Passing of Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines
Civil War Alabama
American Civil War
August 2-23, 1864
A combined Union force initiated operations to close Mobile Bay to blockade running. Some Union forces landed on Dauphin Island and laid siege to Fort Gaines.
On August 5, Farragut's Union fleet of eighteen ships entered Mobile Bay and received a devastating fire from Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan and other points. After passing the forts, Farragut forced the Confederate naval forces, under Admiral Franklin Buchanan, to surrender, which effectively closed Mobile Bay.
By August 23, Fort Morgan, the last big holdout, fell, shutting down the port. The city, however, remained uncaptured.
Results(s): Union victory
Forces Engaged: Farragut's Fleet (14 wooden ships and 4 monitors) and U.S. army forces near Mobile [US]; Buchanan's Flotilla (3 gunboats and an ironclad), Fort Morgan Garrison, Fort Gaines Garrison, and Fort Powell Garrison [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 1,822 (US 322; CS 1,500)
Location: Mobile County and Baldwin County
Campaign: Operations in Mobile Bay (1864)
Date(s): August 2-23, 1864
Principal Commanders: Admiral David G. Farragut and Major General Gordon Granger [US]; Admiral Franklin Buchanan and Brigadier General Richard L. Page [CS]
Commodore Franklin Buchanan, C.S.N
When Federal warships steamed into Mobile Bay on the morning of 5 August 1864, Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan stationed CSS Tennessee, his flagship, and her unarmored consorts, gunboats Morgan , Gaines and Selma , at the head of the channel. As the enemy moved up, exchanging
fire with Fort Morgan, Buchanan's ships shot at them from ahead. The Union monitor Tecumseh, maneuvering to engage the Tennessee , struck a mine and sank, temporarily throwing the Federal column into confusion. Rear Admiral Farragut's flagship, USS Hartford , forged ahead and drove off the Confederate
gunboats, but Tennessee remained in the battle zone, firing on the U.S. Navy ships as they passed and doing considerable damage to the last in line, USS Oneida.
With the enemy was safely inside Mobile Bay, Buchanan understood that the Confederate forts at the bay's entrance would soon be untenable unless the Union ships could somehow be destroyed. In a desperate, solitary effort, Tennessee steamed toward Farragut's ships. As she slowly moved along, the sloops of war USS Monongahela and Lackawanna repeatedly
rammed her, doing more damage to themselves than to their target.
When Tennessee reached the Federal anchorage area, she was also rammed by the Hartford and subjected to a terrific cannonade. The U.S. monitors Chickasaw and Manhattan then engaged her at close range with their heavy guns, while other Union ships fired from a distance. Tennessee's smokestack and most other exposed fittings were hammered
away, further reducing her never very great speed; her gunport shutter chains were cut, closing the ports so the Confederates could not shoot back; and her exposed steering chains were severed, leaving her unmanageable. The Manhattan blew a hole in Tennessee's armor with her massive fifteen-inch gun. The twin-turret monitor Chickasaw stationed herself off the beleagered
ship's stern, firing her eleven-inch guns "like pocket pistols" and seriously weakening the after end of Tennessee's armored casemate.
This view depicts, none too accurately, the CSS Tennessee in the center at the time she surrendered, surrounded by the Union warships. The latter include (at right) the twin-turret monitors Chickasaw and Winnebago at right. One of the single-turret monitors would be Manhattan . There was no
second single-turret monitor present at this stage of the battle. The large ship in the left foreground is presumably USS Hartford . Fort Morgan is shown in the right distance
Confederate Ironclad 1861-65
Every aspect of Confederate ironclads is
covered: design, construction, armor, armament, life on board, strategy, tactics, and actual combat actions.
Battle on the Bay:
The Civil War Struggle for Galveston
Civil War history of Galveston is one of the last untold stories from America's bloodiest war, despite the fact that Galveston was a focal point of hostilities throughout the conflict. Galveston emerged as one of the Confederacy's only lifelines to the outside world.
The H. L. Hunley
The Secret Hope of the Confederacy
On the evening of February 17, 1864,
the Confederacy H. L. Hunley
sank the USS Housatonic
and became the first submarine in world history to sink an enemy ship. Not until World War I "half a century later” would a submarine again accomplish such a feat. But also perishing that moonlit night, vanishing beneath the cold Atlantic waters off Charleston, South Carolina, was the Hunley
her entire crew of eight
Confederate Blockade Runner 1861-65
The blockade runners of the Civil War
usually began life as regular fast steam-powered merchant ships. They were adapted for the high-speed dashes through the Union blockade which closed off all the major Southern ports, and for much of the war they brought much-needed food, clothing and weaponry to the Confederacy
Union Monitor 1861-65
The first seagoing ironclad was the USS Monitor, and its
profile has made it one of the most easily recognised warships of all time. Following her inconclusive battle with the Confederate ironclad Virginia on March 9, 1862, the production of Union monitors was accelerated. By the end of the year a powerful squadron of monitor vessels protected the blockading squadrons off the Southern coastline, and were able to challenge Confederate control of her
ports and estuaries
Confederate Submarines and Torpedo Vessels 1861-65
information and many excellent illustrations. It addresses the CSA David class torpedo boats and the Hunley (and its predecessors), as well as Union examples such as the Alligator and the Spuyten Duyvil
U.S. National Park Service
U.S. Library of Congress.
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