Latitude / Longitude:
30° 19′ 37.2″ N, 87° 17′ 26.52″ W
Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
Fort Pickens is a pentagonal historic United States military fort on Santa Rosa Island in the Pensacola, Florida, area. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens. The fort was completed in 1834 and remained in use until 1947. Fort Pickens is included within the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and as such, is administered by the National Park Service.
After the War of 1812, the United States decided to fortify all of its major ports. French engineer Simon Bernard was appointed to design Fort Pickens. Construction lasted from 1829 to 1834, with 21.5 million bricks being used to build it. Much of the construction was done by slaves. Its construction was supervised by Colonel William H. Chase of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During the American Civil War, he sided with the Confederacy and was appointed to command Florida’s troops.
As with many other forts, Panama mounts were planned for in the interwar era, beginning in 1937. Four 155mm GPF guns were placed around Battery Cooper, two forward, and one to each side, in 1942. The 155 battery used Cooper’s magazines, communications, and other support facilities.
On the night of 20 January 1858, the USCS Robert J. Walker was at Pensacola when a major fire broke out at Fort Pickens. The cutter’s men and boats, joined by the hydrographic party of the U.S. Coast Survey steamboat USCS Varina, rallied to fight the fire. The next day, the captain of the Robert J. Walker received a communication from Captain John Newton of the Army Corps of Engineers, who commanded the harbor of Pensacola, acknowledging the important service rendered by the Robert J. Walker.