Spanish Fort in Baldwin County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Stop 7 Fort McDermott:
“The Men Dig,Dig,Dig”
—Civil War Trail —
Gibson, not one to sit on his hands, responded aggressively. At dawn 550 Confederates slipped out of Spanish Fort, marched deliberately toward Granger's line, and fired a sudden, unexpected volley into the ranks of the 47th Indiana and 161st New York, forcing them back in confusion. Yelling like demons, the Rebels then charged boldly into a gap they had created. Later that morning Colonel James William's 21st Alabama, hidden in bushes near the burned Bay Minette Bridge, surprised Smith's forces with a volley from 225 defiant muskets. Soon forced back to their lines, these skirmishers did
From the edge of the woods east of the Confederate stronghold lay a sloping plain- filled with fallen trees and naked stumps for a thousand yards, tangled abates fifteen feet wide, a ditch eight feet wide by five feet deep, a line of rifle pits, breastworks of timber and earth ten to fifteen feet high, six redoubts bristling with cannon muzzles, a hundred foot bluff, a bastioned water battery, and the Blakeley River. Torpedoes, which sank three ships during the siege, guarded the fort's water approaches. Hundreds of subterra shells (land mines) similarly protected its landward approaches. Gibson's batteries mounted 47 field guns, Coehorn mortars, and heavier guns, including Columbiads, Parrots, and Brooke Rifles. The enterprising garrison of 1,810 men- which included at least one company of black artillerymen- while digging day and night to strengthen the works, placed steel plates over the embrasures to protect the artillerymen and made wooden mortars from gum stumps to add to the fort's fire power. The fort was weakest on its extreme left. It had not been fortified there, because it bordered a nearly impassible swamp.
Canby's division fought through the tangle of trees to tighten the cordon around the fort from north,
Using the spade, the pick, and the ax, Canby would take Spanish Fort by digging zigzag approaches toward and trenches parallel to Gibson's breastworks. His skirmishers, sometimes firing almost muzzle to muzzle, sought to keep the Rebels' heads down, while the men dug night and day. Gibson sent out at least 12
"Our rifle pits are some of them [as of April 6] within 150 yards or so of the Rebel forts a& batteries -- the men dig, dig, dig, day & night, with accoutrements on, & their trusty rifles by their sides in the trenches. The Rebels dig too, and we have to be cautious not to expose ourselves too far, or whiz goes a bullet, much too close to one's head to be pleasant for a timid man. Sometime they rain around us like hail, and I wonder that the casualties are so few." Captain Thomas N Stevens, 28th Wisconsin Infantry.
Both sides made mortars of three-foot sections of logs, of eight gum or oak, bored out at one end. These could be strengthened with iron hoops, lined with sheet iron, and used in the trenches by two men. A small charge of power would throw a shell with a short fuse into the enemy's works.
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. “Damn The Torpedoes!” (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.
Also see . . .
1. St. John Richardson Liddell. St. John Richardson Liddell (September 6, 1815 – February 14, 1870) was a prominent Louisiana planter who served as a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was an outspoken proponent of Southern emancipation of slaves. Liddell was murdered by a former Confederate Officer near his home in 1870. (Submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
2. Francis Marion Cockrell. Francis Marion Cockrell (October 1, 1834 – December 13, 1915) was a Confederate military commander and American politician from the state of Missouri. He served as a United States Senator from Missouri for five terms. He was a prominent member of the famed South–Cockrell–Hargis family of Southern politicians. (Submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
3. Randall Lee Gibson. Randall Lee Gibson (September 10, 1832 – December 15, 1892) was a U.S. Senator and a member of the House of Representatives from Louisiana. He was also a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army, a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and a president of the board of administrators of Tulane University. (Submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
4. John McArthur. John McArthur (November 17, 1826 – May 15, 1906) was a Union general during the American Civil War. McArthur became one of the ablest Federal commanders in the Western Theater.[ (Submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
5. Capt. Thomas N. Stevens Company C. Captain Stevens also served as president of the 28th Regiment reunion association for several years. He died January 1, 1908, at his home in Stanton and was buried at the family lot in Forest Hill Cemetery, Greenville. (Submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 14, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 1,939 times since then and 226 times this year. Last updated on September 25, 2015, by Eric Polk of Lakewood, California. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. 3, 4. submitted on January 14, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.