You are standing on the site of the last grand charge of the Civil War, made during the Battle of Fort Blakeley on April 9. 1865. The battle was the climax of a months-long campaign that led ultimately to the capture of the city of Mobile by Union forces.
Probably the last charge of this war, it was as gallant as any on record" Harper's Weekly, May 27, 1865
Federal troops began to lay siege to Fort Blakeley over a week prior to the battle. For several days, the opposing armies engaged in heavy skirmishing as the besiegers steadily advanced series of earthworks closer to the Confederate line. By Sunday, April 9, the armies lay less than 1,000 yards apart.
At approximately 5:30 p.m., the Union army launched a general assault all along a nearly three-mile long front. Some 16,000 troops emerged from a line of trenches a few hundred yards to your left and charged with a yell. They began taking casualties almost immediately, coming under rifle and artillery fire as well as occasionally tripping
scattered land mines which had earlier been placed in the field over which they charged. The surging column quickly drove in skirmishers posted in the rifle pits in front of you. Pausing briefly while under a deadly fire, they cut their way through a series of obstacles made from fallen trees and swarmed the approximately 3,500 Confederate defenders.
Fierce, close quarters combat briefly raged. Multiple Union troops were shot down while attempting to plant their flags on the earthworks, and in places the combatants waged desperate hand to hand fighting. In some places the fort's defenders surrendered quickly after being overwhelmed while in others they fought to the bitter end even after being surrounded. The entire affair was over within about thirty minutes. The great majority of the garrison was captured, although a very small number of Rebels managed to escape. Exact casualties figures are unknown; about 75 Confederates were killed during the assault while the attackers suffered about 150 killed and around 650 wounded during the entirety of operations.
scene was picturesque and grand. From different points of view the assaulting lines could be seen for a mile or two.. The regimental colors, though not in perfect line, were steadily advancing, and the troops were dashing on over and through the obstructions like a stormy wave."
Brig. Gen. Christopher Columbus Andrews
Photo caption: Harper's Weekly carried this depiction of the Battle of Fort Blakeley on May 27, 1865