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In January of 1865, the Battery was ordered to Mobile, Alabama, which was described as the best-fortified city in the Confederacy. The City was defended by three (3) rings of artillery batteries. Capt. Barry’s men were among the final defenders of Spanish Fort, on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, in April, 1865, with approximately 1/3 of the artillerymen being captured on April 8, 1865, and some of the bravest members of the Battery losing their lives at Spanish Fort.

This is the final episode of the Lookout Artillery and will be told in more detail. Please check back for updates telling the story of the Lookout Artillery at Mobile Bay.
Evacuation of Spanish Fort
…interesting War Story of the Days of ’61-’65 * Tells of How the “Brother in Black” Made Him “Mark Time” and Other Petty Annoyances, “Jes’ to Show His ‘Fority” * Thought He had Lost the Black Bottle, but It Turned Up

Released from Ship Island, the Twenty-first Alabama spent a few days at home and came together again at Spanish Fort. This fort, on the East shore of Mobile Bay, was intended only for water defense, but latterly a line of embankment had been thrown up, perhaps half a mile in semicircle, with a fort in the center. With its local defenses, its torpedoes and the tortuous channel around it, the fort was a considered impregnable from the water front. These embankments were to secure it from land attacks and extended from the bay below around to the bay above. There were no bombproofs or casemates, but here and there an embrasure occupied by a single rifle-gun. Midway the line was one large gun, brought from the fort and familiarly known as Lady Slocumb. The men were perhaps 3,000 in all.

Fort Morgan had been overpowered and General Canby, with 30,000 (or 60,000 or 90,000) men, was making his way along the eastern shore to gain our rear. The bridges on all the streams had been burned. The Twenty-first Alabama was taken down the bay on a steamer and sent out to aid in this work of retarding Canby. We had some hard marching, some light skirmishing and a few wounded when we found Canby crowding in between us and the bay, and barely made our escape.

When after an absence of less than a week, we took our place in the line of defense, imagine our surprise on finding our line surrounded by an opposing line of double its strength and mounted with regular siege guns. Soon the work began in earnest, and for seventeen days, if I remember, was second only to the siege of Vicksburg. We had about thirty guns engaged and the Yanks more than three times as many. It was an open and shut game of tit for tat, and each side did its best.

The timber between the two hills had long since been cut away, as if for this special occasion, and there was nothing to obstruct the view between the two lines. We had some splendid guns and gunners, whose fire was like that of a target ride. Sometimes the Yanks would have nearly half of our guns dismounted, but by the next morning, if not the same day, they would be all in trim again. Every now and then a parrot shell would pop into one of Yank’s embrasures and directly the opening would be piled up with sand-bags, which meant “laid up for repairs.” Sometimes Lady Slocumb would get in a center shot and knock things all to atoms. This led to a constant and concentrated fire upon her, and at last she `was knocked out. But her twin sister was on deck in the fort, and so that night we coiled a cable rope around her barrel and rolled it out to the line and put it in place.

But Yank wouldn’t play fair. He would squat down behind the embankment, where we could not see him, and with his mortar-guns he would toss up shells, “many of them as large as wash-tub,” and drop them right over on our side and tear a hole in things, and all we could say in reply was “Jee-e-whiz!”

Fortunately for us, some cabins had been built the preceding winter of huge pine logs split in half. We dug holes fifteen feet square and eight feet deep, laid the logs across and heaped the earth on top. When not on duty we took refuge in these holes. But they were not altogether safe. A “wash-tub” went through one and burst inside, and such a mass of human flesh and bones is horrible to think of. A hand, with a part of the fore-arm, was found on the outer side of the embankment.

On the side of the hill below our fortifications, directly between the two lines, and in full view of both, were our rifle pits. One of the most impressive experiences of my life was spending the day in a pit watching the terrible cannonading between the two lines.

Day by day and night by night the Feds were pushing forward a zig-zag line of ditches, until their line of pits and our disconnected pits were in blank rifle range of each other. Sergeant Willie Martin and four men were in the pit in front of Lady Slocumb. The orders were for one or two men to keep up the firing all through the night Wherever a shot was heard or a flash was seen, we were to fire in that direction, so as to warn the fort in case of the enemy’s approach.

Along the side of each pit was a large log, called the head-log. Under this were holes in the bank of the earth, through which we ran the rifle barrel when ready to fire.

Day was breaking and everything was still, when suddenly there came a line of negroes out of the ravine below Lady Slocumb. They were passing within forty steps of us, armed with guns, picks, spades, etc. They had evidently been on a mining expedition and were on their way back. We opened a fusillade, which they stood for a moment, then broke. They had to run a gantlet of near a hundred yards to reach their ditch. Many of them ran back to the ravine and in a minute came out again. But they fared worse than the first. Some tried to crawl through behind the fallen timber, but the range was too close.

