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To: AntiJen; snippy_about_it; Victoria Delsoul; SassyMom; bentfeather; MistyCA; GatorGirl; radu; ...
CSS Tennessee in the Battle of Mobile Bay,
5 August 1864

CSS Tennessee, a 1273-ton ironclad ram, was built at Selma, Alabama. Launched in February 1863, her outfitting was completed at Mobile, where she was commissioned in February 1864. As flagship of Admiral Franklin Buchanan, she was by far the strongest unit of the naval part of the defenses of Mobile Bay. To counter her, the Federal Navy had to bring ironclad monitors to the Gulf of Mexico.

On 5 August 1864, Tennessee battled against Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut's fleet as it steamed past Forts Morgan and Gaines into Mobile Bay. Though she was able to inflict some damage on the Federal ships, Farragut successfully entered the Bay and anchored beyond the reach of the Confederate forts' guns. Admiral Buchanan then took his ship up toward the Union warships, engaging them in an intense battle that ended with Tennessee surrounded by her enemies and battered into surrender.

The former Confederate ironclad was promptly taken into the Union Navy as USS Tennessee. With her combat damage quickly repaired, she was employed during operations to capture Fort Morgan later in August. In the autumn of 1864, Tennessee was sent to New Orleans, Louisiana, for further repairs. She subsequently served with the U.S. Navy's Mississippi Squadron until after the end of the Civil War. Decommissioned in August 1865, USS Tennessee was sold for scrapping in November 1867.

When Federal warships steamed into Mobile Bay on the morning of 5 August 1864, Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan stationed CSS Tennessee, his flagship, and her unarmored consorts, gunboats Morgan, Gaines and Selma, at the head of the channel. As the enemy moved up, exchanging fire with Fort Morgan, Buchanan's ships shot at them from ahead. The Union monitor Tecumseh, maneuvering to engage the Tennessee, struck a mine and sank, temporarily throwing the Federal column into confusion. Rear Admiral Farragut's flagship, USS Hartford, forged ahead and drove off the Confederate gunboats, but Tennessee remained in the battle zone, firing on the U.S. Navy ships as they passed and doing considerable damage to the last in line, USS Oneida.

Admiral Franklin Buchanan

With the enemy was safely inside Mobile Bay, Buchanan understood that the Confederate forts at the bay's entrance would soon be untenable unless the Union ships could somehow be destroyed. In a desperate, solitary effort, Tennessee steamed toward Farragut's ships. As she slowly moved along, the sloops of war USS Monongahela and Lackawanna repeatedly rammed her, doing more damage to themselves than to their target.

When Tennessee reached the Federal anchorage area, she was also rammed by the Hartford and subjected to a terrific cannonade. The U.S. monitors Chickasaw and Manhattan then engaged her at close range with their heavy guns, while other Union ships fired from a distance. Tennessee's smokestack and most other exposed fittings were hammered away, further reducing her never very great speed; her gunport shutter chains were cut, closing the ports so the Confederates could not shoot back; and her exposed steering chains were severed, leaving her unmanageable. The Manhattan blew a hole in Tennessee's armor with her massive fifteen-inch gun. The twin-turret monitor Chickasaw stationed herself off the beleagered ship's stern, firing her eleven-inch guns "like pocket pistols" and seriously weakening the after end of Tennessee's armored casemate.

Oil on canvas (40" x 66") by Xanthus Smith (1839-1929), signed and dated by the artist, 1890. It depicts the surrender of CSS Tennessee to the Union squadron commanded by Rear Admiral David G. Farragut. Identifiable U.S. Navy ships present include: Winnebago (monitor in the left distance), Chickasaw (monitor in the foreground) and Hartford (Farragut's flagship, in the right center, painted light gray).
Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Maryland.
Gift of Henry Huddleston Rogers, 1930

With his flagship unable to fire her guns, steam or steer, and with the collapse of the casemate seemingly imminent, Admiral Buchanan, who had been wounded in the battle, authorized her surrender. The ship's Commanding Officer, Commander James D. Johnston poked a white flag up from the top of the casemate. Firing soon ceased, though USS Ossipee, coming on fast in another ramming attempt and unable to stop in time, struck a post-surrender blow. Federal Navy officers soon took possession of their battered prize, effectively concluding the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Additional Sources:

2 posted on 07/08/2003 12:05:35 AM PDT by SAMWolf (When in doubt, use brute force.)
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To: All
'Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!'

-- Admiral David Glasgow Farragut.
Aboard Hartford, Farragut entered Mobile Bay, Alabama, 5 August 1864, in two columns, with armored monitors leading and a fleet of wooden ships following. When the lead monitor Tecumseh was demolished by a mine, the wooden ship Brooklyn stopped, and the line drifted in confusion toward Fort Morgan. As disaster seemed imminent, Farragut gave the orders embodied by these famous words. He swung his own ship clear and headed across the mines, which failed to explode. The fleet followed and anchored above the forts, which, now isolated, surrendered one by one. The torpedoes to which Farragut and his contemporaries referred would today be described as tethered mines.

Though the most famous battles of the Civil War occurred on land, from the beginning both sides recognized that control of the seas would be crucial. This was due to the agriculturally based Southern economy that relied on shipping to receive goods and supplies. Once the Civil War began, President Lincoln ordered a blockade of Southern ports. The South responded to the North's strategy by "blockade running," which became the only way the Confederate states could supply themselves with direly needed wares. Ships filled with goods--some for the war effort, others for Southern consumers--left Nassau, the Bahamas; Havana, Cuba; the West Indies; and Bermuda attempting to sneak by the Union Navy. However, the Union Navy succeeded in closing many harbors such as Mobile, Alabama, which was deep enough to accommodate large ships.

The U.S. Navy had to grow rapidly to perform its roles. Though in 1861 it consisted of just 42 warships, by 1865 it had grown to 675 vessels. The North converted ships originally designed for other functions, such as whalers and tugs, and built others from scratch, many of which adopted the latest technology. The most famous example of innovation was the ironclad or "monitor" ships, which were named after the first vessel of its kind. The USS Monitor and subsequent, similar warships were armored with iron plate that was supposed to make them hard to sink. Union warships gradually added other features, including steam engines and more powerful guns. To counteract the Union Navy, the Confederates introduced a new weapon, which they called a "torpedo." Torpedoes were cheap, easily produced underwater mines that could seriously damage or sink ironclad ships.

The Union's armored ships and the Confederate's torpedoes clashed in combat during the summer of 1864 at Mobile Bay in Alabama. In July, Admiral Farragut prepared to lead the Union Navy in an attack on Fort Morgan, which guarded the mouth of Mobile Bay. In the previous two years he had seized New Orleans and Galveston, and he was now ready to close the last major port still available to blockade runners on the Gulf of Mexico.

3 posted on 07/08/2003 12:06:02 AM PDT by SAMWolf (When in doubt, use brute force.)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; *all
Good morning Sam, snippy, everyone!

Hope you have a wonderful day.
28 posted on 07/08/2003 6:09:26 AM PDT by Soaring Feather
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To: SAMWolf; AntiJen; snippy_about_it; SpookBrat; souris; MistyCA; PhilDragoo; All
Evening friends. I'm so late, but better late…

I have about 200 pings and I don't think I can even respond 10%, LOL. I'm late!

Hope everyone is having a great evening.

click on the graphic

79 posted on 07/08/2003 7:20:41 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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