19th Century Shipwreck
The remains of a 19th century
Alabama shipwreck can be
seen on Dauphin Island.
Shell Mound Park
The remains of ancient Indian
shell middens are preserved
at Shell Mound Park on
Dauphin Island.
Dauphin Island, Alabama - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Dauphin Island, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of Dauphin Island, Alabama
Dauphin Island, Alabama
A Civil War cannon aims out over the Gulf of Mexico
from Dauphin Island, Alabama. The island was the
scene of heavy fighting during the Mobile Campaign.
Centuries of Coastal History
Ravaged by centuries of hurricanes and war,
Dauphin Island has emerged as one of the
most beautiful and peaceful settings on the
Gulf Coast.

Located at the mouth of Mobile Bay, the
barrier island on the Alabama coast offers
beautiful beaches, pristine environments,
coastal amenities and a rich history. It is truly
a jewel of the Gulf Coast.

Long before Spanish and French explorers
reached these shores, Dauphin Island was
popular with Native Americans who came
there to fish, hunt and gather the oysters and
other shellfish that grew in profusion in
Mobile bay. Traces of their presence can still
be seen today at
Shell Mound Park on the
island's north shore.

Open to the public and maintained by the
Alabama Marine Resources Division, the
park preserves the remains of massive shell
middens formed over centuries from the
refuse of Indian meals. Archaeologist believe
the surviving mounds date from the
Mississippian era (A.D. 900 - 1500). The park
is also part of the Alabama Coastal Birding
Trail and also features ancient trees and rare

When the French landed on Dauphin Island
in 1699, they found so many skeletons
scattered on the beach that they thought a
massacre had taken place there. It is now
thought that the bones actually came from a
burial mound washed away by storms.

The French established a settlement on the
island and it became an important foothold
on the Gulf Coast. The colony was raided by
pirates in 1711, but the settlement survived.
By 1717, Dauphin Island was the home of
the French Governor General of Louisiana,
who lived in a palisaded home at today's
Cadillac Square.

It was the French, in fact, who gave the island
its name, after a member of French royalty. It
held promise to become a major French city,
but a hurricane in 1717 forced the relocation
of the governor from the island and the
settlement there slowly faded away in favor of
Mobile, Pascagoula, Biloxi and New Orleans.
Dauphin Island returned to nature, but its
history was far from over.
The island passed through British and
Spanish hands before becoming part of the
United States. To defend its new territory of
Alabama, the government built
Fort Gaines
on Dauphin Island between 1819 and 1853.

The fort played an important role in the
of Mobile Bay and it was within site of its
walls that Union Admiral David G. Farragut
issued his immortal command, "Damn the
torpedoes!  Full speed ahead!"  After Farragut
and his ships forced their way into the bay,
Union soldiers laid siege to Fort Gaines,
which surrendered on August 8, 1864.

The island today is a resort area, famed for
its beaches and fishing. It is dotted with
historic sites and old Fort Gaines is a major
landmark of the Civil War.
Please click here
to visit an outstanding site on the history of
Dauphin Island.
Fort Gaines, Alabama
The historic guardian of
Mobile Bay can be seen on
the eastern tip of the island.
Battle of Mobile Bay
Dauphin Island overlooks the
waters where Admiral David
Farragut stormed into Mobile
Bay during the Civil War.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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