Dauphin Island in Mobile County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Storm Clouds Gather
The Overland Campaign
— Stop 1: Fort Gaines —
To Wait and Watch
In late August 1864 the Federals controlled Mobile Bay but could not attack Mobile. Admiral Farragut could not reach the City even with his light draft vessels, because the channels in the upper Bay had been obstructed. Nor was U.S. General Edward Canby's force big enough to take Mobile by an overland route. The soldiers that would otherwise have been available to him were tied down in other places. All Canby could do was make occasional demonstrations from the Bay to keep the Confederates, who were preparing for an attack, off balance.
The Armies Gather
Conditions changed after the decisive defeat of C.S. General John Bell Hood in Nashville in December. In the winter of 1865 U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant ordered Canby to capture Mobile, Selma, and Montgomery and sent him reinforcements. By March Canby had 45,000 men on the Gulf Coast. Most of his army gathered at Dauphin Island and Pensacola. His siege train and supply depot organized at Fort Gaines. The Confederates, expecting an attack, reinforced Mobile. C.S. General Richard Taylor send C.S. General Dabney Maury, Mobile's commander
The fortifications around Mobile were considered the most formidable in the South. Canby avoided them, marching up the eastern shore of the Bay. He also sent U.S. General Frederick Steele north from Pensacola to attack the railroad at Pollard, feint toward Montgomery, and attack Blakeley from the north. Canby, delayed for weeks by unusually heavy rains, finally moved out on March 17. U.S. General James Veatch's Division of Granger's XIII Corps, which had camped on Dauphin Island, took transports to Navy Cove that day. U.S. General A.J. Smith's XVI Corps boarded transports on March 19 and sailed to Fish River. Steele left Pensacola on the 20th.
Feint to Fowl River
Colonel J.B. Moore's brigade of Smith's Corps embarked for Cedar Point on the 18th. Carrying two Rodman guns, Moore's brigade moved inland, making the Confederates think their numbers were greater than they were.
"Orders were here issued for the regimental bands to beat three tatoos each that evening, as well as a corresponding number of reveilles on the following morning, varying the tunes each time, in order to accomplish the deception intended. If this piece of strategy availed anything, it must have convinced
Wales W. Wood, Adjutant, 95th Illinois Infantry
The ruse worked. The Confederates thought Moore's force numbered 6,000 instead of 1,700, and Maury temporarily diverted a brigade toward Cedar Point in response. Moore marched to Fowl River, skirmishing along the way, and halted. The Yankees discovered torpedoes (or subterra shells) en route but no one was injured. Moore returned to Cedar Point and embarked for Fish River on the 23rd.
Erected by Civil War Trail Battle for Mobile Bay. (Marker Number Stop 1.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts or Castles • War, US Civil.
Location. 30° 14.936′ N, 88° 4.53′ W. Marker is in Dauphin Island, Alabama, in Mobile County. Marker can be reached from Bienville Boulevard east of Albatross Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located atop Fort Gaines. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dauphin Island AL 36528, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Save Your Garrison." (within shouting distance of this marker); Anchor From U.S.S. Hartford (within shouting distance of this marker); British Occupation of Dauphin Island Fort Gaines (within shouting distance of this marker); 19th Century Shipwreck (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); "To Be Blown To Kingdom Come" (about 300 feet away); “Damn the Torpedoes!” (about 300 feet away); Energy from the Sands of Time (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dauphin Island.
More about this marker. An identical marker resides at Fort Morgan across Mobile Bay with the exception that it is labeled Fort Morgan and Stop #2 and has a few different photos and maps on the Overland Campaign.
Also see . . .
1. Fort Gaines. (Submitted on August 16, 2015.)
2. Civil War Trail - Battle for Mobile Bay. (Submitted on August 16, 2015.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 16, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 421 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on August 16, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.