Historic Markers Across Georgia

Fort St. Simons

Marker ID:  
Location: 618 Beachview Drive, Saint Simons Island, GA
County: Glynn
Coordinates: N 31° 8.033    W 081° 23.633
  31.13388333    -81.39388333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Fort St. Simons

British settlement on St. Simons Island dates from 1736 when General James Edward Oglethorpe established the fortified town of Frederica seven miles northwest of today's lighthouse. Fort Frederica served as a defense against the Spanish in Florida and protected the British ports of Savannah and Charleston.
Oglethorpe also built Fort St. Simons on the south end of the island to prevent enemy warships from attacking Fort Frederica. About 350 soldiers were garrisoned in barracks nearby.
When the conflict between Great Britain and Spain intensified in 1740, General Oglethorpe laid siege to Castillo de San Marcos at St. Augustine, Florida in June and July with little success. The Spanish retaliated two years later by attacking St. Simons Island.
Battle for the Georgia Coast
On July 7, the British engaged and defeated a Spanish scouting party near Fort Frederica. Spanish fled south to Fort St. Simons, with Oglethorpe and his troops in pursuit. These troops ambushed and again defeated the Spanish in a skirmish that became known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
Fearing the arrival of British warships from Charleston, the Spanish destroyed Fort St. Simons before sailing back to Florida on July 15, never to return. When the war with Spain ended in 1748, British troops withdrew from St. Simons Island.
The exact location of Ft. St. Simons has not been determined. Eighteenth-century maps indicate that the Fort and barracks were near today's Lighthouse. Shoreline erosion over the years has probably erased the physical record of the Fort.