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Battle of Mobile Bay -- Fort Gaines SHS, Dauphin Island AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 30° 14.886 W 088° 04.492
16R E 396587 N 3346766
Quick Description: The US Civil War battle of Mobile Bay was fought between the Union Navy and Confederate Army and Navy on 5 Aug 1864 outside of Fort Gaines
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 2/25/2015 12:20:39 PM
Waymark Code: WMNE3J
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 1

Long Description:
This historic star fort at the entrance to Mobile Bay was built by the U.S. Army, occupied by the Confederate Army, surrendered to the Union Army, rearmed around 1895, and finally abandoned in 1935.

Fort Gaines saw its only fighting at the battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. Civil War era cannon still stand guard here, and the anchor from US Navy Admiral Farragut's flagship USS HARTFORD stands in the center of the fort.

Sharp eyed visitors will see an indentation in the brick wall on the west side of Fort Gaines made by a shell fired from the USS CHICKASHAW during the Battle of Mobile Bay.

From the Explore Southern History website: (visit link)

Guardian of Mobile Bay

The well-preserved ramparts of Fort Gaines have guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay for more than 150 years. Now a fascinating historic site, the fort stands at the eastern tip of Dauphin Island, Alabama, where it commands panoramic views of the bay and Gulf of Mexico.

Named for General Edmund P. Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812 and major figure on the early frontiers of the United States, Fort Gaines was one of two major forts built to defend the entrance to Mobile Bay. Fort Morgan, also a preserved historic site, stands across the entrance of the bay from the Dauphin Island fort.

Construction of the fort began in 1819, but the work quickly ran over budget and the foundations proved to be so close to Mobile Bay that water flowed into them at high tide. A series of other problems followed and it was not until 1853 that the project again showed progress, but under a completely redesigned plan.

Fort Gaines was considered a state of the art defense by the time it neared completion in 1861. Southern troops seized the fort that year and its construction was completed by them in 1862.

The prospect of facing the powerful guns in Forts Gaines and Morgan kept Union forces at bay until August of 1864, allowing Mobile Bay to serve as a key port for blockade runners and Confederate warships until nearly the end of the Civil War.

On August 3, 1864, however, 1,500 troops landed on Dauphin Island and moved down the island toward Fort Gaines. Confederates from the fort skirmished with them as they advanced, slowing their progress and giving additional reinforcements time to come down from Mobile.

Meanwhile, the Union fleet of Admiral David Farragut assembled offshore in anticipation of an attempt to fight its way into Mobile Bay.

The naval attack, remembered today as the Battle of Mobile Bay, began at 6:30 a.m. on August 5, 1864. Led by four ironclad monitors, Farragut's ships were lashed together in pairs and moved into the mouth of the bay via the channel near Fort Morgan. The Southern gunners in that fort opened fire and Mobile Bay shook from the thunder of the massive artillery barrages.

The Union ironclad USS. Tecumseh steamed directly over a Confederate torpedo (or mine) and went down so fast that only a few men escaped. The disaster caused the Union fleet to stall directly under the guns of Fort Morgan.

When Admiral Farragut asked the reason his ships were slowing under heavy fire he was told that there were torpedoes in the water. Realizing that the critical moment of the battle was at hand, he called out one of the most famous orders in naval history: "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!"

The ships picked up speed and surged forward. Confederate gunners showered shot and shell on the fleet, but Farragut's bold gambit succeeded. Despite heavy fire from batteries and forts on land, the Union fleet broke through into the bay.

The Battle of Mobile Bay, however, was far from over. One of the most dramatic ship to ship engagements of the War Between the States (or Civil War) was about to take place.

The courageous crew of the Confederate ironclad CSS Tennessee drove into the heart of the Union fleet., battling as many as seven Union ships at once. The Tennessee fought until all hope was gone and she was just a wreck of her former self.

The ship's steering and power systems shot away and its sides riddled with holes. With no other option left but to die, her officers raised the white flag. The surrender took place in the bay about one mile north of Fort Gaines.

The fight now focused on Fort Gaines itself. The fort was bombarded for three days by the Union army and navy. Union ironclads moved to within point blank range and blasted away.

Confederate defenders fired every gun they had at the enemy, but the cannon fire from Fort Gaines ricocheted harmlessly from the iron armor of Farragut's warships.

Colonel Charles Anderson was in command of Fort Gaines and soon realized that he and his 800 men could not hope to hold out. He surrendered the fort on August 8, 1864.

Union troops held the fort for the rest of the war and it remained an important U.S. military installation until the end of World War II. New concrete fortifications were added during the Spanish American War, but Fort Gaines never again came under enemy fire."
Name of Battle:
Battle of Mobile Bay

Name of War: US Civil War

Entrance Fee: 6.00 (listed in local currency)

Date(s) of Battle (Beginning): 8/5/1864

Date of Battle (End): 8/8/1864

Parking: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
Post a photo of you and/or your GPS in front of a sign or marker posted at the site of the battle.

In addition it is encouraged to take a few photos two of the surrounding area and interesting features at the site.
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