Fort Powell and the Civil War: Western Approaches to Mobile Bay, 1861-1865


Fort Powell was a small Civil War fort built on an oyster reef on the north side of Grants Pass in Alabama. Fort Powell survived one attack from the front but was not ready for the attack from the rear and was blown up by its own garrison. Yet it served its purpose for a time and its history, which includes the history of those who built, defended and attacked it, deserves to be told. This history of the defense of the western approach to Mobile Bay details the reasons Grants Pass was fortified and also covers the additional fortifications built on Little Dauphin Island and Cedar Point. It includes the building of Fort Powell in several stages, its temporary abandonment, and its successful repulsion of Admiral Farragut’s fleet in February 1864. The author offers insight into the lives of the troops on the isolated island fort and the difficulties of the engineers in securing men and materials to build it. The early history of lower bay forts and pre-Civil War efforts to fortify the western approach to Mobile Bay are chronicled. A wealth of illustrations, photographs and maps enhance the text. Appendices include a timeline for “The 21st Alabama Regiment and Lt. Colonel J. M. Williams” and a timeline for “Grants Pass Water Bottoms and Grants Island Possession and Ownership.” An index to full-names, places and subjects adds to the value of this work.

Sidney H. Schell

2012, 8½x11, paper, index, 224 pp.

ISBN: 9780788454257