& USS Alabama
We entered Alabama along the Gulf Coast, heading for the mouth of Mobile Bay. This
was the site of an important Civil War naval battle on August 5th, 1864. First we
visited Fort Gaines,
on the western side of the bay:
These cannons used to point at Union ships, but now they only
menace some oil rigs. The
Battle of Mobile Bay was one of several that
demonstrated that modern firepower, in the form of rifled cannon that could
strike with greatly increased accuracy, had rendered obsolete these massive
old forts. Fort Gaines had brick walls several feet thick and was aided by two
other nearby forts. Still, the Union fleet handily defeated them.
This is the anchor from the USS Hartford,
Admiral Farragut's flagship. The
Rebs had laced the entrance to the bay with mines (then called
"torpedoes"), one of which sank the USS Tecumseh as the Union fleet entered.
Rather than falter, Farragut announced, "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!"
From Fort Gaines we set out across Mobile Bay on a ferry, whence we captured another
shot for our Photo Tour of Southern Industry.
The ferry took us to Fort Morgan. We'd show some pictures of that, but it's
too similar to Fort Gaines, and not much of the Civil War-era structure is left.
Next stop: Mobile. We visited the
USS Alabama, which is famous for escaping
nine World War II battles unscathed. The Princess joined us for an inspection:
During our tour Chris was possessed by the ghost of
Cuba Gooding, Jr.:
There's lovely Mobile off in the distance:
Before taking off we visited the rest of the site's collection of war machines
including a predecessor to the SR-71 Blackbird, several other jets, some
UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, but not the Predator), and a submarine. But
none of them had as many guns as the Alabama:
After trying and failing to secure some barbecue at The Brick Pit in Mobile,
we headed to Montgomery where we spent the night.