Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Mobile Campaign - Mobile Bay, Alabama

Although Union forces had taken Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay during the summer of 1864, by the following year the vital Confederate city of Mobile still held out.

The final Union move on the city began on March 16, 1865, when Major General E.R.S. Canby began moving 32,000 men from Forts Gaines and Morgan to a launching point at Fish River on the eastern side of Mobile Bay (just below Fairhope). Some of the men marched by land from Fort Morgan on Mobile Point, while the others moved by boat directly to Fish River.

A second column moved north from Pensacola three days later, planning to drive back Confederate forces in the region and break the railroad and telegraph lines connecting Mobile with Selma and Montgomery.

The main body under Canby pushed north along the east shore of Mobile Bay, skirmishing with small bodies of Confederate soldiers that fell back towards their powerful fortifications at Spanish Fort. Named for a Spanish outpost that had been constructed there during the American Revolution, the bluff overlooked one of the key water approaches to the city of Mobile and the fortifications there would have to be reduced before Canby could force the fall of the city itself.

I will continue this look at the Mobile Campaign with details on the Battle of Spanish Fort, Alabama, in the next post. Until then, you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/mobilecampaign.

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