Fortunately for Cuffy, there sprang up in their ditch a line of blue-coated sharpshooters, who arrested our attention by sending us a shower of bullets. They were evidently using telescope sights, for as soon as a rifle entered any one of our loop-holes, here came a clatter of balls. The boot was on the other leg now, and a tight fit at that. We resorted to the plan of holding a hat on the ramrod, or of running the barrel out and waiting until after the fire, but all to no purpose. Two rifles had been silenced and the loop-holes torn out as large as a man’s hat when Sergeant M. released his men from duty He and I from the corner of the pit were firing alternate shots: “I’ll get you this time,” said he, and a ball crashed through his skull and he was dead. A noble-hearted fellow, as brave as a lion, he fell at his post. We laid him out, folded his hands, dashed the blood from his face and hair and that night sent his body to his widowed mother in Mobile.

Not wishing to expose myself longer to such unequal contest, I moved up to the other end of the pit. There I saw the firing going on between the next two opposing pits, and there I saw a Federal sharpshooter creep up where the body of one large tree lay across another, to get a near shot at our men. He sat on the lower log, rested his rifle on the upper one, took deliberate aim and fired. Then he dismounted, reloaded and was ready for another shot; so was I. As he slipped his barrel over the log and steadied himself for his aim, I fired; his rifle fell over the log and he fell back to the ground. The cannonading began and the picket-firing ceased.

When we went in that night I reported that Lady Slocumb was in danger and expected a squad to be sent out to investigate. But weightier matters were on hand. The enemy was threatening an attack on the lower end of the line and two of the Texas regiments had been taken there, leaving only one Texas regiment to fill the entire upper end of the line. This was probably told the enemy, for about 9 o’clock that night they made a rush, some over the embankment, some around the end of the line and through the shallow waters of the bay, and thus by a sharp, quick dash, front and rear, they overpowered the Texans and took possession of this end of our line. The Twenty-first Alabama was next in order, and were at once thrown into line, expecting either to charge or be charged. Yet no order came and everyone seemed at a loss. But the suspense was soon over. The heavy tread of men at double-quick and in a moment more the soul-inspiring rebel yell told the tale. The Texans had come back. The lion was in his lair. There was no chance to use the rifle, because friend and foe were mingled together. But above even the terrific yell came the din of personal encounter. Six-shooters, bayonets, bowie knives, for once at least, were in their glory, an in less time than it has taken to tell it the work was finished. The would-be captors were captured and the prisoners were set free.

For an hour or more we stood in line, wondering what next, when the order came to get our equipments and be ready to move out for Mobile. In a few minutes we were ordered again into line, faced to the left in single file and started. The command was: “Not a word: follow closely your file leader.” With slow and unmeasured step we followed in the darkness, as we would our way along the hollows and among the points and bluffs that overlook the bay, until we reached the water. Here we were ordered to take off our shoes and follow out on a long, narrow plank walk. This was made of single, broad, heavy plans, on piles, three or four feet above the water, with cushions of long moss between the ends of the planks to prevent their making a noise. How long this walk was, whether a quarter or whether a mile, I cannot say, but in the sweet by and by we reached the end on a narrow strip of sand and were ordered, “In place; rest.”

The plank walk behind us, as far as the eye could see, was a mass of moving men, when suddenly the fortifications that we had left and the dense forests through which we had passed rang out with the shouts of the jubilant Yanks, who were evidently in hot pursuit. Then came the boom of our cannon and the shrieking shells lit up the darkness in their wild search after us poor, homeless and houseless Confeds. I do know that when the Yanks did get a little the advantage they were the bull-doggedest fellows to hold on that ever I had any thing to do with. And so now; we had done played quits; gave them to understand we didn’t want to have any further communication with the; left al our big guns, gave up the camp, took to the woods, even quit the inhabitable glove and got off on a sandbar and tore up the track in our rear, but all to no purpose; they never would let up. There is no telling how much they cost the Confederacy that night in the foolish squandering of our gunpowder and shot and shells.

In fact, it’s a less matter if they didn’t burst some of our big guns all to pieces with their pesky foolishness, for they threw some of those plagued shells mighty nigh across Mobile bay. I didn’t know our guns could shoot so far.

And I’ll tell you another thing, my friend, it wasn’t just the time to be wallowing around on a sand-bar, either. The order came: “Eight miles up the sand-bar to Blakely. Git thar.”* And we got. A writer in The Sunny South speaks of the “capitulation of Spanish For.” If this midnight start to Blakeley is what he calls capitulation, then we capitulated, and don’t you forget it.

Your scribe was heavily loaded, had hardly known rest or sleep for two days and nights, and hence made haste slowly. He trudged along a half mile or so at a time, then lay down and rested and slept the best he could.

During that long continued bombardment his relatives in Mobile had kept him supplied with everything good to eat. On a shelf in his bomb-proof was a box brought in that day; a roast turkey, bread, cakes, sweetmeats and two black
quart bottles, one or molasses and one of er-a-Confedvinegar.

When the order was given to pack up I wrapped the turkey and towed it in the bottom of my haversack, then filled in with egregencies and other such like (but the aforesaid bottles were non sunt.) This, with my knapsack heavily packed, a pair of camp blankets, my rifle and cartridge box, gave me a load, and I took my time.

Daylight found some of us still a mile or more from B. Coming up with a squad stretched on the sand I took off my load and fell into posish. “Why, hello, Spoon, is that you, old fellow?” came the welcome voice of my chum, Will McNab, of Mobile, and the reader knows I was glad. Mc went out to the rifle pit with the litter-bearers to bring in the body of Willie Martin and we had not seen each other since.

