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1864 February 13: Rebel Mutiny at Fort Morgan in Mobile, Alabama

February 18, 2014

The “From North Carolina” article was followed in The Prescott Journal of February 13, 1864, with this article.  This is not the Battle of Mobile Bay, which will not occur until August 5, 1864.  Fort Morgan, which will be important in that battle, is also mentioned here.  It is a star-shaped fort at the mouth of Mobile Bay.  Confederate volunteers had captured the fort on January 3, 1861, eight days before Alabama seceded from the Union.  The fort was important because it was opposite the main shipping channel, which had the only water deep enough for major warships to pass.  During the War, Fort Morgan provided protective fire for blockade runners.

The New York Times reprinted this article—from the Boston Journal—in its February 6, 1864, issue.

“Rebel Mutiny at Mobile.”

A correspondent of the Boston Journal, on board the gunboat Jackson, at Ship Island, writes, on the 18th ult. [January], as follows:

“Last night, about 6¹ o’clock, a small sailboat came down the Sound with some very important intelligence.  The rebels in Fort Morgan revolted, and during the difficulty the rebel gunboats in Mobile Bay attempted to arrest the garrison of the fort, the whole fort being in revolt and with the American flag flying.  They opened on the rebel gunboats with every gun in the fort.  They succeeded in driving the gunboats off, but were not on guard, and that night a large force was sent from Mobile, capturing the whole garrison, except four men who escaped in the darkness in a small boat and came to Ship Island, when we heard from them the first time astounding intelligence.

“Since then we have heard more of the revolt from some additional deserters.  Seventy of the revolters are condemned to be shot to-day in Mobile.  We also learn from these deserters that on Horn Island up the Sound there are 18 deserters from the rebel army.  In and around Mobile and Round Island there are 50 deserters from the same quarter.  These deserters bring the very important information that the rebel army in and around Mobile have organized secret societies, determined to fight no longer.  It is said that the movement was started among the soldiers, is growing stronger, and many officers are comprised in the movement.  I think this is the most important movement since the war began and is most significant in favor of its successful termination.  I am confident that this news is true.”

The New York Times article concludes with one more paragraph:

“In consequence of this important news, last night at 11 o’clock we received orders, if possible, to get up steam by daylight this morning, and the steamer to proceed up the Sound to get these deserters.  We got up steam and started up the Sound; but after proceeding about one mile the boilers began leaking, and gradually leaking so fast that we were compelled to put back.  Expect to get away by daylight to morrow morning.”

1.  The New York Times article says 10 o’clock.

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