05 August 2014

150 years ago: Mobile Bay

On 5 August 1864 a US fleet commanded by Rear Admiral David G Farragut, supported by 1500 soldiers under General Gordon Granger, attacked the defences at Mobile, Alabama, the last major Gulf port east of the Mississippi still under Confederate control. Farragut's flagship was the screw sloop USS Hartford; other ships present were screw sloops USS Brooklyn, Monongahela, Oneida, Ossipee, Richmond, and Seminole; screw sloop-of-war USS Lackawanna; gunboats USS Galena, Itasca, Kennebec, Metacomet, Octorara, and Port Royal; ironclad monitors USS Manhattan and Tecumseh; and ironclad river monitors USS Chickasaw and Winnebago.

Tecumseh sank after hitting a mine - in those days called a torpedo - on the way into Mobile Bay.  Brooklyn, leading Farragut's main column (because she had more forward-firing guns than the other sloops), slowed to ask for instructions, causing Farragut to order Hartford to take the lead with the famous if apocryphal "Damn the torpedoes!" Hartford and the other ships passed successfully through the minefield that had claimed Tecumseh.

The defending forces included the ironclad ram CSS Tennessee and side-wheel gunboats CSS Gaines, Morgan and Selma, under Admiral Franklin Buchanan. Farragut's gunboats made short work of the side-wheelers, capturing Selma, seriously damaging Gaines (which was beached and burned by her crew), and forcing Morgan to take cover under the guns of nearby Fort Morgan. Tennessee took more work, but was eventually battered into submission and surrendered. Farragut's ships then provided fire support for Granger's attacks on the three forts - Powell, Gaines, and Morgan - protecting the harbour. Fort Powell was abandoned that day; Fort Gaines surrendered on 8 August, and Fort Morgan on 23 August. (The captured CSS Tennessee was repaired, commissioned into the US Navy as USS Tennessee, and sent to join in the final attack on Fort Morgan.)

96 men (88 sailors, seven Marines and one civilian pilot) were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions on 5 August.

USS Brooklyn (23): Ship's Cook William Blagheen, Captain of the Forecastle John Brown, Landsman William H Brown, Coxswain John L M Cooper, Ordinary Seaman Samuel W Davis, Sergeant J Henry Denig, Boatswain's Mate Richard Dennis, Coxswain William Halstead, Sergeant Michael Hudson, Seaman Joseph Irlam, Coxswain John Irving, Seaman Nicholas Irwin, Quartermaster Barnett Kenna, Boy James Machon, Captain of the Top Alexander Mack, Coal Heaver William Madden, Engineer's Cook James Mifflin, Quartermaster William Nichols, Corporal Miles M Oviatt, Coxswain Edward Price, Corporal Willard M Smith, Coal Heaver James E Sterling, Quartermaster Samuel Todd

USS Chickasaw (2): Chief Boatswain's Mate Andrew Jones, Master at Arms James Seanor

USS Galena (4): Seaman William Gardner, Quartermaster Thomas Jordan, Quartermaster Edward S Martin, Coxswain Edward B Young

USS Hartford (12): Landsman Wilson Brown, Ordinary Seaman Bartholomew Diggins, Coal Heaver Richard D Dunphy, Coxswain Thomas Fitzpatrick, civilian pilot Martin Freeman, Coal Heaver James R Garrison, Landsman John Lawson, Captain of the Forecastle John C McFarland, Ordinary Seaman Charles Melville, Coal Heaver Thomas O'Connell, Landsman William Pelham, Shell Man William A Stanley

USS Lackawanna (11): Seaman John M Burns, Landsman Michael Cassidy, Landsman Patrick Dougherty, Captain of the Top John Edwards, Landsman Samuel W Kinnaird, Seaman Adam McCullock, Boatswain's Mate William Phinney, Captain of the Forecastle John Smith, Armorer George Taylor, Quarter Gunner James Ward, Quartermaster Daniel Whitfield

USS Metacomet (8): Seaman James Avery, Quarter Gunner Charles Baker, Ordinary Seaman John Donnelly, Captain of the Forecastle John Harris, Seaman Henry Johnson, Boatswain's Mate Patrick Murphy, Landsman Daniel Noble, Coxswain Thomas Taylor,

USS Oneida (8): Quartermaster John E Jones, Coxswain Thomas Kendrick, Landsman David Naylor, Ordinary Seaman William D Newland, Landsman John Preston, Sergeant James S Roantree, Quartermaster James Sheridan, Seaman Charles B Woram

USS Richmond (28): Yeoman Thomas E Atkinson, Quartermaster John Brazell, Captain of the Top Robert Brown, Master-at-Arms William M Carr, Coxswain James B Chandler, Quartermaster Thomas Cripps, Chief Quartermaster Cornelius Cronin, Boatswain's Mate Charles Deakin, Chief Boatswain's Mate William Densmore, Coal Heaver William Doolen, Boatswain's Mate Adam Duncan, Coxswain Hugh Hamilton, Coxswain Thomas Hayes, Captain of the Top John H James, Captain of the Top William Jones, Captain of the Top James McIntosh, Sergeant Andrew Miller, Captain of the Top James H Morgan, Captain of the Forecastle George Parks, Seaman Hendrick Sharp, Coxswain Lebbeus Simkins, Captain of the Forecastle James Smith, Second Captain of the Top John Smith, Coxswain Oloff Smith, Ordinary Seaman Walter B Smith, Orderly Sergeant David Sprowle, Coxswain Alexander H Truett, Quartermaster William Wells

1 comment:

F J Robinson said...

I like this. Keep on Blogging you "Old Coot"...Robby