War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0433 Chapter LI. OPERATIONS IN MOBILE BAY, ALA.

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about 500 or 600 yards form the fort. The Winnebago, following in her wake, as soon as she discovered the fate of the Tecumseh, altered her course more to the westward, and consequently did not come so near our batteries-I should judge not nearer than 800 or 900 yards-and so with the entire fleet of monitors, passing directly over the line of torpedoes. The wooden ships, lashed two and two, passed from 1,200 to 1,600 and 1,800 yards from the fort and over the line of torpedoes. There was a short space of the channel nearest the fort shore, a and under the concentrated fire of all the batteries, marked by a buoy and left open for the use of our fleet. No ship of the enemy, wooden or iron, passed through this gap, however, nor, according to my judgement, within 300 yards of it; nor do I believe that a wooden vessel could possibly have lived in it, as she would have been subjected to the concentrated fire of about twenty guns, mostly of the heaviest caliber, at a distance of not more than 200 yards.

In presenting you, general, with the above statement, I have endeavored to adhere to actual facts. I have been stationed at the fort for over three years, and claim to be perfectly familiar with the distances of all objects within sight, such as stakes, buoys, &c.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, First Alabama Battalion Artillery.



Richmond, August 15, 1864.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, C. S.:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose the within telegram, with the remark that previous to leaving Mobile I had sixty-seven torpedoes planted where this one acted, and had nine submarine mortar batteries under way (three completed) to close the main channel, such as the enemy report kept them out of Charleston, they being unable to remove them. But my instructions and wishes were frustrated after I left, the place left open and the enemy made use of it.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Superintendent.

[First indorsement.]


August 18, 1864.

Respectfully submitted for the information of the honorable Secretary of War.

By order:


Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Second indorsement.]

AUGUST 19, 1864.

Noted. It is gratifying to find that the many torpedoes used have not proved wholly unavailing. It strikes me with surprise, however, that they are not more frequently effective.

J. A. S.