Tag Archives: South Austin fort

What are the odds?

Had a chimney guy in last week to inspect the mini-rancho’s fireplace before we use it. He picked up Bar’s cannonball from the hearth, hefted it and asked if it was real. When I said yes, it’s real, he set it down gently.

I said it was Confederate from an old fort in South Austin before there was a South Austin. He said (coincidentally, what are the odds?) he grew up in Pennsylvania and his school classes spent time each year at the Gettysburg battlefield park. Said he had a friend coming down soon and he’d sure like to show him a real civil war fort.

I said the old fort, just earthen berms really with field piece (cannon) revetments cut into them, was near Ben White and South Congress. Somewhere on the northwest corner. All gone now, of course, buried under commercial development. But they can look at it and imagine how it was.

UPDATE: From the Austin Chronicle, July 4, 2003: “‘Archeological and Archival Investigations at Fort Magruder, a Civil War Period Fortification in Austin, Travis County, Texas,’ published by the Texas Department of Transportation, is by far the most comprehensive history of the fort or, more accurately, construction site. ‘The fortifications of Fort Magruder for all practical purpose never got off the ground, and to date no documented evidence has surfaced that Fort Magruder was ever garrisoned by troops for the military threat to Austin never materialized,’ the report said.”