured historical marker is the “The Revolutionary War At Mobile” marker in Mobile County, Ala. This Sons of the Revolution marker is located near Fort Conde on the corner of South Royal Street and Theatre Street in Mobile, Ala.

This marker was erected by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of Alabama in 1996. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are the same. What follows in the complete text from the marker:

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THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR AT MOBILE, Siege of Ft. Charlotte (Conde) 1780: Spain, America’s ally, declared war on Great Britain in June 1779. Bernardo de Galvez, governor of Spanish Louisiana at New Orleans, led the attack against the British along the lower Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. In February 1780, Galvez laid siege upon the British forces here at Ft. Charlotte (Conde) resulting in its surrender and the capture of the City of Mobile, March 14, 1780. Galvez next captured Pensacola and accepted the British surrender of West Florida, May 9, 1781, thus aiding the American colonists by removing the British threat from the Gulf of Mexico. Erected in 1996 by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of Alabama.”

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The Siege of Fort Charlotte, which is also known as the Battle of Fort Charlotte, lasted about two weeks, running from Feb. 25 to March 14, 1780. Capt. Elias Dunford was the commander of the British garrison at Fort Charlotte, and he was eventually forced to surrender because he didn’t receive relief he expected from Pensacola. Spanish forces apparently received no casualties in the battle, but the British suffered three killed and eight wounded. The rest of the British garrison, which numbered around 304, surrendered.

Galvez was an interesting guy. Born on July 23, 1746 in Macharaviaya, Kingdom of Granada, Spain, he helped the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. Galveston, Texas was later named in his honor and he passed away at the age of 40 on Nov. 30, 1786 in Tacubaya, Kingdom of Mexico, New Spain.

Durnford, who was born on June 13, 1739 in Ringwood, Hampshire, England, is best known for being the man who first surveyed Pensacola and laid out the plan for the town. He was taken prisoner after the Battle of Fort Charlotte, but after the war, he and his family returned on England. He eventually died at the age of 55 from yellow fever on the island of Tobago.

Also, if you visit the historical marker described above, you’ll also see a small plaque that’s been set in a block of cement near the foot of the marker. That plaque says, “Site of Mobile’s First Theater, Erected in 1824 by N.M. Ludlow, Whence Theater Street Derives Its Name, Placed by Historic Mobile Preservation Society, 1938.”

In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below. 

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