The question of rations coming up, I asked Mc if he had the bottles. “I have one of them and left the other one for you.” “Which one have you?” “Why the molasses, or course. You know I wouldn’t bring the other.” My tired and drooping spirits went down to zero. A snack was soon spread for the crowd, and Mc opened his bottle of molasses. “Good sakes!” “What’s the matter, Mc?” “Why, I’ve brought the wrong bottle!”

Gentlemen of the jury, your humble deponent was never under the influence of liquor in his life, but if ever an old toper was made glad by the unexpected finding of a bottle of fine whisky, then there were some glad fellows in that squad of worn-out Confeds. The bottle went round and round, and as its contents went down our failing spirits went up (mine registered 95 in the shade.) All enjoyed it but Mc; he would not taste it. He was a full-blooded, whole-souled Scotchman, a member of the Second Presbyterian Church, of Mobile. He, too, believes muchly in predestination, and will agree with me that his bringing the “wrong bottle” was not altogether a matter of chance.

The last mile of our trip was hardest of all. The forests had been cut, with the tree-tops piled upon each other; the intervening spaces were filled in with telegraph wire, stretched hither, thither and yonder, while all the obstructions that military skill could devise were in place.

The sun was an hour high when our squad reached Blakely. There we found places in waiting for washing and dressing, and, best of all, hot breakfast, with hot coffee. That night we came to rest at Battery B, in Mobile.

And now we wind up my loose yarn. Whether the Feds came that night to storm our line or whether they knew that we were gone, I cannot tell; and whither the aforesaid “capitulation of Spanish Fort” had anything to do with the storming of Blakely or not I cannot tell, but that day Canby’s forces were gathered around Blakely until there was not room for one more. That night, preceded by four lines of colored troops, the concentrated army was precipitated upon the garrison, and the little handful of men were overpowered. Some of them told me afterwards that they fired every cartridge, that they piled the ground with dead and wounded and at last defended the line with the bayonet, but in vain. Some of them were our brave Ship Island friends. Among these, the, the brave boys, remnants of the Tuscaloosa Cadets, taken back to the Black Hole in Calcutta. One cadet they could not catch – Volney Boardman, of Greensboro. He slipped out into the bay on a plank, and after struggling all night with the waves, was picked up and brought safe to Mobile.

If our spinning has afforded pleasure to the reader, and especially if we have suggested a yarn to some old comrade and shall induce him to spin us an old-fashioned Southern “broach,” it is well.
*The order has been credited to Col. Bush Jones of the 48th Alabama Reg’t
On Mobile Bay— Last Great Battle of the War.
Who knows of “Spanish Fort”? Not many readers of the Herald I suspect, yet it was the scene of one of the most thrilling episodes of the war. It was one of the very last incidents, too, for we evacuated the place on the night of April 9, 1865, the day of Lee’s surrender. Spanish Fort was one of the outer defenses of Mobile. It was situated about twelve miles below the city and across the bay, on the eastern shore. Look on the map of Alabama and turn to Mobile Bay. At the mouth you notice two islands almost closing the bay, having but a narrow passage. Guarding the passage and facing each other are Forts Gaines and Morgan. Further up the bay, on the eastern side, on a tongue of land not represented on the map, was Spanish Fort, and still further up nearer the city, was Blakely, another fortified place. The sole approach to the city through the bay was a tortuous and narrow channel, marked out by stakes, which ran zig-zag across to Blakley, then down to Spanish Fort and then on out to the Gulf ; all the rest of the bay was filled with torpedoes and a variety of other obstructions. Early in March, 1865, the fifth company of Washington Artillery was having a “good time” in the city of Mobile. They had been detached from the veteran Army of Tennessee, and with it had just passed through the almost unparalleled hardships of Hood’s disastrous Nashville campaign. Mobile was one of the protected cities of the South, one of the latest places, if not the very last, to feel the hand of war. Consequently a semblance of the ways of peace still existed there. Coffee houses were in full blast where “coffee” could be bought for a dollar a cup, with an “ironclad” pie thrown in. Some of us had been paid and we indulged in reckless joy in boots at a cost of $100 or so, or in “biled” linen shirts at a like fabulous sum. The band played in the city park and strenuous was the effort to get off from duty for a promenade there, or on “Government Street,” and truly inventive was the genius developed in the way of arranging or “getting up” toilets for the occasion.

DEFENDERS OF MOBILE: One day orders came, to be ready to move at a moment’s notice, and not long after we found ourselves on the bay, threading the channel for the Eastern Shore. The enemy were approaching Mobile by land and water. That was the occasion of our move. I remember we had a grand review in the streets of Mobile. Every one who could carry a gun was in the ranks. The artillerists were armed as infantry. I suppose there were 10,000 men under arms. The great majority of these were “odds and ends,” fragments of other commands, boy militia, etc. ; a few were veteran troops. Our commander was Dabney Maury, “every inch a soldier,” but then there were not many inches of him. The soldiers called him “puss in boots,” because half of his diminutive person seemed lost in a pair of the immense cavalry boots of the day. He was a wise and gallant officer. Other reinforcements accompanied us to Spanish Fort. I suppose the garrison, when attacked a few days after, amounted to 2,100 men of all arms. General Randall Gibson, since then United States Senator from Louisiana, was in command. The
force at Blakley was about 2,500 men under Gen. St. John Littell.

