Each year we have tons of visitors come down and learn the history of our area. We had no idea it is also memorialized in Washington, D.C.! Our owners here at Sunset Properties are avid travelers and recently made a trip to D.C. to see the sights. They came upon this memorial to the Battle of Mobile Bay.
The battle went down as follows. According to letters stored in the Navies official records. “Under the early light of dawn, Union Adm. David Farragut began his attack on Mobile Bay, Alabama. Aware of the danger near Fort Morgan, Farragut ordered his captains to stay to the “eastward of the easternmost buoy” because it was “understood that there are torpedoes and other obstructions between the buoys.”¹ Unfortunately, the lead ironclad, the USS Tecumseh, unable to avoid the danger, struck a mine and sank into the oceans depths. Yet, against all odds, the seasoned admiral ordered his flagship, the Hartford, and his fleet to press forward through the underwater minefield and into Mobile Bay.
Although Farragut was a champion of the “wooden navy,” he agreed to include four new ironclad ships modeled after the USS Monitor in his attack fleet. It was widely believed that these warships were unsinkable. But the Tecumseh indeed sank that summer morning, August 5, 1864, unexpectedly killing the majority of its crew and demonstrating the deadly effects of advances in technology such as the torpedo. For in the words of one Confederate soldier reminiscing on the ill-fated ship, “She careens, her bottom appears! Down, Down, Down she goes to the bottom of the channel, carrying 150 of her crew, confined within her ribs, to a watery grave.”¹
¹Official Records. Navies, vol. 21, 398.
²”Fort Morgan in the Confederacy: Letter by Hurieosco Austill.” Alabama Historical Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 2, (Summer 1945), 256.
Visitors can explore the grounds of historic Fort Morgan. Several time a year guides and actors will explain how the Spanish used Fort Morgan in the 1500’s, then rebuilt it in the early 1800’s as protection against Native Americans. While standing atop the fort with a view of the once-embattled bay, visitors can imagine the summer of 1864 when Confederate and Union naval forces fought for control of the harbor entrance. You may even hear the echo of Admiral David Farragut’s immortal words, “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!”
A living history program is conducted daily during the summer. Candlelight fort tours are held Tuesday evenings in the summer. Children’s Day Camps offered various time during the summer.
Eight miles across the bay on Dauphin Island, more history was written at Fort Gaines, which also battled – and was overtaken by – Union forces. A ferry shuttles across the bay during the day, linking the two fortresses once joined in a common cause.
Museum open 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily
Fort open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily and 8 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays in June and July (weather permitting)
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
Admission: $7 for adults, $5 seniors (65 and older) and students, $4 for children 6 – 12, Free for active duty, veterans and children under 6. Family Pass: $18 for 2 adults/2 children. Call for group rates.
Information in this blog was gathered from The National Parks Services web site and The Gulf Shores.com website.
We hope You can join us soon to enjoy this beautiful historical treasure in Fort Morgan, Alabama. Give us a call for a great special!