Area Status: Open
The site of two successive forts, the first built during the War of 1812 by the British, and of the tragic massacre of more than 300 African-Americans who held the fort under the British flag in 1816, Fort Gadsden played an important role in Florida history. Located along the Apalachicola River, this interpretive area offers detailed interpretive information about the site and its history along with trails, river access, and a picnic area.
Built during the War of 1812 by the British, Fort Gadsden was placed in a strategic spot along the Apalachicola River, which was the "highway for commerce" in those pre-road, pre-railroad days.
On July 27, 1816, U.S. Navy forces led by Colonel Duncan Clinch fired on what was then called "The Negro Fort." One of the early shots from the ship's guns landed on a ammunition shed inside the fort, resulting in a massive explosion which left only 33 survivors to tell the tale.
In 1818, Lt. James Gadsden oversaw construction of a new fort on the site as a U.S. fort in the heart of Spanish territory, under the auspices of Major General Andrew Jackson. This fort remained in use until 1821, when Florida became a U.S. Territory.
Detailed interpretive information in the form of kiosks and signage lead you through the site of both forts and the cemetery where the victims from 1816 are buried.
Interested in learning more of the story? Here's an interpretive brochure (PDF).
At a Glance
Day use only
||Interpretive Site,Accessible,Picnic tables,Toilets,Parking
||National Forests in Florida
From Tallahassee, take State Road 20 west to Hosford, turn left on State Road 65. Follow SR 65 south for 4 miles past Sumatra. Turn right onto Forest Road 129-B, Brickyard Road. This is an unpaved road and has deep potholes in places.
** If the road is flooded, do not attempt to drive to Fort Gadsden. Flooded potholes can be dangerous and the fort site sits in a floodplain area **
From Apalachicola, head south on Hwy 30 for 10 miles. Turn left onto FL-65 N and continue on for 20 miles.Turn left onto Forest Road 129-B, Brickyard Road.
Follow Brickyard Road for 1.9 miles and then turn left onto Fort Gadsden Road. Continue one mile to the interpretive area entrance on the left.