AT SPANISH FORT. We found ourselves in a curious little tongue of high land jetting out into the bay in a southwesterly direction. This high land broke off abruptly in bluffs on the western or water side, leaving but a narrow margin of beach, while, on the eastern or inland side, it sloped off into a marsh, which ran around us and Blakley. Our works were arranged to resist an attack from the interior, and, beginning at the southern and lip end of the “tongue,” ran in a semi-circle around the inside rim of the high land, resting at each end on the bay. Or rather, they would have done so on the north as well as south, only the marsh interfered, and we had no time to complete them. This was our weak point, and yet in a sense our strong point. We had no defences in that marsh, yet a dense jungle supplied the defect, so dense that our leaders confided in it greatly and placed only a picket line there. These “works” of ours consisted of three “forts” (of earth), one at each end and one in the center, connected by rifle-pits. The one in the center was assigned to our battery. The whole extent of our line from end to end was about a mile and a half.

WHAT SEEMED TO BE A TRAP: We felt ourselves to be in a trap as soon as we took in the situation. If Farragut’s fleet should pass Forts Gaines and Morgan at the mouth of the bay, all he would have to do would be to sail serenely up in our rear and shell us at his leisure and cut us off from Mobile, while a land force could invest us and starve us into surrender. So prominent was the thought in our minds that I remember my messmate “Tony” B — and I (“Tony” is now a staid merchant and man of family in Louisiana), sat on the parapet one afternoon soon after getting there and planned a way of escape for ourselves. Casting our eye towards the bay we noticed a chain of little, low, marshy islands, hardly above the water, which fringed our shore at a distance of six to eight hundred yards from the land, and stretched northward up towards Blakley. “If the place be taken by assault,” we thought, “we might make for one of these and by swimming from one to the other, finally get to Blakely.” Little did we dream that the whole command was eventually to escape from under the very clutches of the enemy by means of one of those very islands adding strength to the place. Several days elapsed before the enemy made his appearance. The time was spent in “planting” torpedoes all through the woody marsh in front of us, in strengthening our works and in making great “bomb-proofs” right behind our works for our wounded, our ammunition and so on. These bomb-proofs were made, some of them, on a vast scale. One I worked upon was about 16×20 feet in dimensions and 10 to 12 feet deep. We cut down great trees, rolled the trunks over the mouth, then put a layer of brush and dirt; then came another layer of heavy logs crosswise, then a layer of brush and dirt, until the roof was six to eight feet thick.

At last the enemy were in sight. Farragut’s fleet appeared first. How gallantly ship after ship came up the bay and how we watched them! But suddenly the foremost was hid in a dense cloud of smoke and water. When she came to view again her bow was up in the air and she was evidently sinking. From where we were we could hear no report, but we knew that she had struck one of our torpedoes. The channel was full of them. This was why our leaders left us so exposed, apparently, in our rear. This stopped the advance for the time on the water side. But soon the pop, pop of our pickets’ guns drew out attention to our immediate front ; the firing grew into volleys, our men came into view through the woods, slowly falling back and finally retiring to the line already marked for them as their permanent fighting posts, the blue waves of the Federal forces circled around us and by nightfall we were invested.

I think it was about the 22d or 23d of March, ’65. I know we were invested seventeen days and made our escape about the 9th of April. Those seventeen days were sufficiently thrilling and eventful. Imagine our position and you can readily believe me. A force reported to be 30,000 strong, under General Steele in front, massed and crowded around our little semi-circle line, their artillery packed thick along the works they were already throwing up and the ships now drawn within easy range in our rear. The shells from one end of their line could reach the other end of ours, and “raked us fore and aft,” while the guns of the fleet could send their shells plump into our backs. Every day was full of incident, and it soon got so that we had no rest day nor night. The picket fights waxed hotter and hotter. Each side had little detached pits, facing each other, with squads of four or five men in each, and constant was the effort of the one side to surprise and capture the other. We had two little “cohorn mortars” in our battery (about fifteen inches long), and Corporal Charlie Fox, especially, became so expert with them that he emptied the pits of the enemy repeatedly with his shells

SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENT. The “boy militia” referred to, mere lads many of them, from thirteen to seventeen or eighteen years of age, excited the mingled grief and admiration of us veterans. In vain did we tell them when going to the skirmish line to shelter themselves as much as possible. They thought it was “not soldierly,” and they stood up and were shot down like sheep. A spring just inside of our works became a point of thrilling interest. It soon became so that we could not leave our works and run back to the rear to the usual place for water, and it was either use that spring or famish. Yet it was in full sight of the enemy. It occupied a depression in the hillside and was commanded by sharpshooters. There was but one recourse — we must go there by night. Men, strung around with the canteens of their comrades, would steal down to the ravine in the darkness. Sometimes numbers would be gathered there waiting hours for their turn to fill and leave. Alas, that spring became baptized in blood. The enemy had the range and kept up a fire, though they could not see, and many a poor fellow fell at that spring.

