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Dauphin Island in Mobile County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Storm Clouds Gather

The Overland Campaign

 

—Stop 1: Fort Gaines —

 
Storm Clouds Gather Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
1. Storm Clouds Gather Marker
Inscription.
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 3,000 infantrymen and 1,500 artillerists, Hood veterans all. By the time Canby began his campaign, Maury had mustered 9,000 men to oppose him.

Canby Moves
The fortifications
Storm Clouds Gather Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
2. Storm Clouds Gather Marker
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 the enemy that a large force of twelve regiments was approaching Mobile whereas there were only four."
Wales W. Wood, Adjutant, 95th Illinois Infantry

The ruse worked. The Confederates
Storm Clouds Gather Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
3. Storm Clouds Gather Marker
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.)
 
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. Touch for map. Marker is located atop Fort Gaines. Marker is in this post office area: Dauphin Island AL 36528, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "Save Your Garrison." (within shouting distance of this marker); Anchor From U.S.S. Hartford (within shouting distance of this marker); 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
Drawing of Fort Gaines During Union Occupation image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
4. Drawing of Fort Gaines During Union Occupation
feet away); “Damn the Torpedoes!” (about 300 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.
 
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.)
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
 
General Edward Canby image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
5. General Edward Canby
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
View of Mobile and Federal Fleet from Upper Bay image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
6. View of Mobile and Federal Fleet from Upper Bay
Dabney Maury C.S.A image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
7. Dabney Maury C.S.A
Battery Gladden image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
8. Battery Gladden
Strategic Situation: August 22, 1864 - March 1865 image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
9. Strategic Situation: August 22, 1864 - March 1865
Strategic Situation in the Gulf, August 22, 1864 to March 1865 image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
10. Strategic Situation in the Gulf, August 22, 1864 to March 1865
Confederate fortifications in present-day Peter Park on St. Stephens Road in Mobile image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
11. Confederate fortifications in present-day Peter Park on St. Stephens Road in Mobile
Feint to Fowl River Map image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, July 9, 2011
12. Feint to Fowl River Map
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 16, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 282 times since then and 97 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.
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