Fort Gadsden, Florida
The fort was built in Spanish
territory during the First
Seminole War and served as
a base for military operations.
Marker at Fort Gadsden
The site of Fort Gadsden and
the "Negro Fort" is now in the
Apalachicola National Forest.
Fort Gadsden and the "Negro Fort" on the Apalachicola - Fort Gadsden Historic Site, Florida
Earthworks of Fort Gadsden
The earthen walls of Fort Gadsden survive to
this day. The fort was built by order of
Andrew Jackson during the Seminole Wars.
The site of the "Negro Fort" was abandoned
for two years after the fateful 1816 explosion.
The military history of the low bluff, however,
was far from over.

The United States went to war with Creek
and Seminole warriors during the fall of 1817
in what is now known as the First Seminole
War. By the spring of 1818, Major General
Andrew Jackson had arrived on the frontier
with an army of regulars, militiamen and
more than 1,000 Creek auxiliaries under
William McIntosh.

Authorized to invade Spanish Florida,
Jackson crossed the line in March of 1818
and moved his army down the east bank of
the Apalachicola River to Prospect Bluff.

Impressed with the location of the original
fort, the general ordered the construction of a
new post at the site to serve as a supply
depot for his army. The task of designing the
new fort was given to Lt. James Gadsden, a
U.S. Army engineer who later negotiated the
Gadsden Purchase from Mexico. The young
officer's efforts impressed Jackson and he
named the new outpost Fort Gadsden in his

The new fort was much smaller than the
original British post and was located entirely
within the outer ditches of the original fort.

Gadsden used the old British Water Battery
as the river face of his new fort, adding a
rectangular bastioned work to its rear. The
walls were made of earth and topped with a
heavy log stockade.

Strongly built for a frontier fort, Fort Gadsden
can still be seen today. The earthworks have
survived remarkably well for more than 190

During the time that the fort was being built, a
Georgia militiaman named Duncan
McKrimmon wandered beyond the pickets
and became lost in the swamps. He was
captured by a war party from the village of the
Prophet Josiah Francis.
Seminole War Earthworks
The fort was designed by
James Gadsden, a U.S. Army
officer in 1818.
Copyright 2009 by Dale Cox
All Rights Reserved
Interpretive Kiosk
The kiosk on the trail leading
to Fort Gadsden features
exhibits on the history of the
Fort Gadsden, 1818-1821
Taken to Francis' town on the Wakulla River,
McKrimmon was on the verge of being killed
when he was saved by 15-year-old
Francis, a daughter of the prophet. She is
remembered today as the Creek Pocahontas.

Jackson's army marched from Fort Gadsden
in late March of 1818, pushing east to attack
Native American villages in the
vicinity and on the
Suwannee River. He also
captured the Spanish fort of
San Marcos de
Apalache at St. Marks, Florida.

After executing the Prophet Francis and
another Indian leader at San Marcos, called
Fort St. Marks by the Americans, and doing
the same to Robert Ambrister and Alexander
Arbuthnot, two British subjects, Jackson
returned to Fort Gadsden believing the First
Seminole War was over.

Instead he learned there that warriors were
being sheltered and supplied by the Spanish
in Pensacola. Taking an army of more than
1,000 men and two pieces of artillery, he left
Fort Gadsden on an overland march that led
to the capture of Pensacola later that spring.

Despite the fact that it was located in
Spanish territory, Fort Gadsden was held by
U.S. troops until Florida was turned over to
the United States in 1821.