Dauphin Island in Mobile County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
“To Be Blown To Kingdom Come”
Siege of Fort Gaines
—Stop D —
Once Farragut was in the Bay, capture of Fort Gaines and Powell would prevent his isolation there. So at 4:00 pm, August 3, 1864, 1,500 soldiers commanded by U.S. General Edward Canby (but under the operational direction of General Gordon Granger) landed near the west end of Dauphin Island. While the artillerymen manhandled their six 3-inch rifled guns ashore, the infantry deployed into a skirmish line across the narrow island. Covered by two gunboats, the foot sloggers pushed forward three and half miles to the edge of the woods.
At dawn on the 4th, while the Confederates rushed reinforcements to the island, the Federals resumed their advance. A Union soldier remembered the stiff resistance of numerous Rebels, some of them boys no more than sixteen years old: "... with quick crack and thrilling whiz the exchange of shots went on." By the afternoon, Granger had advanced to within 1,700 yards of the fort and begun building trenches and gun positions. By midnight the engineers had deployed six field guns and Confederates had burned their outbuildings, clearing the field of fire.
Gaines' garrison had 864 officers and men by the morning of the 5th. The fort mounted 26 guns, but only six of them could fire into Granger's line. Though strengthened with sandbags, the fort lacked adequate transverses and its casemates
On the 6th, the Federal pickets advanced to within 100 yards of the Rebel line and to within 900 yards of the fort. The Chickasaw, from a distance of 2,000 yards, lobbed 31 11-inch shells at them, most of which exploded in the fort. Gaines returned fire but could not find the range. Granger mounted his parrots that night. The demoralized garrison presented a petition to C.S. Colonel Charles D. Anderson, the post commander, requesting that he surrender.
Anderson agreed. With inadequate defenses and surrounded by overwhelming force, Fort Gaines was untenable. He negotiated a surrender with Farragut and Granger on the 7th, turning over "the fort, it garrison, stores, etc." to United States forces on August 8, 1864.
"In moving up (to Fort Gaines), our forces captured a battalion of boys, varying from 12 to 16 years old, the sons of the leading citizens of Mobile. ...the (boys) seemed to know nothing of the art of skirmishing, and, instead of seeking cover where it could be
"The very first shot fired... (by the Chickasaw) penetrated the casemate and killed two of our sick. The magazine were no better, and had a single shell struck...either of them the whole garrison would have been blown to kingdom come. ...We could render Mobile no assistance; we could render Morgan no assistance; and we could have done no harm to the enemy, for every gun we had that bore upon the fleet was dismounted, except the small smooth bore, at which they would have laughed in derision."
A veteran of the Fort Gaines garrison.
Erected by Civil War Trail Battle for Mobile Bay. (Marker Number Stop D.)
Location. 30° 14.892′ N, 88° 4.565′ 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. Touch for map. Marker located atop the west wall of Fort Gaines. Marker is at or near this postal address: 51 Bienville Blvd, Dauphin Island AL 36528, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Anchor From U.S.S. Hartford (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Gaines (within shouting distance of this marker); Storm Clouds Gather (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); “Damn the Torpedoes!” (about 300 feet away); 19th Century Shipwreck (about 400 feet away); "Save Your Garrison." (about 400 feet away); Noble Leslie DeVotie (approx. 3.4 miles away); Fort Bowyer War of 1812 (approx. 3.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dauphin Island.
Also see . . . Fort Gaines. (Submitted on August 16, 2015.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 15, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 268 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on August 15, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 16. submitted on August 16, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.