Artillery and musketry swept them in the face, and sand-bombs burst from under their feet. At last the ditch was reached...the garrison's infantry poured a galling fire from the loop-holes, and the heavy siege guns rained grape(shot) from the embrasures."
Lt. Col. Charles S. Hills, 10th Kansas Infantry Regiment
The earthworks in front of you are part of "Redoubt Six," one of nine heavily fortified positions along the three mile-long line of Confederate defenses collectively known as Fort Blakeley. Connected to nearby redoubts in the center and right of this line via trenches, Redoubt Six occupied a key position astride the Pensacola Road, one of two primary routes into the town of Blakeley. During the Battle of Fort Blakeley on April 9, 1865, the position was the scene of intense fighting as it came under direct assault by regiments of the Federal 13th and 16th Corps.
Troops from the 63rd and 62nd Alabama Infantry Regiments, under the overall command of Brigadier General Bryan Thomas, manned this portion of the Confederate line. The 63rd Infantry defended the portion of the defenses directly, in front of you; the 62nd occupied the earthworks further down the line to the left. Both regiments were recently formed units consisting in large part of reserves and conscripts, most of them teenagers with no previous
military experience. Artillery support in this sector was supplied by Captain William C. Winston's Tennessee Battery, equipped with Parrott rifles and other guns.
After days of constant, heavy, skirmishing all along the lines, Union forces launched an overall assault on Fort Blakeley at 5:30 PM on Sunday, April 9, 1865. Emerging from trenches a few hundred yards behind you, troops under the immediate command of Brigadier General James I. Gilbert charged toward the earthworks at a run. As they advanced they made their. way through multiple lines of obstructions while under intense fire, taking numerous casualties. Within twenty minutes some of the attackers had breached the Confederate defenses. Once inside, they swept down the line and quickly overwhelmed the remaining defenders.
Top left: Map of the Confederate and Union lines at Blakeley
Bottom left: Flag of the 63rd Alabama Infantry Regiment (originally designated the 2nd Ala. Reserve Reg.)
Middle right: Brigadier General James I. Gilbert
Flag of the 47th Indiana Infantry Regiment, which was positioned a few hundred yards from this spot during the assault on Fort Blakeley.