Following the fall of nearby Spanish Fort, Alabama on the night of April 8, 1865, orders were
issued to take Blakeley by assault.
The significance of this event is that it took place just hours after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee miles away in Virginia.
It was a major news event in the ongoing coverage of the Civil War by "Harper's Weekly" of May 17, 1865. "Probably the last charge
of this war, it was as gallant as any on record," Harper's reported.
E.R.S. Canby's forces, the XVI and XIII corps, moved along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, forcing the Confederates back into their defenses. Union forces then concentrated on Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. By April 1, Union forces had enveloped Spanish Fort, thereby releasing more troops to focus on Fort Blakeley.
Brig. Gen. St. John R. Liddell, with about 4,000 men, held out against the much larger Union force until Spanish Fort fell on April 8, allowing Canby to concentrate 16,000 men for the attack on April 9. Sheer numbers breached the Confederate earthworks compelling the Confederates to capitulate.
The siege and capture of Fort Blakely was basically the last combined-force battle of the war. African-American forces played a major role in the successful Union assault. Ironically, this was the largest battle fought in the State of Alabama during the Civil War and it took place hours after the war was over.
The battle grounds, now part of Historic Blakeley State Park created in 1981 to preserve the National Register Site, are just a few miles north of Spanish Fort, Alabama. Remains of earthen forts old rifle pits, redoubts and battery sites dot the parks.
The park now offers camping sites and numerous nature trails overlooking the beautiful Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of Alabama's Ten Natural Wonders.
On April 9-10, 2011, Blakeley Park held a reenactment of the final battle of the American Civil War, "The Battle of Blakeley." We enjoyed the reenactments and have put together four videos that will lead you through the scenes. We hope you enjoy them and if you have any comments, please feel free to send them to us as usual.