Fort Brooke, 1823-1883
Prior to the start of the construction of Fort Brooke in 1823, this area was held by the Seminole. Following the acquisition of Florida by the United States and the Seminole Treaty of 1823, the United States began construction of this fort under the direction of Colonel James Gadsen. The fort was intended to demonstrate the commitment of the United States to securing power in the region. The fort saw minor action during the Civil War and was decommissioned in 1883. The fort covered the area that is now home to the city's convention center and the arena district and is now recognized by a historical marker which stands adjacent to a parking garage named in honor of the former US Army installation.
Backstory and Context
Fort Brooke was one of the frontline defenses of Tampa and the western Florida coast during the three Seminole Wars, of which the fort was attacked by the Seminoles one at least one occasion. Fort Brooke is most famous for the Battle of Fort Brooke, which took place in October of 1863. The fort was attacked by two Union ships during that attack, but the Union Navy's goal was not to take the fort. Instead, this attack was meant to tie up Confederate defenders while they landed troops at at Ballast Point and captured other ships that were located upriver from the fort. A year later Union forces captured both the fort and Tampa. As Tampa languished during the post-war years, so too did the fort. The fort was decommissioned in 1883.