Spanish Fort in Baldwin County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Stop 8 The Eighth Iowa Line:
“The Very Air Was Hot”
By the 8th, Canby had mounted 53 siege guns, including 16 mortars, and 37 field guns. That evening Gibson’s batteries and skirmishers opened a brisk fire intended to draw the enemy out. They succeeded only too well. The return fire from Canby’s batteries was overwhelming, and Gibson’s guns were soon silenced. Even the Confederate bomb proofs, through made of three layers of logs and six feet of dirt, could not withstand the fury of this cannonade. For example, a ten-inch mortar shell pierced a bomb proof in Phillip’s Battery and buried 26 men. One of them was killed and five, wounded.
“The very air was hot. The din was so great in distracted our senses, we could hardly
The Eighth Iowa Advances At 6:10 p.m. on April 8, under cover of this bombardment, two companies of Colonel William Bell’s 8th Iowa, of Colonel James Geddes’ Brigade, advanced around the far right of the Union works and into a swamp on the Confederate’s extreme left. Skirting fallen trees, the Yankees waded for a hundred yards through water and mud. The Union skirmishers, under heavy fire form Ector’s Brigade, crouched behind fallen trees and could not move forward until reinforced by another company.
Bell’s skirmishers then forced the defenders back and occupied the hill. Bell rushed the rest of the 8th to their support. By now night had fallen and, finding the hill too exposed in the bright moonshine, Bell led his men forward.
Under cover of darkness and clamor of battle all along the line, Bell overran the Confederate left, composed of isolated rifle pits, for 300 yards. The 8th, supported by 8:00 p.m. by the rest of Geddes’ Brigade, entered the enemy’s main works. The Yankees entrenched a line inside of the fort. The Rebels counterattacked, but the Federals beat them back.
When Gibson learned a force in strength had turned his position, he spiked his guns and ordered a retreat along an 18-inch treadway. His command crossed the river and slogged through a marsh to a deep channel near Fort Huger, twelve hundred yards away. A rear guard, commanded by Colonel Fl. L. Campbell, protected the retreat and the Yanks caught on to it too late to block it. Most of the garrison escaped to Fort Blakeley, where the men took boats to Mobile on the morning of April 9. Canby occupied Spanish Fort about midnight.
“The face of the bluff was precipitous, and creased with great---ravines opening out on the water. Down we …[went], pell-mell, right down the almost perpendicular sides of the gorge, clinging to vines,
Finally, the treadway turned and stuck out into the bay. The water was shallow and we walked just above the water’s surface. Suddenly a shot came; it was from that battery. Imagine our consternation. But it was not repeated for some time. It was evident they did not see us, but were merely firing ‘periodically’ …”
Location. 30° 39.525′ N, 87° 54.706′ W. Marker is in Spanish Fort, Alabama, in Baldwin County. Marker is on Larry Dee Cawyer Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 29750 Larry Dee Cawyer Drive, Spanish Fort AL 36527, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “Damn The Torpedoes!” (here, next to this marker); Stop 7 Fort McDermott: (here, next to this marker); Revolutionary War Battlefield and Burial Ground at Spanish Fort (1780-1781) Union Siege Battery No. 1 (approx. half a mile away); Albert Carey Danner (approx. 0.7 miles away); Confederate Drive (approx. 0.7 miles away); Spanish Fort (approx. 0.7 miles away); Fort McDermott (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spanish Fort.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 1,321 times since then and 98 times this year. Last updated on September 25, 2015, by Eric Polk of Lakewood, California. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. 6, 7. submitted on January 14, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.