Mobile (WALA) – On the morning of August 5th 1864 rear Admiral David Farragut lead a union fleet into Mobile Bay. They were under tremendous fire from Fort Morgan and approaching a field of underwater mines which took out one of their lead ships. Farragut had a choice to make, and he made it when uttered the famous phrase “Damn the torpedoes!! Full speed ahead!”
Mobile historian, David Smithweck said, “He really had no choice, because if he had stopped the fleet where it was you were only a 100 yards off of Fort Morgan and the guns at Fort Morgan would have just blown the fleet to pieces.”
Faragut didn’t stop, and Mobile was cut-off. The battle was pivotal because Mobile was a lifeline for the confederacy to trade cotton with England for arms and supplies.
Union re-enactor Joseph Lesek is taking part in the anniversary commemorations. He explained the situation President Lincoln was in, “Lincoln really wanted to take Mobile to cut-off all of the supplies of the south. Once Sherman took over Atlanta, pretty much the South was defeated. That secured the presidential nomination of Abraham Lincoln in 1864.”
COMMEMORATIVE STAMP UNVEILED
Wednesday morning, this pivotal battle is forever commemorated on a stamp. It was unveiled to a standing room only crowd at the Mobile Museum of History, an event that brought history to life.
Youngster, Jay Carter, told us “It feels like you’re in the war. You’re in where it shows. It makes it feel real.”
For a historian, the level of interest shown for the stamp’s unveiling is great to see.
“A lot of people are just not aware how big it was, how important it was,” Smithweck said. “Hopefully this will bring that to the forefront.”
The stamp itself is recreation of a painting by Julian Davidson. It shows the Union fleet under fire from Fort Morgan.
You can order them from USPS.com or get them from your local post office.