I got to Fort Morgan about 20 minutes before 10:00 AM on Saturday, as the Naval battle reenactment was originally to begin at 10:00 AM. I surveyed the layout and thought it most appropriate to watch from the upper walkway of Fort Morgan. I began heading in the direction of the main portion and structure of the Fort. I was considerably lucky and actually walked by both “Armies” preparing to do battle in the hours ahead. Below the Union forces are giving their men final instructions.
Then out of nowhere this magnificently dressed officer strode out to the preparation area. I was enthralled with his hat, as most people are aware I am a fan of all sorts of caps and hats. This chapeau was very striking and gave one the appearance of authority and royalty. This, combined with the accouterments hanging from his waist, made his presentation striking and dignified. I marveled at his overall presentation and pondered the personal financial involvement. It had to be substantial. This officer thoroughly looked the part!
Them I came upon the Confederate forces and their ragtag outfits exemplified the reality of the Civil War I thought. One side was an organized army outfitted with all the instruments of war at that period in time and the other side was a quickly gathered assembly of local men who used whatever weapons and ammunition they could get their hands on, much less their apparel. It illustrated that even though the Confederates had a passion in their hearts for victory there was absolutely no way they would eventually win and that was the case in reality.
I strode through the massive tunnel, into the underbelly of Fort Morgan and discovered more Confederate forces prepping. The officers appeared regal as the Union officers. The enlisted men on the other hand, were attired in what I would guess were a combination of clothes used around their homes and farms and to a minimal extent, items, weapons and ammunition supplied by the Confederate forces, backed by what appeared to be slim funding.
It was obvious that the Confederates had music supplied by this Alabama Infantry Band. I can only assume that in reality the band was there for moral support and to attempt to motivate the men prior to battle. If truly representative, it had to have helped ass this band was very talented and serve to distract the forces from impending doom.
One gentleman really caught my eye in the Confederate group and I would guess he was portraying a scout, spy or possibly a lower ranking officer. Regardless his attire was very colorful and he had a credible appearance and dress that screamed “Don’t Mess With Me”!
Inside Fort Morgan I discovered a plethora of period furniture and implements used during the war, It was uncanny to see what was used. As an example the photo below displays what they assembled for beds and it was interesting to say the least. Most of the “beds” were assembled from what appeared to be 1×4 or 2×4 boards, for a frame and stuffed with straw for more comfort. The quilts were all obviously handmade and more than likely were brought from their respective homes.
I am guessing this was an officer’s area/desk and reflected various items used for writing materials, food and cooking preparation along with a table and desk to complete the day’s written tasks.
Back outside there had been a substantial delay in the Naval Battle and I overheard several participants frustration at a serious glitch that occurred. I never discovered what exactly transpired, but later on the cannons started firing again and I assume this meant the battle was finally on! I learned how hard it was to take a photo exactly as the cannon is fired. The flames shoot out the front and rear of the cannon when the powder is ignited. I tried and tried and if you look closely at this photo below you will see a minor amount of flame emitting from the cannon, along with the smoke! Feat accomplished!
While strolling among the various shops and souvenir tents I came upon this gentleman and in addition to admiring his wonderful beard I found his naval uniform very catching. I was awed by his hat, scarf and wouldn’t have desired to step into his pants for all the money in the world. It looked like a very complicated, but secure button system.
Finally I was drawn in by this Confederate Battle Flag as it clearly had prior battles emblazoned on the Rebel Flag, to ensure those battles were not forgotten. Battles mentioned were Cedar Run, Manassas (2nd), Harper’s Ferry, Sharpsburg, Chancellorville, Fredericksburg, Winchester and Gettysburg.
I left the battle for a late lunch/dinner and planned on returning that evening to see the night’s activities and fireworks. Having visualized the explosions in the daytime , I could only imagine what the night would bring and was excited to watch the pyrotechnics.
***This trip was partially sponsored by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism