The Evacuation and Burning of Fort Powell

August 6, 1864 (Saturday) “I must evacuate tonight or surrender in forty-eight hours,” came the message from Lt. Col. JM Williams, the Confederate commander at Fort Powell on an island in Mobile Bay. The day previous, the Union fleet under David Farragut had steamed past the forts standing guard. “When no longer tenable, save yourRead More

At Last the Ram was Conquered – The Battle of Mobile Bay

August 5, 1864 (Friday) “The calmness of the scene was sublime. No impatience, no irritation, no anxiety, except for the fort to open; and, after it did open, full five minutes elapsed before we [on the Hartford] answered. In the mean time the guns were trained as if at a target, and all the soundsRead More

‘The Fleet Outside is Larger this Morning’ – Mobile Bay Prepares for the Yankees

August 4, 1864 (Thursday) “Thirty-seven vessels have already assembed off Mobile Bar,” wrote General Dabney H. Maury, commander of the Confederacy’s Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana. “A large force of infantry landed on Dauphin Island last night and reported moving on Fort Gaines.” This was all true. Federal Admiral David Farragut had assembledRead More

Anything is Preferable to Lying on Our Oars – Farragut Prepares for Mobile

August 2, 1864 (Tuesday) Admiral David Farragut had wanted to capture Mobile Bay immediately after New Orleans fell. But with the Mississippi River open and Vicksburg calling, Washington would hear none of it. But now, a year and a half later, he was finally about to strike. He had been in the area since theRead More

Jubal Early’s Raid Splinters into Absurdity

July 6, 1864 (Wednesday) Jubal Early had given up the idea that he could capture Harpers Ferry, and had begun to file troops across the Potomac River into Maryland. Using the crossing at Shepherdstown and a pontoon bridge at Antietam Ford, three full divisions, save one brigade, were across by the end of this day.Read More

The Sinking of the CSS Alabama

June 19, 1864 (Sunday) “An enemy is outside. If she only stays long enough, we go out and- fight her. If I live, expect to see me in London shortly. If I die, give my best love to all who know me.” – D. H. Llewellyn, Surgeon, CSS Alabama. Raphael Semmes had been with theRead More

Rebels Assault Union-Held Plymouth, North Carolina

April 18, 1864 (Monday) Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard had been languishing in Charleston for far too long. Though the Federals had made some vague moves to capture the city in 1863, over the winter and so much of the spring as had passed, it began to seem as if the North cared little for theRead More

Rebel Submarine Sinks USS Housatonic!

February 17, 1864 (Wednesday) The moon, not quite full, cast yet enough illumination across Charleston Harbor for the men aboard the USS Housatonic to espy what seemed to them a plank. Silently it drew closer, but slowly. The Acting Master, John Crosby, grew suspicious enough to order all hands to quarters. The chain was slippedRead More

‘What Boat Is That?’ – David Strikes its Goliath

October 5, 1863 (Monday) Since we last checked in on Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor, little had changed. The Federal Navy continued to periodically bombard Sumter, which was little more than a pile of mortar, while the infantry had largely packed its bags. The Confederates held on, while waiting for at least two strange navalRead More

Poor Fellows, They are Five to One Coffin – The Hunley’s First Sinking

August 29, 1863 (Saturday) Apart from the assaults upon Battery Wagner, and even separate from the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the Federal blockade of Charleston Harbor was yet another hardship weathered by the Confederates in South Carolina. To break through the blockade, the Rebels had used many different privateers. None, however, were as different asRead More