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Formerly called the ?Negro Fort?, Fort Gadsden was home to some 320 African-American men, women and children and around 20 Choctaw warriors who were freed from slavery and runaway slaves who wanted to live in freedom. It was built by the Britons during the War of 1812 on the banks of the Apalachicola River to give shelter to Native Americans who in return were recruited to fight against the Americans. They defended the Fort against the troops of the 4th US Infantry during an attack on July 27, 1816 and did not surrender until an explosive hit the Fort?s magazine which destroyed and set the Fort on fire killing some 270 people. This was one of the deadliest events in African-American history. Those who survived the attack were imprisoned and returned back to slavery.

A lieutenant named James Gadsden was put in charge to build a new fort on the same location during the First Seminole War. Due to Gadsden?s very impressive job, the fort was named after him.
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