“Statue of Rear Admiral Semmes of the C.S. Navy, Mobile, Alabama.” -Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
There was a dispatch on Friday last from New-Orleans, dated the 1st inst., which announced that Maj.-Gen. CANBY and Staff had left that city for the vicinity of Mobile. Our army in that Department, which has recently been greatly enlarged by the arrival from Tennessee of the splendid corps of Gen. A.J. SMITH, has been reorganized, and now consists of two compact and powerful corps — the Thirteenth, Gen. GORDON GRANGER, and the Sixteenth, Gen. A.J. SMITH — the whole army being under control of Maj.-Gen. CANBY, commanding the Department of the Gulf. Beside this infantry force, there is a strong cavalry division, under command of Gen. KNIPE. The army is thus a very effective one, both as regards numbers, material and commanders. Part of the army has been for some time at Fort Gains, in front of Mobile, part at Pensacola, last of the city, and the remainder at New-Orleans, but the probabilities are that the whole of it is now encamped within the city of Mobile.
Rear Admiral THATCHER arrived at New-Orleans at the close of last month, and assumed command of the West Gulf Squadron, vice Commodore PALMER, who is to command the vessels left at New-Orleans. The latest news we have of the movements of our naval forces in front of Mobile, is contained in the following rebel dispatch, which we find in the Richmond papers of Thursday last:
MOBILE, Feb. 28, Via CHAROLOTTE, N.C., March 7.
Twenty-two steamers and six Mississippi River transports are in the Lower Bay, and a large number of troops are reported on Dauphin Island and Pensacola, indicating an early attack on this city.
It will be seen, by the above, that it is ten days between the date of a dispatch at Mobile and the date of its publication in the Richmond papers, mainly owing to the difficulties and the breakage in communication since the success of Gen. SHERMAN in his march. So that, even though Mobile were captured by our army and navy last week, we could not hear of it through the rebels for some time; and we will, in all likelihood, get the first intelligence of the event, either through a dispatch-boat by sea from Mobile, or by a dispatch-boat up the Mississippi River and telegraph from Cairo.
We had for a time reports of the rebel evacuation of Mobile; but our well-informed correspondent near the spot recently made an explicit denial of this, and said that on the contrary, the rebel fortifications covering the city had been materially strengthened, and the garrison of the city heavily reinforced. A large amount of ordnance and ordnance stores had been received from Columbus, Ga., while upward of eight thousand negroes had been at work upon the fortifications. Rebel railroad and telegraphic communications between Mobile and Central Alabama was in an uninterrupted state. Gens. RICHARD TAYLOR, CHALMERS, DANIEL H. MAURY, and other luminaries of lesser brilliancy, were at Mobile. On the 15th ult., an order was issued calling upon every able-bodied mail person to bear arms, and on the evening of the same day a jubilee took place, upon which occasion speeches were made by the prominent rebel Generals in the city. These orations were in the usual style of the rebel last ditch efforts; and judging from the history of the past, we should imagine they were precursors of the flight or defeat of the rebel army at Mobile.
From the Mobile Register.
A refugee from Mobile, says the Clarion, informs the editor of the New-Orleans Times that “the evacuation of the place commenced on the day of his departure, and that guns and ordnance stores were going to Selma by rail and water. Simultaneously with this movement a sweeping conscription was going on among the citizens of Mobile, to escape which people were fleeing from the city by squads. It was the general impression in Mobile that no defence of the city would be attempted. Its garrison was small, and composed of militia alone, under the command of Generals TAYLOR and MAURY.” This will be news to the Mobilians certainly. If the editor of the Times could witness the preparations that are being made for GRANGER & CO., he would hardly credit the stories of skulkers in future. Semper paratus is the watchword of Gen. TAYLOR.
From the Mobile Register.
The forces of Gen. THOMAS, which were lately on the borders of North Alabama, and were destined, as our friends in the interior confidently believed, to march southward, taking Montgomery and Selma in their route, have left that region and been moved down the Tennessee River. We now learn that when they reached the Mississippi they turned down that stream, and a portion of them having encamped a few days near Vicksburgh, the whole once more embarked, still steering down the river. A few days will develop their destination. Mobile would seem to have the preference in the mind of the speculator in probabilities. It may be that THOMAS thinks Pensacola a better base and starting point for a march into the interior, while he can pay his respects to this city in passing. At the same time, he was nearer to Montgomery where he started from in the North, than he will be after having steamed a thousand miles round to Pensacola. On the other hand, there is a report by scouts of the preparation of a siege train at New-Orleans adequate to the investment of a city, upon the fortifications of which the engineering talent of the Confederacy has been employed for four years. So large an army as that of THOMAS and CANBY combined, it is surmised, may be designed for more distant operations in the Trans-Mississippi, especially as this is the only season of the year when gunboats and heavy transports can ascend Red River.
A few days must develop the intentions of the enemy. If he comes this way, it is fortunate that we are in better condition as to actual strength to give him the welcome due him, than we have been for any time during two years past, and as to spirit, that of the army and people was never more determined. The late meeting in front of Fortress Monroe has intensified the feeling of resistance, and the next battles with the enemy will show that our men will fight as they never fought before.
From the Mobile Tribune.
