The Haunting of Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines – Mobile County, Dauphin Island, Alabama

Photograph ©Andrew C. Bennett

Address:
51 Bienville Boulevard
Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528
(251) 861-6992
Website
Tour Information

Fort Gaines was originally built as an addition of our country’s security but the original fort had many problems. For one, Fort Gaines was built too close to the Mobile bay and at high tide, water would enter the structure. Another problem arose over land rights but the military did finally gain rights and the deed to the island.

In 1853, a new engineer was brought in; he determined that the structure was such a mess and the plans were so outdated, that it would be better to start back over at the beginning and build a whole new fort. The fort he designed was finished in 1858.

During the Civil War, Fort Gaines became central operations for blockade running and in 1864 the battle of Mobile Bay broke out between Confederate and Union forces.

Union Army commanders, Admiral David Farragut and Major General Gordon Granger, came through the bay amid fourteen ships, with the orders to shut down the fort.

The guns in Fort Gaines rang out and much damage was caused to the Union Army. Then, Admiral Farragut gave the notorious order, “Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead!” The Union army succeeded in its task when Fort Gaines surrendered to avoid hand-to-hand combat.

Fort Gaines has a long history of military use and found itself involved in the Spanish American War, World War I and World War 2 for various military needs. Today, the Coast Guard has a base at Fort Gaines and the fort continues to be of service.

Over the years, many men have died at the site of Fort Gaines; a reported 1,800 of these men died in the bloody Battle of Mobile Bay. The Island itself has the nick name of “Massacre Island” and it is no surprise that this fort is haunted by so many angry, restless spirits.

Many visitors to the fort, as well as employees, have reported seeing the apparitions of former Confederate and Union soldiers wandering all over the grounds. Many have even caught these specters on film, including paranormal investigators.

Another apparition of the fort, a soldier, is said to follow people around the fort until they leave the front gates; this spirit has been seen and its presence has been felt by many. Other ghostly encounters in the fort include the common ghostly cold spots and footsteps.

The MTV show called “Fear,” filmed an episode on Fort Gaines. According to MTV a Native American woman’s apparition has been seen wearing the skins of animals and covered in blood.

Also, MTV shed a little light on some of the horrifying events at Fort Gains. Apparently, the storms that occur on Dauphin Island are sometimes especially harsh and these storms tend to wash up more bones of departed soldiers.

More bones can be found in a tunnel that collapsed on several Native American slaves. These slaves were chained together and they were buried alive in the accident. According to MTV, the bones were never removed and are still there in the tunnel. MTV also reported that several soldiers died in an underground pipe while trying to escape the fort; high tide came in a drown them.