Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
While now in ruins, Fort Pike played a critical role in early American history, without which, many crucial events may have turned out differently. The fort, which is named after the explorer General Zebulon Montgomery Pike, was built in the wake of the War of 1812 to secure New Orleans against future invasions of the United States. Built to withstand assaults from both the land and sea, it stood as a deterrent to invasions that could be a threat to New Orleans and the Mississippi River area. It was eventually used as a waystation transporting soldiers to the front lines during the Mexican American War. While a foreign enemy never struck the fort, it did fall to Confederate forces during the onset of the Civil War but was eventually recaptured by the Union army, where it became a staging ground for raids into Louisiana and one of the main location where African American soldiers, mostly freed slaves, were trained for combat.
The history of Fort Pike is not entirely positive; however. The fort did play a role in some of the darker events of early American history. During the Seminole Wars in Florida, in addition to its role as a stopping point for soldiers on their way to Florida, captured prisoners of war were sent to Fort Pike as a temporary prison. Many Seminole people were transported from this fort to the Indian Territory or modern-day Oklahoma. Fort Pike’s role in both defending the freedom of the young nation and also serving as a location for its actions against Native Americans serve as a microcosm of the complexities of early American history.
Cover Photo by Olineman via Wikimedia Commons