150 Years BOMB Series, Article #4, Saturday And The Battle Continues

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.


Union Forces Preparig For Battle

Union Forces Preparing For Battle


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!


Union General

Union General


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.


Confederat Forces Preparing for Battle

Confederate Forces Preparing for Battle


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.


Confederate Forces Inside Fort Morgan

Confederate Forces Inside Fort Morgan


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.


Alabama Infantry 5th Regiment Band

Alabama Infantry 5th Regiment Band


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”!


Confederate Spy

Confederate Spy or Scout


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.


Beds Inside of Firt Morgan

Beds Inside of Fort Morgan


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.



Office Space Inside of Fort Morgan

Office Space Inside of Fort Morgan


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!


Cannons Firing on the Berm of Fort Morgan

Cannons Firing on the Berm of Fort Morgan


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.


Confederate Sailor

Confederate Sailor


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.


Confederate Flag

Confederate Artillery Battle Flag


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

150 Years BOMB Series, Article #1, Cannons in the Evening

As most of you know I am somewhat of a history buff and appreciate our nations events and past. So when I was contacted by Global Marketing Solutions, who manages Gulf Shores and Orange Beach (Alabama) Tourism’s blogger outreach program, in regard to covering the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay celebration, I couldn’t respond quick enough!



This illustrious Naval Battle was an effort by the Union forces to capture the last major port not occupied by the Union Forces. Fort Morgan was on one side of the Bay entrance and Fort Gaines on the other side or entrance to the Bay. The actual battle transpired on August 5th 1864 and involved 5500 Union soldiers and 1500 Confederate forces. The Union Naval forces were led by Rear Admiral David Farragut famous for his quote “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”, as the battle commenced. The Confederates had planted torpedoes below the surface in an effort to destroy ships from the Union Naval forces.  The Confederate Naval forces were led by Admiral Franklin Buchanan.


Confederate Artillery Specialits

Confederate Artillery Specialists


The first night Friday August 1, 2014 was dedicated to the artillery displays, with several cannons re-enacting firing on the Union Naval Fleets. The cannon were fired with the primer, a shot, copper tube filled with powder, which was inserted into the gun’s touchhole with priming wire. Spiking a gun to prevent its use by the enemy was frequently accomplished by driving priming wire, into the gun’s touchhole and bending it with the rammer. Once the touchhole was blocked the gun could not be fired. At Fort Morgan, the touchholes were probably blocked with long, thin metal spikes which would have had to been drilled out, after the eventual surrender of the Confederate forces.



I was able to capture several rounds from the cannons on video and at times the blast literally shook you enough to make one stumble. I was glad to see that the event had safety in mind and kept informing all viewers to remain behind the stripes in the parking lot across from the area where the cannons were fired. Amazingly, many individuals still tried to walk right up in the middle of the action for a close up photo. One young lady journalist kept sneaking around to the side and trying to capture the flames as they exited the cannons. Every time she was apprehended and instructed to move back. Personally I would have gotten very upset, as she could have been substantially harmed and had no regard for her own safety.


Large Artillery Specialists

Large Artillery Specialists


It was my first exposure to the period costumes and the fact that many of the re-enactors follow a circuit and make many events each year. They definitely are enamored with this period of history and I was flabbergasted at the financial aspects involved in attending these functions and outfitting themselves. Sometimes they are asked to ensure they have uniforms or costumes for both sides, so double the cost in effect.





I was thoroughly impressed by the event staff and the quality and quantity of the participants. Authenticity was the word of the day. Most of the re-enactors would not have been caught dead with a outfit that didn’t fit the period or the time frame of The Battle of Mobile Bay. After the cannon firing Bobby Horton, a Birmingham, Alabama native performed Civil War-era music. He is known for his authentic Civil War recordings performed with instruments from that era.




***This trip was partially sponsored by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism



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