Category:Civil War Defenses of Mobile

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Mobile Alabama Rebel Defenses in 1865 After Capture by Union Forces.


The Defenses

The Confederate forces in Mobile developed three partial rings of fortifications around the city over a period of three years, from 1862 to 1864. The outer ring was developed in 1862 by Captain Charles T. Lieurner as a series of fifteen redoubts connected by entrenchments. The innermost ring was built in 1863 under Brigadier General Danville Leadbetter, (Cullum 844), and consisted of 16 numbered square redoubts. In 1864 the third ring was built under Lt Colonel Victor von Sheliha between the other two with 13 lettered major redoubts and 8 numbered smaller redans. Among the lettered redoubts the three largest were named, Redoubt N which was known as Fort Sidney Johnston, Redoubt K was known as Fort J.E.B. Stuart and Redoubt B was known as Fort Mouton.

These rings of fortifications guarded the western land-side approaches to the city and were designed to make any thought of a west land side attack far too costly for Union forces to attempt. The bayside of the city was protected by fortifications along the east bank of the bay, Spanish Fort, Fort Blakeley, Red Fort, and smaller forts and batteries in the bay and along the bay shore. The entrance to Mobile Bay was guarded by Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines, and Fort Powell (1).

The Battle of Mobile Bay

On 5 Aug 1864, a Union fleet commanded by Admiral David Farragut and supporting ground forces sent by General Edward R.S. Canby, (Cullum 1015), from New Orleans under General Gordon Granger, (Cullum 1265), attacked the Confederate naval forces at the entrance to Mobile Bay and succeeded in gaining entrance to the Bay. The subsequent Battle of Mobile Bay was the occasion for Admiral Farragut's famous order, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!", referring to torpedoes (mines) strung across the main channel into Mobile Bay. This was not bravado on Farragut's part, he had just seen the massive Union ironclad "Tecumseh" sunk in seconds after striking a Confederate torpedo with a loss of some 94 officers and crew including Commander Tunis A.M. Craven. The Union fleet prevailed after a final unsuccessful attempt by the Confederate ram "Tennessee" to alter the outcome.

With the Bay under his control, Farragut turned to attack the forts he had bypassed to enter the bay. Fort Powell was shelled on that same day by the Union gunboat "Chickasaw", it was subsequently abandoned and blown up by the departing Confederate forces. Fort Gaines fell to the Union forces on 8 Aug 1864 and Fort Morgan surrendered on 23 Aug 1864. The Union capture of the three forts at the entrance to the bay gave their fleet control over Mobile Bay and shut down the port to Confederate blockade runners but it left the city and all of the immediate defenses still in Confederate hands.


The Battle of Blakeley

After a siege and a furious battle across the bay against Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley, Union forces prevailed on 9 Apr 1865, gaining possession of the entire eastern shore of the bay. The batteries in the bay and along the western shore were soon reduced and Union forces prepared to attack Mobile proper. Confederate troops in Mobile were ordered evacuated and Mobile surrendered to Union forces on the evening of 12 Apr 1865, three days after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.


  • Lossing, Benson J., Pictorial Field-Book of the Civil War, Hartford, Thomas Belknap Publishers, 1877, Internet Archive, pages 435-440, 508-514.
  • Andrews, C.C., Brevet Major-General, History of the Campaign of Mobile: Including the cooperative Operations of Gen. Wilson's Cavalry in Alabama, New York, D. Van Nostrand. 1967

Pages in category "Civil War Defenses of Mobile"

The following 12 pages are in this category, out of 12 total.

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