First Battle of Fort Bowyer

First Battle of Fort Bowyer (HM287B)

Location: Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Baldwin County
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Country: United States of America
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N 30° 13.79', W 88° 1.409'

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September 14, 1814

American Forces
158 Men
20 Cannons
3 Killed; 5 Wounded

British Forces
852 Men
130 Creek Indians
4 Ships; 80 Cannon
23 Killed; 47 Wounded

On September 11, 1814, HMS Hermes, HMS Sophie, HMS Carron, and HMS Childress sailed within nine miles of Fort Bowyer and landed 60 Royal Marines with a howitzer and 120 Creek Indians under the command of Captain Woodbine. A portion of this land force would march westward toward the fort and offer support of the ship to shore bombardment of the fort while the reindeer traveled to Bon Secoui as a rear guard.

At 3:30 on September 14, the British naval force, HMS Hermes in the lead position, under the command of Captain Sir William Percy engaged the fort. Three of the vessels were unable to provide much support during the attack as wind conditions prevented two from securing a poison within range of the fort while Sophie's timbers were so rotten that its guns overturned when fired. The situation soon turned against the Hermes as its bow spring was shot away causing the helpless vessel to swing around and allow the fort's cannon to red the decks from bow to stern. By 6:00 p.m., the Hermes began drifting and running aground.


this time the Royal Marines and Creek Indians made a push toward the fort from the landward side. After their artillery ammunition was exhausted and seeing the Hermes in its helpless condition, Capitan Woodbine ceased the attack and withdrew his forces eastward down the peninsula. As evening fell, Captain Percy offered the Hermes abandoned and her surviving crew evacuated to the Sophie. Prior to doing so, the crow put the ship to the torch in order to prevent its capture and repair by the Americans. Around 10:00 p.m., the fires reached the ship's powder magazine. With a tremendous explosion that was heard over 30 miles away in Mobile, the Hermes was destroyed.

The victory at Fort Bowyer provided a much-needed morale boost for the United States. Major Lawrence and his garrison were highly praised throughout the country for their stubborn defense and Lawrence would be brevetted to Lieutenant Colonel for his actions. The British failure would result in their attempting another route to New Orleans. In January 1815, that alternate route would result in their disastrous defeat below the city at the hands of Andrew Jackson.

The Fort Bowyer Historic Wayside Project was possible through the continued generous support of The Society War of 1812 State of Alabama
HM NumberHM287B
Placed ByThe Society War of 1812 State of Alabama
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, June 7th, 2018 at 1:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16R E 401513 N 3344696
Decimal Degrees30.22983333, -88.02348333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 30° 13.79', W 88° 1.409'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds30° 13' 47.4" N, 88° 1' 24.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)251
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 170 Fort Morgan Road, Gulf Shores AL 36542, US
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