Monday, January 24, 2011

Fort Morgan in 1861 - An Eyewitness Account

Fort Morgan
Even before Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861, state militia forces began moving against U.S. military installations in the state. Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay, for example, was occupied by Alabama troops on January 5, 1861.

Built on Mobile Point in 1819-1833, the massive brick fortress was designed - along with Fort Gaines across the channel - to turn back any attempt to invade Mobile Bay by a foreign enemy. The fort was in caretaker status when Alabama troops moved in, but that situation soon changed. As the month of January 1861 progressed, state forces worked non-stop to mount cannon and prepare the huge fort for battle.

The following account originally appeared in a Mobile newspaper, but was republished by the Richmond Daily Appeal on January 29, 1861:

Casemates of Fort Morgan
Marks of industry and system were visible everywhere about the fort, which is now occupied by about 480 troops, besides upwards of 150 laborers. To accommodate this increased force, a suitable number of the casemates have been planked up and converted into very comfortable quarters. The ramparts on the channel side have been sodded to a considerable extent with sand bags, and the work will be completed in the same style. Sods have been cut from the fosse to be applied to other faces of the works. Trenches have been cut at the foot of the scarp in necessary places, which have filled with the water percolating through the soil, thus converting the fosse into something like a wet ditch, and adding to the security of the works. All the guns for which there are carriages have been mounted, and some attention has been paid to artillery practice, in which the boys show increased proficiency. The garrison are in excellent spirits, and good health prevails, except that most of the newly arrived troops have to go through a course of seasoning which generally attacks them after the first twenty-four hours and leaves them after about the same length of time. The cisterns, by-the-bye, have been thoroughly cleansed, and the rains have since filled them with excellent water, and the health of the garrison has greatly improved in consequence. Tenders of the services of negro laborers by planters in the interior have been accepted, and some four hundred hands are expected to arrive in a few days.- Richmond Daily Appeal, January 29, 1861.

 If you would like to learn more about Fort Morgan, please visit

No comments:

Post a Comment