Dauphin Island, AL
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Fort Gaines listed among nation's top 10
endangered Civil War sites
Thursday, March 19, 2009
By DAVID FERRARA, Staff Reporter
Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island has been
listed as one of the nation's 10 most endangered Civil War battlefields,
according to a report released Wednesday.
"That designation could draw national attention to the fort and help facilitate
an effort to stabilize eroding shores on the barrier island," Dauphin Island
Mayor Jeff Collier said.
In the Civil War Preservation Trust's 2009 report, "History Under Siege,"
the site on the east end of the island was listed as one of the most threatened
and most historically significant battlegrounds among the top 10.
"It is definitely a plus when it comes to the fort itself," Collier said.
"It validates the importance and the historical significance of Fort Gaines
in the war and the importance of it being protected and preserved for future
generations. It will bring a heightened level of awareness that the fort
is being threatened."
Constructed in the mid-1800s, the pentagon-shaped fort was seized by Union
troops in August 1864 during the Battle of Mobile Bay.
Collier said Dauphin Island leaders are trying to secure an engineering
plan to replenish the beaches on the east and west ends, and he hopes to
use this week's report to leverage support in funding such a project.
Mike Henderson, director of the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board, said
that recent efforts to protect the fort are "Band-Aids" that will not last.
The report, he said, shows that erosion is "a real problem. It's not just
a few people on Dauphin Island dreaming things up."
Collier said the work must be done soon. "The wild card here is the fact
that nobody knows when the next hurricane is going to come," he said. "If
we were to have a major storm, we don't know what would happen. The fort
is an integral part of the island ... and we need it and we need to preserve
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