This Week in the Civil War - #888
By August 1864 Mobile, Alabama and Wilmington, North Carolina were the two most important ports in the entire Confederacy still open to commerce willing to run the Federal blockade. The Union Navy determined that Mobile, Alabama would be easier to attack, despite two, strategically placed forts which guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay and the presence of Confederate naval armament, including the powerful ironclad CSS Tennessee. On Wednesday, August 3, 1864 Federal forces landed on Dauphin Island and surrounded Fort Gaines on the west side of Mobile Bay. Fort Gaines, though sieged, continued to protect Mobile Bay from the west, while Fort Morgan protected the bay from the east. Any Union naval invasion would have to pass between Fort Gaines and Morgan, while running a three-mile long channel into Mobile Harbor.