Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Dropping by to Borrow Some Dahlgrens

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on December 30, 2013

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I found this image at LoC this evening. I’ve seen others taken at the same time, but not this combination of officers. The first three seated officers are (l. to r.) Army General Gordon Granger, Admiral David G. Farragut, and Farragut’s Flag Captain, Percival Drayton (of the Drayton Hall Draytons, natch). The fourth seated officer and the two standing, I don’t know. Only Farragut is identified on the LoC site.

The LoC caption is a garbled mess:

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This photo was taken Aug. 1864 on porch of commandant’s house. Lt. Gaines during conferences on placing a battery of the Hartfords’ 9th Dahlgren’s guns in the rear of Ft. Morgan.​

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What I believe it shows is a meeting on the porch of the Commandant’s House at Fort Gaines, discussing the placement of Hartford‘s IX-inch Dahlgrens on the rear (east) side of Fort Morgan, to assist in the siege of that position. This would date the photo between August 8, 1864, when Gaines fell, and August 22, when Granger’s troops began their bombardment of Fort Morgan. Farragut and Granger got on fairly well; the admiral wrote of the general, “Granger is more of a man than I took him for, [he] attends to almost all the work so far as keeping others up to their mark.” The navy eventually lent Granger four Dahlgrens, with crews to man them from Hartford, Brooklyn, Lackawana and Richmond. Farragut also sent Lieutenant Herbert Tyson from Hartford to take charge of the guns on shore, so possibly Tyson is one of the other officers shown. The four naval guns were placed in two positions, about 1,400 and 1,500 yards from the fort’s walls, collectively designated “Battery Farragut.”

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a-Percival_Drayton-1aUpdate, December 31: The meeting must have been prior to August 19, as well, because on that date Drayton (right) mentioned the planned battery when he wrote to an old friend, warning him not to be taken in by over-optimistic speculation in the North about the Mobile campaign:

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However your neiqhbours feel, don’t allow yourself to be too sanguine about [the capture of the city of] Mobile. Fort Morgan has at least to be taken first, as until then not a man can be spared for anything else. We are getting a naval battery of four nine inch guns to bear upon it, but you know how difficult breaching is where the glacis entirely protects the scarp, and if the garrison has any endurance, the place must be carried by regular approaches and finally assault. At least our passage of the forts is the single piece of good luck this year. Everywhere else we have either been beaten or remained pretty much at a stand off.

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Morgan actually fell four days later, without the assault anticipated by Captain Drayton, saving a great many lives on both sides.

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GeneralStarsGray

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8 Responses

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  1. Craig Swain said, on December 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    There are several parallels (pun intended) between the Morris Island campaign of ’63 and the Mobile Bay campaign of ’64. One of which is the “loaning” of heavy guns by the Navy to the Army’s siege efforts. The big Dahlgren guns made for good siege guns.

  2. pycarecen said, on December 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Happy New Year. I have appreciated your blog posts throughout 2013.

    • Andy Hall said, on December 31, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      You too, Pat. Enjoy the sauerbratten and red cabbage!

      • pycarecen said, on December 31, 2013 at 3:39 pm

        I’ll enjoy it several times, believe me.

  3. corkingiron said, on January 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Happy New Year, Andy.

    • Andy Hall said, on January 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      You too, Sandy. Keep swingin’ that ban-hammer, my friend.

  4. H. E. Parmer said, on January 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Having spent a week in the Fort Morgan area during early August, I can’t imagine wearing a wool uniform with long johns underneath, in that heat and humidity. (Is there such a thing as terminal prickly heat?) Truly, these guys were made of sterner stuff.

    Happy New Year, Andy. Your blog has been a great resource, always interesting and often very entertaining, for me and no doubt quite a few others.

    • Andy Hall said, on January 2, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Happy New Year to you, as well.

      My visit to Forts Gaines and Morgan was in the winter, but the climate and geography there are substantially the same as here, so yeah, most unpleasant in wool, during August.


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