|1862 Sketch of Fort Williams and St. Marks Lighthouse|
The lighthouse today is a popular landmark for visitors to the St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge, but no trace remains of Fort Williams.
Named for Colonel J.J. Williams, a well-known planter from Leon County, the fort was built in 1861 to protect the mouth of the St. Marks River from attack by Union warships. It mounted several pieces of heavy artillery and was built of earth with a timber backing. As the sketch shows, it stood on Lighthouse Point just west of the lighthouse itself, which was used as an observation post for Confederate sentries.
|St. Marks Lighthouse|
In addition, the fort's cannon did not command a long enough reach of the channel leading into the St. Marks River to be of much service should the U.S. Navy decide to move up the river.
|Ruins of Spanish Fort at St. Marks|
Fort Williams was dismantled and the Union navy later burned what was left of it. No trace of the fort remains today. The lighthouse, however, survived the war and remains quite beautiful today.
To learn more about the St. Marks Lighthouse and its history, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/stmarkslight.
To learn more about the old Spanish fort of San Marcos de Apalache, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/sanmarcos1.