Friday, April 25, 2008
Spring Travel Part Four: Historic Blakeley State Park
One of the least known major battles of the Civil War took place in the sandy pine woods of South Alabama (or as they like to say around Mobile, "LA" or "Lower Alabama").
The Battle of Blakeley, sometimes called the Battle of Fort Blakely, was fought in April of 1865 and lasted for several days.
Blakeley had once been one of the most populous towns in Alabama and had vied with Mobile in importance during the state's early history, but yellow fever epidemics had virtually destroyed the town by the time of the Civil War. The site was of strategic importance, however, and the Confederates fortified it with artillery batteries, earthwork forts, rifle pits and miles of breastworks.
Although a siege had been underway for several days, the final assault began on the evening of April 8, 1865. The next day, Union troops stormed Redoubt #4 and broke through the Confederate lines in a bloody battle that left 216 men dead and 955 wounded.
The battlefield today is a fascinating and pristine state park that preserves an impressive network of breastworks, fortifications and battery sites, including the Union attack trenches and batteries. In addition, Historic Blakeley State Park protects the site of the original town of Blakeley, the old town cemetery, Native American sites and more. To learn more about this fascinating place that I consider one of the finest destinations of its type in the South, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/blakely1.