DEEDS OF DARING. Artillery duels became of daily occurrence, our “head logs” were constantly knocked down upon us, bruising and crippling us; squads of sharpshooters devoted their especial attention to our port holes or embrasures and poured a steady stream of bullets through them from early morn till dewy eve ; mining and counter-mining began, and I remember one gallant fellow along the line to the right of us crept one night with a detail of men down the ravine where the spring was, out beyond our skirmish pits, into the lines of the enemy’s pickets, and finding the mouth of their mine, which occupied a rather advanced position, he captured the whole batch of miners and got back to our works without a shot or losing a man.

SOME FEDERAL COMPLIMENTS. But the end came at last. We knew it was coming. We could feel it in the air. And then, too, certain ominous indications came from the enemy. For several days we could see that they were preparing for something unusual. Suddenly one afternoon a most extraordinary fire opened upon us from three points, from the two ends of their line and from their center. It seemed to concentrate upon our battery. No doubt, we had done them mischief, and perhaps more mischief than the other forts, for our gunners had gained experience in a score of battles ; but we were not prepared for such an especial compliment as this. They were shelling us with mortar shells, huge fifteen- inch bombs, so large that we could see them with the naked eye shortly after leaving the mortar’s mouth ; see them as they arose up into the air, describe a graceful curve and then begin hurrying with vicious impetus down full upon our helpless heads.

THE BOMBARDMENT. They had six of those mortars, two at each point, moved, I suppose, from their ships, and from
that time on, both day and night, those fearful things came down upon our heads. There was no shelter from these bombs — no defense from that fire. We had to stand and take it. Their force was terrible. They •would go six feet in the solid earth and exploding tear up a space fifteen or twenty feet square. They went through that tremendous bomb-proof, of which I have spoken, as though it was paper, and we were in constant expectation of losing all of our ammunition and provisions. Those abominable morters were the last item in their preparations. They practiced on us to get the range, and then we “got it.”

TEMPEST OF SHOT. The last day, the day of assault, came. What a day that was! And yet the enemy’s tactics were peculiar. The assault did not come until about 3 P. M. But from dawn until that time, and indeed until night they rained upon us from front and flank and rear and top, from field guns, siege guns, ship guns and mortars : such a tempest of shot and shell as defies description. Think of seventy-five or a hundred guns massed in a semi-circle thick around us; think of those huge mortars belching forth their monstrous contents down upon us ; think of the fleet in our rear pouring its fire into our back? Suddenly that storm burst forth, but it ceased not for a moment through all that interminable day. The very air was hot. The din was so great it distracted our senses. We could hardly hear each other speak and could hardly tell what we were doing. The cracking of musketry, the unbroken roaring of artillery, the yelling and shrieking of the shells, the bellowing boom of the mortars, the dense shroud of sulphurous smoke thickening around us — it was thought the mouth of the pit had yawned and the uproar of the damned was about us. And it was not taking away from this infernal picture to see men, as I did, hopping about, “raving, distracted mad,” the blood bursting from eyes and ears and mouth, driven stark crazy by concussion or some other cause.

DODGING THE MORTAR SHELLS. It was Utterly idle to try to return that fire. After a few rounds we did not attempt to do so. We stood around sheltering ourselves as best we could. Our works were no longer a protection to us. except against the fire in front. But that we did not mind. Our thoughts were of the fire from the rear, and above all, of those huge descending bombs. And now occurred a strange scene. We deserted the cover of our works and went out in the space behind them. And there, exposed to the full range of all the rest of that fearful fire, we devoted ourselves entirely to the work of dodging those mortar shells. And they were dodgable.
CAPTAIN OF THE DODGERS. There was a certain man in the battery gifted with a peculiar, accurate and rapid power of measuring distances with the naked eye. He had found out that by watching the bomb as it left the mortar and after describing the curve began to descend, he could tell pretty near where and when it would strike. His comrades found out this talent, and rallying around him, would run at his signal out of harm’s way. And it was funny to see our officers (and a braver set never lived) edging near and in a nonchalant manner, say: “Sing out, S– ^, and tell us which way to run !” One of those bombs towards the, close entered the big bomb-proof of which I have spoken, and exploded. The place was crowded with men who, in spite of warning, sought shelter there. The havoc made I know not, for it was just awhile before we left, but I shudder to think of it.

THE ASSAULT. Night came at last. Oh, how delicious, how inexpressibly comforting is the coming of night oftentime to the soldier in war. But it gave respite only by bestowing the sweet gift of balmy sleep. The most striking and romantic of all the acts of this drama was now upon us, viz : our escape. The assault, as I have said, came about 3 P. M. But it was a very feeble affair where we were, and was evidently a feint. The main attack was on our left. They penetrated through that dense marshy jungle, which we looked upon as almost impenetrable, and pushing back the feeble picket line we had there, got to the bay between us and Blakely, thus cutting us off. There, as we afterwards found out, they planted a battery. From that point they came on down our line driving our slender force before them until they got to the fort on our left, which they captured. It was only a few hundred yards from us and we could see them there moving about in the moonlight. Why they did not come right on and take us, too, we could never understand. It was one of those curious blunders which happened so often on both sides during the war.

