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
“The very air was hot. The din was so great in distracted our senses, we could hardly hear each other speak and could hardly tell what we were doing. The cracking of musketry, the unbroken roaring of artillery; the yelling and shrieking of the shells, the bellowing boom of mortars, the dense shroud of sulphurous smoke thickening around us – it was thought the mouth of the pit had yawned and the uproar of the damned was about us, and is was not taking away form this infernal picture to see men, as I did, hopping about, ‘raving, distracted mad,’ the blood bursting form eyes and ears and mouth, driven stark crazy by concussions or some other cause.” Phillip D. Stevenson, Fifth Company, Washington Artillery.
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
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.
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’ …”
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
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. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking “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) (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Siege Battery No. 1 (approx. half a mile away); The Eastern Shore Trail (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spanish Fort.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 16, 2017. It was originally submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 1,522 times since then and 8 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 Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. 6, 7. submitted on January 14, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.