Visitor Information51 Bienville Boulevard
Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528
In 1853, Congress named this fortification for General Edmund Pendleton Gaines who had died in 1849. While still a young officer, Gaines received national recognition when he led the detachment which captured former Vice-President Aaron Burr who had been accused of participating in a conspiracy to commit treason. Gaines' men pursued Burr to the vicinity of Fort Stoddert in what is now Washington County, Alabama just north of Mobile. During the War of 1812, Gaines proved to be an able commander. He received a promotion to the rank of Brigadier General and won lasting fame for his tenacious defense of Fort Erie. For the next thirty-five years, Gaines earned the respect of settlers all over the southeast for his skill in the Indian Wars. Most of the work on the fort was completed by 1861. The outbreak of the Civil War then left the remainder of work to the Confederate States of America, which added the last touches by 1862. Following the Civil War, a bill was introduced in Congress calling for the establishment of a U.S. Naval Academy on Dauphin Island, but was defeated. The fort served in World War I with a Coastal Artillery unit garrison manning the disappearing guns. The site also became an anti-aircraft gunnery school during and following the war. The United States sold Fort Gaines to the City of Mobile in 1926. The city in turn gave the property to the Alabama Department of Conservation, which deeded it to the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board.
For more information
Fort Gaines Historical Site, http://www.dauphinisland.org/fort.htm