THE RETREAT. It was with their dusky outlines in full view, on the fort above us, that we made our preparations to leave and did leave. And now, as to that leaving: Not one of the readers of this article has less notion of what we were going to do, or where we were going than did we, the rank and file, as we received the whispered orders to prepare silently for departure. We were completely bewildered. “Escape ! How escape ?” We were completely cut off, surrounded ; nay, the enemy were in our works, in sight of us. Yet we did escape, and that, too, with scarcely the loss of a man. It was a brilliant moonlight night. About l0 o’cIock, after spiking our guns, we left our works and made directly for the beach. Did the enemy see us? They ought to have seen us. Why they did not I cannot tell. We got to the bluff overlooking the bay.

IN A MYSTERIOUS RAVINE. What next? Behold, the head of the column seemed to melt gradually into the earth, and as we moved up to supply their place we understood their disappearance. The face of the bluff’ was precipitous, and creased with great fissures or ravines opening out upon the water. The head of our column had disappeared down one of these ! Down we followed, pell mell, right down the almost perpendicular sides of the gorge, clinging to vines, saplings, the sides of the rocks ; any way to keep our hold, until we reached the bottom, fifty feet or so below. And there, to our amazement, we found the beginning of a treadway,one or two planks wide. At the word, all shoes and boots were off and we stood in our stocking or naked feet in single line upon that narrow treadway. And then, after orders to keep our guns on the off-side from the enemy, to prevent their glistening being noticed (for artillerists though we were, we still had our infantry accoutrements), and after orders not to whisper a word on pain of being shot, we went forth, literally not knowing whither we were going.

IN THE TREADWAY. The treadway first debouched upon the beach, then turning to the right it went up the shore for quite a distance; just how far I cannot say, but I know we passed so close to the enemy’s pickets stationed in the marsh that we could hear them talking, and right under the nose of their battery. Finally the treadway turned and struck out into the bay. The water was shallow and we walked just above the water’s surface. Suddenly a shot came, it was from that battery. Imagine our consternation. But it was not repeated for some time. It was evident they did not see us, but were merely firing “periodically” across what they supposed to be the channel, in order to prevent any succor reaching us. The very last thing they were thinking of was our attempting to escape.
FLOUNDERING IN THE MUD. We came to the end of that treadway at last. It ended on one of those very marshes by which my comrade “Tony” and I had planned to escape. A chain of them, as I had said, ran up the bay some six or eight hundred yards from the shore. The channel was outside of them, and when we jumped off the treadway on to the island where it terminated, there, out in the water, were the dusky forms of several gunboats waiting to carry us away. But would I ever forget those few minutes on that island ?

When I jumped from the treadway I sank to my waist in mud. It was a bog. Every one sank more or less deep. But our situation gave us frantic energy. There we were right under the guns of that battery, helplessly floundering up to our middle in mud. Suppose they discovered us, and there! Forth from the shore came a confused uproar of noise — the shouts of baffled men, volleys of musketry, the deep boom of cannon. They have discovered our flight, back in our works ; they have found us out. But not that battery. Periodically its shot goes down the bay, but not towards us. It is still in blissful ignorance and we are still safe.

SAFE AT LAST. But we must be quick. Our first aim is to struggle up the island, as much out of the range of those guns as possible. All order vanishes ; it is no wonder, situated as we were. Tony B— — and I had stuck together throughout. Looking out on the water we saw a yawl pulled cautiously to the shore. We looked around – no one was nigh, as we thought, no fear of swamping herE. In we plunged, rushing up to our necks in water, and throwing our guns in first, pitched into the boat, head over heels, laughing, spluttering, struggling. When we had got upright the boat was full to sinking and we thought we were the only ones near it. We were soon on board of one of the gunboats, and in so incredibly short time that the whole com-mand was ofif that island and sailing jubilantly up the bay.

Then that battery found us out, and before we left, sent some right well aimed shots through our rigging. I remember I had curled down on deck near the boiler, for I was wringing wet, and as those shots came viciously near, the thought came, “what a shame to be sunk in this boat after what we have gone through this day.” But we were not sunk. We steamed up the bay, touched at Blakely for awhile, (it was stormed’ an hour or so after we left), went across to Mobile and in a few days evacuated the place with the rest of the troops there and surrendered shortly after at Meridian, Miss.

Secretary Staunton (page 31, of his report for ’65) states that there were actually mustered into service of United States, from the 15th of April, ’61, to the 14th of April, ’65, 2,656.553 men. Mr. Staunton, who had free access to the Confederate archives several years ago, states that 600,000 men in all, were put into the Confederate service during the same period, and this estimate is very nearly correct. So that the official figures show that the United States had in service more than four times as many men as the Confederacy had. The disparity in numbers was well illustrated in the last battle of the war; 4,600 of us at Spanish Fort and Blakley fought and kept back 38,000 of the enemy 17 days, with Farragut’s fleet in our rear.
Some Comment by the Confederate Commander on Mr. P. D. Stephenson’s Article.
By DABNEY H. MAURY, Major General, Confederate States Army, and Commanding Department of the Gulf.

