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Battle of Blakeley

The last major battle of the Civil War was fought here in 1865, ending on the same day, but just after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee miles away in Virginia.

The Confederate cannons were set up on the west side of the battlefield. Their camps were well behind the line of cannons and during lull periods the soldiers could rest there out of the direct fire of the Union guns. They would generally fight all day and repair the damaged works by night. The only shelter they had were pieces of canvas they could put up in the trenches over them. The fortification shown above had 4 working cannons and a mortar. The veteran cannoneers were from Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The Confederate rifle pits shown above were in the front lines. They each held an average of five soldiers. The soldiers were placed here to break up sorties, work parties, to keep the enemy out of the nearby ravine, and to keep them at a respectable distance. Soldiers remained in the pits all day or all night taking their rations of corn, crackers, water, and ammunition with them.

On the nights of April 6 and 7, Confederates conducted sorties at the signal of a blue flare in the ravine shown above . They were made to break up Union working parties efforts to construct a position for their cannons.

The main Union trench was 500 yards from the Confederate line of resistance. This distance was within range of their rifled musket guns.  The trench is shown above.

The Union battery shown above held three ‘12 pounder’ Napoleon cannons that pounded the Confederate position 500 yards away. At daybreak on April 7 the guns were silenced by the superior shell fire of the Confederate artillery. More work rebuilding the fortification was necessary before the guns were again able to provide effective fire.

At 5:25 pm on April 9, 1865, the Union troops began their advance on the Confederate positions. They jumped out and moved quickly towards the ravine and began taking casualties after having left the trench 20 yards behind. As they passed over their own rifle pits the men detailed to them joined the advance. When the Confederates saw the massive array of bluecoats running towards them they were at first disposed to holding their positions and to continue firing. However, as the Union line neared, those Confederates in the pits not wounded or killed surrendered or retreated to their cannon fortification. The cannons could not be fired for fear of hitting their own soldiers and the Union troops reached the wall before the cannons could be lowered for firing close up. The Confederates returned fire from their muskets, but as the 2500 Union soldiers entered the fortification they surrendered quickly or retreated to the nearby woods. The Confederate soldiers in the woods rallied and continued firing as the Union troops were ordered to push on to the river.

The total estimated loss for the Confederates in the Blakeley campaign was 100 killed, 300 wounded, and 3050 captured.

The total estimated loss for the Union in the Blakeley campaign was 116 killed, 655 wounded, and 4 missing.

William Henry Stone was captured here during this campaign and sent to the Union Prison on Ship Island, off the coast of Gulfport, Mississippi.

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