Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant John S. Morgan: Wednesday, April 12, 1865

Were waked up at daylight & most of the men had made coffee when the Regt. was ordered on board the Gulf Steamer. Genl Banks, Genl Granger & suit embark on the same boat, as we are about the last Regt to embark the fleet set sail immediately, the fleet consisted of 6 musketo gunboats & about as many transports, two men of war, these boats carried the 13th A. C. the gunboat Cincinatti took the lead across the Bay arond with a torpedo rake. I was surprised that the Land batteries in the Bay did not open on us as we were in good range of it, crossed over to cat fish landing. A man of war run up close & lifted a shell over which called no reply but caused a display of white rags at every house along the landing. A boat was sent ashore which brought back word that there was no enemy in Mobile & the Mayor would surrender the city at the approach of our army. Genl Grangers orders were to beach the boats & men to wade on shore, but these orders were not carried out where it was certain there was no enemy, the boats run up to an old pier hardly stout enough to hold itself up. & the men disembarked. slowly, our boat was not light enough draft to move up to the pier & we were transferred to another boat and landed at 11. o clock. Admiral Thatcher was on board our boat before we disembarked. I hear the navy feel very soar about the little work they have done to reduce Mobile. When the sand forts were fond to be evacuated Genl Granger determined to run the Genl Banks to the city although the Admiral was afraid to run his musketo boat with a torpedo rake to the city. Col. Mackey wanted to have the regt remain on the boat & go in with the Genl but he would not allow it saying “I dont want to loose the men but if they blow me up with a torpedo they may blow & be D—d” his boat went in without running on any torpedo although the pilot was unacquainted with the channel & run by guess we lay arond on the banks after disembarking until 1. P. M. when we started for Mobile but from some cause we moved slow moving about 200 yds & then rest an hour so it took until dusk to get us in camp between the 1st & 2d lines of fortification about the city & about 1 mile from the city, I take a look at some of the forts an the line of forts which are the best earth works I ever saw & cannot understand how Genl Maury got the consent of his mind to leave such works without firing a gun. The forts mounted large Siege guns of heavy calibre many of them marked “Selma Mob 1865.” the guns were all well spiked & carriages mostly destroyed most of the magazines were open & much of the ammunition destroyed although there was a great amont left, the citizens close by tell me that not much of the cotton was burned for Genl Canby sent in word if the cotton was burned he would burn the city. The big fire we noticed last night was the burning of the navy yard. Say when the Rebs left the commissaries with 6 months rations for the men were thrown open & citizens helped themselves, in the rush several citizens were hurt. a Co of Reb cavalry did not leave until our army was disembarkng & a small squad remained in town until the straglers who run ahead of the command were entering the city they snatched up one of these straglers & made off with him. The 1st Brig marched into town & 8th Ill was put on provost duty.

SOURCE: “Diary of John S. Morgan, Company G, 33rd Iowa Infantry,” Annals of Iowa, 3rd Series, Vol. 13, No. 8, April 1923, p. 589-90

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