Phase I Testing Completed - November 2014
Ft. Hatch - Jacksonville, FL
Ft. Hatch was one of nine gun emplacements built by Union forces to defend the wall they constructed around Jacksonville near the end of the Civil War. It was one of the larger forts and was built just outside the wall. Its purpose was to protect the western-most gate to the heavily contested, Union controlled port town. Since then, its remains have been buried under years of urban reconstruction. Coupled with their superior naval forces stationed in the river beside Jacksonville, the Union Army was able to hold the city through the end of the war.
Between the Summer 2013 and Spring of 2014, CARS dug over 50 test pits in the La Villa area of Jacksonville near where Ft. Hatch was located. The small window we opened produced enough Civil War era material to confirm we found a component of the fort. Mapping information shows the bulk of the fort's footprint lies to the west, beneath buildings and paved roads. In addition to the war related material, many artifacts were recovered from Jacksonville's more recent past. It all adds up to painting a more colorful picture of our city's history. The results were very promising but much more work is needed to locate and define boundaries of the fort and its activity areas.
Historical Marker Dedication - February 2018
Almost five years in the making, Cowford Archaeology, in conjunction with the Jacksonville Historical Society, proudly dedicated a permanent historical marker at the site of Ft. Hatch on February 15, 2018. The marker is the culmination of our work at the site to date. It is, however, not the final word. We are expecting to return to excavate the most promising area found during testing. The rich deposit of Civil War artifacts found beneath the modern soil deserves more attention to identify its use. Was it a mess area, or a trash dump or a latrine or . . . . ? We'd like to know.