Fort Zachary Taylor and the US Civil War

Fort Zachary Taylor and the US Civil War

During the Civil War, Fort Zachary Taylor served the Union as a base of operations for the Navy’s East Gulf Coast Blockade Squadron. Their main function was to block ships carrying supplies to the Confederate areas of the country. The canons of the fort basically guarded captured ships that were kept at dock in Key West Harbor. The canons here at Fort Taylor included 10-inch Rodman canons as well as Columbiad canons. The range was three miles. The canons not only guarded the captured ships and blocked cargo ships, but also kept Key West from being invaded by Confederate navy. Fort Taylor had 198 canons and lots and lots of ammunition.

The facilities were impressive for the time, too: a desalinization plant and tide-flushed toilets. The sanitary facilities, however, did not work as well in practice as in theory. The tides weren’t strong enough to fully flush out the latrines, so they became perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos, who brought Yellow Fever. At one point in 1863, the Commander of Fort Zachary was losing around 15 men a day to the disease. After the Civil War, Fort Zachary continued to serve the country in later wars, including the Spanish American War, World War I and even World War II. The fort even played a rold in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Throughout these years, the fort was reconfigured to keep up with the times and new artillery types. For example, in 1889 the top level of the fort was cut down to make room for new weapons. Battery Osceola and Battery Adair were also added around this time.

Fort Zachary Taylor
Gatling Gun at Fort Zachary Taylor
Gatling Guns
Fort Zachary
Fort Zachary Taylor Historical State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor
Artillery at Fort Zachary Taylor
Barracks at Fort Zachary Taylor
The Beach at Fort Zachary Taylor
Bicycle Trail at Fort Taylor State Park
Blacksmith Shop at Fort Taylor
Civil War Era Canon
Fort Zachary Taylor


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