Cannon at Fort George
These original British guns
aim out at Pensacola from the
reconstructed section of old
Fort George.
The Battle of Pensacola
A marker at Fort George tells
the story of the Battle of
Pensacola, Florida's largest
Revolutionary War battle. - Battle of Pensacola, Florida (1781) - Battle of Pensacola, Florida (1781)
The Battle of Pensacola (1781) - Pensacola, Florida
Fort George Reconstruction
A small section of the British built Fort George has
been reconstructed near downtown Pensacola.
American Revolution in Florida
On the hills over looking the downtown area
Pensacola, Florida, was fought one of the
most significant battles of the American

Many Americans of today do not realize that
our country's war for independence evolved
into an international conflict by the time it
ended. France and Spain both entered the
war in support of the fledgling American
nation. The involvement of the latter nation
led to a major campaign along the Gulf
Coast that culminated at the Battle of
Pensacola in 1781.

The British had gained possession of Florida
in 1763 as a result of the negotiations that
ended the French and Indian War. Taking
control of Pensacola, they fortified the city by
building a series of forts, stockades and
redoubts. The downtown area was enclosed
by a stout stockade, the Royal Navy Redoubt
was built on the site of today's
Fort Barrancas
Fort George was built on the hill just
north of and overlooking Pensacola.

A strong bastioned work, Fort George was
exposed to fire from another slightly taller
nearby hill, so two smaller forts - the Queen's
Redoubt and the Prince of Wales Redoubt -
were built to provide extra protection.

British fears of an attack on the city proved
well-founded. Having just occupied New
Orleans, Natchez and Baton Rouge, Spanish
General Don Bernardo de Galvez began a
move against Pensacola in 1780.

Accompanied by a small party of American
volunteers, Galvez led a massive Spanish
land and sea force west along the Gulf of
Mexico to Mobile Bay. There he laid siege to
and captured Fort Charlotte (formerly
Conde) on the site of the modern city of
Mobile, Alabama. Garrisoning the fort with
Spanish troops and building a second fort
across Mobile Bay at what is now Old
Spanish Fort, he regrouped and prepared to
move on Pensacola.

Sending some of his troops overland from
Mobile Bay, Galvez boarded a ship and led
the Spanish fleet to Pensacola. The vessels
arrived off the entrance to the bay on March 9,

The first attempt to enter the bay ended when
the Spanish flagship ran aground and the
naval officers expressed wariness about
making a second try. An aggressive general,
Galvez sailed into the bay on his own aboard
the brig
Galveztown on March 18, 1781. The
rest of the fleet followed.

The British Royal Navy Redoubt tried to
oppose the maneuver, but failed. The main
British army assembled in the works of Fort
George and prepared for a siege as Galve
zmoved men and cannon into position from
the west.
Most of April was spent preparing for the
siege, although several small skirmishes
were fought. Then, at the end of April, Galvez
opened a battery on a hill within range of Fort
George and opened fire. The British replied
and the Battle of Pensacola began in earnest.

Using trenches and earthwork batteries they
moved forward during the nights, the
Spanish closed in on the British defenses.
The British retaliated, overrunning and
destroying one of the batteries, but the siege

Finally, on May 8, 1781, after days of heavy
bombardment, a Spanish shell struck the
powder magazine in the Queen's Redoubt.
The fort was destroyed and nearly 100 British
soldiers killed. Spanish troops rushed
forward and occupied the ruins of the
redoubt. Placing cannon of their own at the
site, they opened fire on Fort George itself
from short range.

Finding his position untenable, General John
Campbell ran up the white flag. Pensacola
surrendered on May 10, 1781 and would
remain a Spanish possession for the next 40

The Battle of Pensacola is memorialized
today at a small park on North Palafox Street
where visitors can see a reconstructed
section of Fort George.
Bernardo de Galvez
A bust of Bernardo de Galvez
stands at Fort George, paying
tribute to the Spanish general
who took Pensacola.
The Prince of Wales Redoubt
The Prince of Wales Redoubt,
which stood near here, was
held by British troops during
the Battle of Pensacola.
Site of Fort George
A small section of the fort has
been reconstructed in a park
on North Palafox Street in
Pensacola, Florida.
Copyright 2010 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.