Fort D

Constructed in the summer of 1861 by Union troops under the leadership of John Wesley Powell, Fort D is the only remaining one of four Civil War forts that protected the City of Cape Girardeau from Confederate attack. The earthwork walls remain intact, and historical signage throughout the fort's grounds bring its storied past to life. The site also contains a limestone building that was constructed in 1937 as a federal WPA project.
This earthen fort is the site of living histories throughout the year. Self-guided tours can be taken during daylight hours, 365 days a year. Click here to visit the official Fort D Historical Site web page.

Quick Facts About Fort D
  • Fort D is one of four forts built by the United States army around Cape Girardeau in the summer/fall of 1861 to protect the city from land attack.
  • Of these forts, only Fort D remains intact. Fort A is partially preserved by a Cape Girardeau family.
  • Fort D was built under the direction of (future) famed explorer and scientist John Wesley Powell.
  • Union troops from Illinois, local residents, Union engineers, and escaped slaves helped build the fort.
  • The earthen walls are the real fort. Packed dirt protects the fort much better than wood or stone.
  • Powell recruited local men to form a company and man the guns. This Company F (Powell’s Battery) went on to fight at Shiloh, Corinth MS, Vicksburg, and Atlanta.
  • The engineer regiment recruited local men to form Company G which served throughout the south, including Sherman’s famed March to the Sea.
  • Civic action from 1915 to 1935 preserved the earthen walls.
  • The blockhouse structure was built in 1936 as a museum and meeting building. It was abandoned and decayed. It was renovated in 2020, funded by a parks and recreation tax voted in by the citizens of Cape Girardeau.
  • Fort D is located at the corner of Locust Street and West Fort Street, 5 blocks south of the intersection of Missouri Rte. 74 and Sprigg Street in Cape Girardeau, just west of the bridge over the Mississippi River.
  • Living History events are held annually on the weekends of Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day plus additional days such as Veterans Day. The grounds, featuring the original earthen walls of the fort, and complete with informational signs, are open daily all year long. Admission is always free. Special guided tours with demonstrations are available for a nominal fee. For more information contact 573.339.6340  or or find us on Facebook at Friends of Fort D Historic Site.

Photo of Fort D.

  • Contact Info
  • 410 Kiwanis Drive
    Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
  • Telephone 573.339.6340
  • Email [email protected]
  • Rainout Line 573.975.1024