Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dauphin Island

We stopped in Mobile for several days to visit the forts which at one time protected Mobile's harbor. The first fort we headed to was on Dauphin Island, on the west side of Mobile Bay.

Out front was this large piece of rotting wood, which is actually a piece of ship built in the 1800s. It washed ashore during Hurricane George in 1998. In the process of washing ashore it also wiped out a house. No other information is known about this ship, its crew or when it perished.

Fort Gaines. Built in 1821, it guarded Mobile Bay. During the Civil War it kept the Union from taking Mobile Bay until 1864. But the Union navy blockaded the bay, keeping much needed supplies from Mobile. Admiral Farragut made his famous statement, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" , when he took Mobile Bay and Fort Gaines in 1864.

The fort continued to guard Mobile Bay until the early 1900s.

Their latreen system, used in many of these forts, was a series of holes which emptied into the moat below. High tide would wash the area clean daily. Sometimes it worked and in some instances, such as Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West, the design was flawed. When it didn't work mosquitoes caused many diseases and soldiers died, not from the war, but from illness.

Now these cannons look out over the many oil dericks and platforms in and around Mobile Bay.

The ferry, which runs daily, carrying both cars and passengers, from Dauphin Island across the bay to Fort Morgan.

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