Fort St. SImons
A cannon and monument
mark the former site of Fort St.
SImons on St. Simons Island.
Fort St. Simons Historic Site - St. Simons Island, Georgia - Site of Fort St. Simons, Georgia - Site of Fort St. Simons, Georgia
Site of Fort St. Simons
A cannon aims out over St. Simons Sound from the
former site of General James Oglethorpe's Fort St.
Simons, a forgotten defender of the Golden Isles.
Forgotten Fort of St. Simons
One of a chain of forts built by General James
Oglethorpe to protect the Georgia coast from
Spanish attack, Fort St. SImons played an
important role in the little known War of
Jenkins' Ear.

Located at the southern end of
St. Simons
Island, the fort stood at the site of today's St.
Simons Lighthouse. Connected by the
island's Military Road with the larger and
stronger post of
Fort Frederica, Fort St.
Simons was designed to prevent enemy
warships from entering St. Simons Sound.

Constructed in 1738, the fort faced the sound
but also featured bastioned walls to protect
its garrison from land attack. The strength of
the work was tested just four years later.

In 1742, retaliating for an attack on Florida by
Oglethorpe's troops, Spanish Governor Don
Manuel de Montiano left
St. Augustine with a
powerful fleet and an army of 5,000 men.
Sailing up the coast, Montiano arrived off the
bar of St. Simons Sound in late June and
waited for the right conditions to bring his
fleet past Fort St. Simons and into the harbor.

Able to see the Spanish fleet offshore, the
soldiers of Fort St. Simons worked quickly to
strengthen their defenses and prepare for the
impending battle. The fort's 18-pounder
cannons were readied for action.

The critical moment came on July 5, 1742,
when weather and tide conditions turned in
favor of the Spanish fleet:

...The 5th of July with the Tide of Flood and a
brisk gale, 36 sail of Spanish vessels entered
St. Simosn Harbour, 9 of which were large
topmast vessels. We received them with a
brisk fire from our batteries and ships. Killed
several of them with our 18 pounders from
the Fort and our 4 pounders from the lower
Battery...The Engagement lasted upwards of
3 hours....

Despite the heavy fire from Fort St. Simons,
adjacent batteries and English ships in the
harbor, the Spanish fleet fought its way into
the harbor. In danger of being flanked and cut
off from his main base at Fort Frederica,
Oglethorpe ordered his men to spike the
guns of Fort St. Simons and do as much
damage tot he fort as possible before
withdrawing up the Military Road.

The Spanish subsequently occupied the fort,
mounting their own artillery there and digging
into its ruins. It was from the former English
fort that Spanish soldiers marched out to
fight in the Battles of
Gully Hole Creek and
Bloody Marsh. In the end, however, they too
evacuated the fort and destroyed what
remained of it before returning to Florida.

Although no trace remains of the historic fort,
a cannon and monument mark its site on the
grounds of the St. Simons Lighthouse. The
grounds are open during daylight hours and
there is no charge for visiting the site.
Plan of Fort St. Simons
This colonial sketch shows
the plan of Fort St. Simons,
which was built to protect St.
SImons Sound from attack.
Cannon at Fort St. Simons
Both English and Spanish
troops occupied the fort
during the War of Jenkins' Ear.
Fort Frederica
Fort St. Simons was an
important outpost of nearby
Fort Frederica, which is now a
National Monument.
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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