War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0428 KY., SW., VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

before Fort Morgan I was in Meridian, the headquarters of the department to which I had recently been temporarily assigned. On my return to Mobile on the 3rd instant I found that in consequence of the appearance of a land force off Dauphin Island the garrisons of Forts Gaines and Powell had been increased by sending some local troops (Pelham Cadets), marines, reserves, heavy artillery-in fact, almost every available soldier at that time in Mobile. It was then believed those would hold out against any attack likely to be made on them, and it was hoped the fleet would not enter the bay.

Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, of Fort Powell, abandoned and blew up his work without having a man injured, nor had any injury been inflicted on any part of his fort. He reports one of his gun- carriages disabled, and one gun temporarily out of use by careless loading. He had under his bomb-proof fully thirty days' water and two months' provisions. He had hand-grenades, revolvers, muskets, and howitzers to defend his fort against launches, and eight heavy guns to use against the ships. The fort had just been connected by telegraphed with Fort Gaines and with Mobile.

On the morning of the 5th there were seventy negroes with trenching tools in the fort. The guns on the east face of the work were mounted and in fighting order, but were not yet covered by the parapet, and the men serving them would have been exposed as are sailors on an ordinary many-of-war. It is altogether probable that a faithful service of their battery for half an hour would have driven off or sunk the only boat attacking its eastern face, and that it might have been held long enough to compel the fleet to put sea, or at least to enable Mobile to prepare fully for land attack.

Fort Gaines was garrisoned by six companies Twenty-first Alabama Regiment, two companies First Alabama Battalion, 40 Pelham Cadets, 120 reserves, and about 40 marines; in all, about 600 good troops. The fort was well supplied for six months. The three 10-inch guns (a) were dismounted during the bombardment. Twenty guns remained in good order. The fort was uninjured, and could have long withstood attack. The inclosed copy of General Page 's dispatch* reveals all I know of the surrender.

The important consequence of these misfortunes is that Mobile is henceforth liable to attack without warning, and must always be ready for siege. I have heretofore, as you know, sent from here troops and supplies to other points which seemed more important or more imminently pressed. Henceforth I must collect and hold here everything necessary for a beleaguered city. The heavy armament calls for a great deal of ammunition. The outer line -Morgan, Gaines, and Powell-was supplied with 300 rounds per gun. The guns near the city have not more than 200. The total number of men now under arms in the whole district is about 6,000, about, 1,000 of whom have been under fire, and a large portion are citizens of the place. The city has probably more women and children in it than at any time since the war began.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

DABNEY H. MAURY,

Major-General, Commanding.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, C. S. A., Richmond, Va.

a Temporarily dismounted during the bombardment by the carelessness of the cannoneers; afterward remounted according to information just received.

---------------

*See p. 436.

---------------