“Damn the Torpedoes”: The Battle of Mobile Bay and Civil War Pensacola May 1-4, 2013

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Wednesday, May 1 (7pm)-Saturday, May 4 (Noon)
Mobile, Alabama
Led by John Quarstein
Tour Registration Fee: $495

Damn the TorpedoesVisible signs of 19th century Mobile, Alabama still linger among the tree-lined streets of this port city. Our tour will tap into this charm as we explore the many and varied historic sites that still remain in and around Mobile and Pensacola, Florida.

Our first day will take us to Pensacola. Our first stop will be the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, so bring your photo ID. On the base is Fort Barrancas, a third system coastal fortification completed in the 1844 to guard Pensacola Bay. Abandoned by the Federals in January 1861, the Confederates held it until reinforcements were needed in the spring of 1862 in other parts of the Confederacy. Fort Barrancas is one of the most unique masonry forts I’ve ever seen and well worth the visit. Its long covered passageway to the Spanish Water Battery (ca. 1797) can only be described as “really cool.” Also on the grounds of the NAS is the Advanced Redoubt, another masonry fort used to protect the naval shipyard. We’ll circle around the bay to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island. It was occupied by Federal troops throughout the Civil War and bombarded Fort Barrancas in November 1861. It location made it valuable as a coastal defense up until 1947, so there are several 20th artillery batteries still extant on the island. The famous Apache warrior, Geronimo was incarcerated at Fort Pickens in 1887. Time permitting we’ll visit the site of Fort George, a British post surrendered to the Spanish in 1781, marking the longest siege of the American Revolution.

On Friday we’ll concentrate on Mobile Bay, visiting Fort Morgan, the Confederate stronghold which sought to prevent Adm. David Glasgow Farragut’s fleet from entering the bay. Modern-day freighters still ply the same channel, giving you a glimpse of what the Union fleet faced in August 1864. Weather-permitting, we’ll take a ferry from Fort Morgan to Fort Gaines on the bay’s west side to see how those defenses were constructed. There will also be a stop at the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, a grand Greek Revival structure built in 1855. General Braxton Bragg was a frequent visitor and lived at the house for a time after the war.

But Mobile did not fall after Farragut’s victory. On Saturday we’ll stop at the Mobile City Museum because its excellent Civil War room and separate exhibit on the CSS Alabama which includes an original cannon from the ship and Raphael Semmes’ sword is well worth seeing. Then we’ll go to the sites of Spanish Fort and Fort McDermott which remained in Confederate hands until April 1865 when Union Maj. Gen. Edward Canby forced the Southerners to evacuate their positions. We’ll also visit the site of Fort Blakely which fell to Federal forces on April 9, 1865 which some call the last major battle of the Civil War.

Tour Registration Fee $495.00

What’s included: motor coach transportation, three lunches, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of an experienced tour guide- historian. Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel and for securing a room reservation, if necessary. Tour goes out rain or shine. Please bring photo identification with you to gain access to some sites on this tour.

Hotel: We have arranged with the headquarters hotel for a group rate of $94.00 per night plus tax (double or single occupancy.) Please call the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 29725 Woodrow Lane, Daphne, AL 36526 at 251-6211223 and ask for the America’s History group rate. This rate will be guaranteed until April 1, so please make your reservations soon.

Our Tour Guide/Historian: Dr. John V. Quarstein, an award-winning author and preservationist, is an experienced tour leader and a much sought after speaker on all periods of American history. He is the author of fifteen books including CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender, The Monitor Boys and A History of Ironclads: the Power of Iron Over Wood. He is a consultant to the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia and serves of the boards of the Virginia Civil War Trails, Fort Monroe Area Authority and the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission Advisory Board.


Register Online:

Register by phone, e-mail or postal mail:

  • Toll-free: 1-855-OUR-HISTORY (687-4478)
  • Email us at: info@AmericasHistoryLLC.com
  • Postal mail: America’s History LLC, P. O. Box 1076, Goochland, VA 23063

Visa, Master Card and Discover accepted. We take checks too!

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