Spanish Fort in Baldwin County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
“Damn The Torpedoes!”
The Campaigns for Mobile, 1864-1965
Fort Morgan. Fort Gaines. Historic Blakeley State Park.
The Museum of Mobile, Magee Farm
Printed trail guides are available at this location.
In July 1864, the war was not going well for U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s administration. Washington was threatened by a southern army; Federal forces seemed to face stalemate in Virginia and Georgia, and a Union invasion of the Red River Valley in Louisiana had failed. Causalities were piling up and Northern voters were disenchanted with the war. Lincoln believed
However, on August 5, 1864 U.S. Admiral David G. Farragut, working closely with army units commanded by U.S. General Gordon Granger, attacked Mobile’s lower defensive line. Under fire from Fort Morgan and threatened by torpedoes, Farragut entered Mobile Bay, defeating C.S. Admiral Franklin Buchanan’s naval squadron. Farragut and Granger then forced the abandonment or surrender of all of the forts on the lower bay, closing the Port of Mobile to blockade-runners and hoping to pin down Confederates in Mobile that might otherwise reinforce Atlanta. Farragut’s was the first in a series of badly needed Union victories, which would guarantee the re-election of President Lincoln and the ultimate triumph of the Union.
Blakeley surrendered on the same day that the Army of Northern Virginia lay down its arms and U.S. General Ulysses Grant commented that Canby’s campaign came too late to influence the outcome of the war. Nerveless, argues historian Chester Hearn, both Mobile campaigns are significant because “…the strategies
Combined operations, trench warfare, coordinated attacks, submarines, torpedoes, minesweeping, land mines, rifled artillery, hand grenades, and naval combat between armored vessels all scientifically evolved throughout the war, and when Union forces invaded the environs of Mobile Bay, nothing had been omitted. “Thus the Mobile campaigns were a harbinger of what war would become in the twentieth century."
Strategic Value of Mobile
Mobile played her part in the war not only because she lay at the head of a large and sheltered bay fed by the Alabama and Tombigbee river systems but also because she connected the eastern and western halves of the Confederacy via the Mobile & Ohio and Mobile & Great Northern railroads. She not only processed and shipped cotton imported over these routes from Alabama plantations but also exported munitions and other supplies to the rest of the Confederacy along them.
Importation of armaments, powder, salt, medicines, blankets, irons, rope, machinery, and other goods, including luxury items, did much to sustain that effort and Confederate morale. Form January to August 1864, such fast, shallow draft steamers as the Denbigh and Heroine made 37 runs in and out of Mobile Bay, carrying war material in and cotton out, always
War Factories at Mobile
Mobile had a ship-building industry even before the war, but by 1864 it had become a significant center for manufacturing the tools of war: shot and shell, coehorn mortars, wooden gunboats and ironclads, torpedoes (anti-ship mines) and subterra shells (land mines), and submarines. The C.S.S. Baltic, Gaines, and Morgan were built on the riverfront at Mobile.
The C.S.S. Tennessee was built primarily at Selma but was floated down the Alabama River and finished at Mobile. The city also had a torpedo factory. Finally, more torpedo boats and submarines were tested at Mobile than anywhere else in the South. The C.S.S. Hunley was built in Mobile and tested in the Bay before it was shipped to Charleston were it sank the U.S.S. Housatanic in 1864.
The Paris of the Confederacy
Mobile was a cosmopolitan city in 1860; a quarter of its population were foreigners. It was a city beautifully built and adorned with flowers. Though plagued with the shortages of war, Mobile was characterized by a spirit of gaiety and was considered the Paris of the Confederacy. It abounded in oyster bars, coffee houses, saloons, beer and wine shops, gambling houses, dance halls, and theaters.
Even during the last winter of the war, hardly a night passed without a party.
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. Stop 7 Fort McDermott: (here, next to this marker); Stop 8 The Eighth Iowa Line: (here, next to this marker); Revolutionary War Battlefield and Burial Ground at Spanish Fort (1780-1781) (a few steps from this marker); 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 June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 1,328 times since then and 79 times this year. Last updated on March 23, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.