ECW Weekender: Fort Blakeley USCT Heritage Trail Grand Opening

The folks at Historic Fort Blakeley State Park in Mobile, Alabama have been hard at work clearing paths and producing interpretive signage for a new addition to their park that tells the fuller story of what happened on the evening of April 9, 1865. The current trails at Fort Blakeley cover miles of both Confederate and Union earthworks, encompassing several redoubts, one of which is built up and restored as it would have looked during the final assault. (See HERE for a blog post about the Battle at Fort Blakeley and a little about the park itself) But there’s been a crucial missing piece of the puzzle. A large concentration of USCT soldiers were part of the assault force, charging Redoubts 1 and 2 on the far right of the Union line. These redoubts have all but disappeared, reclaimed by nature and destroyed by suburban development. Beginning November 12, 2022, visitors will have the chance to walk the ground where USCT soldier fought during the Battle at Fort Blakeley.

From the flyer for the Grand Opening:

Historic Blakeley State Park and the Historic Blakeley Foundation invite you to the grand opening of our new USCT Heritage Trail!

The members of the Louisiana Native Guards in a painting that has been misinterpreted to prove there were units of Black Confederates (A Regiment of the original Louisiana Native Guards fought at Fort Blakeley)

What: USCT Heritage Trail Opening
When: 10:00-11:30 AM, Saturday, November 12, 2022
Where: Parking available at East Pointe Baptist Church, across from the entrance to Historic Blakeley State Park on Hwy. 225 (34742 AL-225, Spanish Fort, AL 36527). Baldwin County Transportation will provide buses to the event site, 1.5 miles north on Cloverleaf Landing Road.

This new cultural heritage resource features nearly two miles of trails which will help visitors learn about the role of African American troops in the Battle of Fort Blakeley. Offering access to original Civil War earthworks dug under fire by one of the largest contingents of African-American soldiers to fight in any Civil War battle, the trail is a new and nationally-significant educational and heritage tourism product. It is made possible by the generous support of Impact 100 of Baldwin County. Dr. John David Smith, a renowned scholar of the role of black troops as a part of “United States Colored Troops” (USCT) units in the Civil War and the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, will deliver a short address about the significance of the USCT as part of our grand opening ceremonies.

Blakeley State Park - Home | FacebookRSVP to Gina Hall, Historic Blakeley State Park office manager (office@blakeleypark.com, 251-626-0798)

This event sponsored in part by the Alabama Tourism Department, the Pensacola Civil War Roundtable, and the Mobile Area Civil War Roundtable

About Sheritta Bitikofer

Sheritta Bitikofer is a lifelong student of history with a specific interest in the Civil War era. Along with being a wife, historical fiction author, and fur-mama of two, she is an active member of the Mobile and Pensacola Civil War Roundtables and currently pursuing a bachelors degree in US History at American Public University.
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2 Responses to ECW Weekender: Fort Blakeley USCT Heritage Trail Grand Opening

  1. Mike Maxwell says:

    Another excellent report… Well Done!
    Just to expand on the above timely recognition: by September 1864 a number of USCT regiments were based in vicinity of Fort Barrancas; these troops, primarily of the 82nd USCT and 86th USCT (Mounted) were engaged in anti-Rebel patrols on the Live Oak Plantation, and on Santa Rosa Island nearly as far east as today’s Fort Walton Beach. Other operations involving the 25th USCT and 97th USCT were sent from Fort Barrancas, up the Escambia and Blackwater Rivers into Southern Alabama.
    Then, in FEB 1865 Major General Frederick Steele arrived at Fort Barrancas. Shifting his HQ to Pensacola City, Steele received troop-laden ships at the city docks. At least six regiments of USCT contributed to the force of 13000 men that marched north out of Pensacola on 20 March 1865; engagements with Clanton’s Cavalry occurred during the march, which reached Pollard Alabama about 23 March and turned west. And General Steele’s Pensacola Column reached the vicinity of Fort Blakely on 2 April 1865, having driven off Rebels that may have interfered with the Spanish Fort/ Fort Blakely operation conducted by Major General Edward Canby. [Information provided to show the Pensacola connection to USCT regiments and to Canby’s Mobile Bay operation.] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_campaign_Union_order_of_battle

  2. Pingback: Grand Opening of US Colored Troops Heritage Trail Nov. 12, 2022 Near Mobile, Ala. - The Reconstruction Era

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