Question of the Week: 8/24-8/30/20

Let’s head for the seaside…

In your opinion, which seacoast or coastal harbor fort was most important during the Civil War? Why?

16 Responses to Question of the Week: 8/24-8/30/20

  1. Fort Monroe – both for its strategic placing on land and sea to control the region and be a Federal base, and the role it played in emancipation.

  2. Fort Sumter for its symbolic role in starting the war and for successfully defending Charleston throughout including against DuPont’s monitors in April 1863. The Union made short work of other Confederate coastal forts–Pulaski, New Orleans, Mobile–although Fisher was a harder nut to crack.

  3. Fort Monroe – it was the central area of the war. It was guarding Hampton Roads, James River (Richmond), Norfolk Seaport, Norfolk Naval base, Virginia Peninsula. To some degree the York River and the Chesapeake Bay.

  4. New York City, the shipping center for exports and imports to Europe and elsewhere; gold from CA and grain from the west; and there was no way the Confederacy could do anything about it, other than win,

  5. I would have to go with Fort Fisher as the winner. It was the last major port to fall and it supplied Lee during the siege of Petersburg. Besides you have got to like Burnside and his failed attempt to blow it up in December of 1864.

  6. How about Mobile. At least until August of 1864 the last remaining supply depot for the Confederacy.

    1. “Damn the torpedoes…”
      It’s one of the most-used quotes from the Civil War, and yet few really know what Farragut was doing that Summer of 1864 in Mobile Bay. When he left with his 18 ships at the end of August (two were destroyed during the operation), Forts Blakely and Spanish Fort were still in Rebel hands, as was the City of Mobile.
      Blakely and Spanish Fort with their land mines were not subjugated until April 1865 and City of Mobile surrendered 12 APR 1865.

    2. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Wilmington also a supply depot? Did it not fall later than Mobile?

      I was thinking of Mobile as well. If the Union had taken it sooner, I think the Confederacy might possibly have collapsed a few moments earlier than it did. Rank speculation though.

  7. Because all of the obvious ones have been selected, I’m gonna go with Ft. Pickens. A case can be made that the REAL ‘first shots’ of the Civil War took place in and around Pensacola, FL. Ft. Pickens was one of the very few US forts to remain in Union hands throughout the war. Once New Orleans was taken its importance to the Union war effort was no doubt diminished. But it still has a compelling story of its own.

    1. Darn I wish there was an edit function on here. My comment above should have read “Ft. Pickens was one of the very few SOUTHERN US forts to remain in Union hands throughout the war.”

  8. During the Civil War period, the port of Matamoros on the southern banks of the Rio Grande across from Brownsville Texas. It kept the CSA commerce alive for cotton and equipment between the South, England and France.

  9. All good answers.

    How about Forts Walker and Beauregard on Port Royal Sound in SC? The forts were captured in Nov. 1861 and resulted in Hilton Head Island, Beauford, SC and other parts of the low country coastline between Savannah and Charleston being occupied by Yankees.

    The threat these occupation troops posed forced Rebs to keep significant numbers of soldiers stationed in Savannah and Charleston throughout most of the war, troops that could have been used in other theaters.

    Also, the Hilton Head-Beauford area became the main staging area for the Union’s blockade of the Confederacy’s East Coast ports.

    And finally, runaway slaves flocked to Hilton Head, setting up their own self-governing community, Mitchelville. The former slaves – with help from Northern abolitionists – established the first public education system in the South that required attendance by all youngsters.

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