Battle of Fort Brooke

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Battle of Fort Brooke
Part of the American Civil War
DateOctober 16, 1863 (1863-10-16)–October 18, 1863 (1863-10-18)
LocationTampa, Florida
Result Union victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
A.A. Semmes John Westcott
Units involved
USS Tahoma
USS Adela
2nd Florida Infantry, Company A
Casualties and losses
16 Unknown
Map of Fort Brooke Battlefield core and study areas by the American Battlefield Protection Program.

The Battle of Fort Brooke was a minor engagement fought October 16–18, 1863, near Tampa, Florida, during the American Civil War.[1]


Two Union Navy ships, the USS Tahoma and the USS Adela, bombarded Fort Brooke on October 16, 1863.[2]

Two days later, on October 18, 1863, as conflict continued, the Battle of Ballast Point took place. A Union raiding party, under Acting Master T.R. Harris, disembarked at Ballast Point, landing at the current intersection of Gandy Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. Under the protracted diversionary bombardment of the city of Tampa and Fort Brooke by two ships, the USS Tahoma and the USS Adela, the Union divisions marched 14 miles to the Hillsborough River to the location of the Jean Street Shipyard near the site of today's Lowry Park Zoo.[1] The two ships were at the shipyard to have their bottoms cleaned. The Union troops surprised, captured, and burned McKay's two notorious ships, the blockade runner Scottish Chief, a steamship, and the sloop Kate Dale a few miles up the river. The ships and shipyard were owned by the future mayor of Tampa, James McKay. Escaping capture by mere minutes, with members of his crew in tow, James McKay sped to the city of Tampa and warned all of the landing party and the fate of his ships.

After the burning of the ships, the Confederate forces were alerted to the raiding party's location, and commenced pursuit. Harris's Union forces were surprised by a detachment of the garrison, the 2nd Florida Infantry Battalion. A brief but sharp exchange resulted in a few casualties before the Union troops returned to sea.

A Confederate cavalry unit, the Oklawaha Rangers, finally caught up with the Union raiders, and a full engagement ensued. The union soldiers came under direct fire as they boarded their dinghies in a tactical retreat. The Confederate defenders destroyed the steamer A.B. Noyes to preclude her capture.[3]

The remains of the Kate Dale are sunk near the west side of Jean Street Shipyard, while the Scottish Chief remained afloat while it burned. It was towed back to Tampa and stripped and destroyed.


  1. ^ a b Kennedy, Frances H. (1998). The Civil War battlefield guide (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-74012-6.
  2. ^ "Battle Summary: Fort Brooke, FL". Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Update to the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields" (PDF). National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 10 January 2017.

Coordinates: 28°00′02″N 82°28′25″W / 28.00062°N 82.47368°W / 28.00062; -82.47368