War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0439 Chapter LI. OPERATIONS IN MOBILE BAY, ALA.

Search Civil War Official Records

was necessary for my limited garrison (of some 400 effective) to labor to perform a work equal almost in extent to building a new fort.

On early morning of the 9th the enemy proceeded with monitors and transports and disembarked troops at Navy Cove, commencing at once their first work of investment by land. The new redoubt (2,700 yards from the fort), from which the guns had been withdrawn, and the work formerly known as Battery Bragg, were destroyed as far as possible by burning the wood-work; the building around the fort (hospitals, quarters, stables, &c.) were also this morning fired and cleared away as much as possible. Two monitors, three sloops- of-war, and several gunboats engaged the fort for two or three hours (the wooden vessels at rather long range) with no material damage apparent to either side. Soon thereafter a flag of truce was reported from the fleet and communicated, to this effect:

Brigadier General R. L. Page,

Commanding Fort Morgan:

SIR: To prevent the unnecessary sacrifice of human life, which must follow the opening of our batteries, we demand the unconditional surrender of Fort Morgan and its dependencies.

We are, very respectfully, your obedient servants,




Major-General, U. S. Army.

To which my reply said:

SIRS: I am prepared to sacrifice life, and will only surrender when I have no means of defense. I do not understand that while being communicated with under flag of truce the Tennessee should be towed within range of my guns.

Respectfully, &c.,

R. L. Page,

Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

From this time to the 15th, day and night, we were engaged by the fleet, sometimes in a brisk fight of several hours' duration, at others in a desultory firing without any very effective damage being done to our fort, save a demonstration of the fact that our brick walls were easily penetrable to the heavy missiles of the enemy, and that a systematic, concentrated fire would soon breach them. On the 15th three of the 15-inch shells striking the right- flank face of bastion No. 4 breached the wall and disabled the flank howitzers therein. During this time a pretty continuous fire was kept up on the fort from the Parrott guns in several batteries erected by the enemy. In the intervals of serving the guns my men were engaged in the work before mentioned for their protection in the anticipation of a vigorous bombardment. The sharpshooters in our front had become very numerous and active, and with these encircling us on the land and the fire delivered from the fleet on the flanks our guns had to be served with much care and under great difficulty.

The land forces of the enemy completed their first approach (vide accompanying sketch*) on the 9th and 10th across the peninsula; the second through 11th and 12th; the THIRD (a bayou near and parallel to Gulf shore) 13th and 14th; their first parallel, 500 and 700 yards distant, 15th, night, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th; approaches on 20th, 21st, night to within 200 yards of our glacis. Such guns as I could use on this force I annoyed them with, especially at night, and to the extent possible retarded their work, though nothing very effective could be accomplished in this way, as their working parties were well concealed


*To appear in the Atlas.