Sketches & Engravings

Early Natchez: Fort Rosalie/Panmure

This post is part one of a short series of items from the collection related to the early days of Natchez, one of the early settlements in Mississippi and the center of government and society during the territorial years (1798-1817) and early days of statehood.

“View of the Fort of the Natchez,” 1797. Call Number: PI/CI/N38.3, Item 1 (MDAH Collection)

This sketch shows Fort Panmure, formerly Fort Rosalie, which was constructed on the site of present day Natchez by Lieutenant Governor Bienville in the early 1700s. At that time, the French ruled the Mississippi-Louisiana area. The fort was renamed in the 1760s during British rule of the colony. In 1797, the date of this sketch, Natchez was under Spanish rule.

For a handy summary of Mississippi colonial and territorial history see the text of the “Mississippi: The Magnolia State” historical marker or check out the marker itself on its blog entry from the historical marker series:

Explored, 1540-1, by De Soto. Colonized first by French, 1699. Became a colony of British, 1763; Spanish, 1779. Territory organized by U.S., 1798. Became 20th. state, 1817.

The area under the bluff by the Mississippi River would later become Natchez “Under-the-Hill,” the more boisterous part of town, owing to its proximity to the river traffic and their boat crews.

The site of Fort Rosalie is now famous as the site of the antebellum mansion “Rosalie,” name after the fort, and built by Peter Little in 1823. It still stands today.


Westley F. Busbee, Jr., Mississippi: A History (Wheeling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 2005), 29, 39-40, 55.

Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution, “Rosalie Mansion,”, accessed December 15, 2010.