The narrative of the defense of Spanish Fort, which appeared in a late number of the Philadelphia Weekly Times, July 26th, is a very interesting contribution to the history of the war. It is cleverly written and illustrates well the high character and education of the Confederate private soldier. I hope Mr. Stevenson will not rest content with this effort, excellent as it is, but will go on and give us other experience of the busy and arduous campaigns which closed so gloriously at Spanish Fort. Unlike many narrations this is devoid of all traces of egotism.

The defense of Spanish Fort was the last death grapple of the veterans of the Confederate and Federal armies. They brought to it the experience of four years of incessant conflict, and in the attack and defense of that place demonstrated every offensive and defensive art then known to war. It is not too much to say that no position was ever held by Confederate troops with greater hardihood and tenacity, nor evacuated more skilfully after hope of further defense was gone.

AS TO CERTAIN PRECAUTIONS. ‘Mr. Stevenson “has been remarkably graphic and accurate in his account of the siege. But he did not know while he was fighting all of those seventeen days and nights that it was never intended that garrison should be lost. That even before the battle began the measures had been taken to withdraw them at the last moment, which proved so happy in execution that night of April 8, 1865. These measures were well known to General Gibson and others of his officers and men, by whom they had been prepared and by whom they were executed with complete success. Before the place was invested the bridge across the marsh was constructed. It was four feet wide, was three or four feet above the marsh and one mile long. It terminated on the Appalacup river, opposite Battery Tracey, where were assembled a large number of batteaux. to be used in ferrying the garrison across the river. From Tracey, reaching out to its rear for near two miles, another bridge had been constructed, to Chocolate Bayou, on deep water range to Mobile and far beyond range of the enemy’s guns. Over this bridge three days later the garrison of Tracey and Huger were withdrawn without a single casualty.

ANOTHER ROUTE. During the siege of Spanish Fort the additional precaution had been taken to send engineer officers with several men of the Ninth Texas to reconnoitre and stake out another route across the marsh direct to Blakeley, five miles above. This completed the means of escape and while Mr. Stevenson’s command and others marched out across the foot bridge a large part of the garrison was conducted by the engineers and guides directly across the marsh and safely to Blakeley. This marsh was quite practicable for infantry by that time. The flood had subsided and the ground had dried so that had the enemy known it he might have thrown troops and even placed high batteries on it, so as to annoy us with a flank fire around our left and cut off the escape of the garrison.

A VISIT TO SPANISH FORT. On Saturday, April 8th, I took Colonel Lockett, Chief Engineer, with me into Spanish Fort that we might determine what progress the enemy had made with his mining operations and how much longer it would be safe to keep the garrison in the place. It did not seem probable that he could spring his mines under our parapet before the ensuing Wednesday, so I instructed General Gibson to have all ready to march out Tuesday night; that a steamer would be sent that Saturday night to bring away all useless material and disabled men, and that the whole command would be withdrawn after dark, Tuesday, April nth. Soon after my return to Mobile, about 10 P. M., Saturday, Gibson telegraphed me that the enemy had made a lodgment upon his route of evacuation. I ordered him to withdraw his garrison at once, which was done, as is so well described by Mr. Stevenson. A few of the pickets who were close up to the enemy could not be got away in time. Except these, the whole garrison marched out without accident, in good order and in fine spirits. Most of them had expected to be captured with the position, and when the}- found themselves aboard steamers bound for Mobile instead of for a Northern prison, they were happy. They were the very flower of our Western army. They had made a splendid defense and they knew it.

FINE QUALITIES OF THE MEN. The company of Washington Artillery, of which Mr. Stevenson was a member, a private, was conspicuous for fine conduct even in this fine command. After they had been holding the most advanced and exposed redoubt for more than a week of incessant action, fighting by day, fighting and working by night, I went into the works to see Captain Slocum. the commander of that company, relative to relieving them by a fresh battery from Mobile. I told him they had been overworked and needed rest, and other companies not yet engaged stood ready to take their place. He replied: “Appreciating, General, your consideration for my men, I desire to submit the question to them before consenting to our being relieved.” He soon came back and said : “General, the company, grateful for your kind intention, desire to hold this position to the end. We respectfully decline to be relieved.” And they held it, as Stevenson has so well told, to the very end and never expected to escape capture.

