Alabama, Atlantic Ocean, Fort Morgan, Forts, Government building, Gulf Shores, Military building, Portfolio: Old Forts, State Park, Third System Fort, Vacation, Vacation 2016, ocean
Fort Morgan
June 6, 2016
DeLand, DeLand House, Florida, Victoria Hills, Victoria Park, macro photography, salt
Week 46
November 10, 2016
Alabama, Atlantic Ocean, Fort Massachusetts, Forts, Government building, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Gulf Shores, Military building, Mississippi, National Park, Ocean Springs, Portfolio: For Review, Portfolio: Old Forts, Third System Fort, Vacation, Vacation 2016, ocean

Ship Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Dates Visited 06/07/2016

Fort Massachusetts is a Third System fort on West Ship Island along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It was built following the War of 1812, with brick walls during 1859-1866, and remained in use until 1903.


We visited Fort Massachusetts during our 2016 vacation to New Orleans, we spend a couple of day in Gulf Port Mississippi so we could visit several third system forts in the area.

Visiting West Ship Island involves a hour long ferry ride to the small island in the gulf. On our trip it seemed that most people were going to visit the beach, not the fort.I headed in the fort as soon as we arrived hoping to avoid the crowds that never materialized. I spent so time with the park ranger who talked a lot about the fort and it's history.

Construction of Fort Massacdusettes began in 1858 after much debate. Construction was slow because of the death of the original engineer and the start of the Civil War.The Mississippi Militia seized the fort and the Confederate Army took possession and continued construction.

In 1861 the Confederate army left the fort and the United Sates Army returned and completed construction. You can view the different eras of construction by the different colored brick layers in the fort. The fort was then named after the warship USS Massachusetts.

Fort Massachusetts is one of the smallest of all Third System forts and was designed for 37 guns on two tiers. The seward front of the fort is comprised of an almost 2/3 circle joined in the gorge by a front with 2 demibastions.

West Ship Island approximately 11 miles south of Gulfport and Biloxi and are accessible by Ship Island Excursions’ ferry boats, located in the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor.


The fort made use of concrete which was very innovative for the time. Concrete walls were faced with brick on both the inside and outside walls with the bulk of the thickness being a concrete fill. This saved a great deal of brick and labor. The fort also had a innovative water system that employed a system of piping in the columns leading to a underground cistern. Slate was used for piping and the lining of the cistern but unfortunately lead was used to seal against leaks.

Today Fort Massachusetts is under the control of the National Park Service and is very well preserved. Which the beach is very nice the fort is the best visit. This is one of the finer forts we have visited and I am looking forward to our next visit.

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