Cannon of Fort Conde
A row of cannon aim out over the city
of Mobile from the top of the
reconstructed French fortress.
Mobile's Downtown Fort
The growing skyline of Mobile looms
over the partially reconstructed walls
of Fort Conde.
|Fort Conde in Mobile, Alabama
The reconstructed walls of Fort Conde remind
visitors of Mobile's rich colonial history.
The Fort of Colonial Mobile
Fort Conde is a partially-reconstructed
French fort that is now home to the Fort of
Colonial Mobile, a heritage-based attraction.
Its brick walls and cannon defended Mobile
for nearly 100 years. Held by French, British,
Spanish and American forces, the old fort
was a center point of history on the Gulf
Coast and the scene of an important battle of
the American Revolution.
The Alabama Gulf Coast was a focal point for
colonial exploration and settlement. It was
once part of French Louisiana and Mobile, in
fact, was the capital of the colony. The city
was first established on a site about 20
miles up the Mobile River in 1702 and its
Roman Catholic parish was founded the
Disease and flooding caused problems at
the original site of La Mobile, however, so the
French moved their fledgling city downstream
to its present location in 1711. It remained
the capital of French Louisiana until 1720,
when Biloxi claimed that distinction.
The original fortifications of the city were built
of earth and wood, but these deteriorated in
the humid climate of the Gulf Coast. The
need for a permanent fort was evident and
construction began of a large, brick structure
with bastions and a stone foundation. It was
surrounded by a dry moat and additional
The fort covered blocks of today's downtown
area and was named Fort Conde after the
Prince of Conde. Its cannon controlled the
point where the Mobile River flowed into
Mobile Bay. One of these original French
guns, in fact, can still be seen in the front
yard of the historic Conde-Charlotte House
whcih stands next to the restored fort.
Fort Conde guarded Mobile and also was the
base for French exploration and expansion
into the interior of Alabama. Supplies and
troops went from here to upriver forts such as
Fort Toulouse (near present-day Wetumpka)
and Fort Conde also served as the military
headquarters for the region.
The fort remained in the hands of its French
builders until 1763 when it was turned over to
the British - along with the rest of Alabama -
as part of the agreement that ended the
French and Indian War. The treaty also gave
Great Britain control of Spanish Florida and
much of the Mississippi River valley.
The British renamed the post Fort Charlotte
and maintained a garrison there throughout
the American Revolution. An original British
canon can be seen across the walk from the
old French gun at the Conde-Charlotte
Mobile prospered as a commercial center
under the British but became a target of
allied forces under Gen. Bernardo de Galvez
after his country allied itself with the United
States during the American Revolution.
He landed Spanish troops and American
volunteers at Dauphin Island on February 10,
1780. The army moved up the west side of
Mobile bay to lay siege to the fort and begin
the Battle of Fort Charlotte. It the first of
Alabama's two significant Revolutionary War
The siege lasted four weeks as the two
sides battled for control not only of Fort
Charlotte, but all of Mobile Bay and the
The British surrendered to Galvez on March
14, 1780, The flag of Spain now went up over
Fort Charlotte. The name Charlotte is
pronounced Carlotta in Spanish and the fort
became Fort Carlotta for the next 33 years.
Revolutionaries took control of Baton Rouge
in 1810 and declared the independence of
the "Republic of West Florida." They set their
sites next on Mobile and Fort Carlotta but the
planned attack never got off the ground. The
United States invaded and seized much of
the new republic later that year. Mobile,
however, remained in Spanish hands.
That changed in 1813 when U.S. troops
under Gen. James Wilkinson invaded Mobile
Bay and seized Fort Carlotta. Spanish troops
fell back to Pensacola and the line of the
Perdido River became the new border of
West Florida. Mobile Bay was added to the
U.S. troops occupied Fort Carlotta - now
again called Fort Charlotte - for the rest of the
War of 1812. Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson
based his headquarters there during part of
The fort faced its last real threat in January
1815 when British troops avenged an earlier
failed attempt and captured Fort Bowyer at
the entrance to Mobile Bay. U.S. troops
prepared to defend Fort Charlotte but news of
the signing of the Treaty of Ghent arrived
before the British could advance up the bay.
The War of 1812 ended with the Stars and
Stripes still flying over the brick ramparts.
Fort Charlotte remained an active military
post through the First Seminole War of
1817-1818, serving mostly as a logistics
base during that conflict. Congress declared
it surplus in 1820 and it was dismantled to
make room for the growth of the expanding
The 1970s brought a resurgence of interest
in the old fort and about one-third of it was
reconstructed at 80% scale using the original
French plans.In a unique clash of cultures -
old and new - Interstate 10 now plunges into
a tunnel literally in the middle of the parade
Fort Conde served for many years as the
visitor center for Mobile but has now been
leased to a private company and operates as
The Fort of Colonial Mobile, a heritage-based
It is located at 150 S. Royal Street, Mobile, AL
36602 and is open seven days per week
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The admission price is
$8 for adults and $5 for children.
Please click here to visit their website for
While in the area be sure to visit the historic
Conde-Charlotte Museum around the corner
at 104 Theatre Street.
Interstate 10 at Fort Conde
Old definitely meets new as I-10
plunges underground in the middle of
Fort Conde's parade ground.
The reconstructed section of Fort
Conde duplicates about one-third of
the original fort at 80% scale.
Original Fort Conde Cannon
This piece of French artillery can be
seen adjacent to the reconstructed
fort in the front yard of the historic
|Copyright 2017 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: August 18, 2017
(Some contents Copyright 2014)
Forts of Mobile Bay, Alabama