The absence of news by telegraph ought to occasion no uneasiness. The communication between this section and Richmond, in the nature of things, must be difficult. SHERMAN is trying to get between us and the capital, and our army is trying to prevent him. So, of course, if there be need of railroad transportation for troops, it is better that they should move than that the mails should come through on schedule time. The general impression is that no news by telegraph means that bad news is lagging behind. This is a mistake; but it has its bad effect. It makes long faces on the streets. It gives play to the imagination. It furnishes reason for the croaker to croak; but, inasmuch as the croakers do nothing for the public safety, their desires one may say, ought not to be consulted. Croaking will not help the cause. Grumbling will not put a soldier in the field. Rather otherwise. It may help to paralize true men. So it follows that croaking is not good for the general welfare.
The Mobile Army & Navy Crisis contains the following appeal to the women of Alabama and Mississippi:
We write under a deep sense of responsibility. The fate of our country is suspended on the events of a few short months. By virtue of prompt, earnest, faithful efforts, we may be redeemed from a fate worse than death, and our country may be blessed with peace and free government. If we sleep, or if we meanly and ignobly refuse to listen to the calls of our struggling, bleeding land, we may plunge into a yawning abyss of degradation, ruin and misery, and fall like the darkened star to rise no more. In this fearful issue, no class of human beings have so much at stake as the women of the South. There are truths — there are threatened evils which we are not permitted to describe, but which all good and well informed ladies can imagine for themselves.
It may be asked, what of this? And what can the women do for the country? We answer, before God, we believe they can do more than all the men — more than all the armies of the South can do, if these armies are left wholly without your aid. Come, honored daughters of the land, come, and let us reason together for one moment. You ask, do we want your jewelry and plate to redeem the currency? No, no. We can pay our debts once we are free, and our commerce is restored. What we want is infinitely more preciously than jewelry. What we want is not the redemption of the currency, but the redemption of homes, our fair fields, our altars and temples!
In different ages of the world heroic and patriotic women have sacrificed at the shrine of their country’s safety and honor. The mothers of ancient Israel, of Sparta, and of Rome, have left an immortal record of what true womanhood can do for their own land in the hour of its peril.
Come, then, women of these great commonwealths, rise to the grandeur and dignity of this time of peril, and leave on the pages of our history a proud and glorious record of the spirit and deeds of Southern women.
Know then, that more than one-third of the whole number of soldiers whose names are on the rolls are not in the army with their brethren, ready to defend you and to beat back the foe; but they are absent without leave, loafing, skulking, or hiding from duty! Know, further, that this state of things would be simply impossible, if public opinion at home did not tolerate this shameless desertion of duty. Never would these straggling soldiers remain a single week at home, in the criminal desertion of their flag, if the women of the country would take the matter in hand.
For this purpose it is only necessary for you to exert the power with which Providence has invested you. The way to exert this power is plain. Let the principal and elderly ladies of each community assemble, and give some suitable and becoming form to an earnest appeal to every absent soldier, and to each skulker from duty, to repair at once to the army. Call upon these truant men to go forth for your defence. And then resolve, and make the resolution public, that you will not recognize, nor receive into your social circles, any man who is improperly absent from his command, or evades the proper service of his country.
Let this be done generally, and 40,000 soldiers will be added to our ranks! Let that number increase our forces and we are redeemed! Your country will be free! The war will end.
Let some one city or town set the example. Then let city answer to country, and town to hamlet.
Oh, will you not do this much? It may save your children from manacles, your old men from slaughter, your homes from desolation, your daughters from violence, your country from ruin! Will you not do only this much? If not, your house may be left to you desolate! Will Columbus, Miss., or Montgomery, or Selma, or Aberdeen, or Tuscaloosa, or Mobile, or Jackson, or Demopolis have the spirit to set the example?
No human being can object to this being done. No woman, who is worthy of being called a woman, can reasonably object to prescribing a rule in her social intercourse, dictated by a sense of justice and public virtue. No man, of whatever name, or age, or position, can object to such action on the part of Southern ladies.
Will they — oh, will they only aid their endangered country in this simple mode?
If they do not, history may record that their influence was thus invoked, and they refused to exert it!
-Article courtesy of The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/1865/03/13/archives/operations-against-mobile-our-army-and-navy-in-front-if-not-in-the.html
June 5, 2020 — Statue of Civil War’s Admiral Raphael Semmes in Mobile removed overnight, by 6WBRC News
MOBILE, Ala. — The statue of Civil War Admiral Raphael Semmes has been removed from its longstanding place in downtown Mobile. The statue was removed overnight, and residents noticed it gone early Friday morning…
Semmes was an officer in the Confederate navy. He commanded the CSS Alabama. FOX10 News is reaching out to officials for information about the removal of the statue. Around the country, other monuments to the Confederacy and Civil War figures have been removed in recent times, including this week a monument in Birmingham’s Linn Park.
On Sunday in Birmingham, prior to that monument’s removal, hundreds of people gathered in Linn Park, chanting and listening to speakers decrying police brutality. Some in the crowd toppled a bronze statue of city industrialist Charles Linn, who served in the Confederate Navy, but they were unable to budge the huge stone obelisk of the large Confederate monument. They battered it instead with stones and hammers, the Associated Press reported, and city leaders subsequently ordered its removal.