WHAT SPANISH FORT WAS. Spanish Fort was an old earth work on the east bank of Appalachia river, which had been erected and occupied by the Spaniards more than a hundred years ago. Fearing- the enemy might occupy it and from it annoy or perhaps silence Batteries Huger and Tracey, twenty-five hundred yards from it, on the west side of that river, I constructed there a heavy six-gun battery of Brooke rifles. I then threw around it as a centre a line of three redoubts connected by rifle pits, which crowned the higher ground in the rear. The whole crest was about one mile and a quarter. Its right rested on Appalachia river, its left on the great marsh which was at that time impassible. The whole line was defended by about thirty pieces of cannon of various calibre and 2,100 men, and of four of these guns the history was peculiar. Some year or so before this battle Ross’ Brigade of Texan cavalry was operating along the Yazoo river in Mississippi. With the brigade was’ Owens’ Arkansas Light Battery. On the Yazoo lay a Federal gunboat, of which Ross had good knowledge and which he resolved to capture with his Texans. Accordingly he came upon her when her fires were down, put his field guns above and below her, knocked all her boats to pieces and drove her people from her decks, so that her colors were hauled down. There was no boat available to receive the surrender of the ship, and therefore a sergeant of the battery, with ten or twelve men, stripped and swam out, and, naked as they were, received on her deck the formal surrender. She was armed with six twenty-four pounder bronze howitzers, all of which were sent to Mobile, where their carriages were changed to suit land defence. Four of them were mounted in the works of Spanish Fort and did good service. At every discharge they threw half a gallon of bullets.

USE OF TORPEDOES. The garrison of Spanish Fort was 2,100 men. The besiegers were a corps and two divisions of Canby’s army, stated at 33,000 men. But for the torpedoes Farragut’s fleet would have greatly embarrassed the defense. But they could only use their guns of greatest range, because all of them who ventured close in were sunk. Six or seven armed vessels, besides several transports, were sunk during these operations. Our torpedoes were of rude construction. The best were beer casks charged with gunpowder and anchored two to three feet below the surface of the water by an iron chain to a mushroom anchor. Many fuses with sensitive primers were set around the kegs and as they rolled under a passing ship one or another primers would be discharged. They usually blew out a section of the bottom eight feet by ten. The ships sunk immediately. As the water was shoal, few of the people were killed on these ships. But all the other ships were profoundly impressed and kept well away from where these torpedoes were supposed to be awaiting them. Our losses throughout the operations were fifteen to thirty daily.

THE ATTACK AT BLAKELY. Blakley, five miles above Spanish Fort, was under attack at the same time. It had a better line and was garrisoned by 2,600 men. After Spanish Fort was evacuated the enemy, greatly disheartened, attacked Blakley Sunday evening, April 9th, with his whole army, now 50,000 strong, and carried it about 5 P. M., just as Lee’s army had surrendered at Appomattox. I could not have brought away the garrison of Blakley till after dark on the 9th, and the enemy had been so very cautious I was not anxious about waiting one day longer. Colonel Lockett was right in fixing the date for evacuation at Tuesday night, the nth of April. The reports of the enemy show that its earlier execution was the result of an accident. One of the general officers, while rectifying his line during the fierce bombardment on the evening of the 8th, occupied the extreme left of our parapet. This being unintended, and the enemy not knowing the importance of the point gained, failed to press his advantage, while Gibson was enabled by the promptness of his movements and the discipline of his command, to march his forces away before the enemy found they were gone or how they went.

GENERAL GIBSON ‘S COMMAND. General Gibson displayed great courage and capacity during this brilliant operation. Some days before the battle ended he received a sharp wound, but did not go off duty nor let his name go in the report of wounded. The troops under his command represented every State of the Southern Confederacy. They had been more than four years in active service. They fitly closed the career of the Confederacy by an action so brilliant that had it taken place two years sooner it would have greatly exalted the prowess of the Confederate troops. A careful study of its details will be of interest to military men.

SERVICE OF THE MORTARS. Cohorn mortars were freely used and after the enemy’s sharp- shooters had closed in they frequently cleared them out of their pits. The water approaches were guarded by submarine torpedoes and the approaches by land by sub-terra shells. I had about forty Cohorn mortars cast in the foundries of Mobile for this defense, and also wooden mortars made of gum stumps, hollowed out to eight and ten-inch calibre. They were hooped with iron and lined with sheet iron. They were only available at short range and with very small charges. We used here for the first time in the war, sand-bag embrasures for the men in the rifle-pits. They were very convenient and gave great security to the sharpshooters.

NOTES OF OPERATIONS. Our cannon embrasures were effectuallv closed by muntlets of steel plates. The enemy’s sharpshooters plastered them thick with lead, but only one of them was injured — a three-inch shot cut a clean hole through it, but did no further damage.

We expended daily from twelve thousand to thirty-six thousand rounds of rifle cartridges ; our supply was not great. The enemy poured a constant stream of lead into our lines, and Gibson gave every man who would bring in so much lead paroles of twenty-four hours to visit Mobile. A number of enterprising fellows eagerly pursued this traffic and greatly enjoyed the reward. This garrison, with those of Tracey. Hunger and Mobile were included in the general capitulation of the department.

We evacuated Mobile on the morning of April 12. The mayor of the city was sent with a white flag out to the fleet to say that Mobile was ready for their peaceable occupation without any injury to person or to property. We marched to Meridian, where the band of Gibson’s Louisiana Brigade, then the only Confederate band in the world, on the night of May 13, gave me their last sad serenade. Many officers of the regiments which had been serving with me waited on me in a body and gave me their last farewell.

Next day ‘we scattered over our own Southern country seeking our homes, and at once addressed ourselves to those peaceful duties which have regenerated the Southern States and crowned the Confederate name with honors even more noble than anyone had won in war. -Charlottesville, Va., August 6, 1894.