|Bateria de San Antonio and Pensacola Bay|
The Bateria de San Antonio, built by the Spanish in 1793-1797, is a semi-circular masonry fortification built to serve as a water battery for the original Spanish fort of San Carlos de Barrancas. The Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas, both in St. Augustine, are the only still-standing Florida forts older than the Bateria, which is one of the oldest standing fortifications in the United States.
|Inside the Bateria de San Antonio|
The redoubt had numerous cannon aimed out at the bay, but they proved completely ineffective in stopping the allied fleet. Pensacola fell after one of the most significant yet often overlooked battles of the American Revolution. Please click here to learn more.
|Model showing the Bateria de San Antonio from Above|
Semi-circular in form, the Bateria was designed so that its cannon could sweep across as much of the channel as possible. Because it was lower on the bluff than the old British fort, its cannon could actually "skip" their cannonballs across the surface of the bay and into the sides of attacking warships.
|Bombproof of the Bateria de San Antonio|
U.S. engineers renovated and strengthened the Bateria in 1839-1840 as they built today's Fort Barrancas on the old San Carlos de Barrancas. Thereafter called the Water Battery, it was occupied by state troops in January 1861 when the U.S. garrison of Fort Barrancas withdrew to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island.
Manned by Confederate gunners, the cannon of the Water Battery took part in the massive bombardments that shook Pensacola Bay in November 1861 and January 1862. It was not significantly damaged in the fighting.
Restored by the National Park Service, the historic fortification is now accessed via the Fort Barrancas area of Gulf Islands National Seashore at Pensacola Naval Air Station. To learn more about the history of this fascinating old Spanish work, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/bateriadesanantonio.