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Image # RF1-0135
Photographer: Jeremy Lavender Photography – Nassau, The Bahamas
Fort Montagu is a small fort of four cannon on the eastern shore of New Providence Island (Nassau) Bahamas. Peter Henry Bruce oversaw the construction of the fort that began in 1741 to defend the British possession from Spanish invaders.
Fort Montagu is best known because it is the site of the United States Marine Corps’ first military action. In 1776 Continental Congress ordered Commodore Esek Hopkins to take a fleet of eight ships to capture a large supply of gunpowder the British had stored on New Providence Island.
After two weeks of sailing, Captain Samuel Nicholas landed with his 234 Marines two miles east of Fort Montagu. The Bahamian militia retreated to Fort Nassau, so Fort Montagu fell unopposed. It turned out the 200 barrels of gunpowder were stored at Fort Nassau and the Bahamian governor was able to load them on merchant ships before the marines arrived there the next day.
While the marines were not successful in their primary mission of retrieving the gunpowder, they did bring back 46 cannon and thousands of round shot for General Washington’s army.