Rangers will present a variety of programs including fort talks and island walks. For more information call 228-875-9057 x 4100.
Fort Massachusetts was built on Ship Island for national defense. Both domestic and foreign powers recognized the strategic significance of the natural deep water harbor on the north side of the island. After lengthy debate fort construction began in the summer of 1859. Storms, disease, climate, isolation and the Civil War made construction on this remote barrier island a challenge. Construction on Fort Massachusetts halted in 1866 although the fort was not fully completed.
The fort has not only withstood actions of war but also the more subtle enemies of time and neglect. The devastating and powerful Hurricanes Camille (1969) and Katrina (2005) washed over and through the building but failed to significantly undermine the structure.
Did You Know?
The 2nd Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards trained on Ship Island and became the first black unit on April 9, 1863 on the Gulf Frontier. They met Confederate forces in battle during a raid on Pascagoula, MS.