Fort Mitchel

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Fort Mitchel (1862-1864) - A Union U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1862 on Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina. First named Fort Gillmore after its designer and Chief Engineer at Hilton Head, Captain Quincy A. Gillmore, (Cullum 1407). Renamed Fort Mitchel after Major General Ormsby M. Mitchel, (Cullum 555), who died of yellow fever 30 Oct 1862. Abandoned in 1864.

View of Skull Creek from Fort Mitchel.


Established by Union forces soon after the capture of Hilton Head Island on 7 Nov 1861. Built as a small earthen lunette with two faces forming a salient angle, two flanking sides, and open at the rear. A central bomb-proof provided protection for the troops and supplies.

Fort Mitchel Central Bombproof Site. Depression caused by Collapse of Interior Structure.
Fort Mitchel Display Cannon Emplacement.

Fort Mitchel was positioned on the northwest side of Hilton Head Island to control Skull Creek and protect the U.S. Navy Seabrook Landing coaling station. Skull Creek separates Hilton Head Island from the mainland.

The fort was designed to mount five or six guns on a bluff above Skull Creek. The cannon were positioned so that three of them pointed downstream, one was positioned to fire directly across the creek toward Bull Point, and two were pointed upstream toward Port Royal Sound.

Advancing gun technology and the use of ironclad ships rendered the battery ineffective by 1864 and the attending garrison was redeployed that year.

Current Status

Fort Mitchel Marker Side 1.
Fort Mitchel Marker Side 2.

The fort site is located within the gated community of Hilton Head Plantation and a pass is required to visit the site. Adjacent to the fort site is the Old Fort Pub.

The fort site is well covered with access paths, interpretive panels, and display cannons (not original to the site).

Location: 65 Skull Creek Drive on Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Maps & Images

Lat: 32.24311 Long: -80.74413

See Also:



Visited: 7 Mar 2018

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