Yellow Bluff Fort
The earthen walls of the fort
are now heavily overgrown,
but remain impressive.
Cannon at Yellow Bluff Fort
The park features a number
of corroded cannon that were
probably already antiques by
the time of the Civil War.
Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park - Jacksonville, Florida - Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, Florida - Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, Florida
Yellow Bluff Fort
A bit off the beaten path, the earthworks of Yellow
Bluff Fort are among the few surviving reminders of
Jacksonville's importance during the Civil War.
Defender of the St. Johns River
Although its earthen walls are overgrown and
seldom visited, Yellow Bluff Fort is one of the
few surviving reminders that
Florida, was a fiercely contested port city
during the Civil War.

Forced to evacuate Fernandina and Fort
Clinch in September of 1862 in the face of a
planned Union attack, the Confederates in
Northeast Florida turned their attention to
Jacksonville and the mouth of the St. Johns
River. Southern engineers built a powerful
fortification at
St. Johns Bluff on the south
side of the river (near today's
Fort Caroline
National Memorial) and also began work on
another fort at Yellow Bluff, a commanding
landmark on Dame's Point. Together the two
forts would be able to sweep the river with
cannon fire.

The batteries at St. Johns Bluff were ready
when the Union army and navy launched its
attack on Jacksonville in October of 1862, but
the fort at Yellow Bluff had not yet received its
planned battery of seven heavy cannon. Work
was still underway on the fort and it was
armed only with light field guns and held by
artillerymen and a few cavalry companies
when the attack began.

Union warships moved on the position at St.
Johns Bluff on the afternoon of October 3,
1862, only to find that the Confederate troops
there had been withdrawn. The U.S. flag was
raised over the powerful fort by sailors from
the Federal fleet. Two days later on October
5th, the Federals continued their move up the
river and found that Yellow Bluff Fort had
been evacuated as well:

...The rebels had a light battery of eight
pieces and a position ready to receive seven
heavy guns at a place called Yellow Bluff,
which they appear to have lately evacuated.

Brigadier General Joseph Finegan, later to
gain fame in Florida for his great victory at the
Battle of Olustee, called the evacuation of the
forts "a gross military blunder."

Yellow Bluff Fort later served as a signal post
later in the war and was held by soldiers
from different regiments of the U.S. Colored
Troops in the final 18 months of the war.
Evacuated at the end of the conflict, the fort
was reclaimed by the forest.

Yellow Bluff Fort has been a Florida State
Park since the 1950s, but it remains largely
undeveloped. The only interpretation at the
site is a small monument erected by the
United Daughters of the Confederacy, which
notes that the defenses of Jacksonville were
designed by General Robert E. Lee.
Otherwise, the site consists of only a picnic
table, the overgrown earthworks of the fort
and an interesting collection of corroded
cannon of unknown origin.

Although Yellow Bluff Fort is sometimes
described as a "T" shaped earthwork, a
close examination of the site revealed an
irregular earthen redoubt surrounded by a
deep dry moat.

To visit Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park,
exit Highway 9A at Hecksher Drive. If you are
traveling north on 9A, turn left.  If you are
traveling south on 9A, turn right. After making
the turn, look for a gas station ahead on your
left and make an immediate left turn there
onto New Berlin Road. The park will be about
2 miles ahead on your right.

The grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. until
sunset. There is no charge to visit the park.
To learn more about other points of interest
in the area, please follow the links below:
Moat of Yellow Bluff Fort
The remains of a deep moat
can still be traced at the
heavily overgrown fort site.
Civil War Earthworks
The fortifications in the small
state park were occupied by
both Union and Confederate
troops during the war.
Custom Search
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.