Saturday, August 1, 2009

Forts of Mobile Bay, Alabama - Fort Blakeley

One of the key approaches to the major port city of Mobile during the Civil War was via the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, which formed a number of channels, some of which looped around the channel and then entered it above the city, allowing boats to actually come up from the bay, loop through, and then arrive at Mobile from upstream.

To defend one such channel, Confederate forces fortified the site of the faded town of Blakeley, Alabama. Heavy artillery was emplaced there and the land side of the post was enclosed with breastworks, rifle pits and strong redoubts (earthwork forts). The installation became known as Fort Blakeley, although it was often mispelled as "Fort Blakely."

When Spanish Fort fell to Union troops in April of 1865, Fort Blakeley was the last defense of Mobile itself. Already under siege, the post became the focus of heavy fighting on the afternoon of April 9, 1865. Union troops stormed Redoubt #4 at 5:25 in the afternoon and overran the Confederate defenses in one of the last major battles of the Civil War.

The fall of Fort Blakeley opened the door to Mobile, which was evacuated by Confederate forces as the Union army continued its advance. The battlefield and its well-preserved earthworks are now part of Historic Blakeley State Park, a beautiful preserve and recreation area just north of Spanish Fort, Alabama. To learn more, please visit

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