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The Rebel Tombigbee Squadron-Civil War and boats on the Tombigbee River

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Belle Montgomery, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Belle Montgomery

    Belle Montgomery First Sergeant

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    [​IMG]
    The Steamer Magnolia as she appeared in the London Illustrated News of May 4, 1861. Before the Civil War, the Magnolia was in the Upper Tombigbee-Mobile trade. During the war she became a transport steamer as part of the Confederate Tombigbee Squadron at Demopolis. Photo by: Courtesy photo

    -Two weeks ago I wrote of the poem the Blue and the Gray and Friendship Cemetery on the banks of the Tombigbee River. I quoted the beginning verses of the poem:




    "By the flow of the inland river,


    Whence the fleets of iron have fled."




    I have heard that verse questioned for little has been written or said about the Civil War and boats on the Tombigbee. However, there was activity on the river and "Surrender of the Rebel Fleet on the Tombigbee River" was a headline in the May 23, 1865, New York Herald.



    Commercial steamboat traffic on the Tombigbee River, between Columbus or Aberdeen and Mobile, was all but ended by the Civil War. The winter high water of 1859-60 saw nine different steamboats making 53 trips from Columbus to Mobile. Then in 1861 the Civil War erupted.



    During the 1861-62 winter season only two boats, the William S. Barry and the Lily, were left in the Aberdeen commercial trade. Two additional boats, the James Dellet and the Georgia Sykes, were in the Columbus trade. By the 1862-63 season, only six steamboats made 10 commercial trips to Columbus and none to Aberdeen.



    Steamboats still traveled the Tombigbee but they had become Confederate military transports. The steamers Warrior, Cherokee, Gen. Robert E. Lee, William S Barry, Reindeer, Alice Vivian, Lily, Marengo, Waverly, Magnolia, Ariel, Black Diamond and Cremona, all of which had been in commercial trade on the upper Tombigbee, had begun transporting military personnel and goods.
    REST OF ARTICLE:
    http://www.cdispatch.com/opinions/article.asp?aid=65775
     

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  3. sailorruss

    sailorruss Private

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    There was a CSN ship yard at Oven Bluff on the Tombigbee. I believe there was a group of navy who surrendered there too. I'll dig some more up....

    EDIT: Oven Bluff
     
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  4. sailorruss

    sailorruss Private

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    North American Forts

    Topozone

    This one you have to look for. There is a cannon in the cemetery at Gainesville, Alabama. It actually brings up more than it answers.

    There one above it in the list, at Mt. Morgan, is from Choctaw Bluff, described as "north of Mobile"looks as though it was a battery guarding the shipyard.

    It was "reactivation" after the malaria outbreak is interesting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  5. rebelatsea

    rebelatsea 1st Lieutenant

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    I've been told I should put up another article about the CSN ironclads, It seems you have just put me to the test.
     
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  6. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    There were 3 important Salt Works along the east bank of the lower Tombigbee River in Clarke County, Ala. Young faults resulting from continuing Salt Dome uplift there carry brine-rich water to the surface where it was easily boiled off for salt. A very under-reported story of this necessary resource for the Confederacy.


    http://www.clarkemuseum.com/html/salt_works.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  7. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    I live here in Demopolis and during the CW the Magnolia was a common site on the Big Tom as it was called back then. The Black Warrior and the Little Tom come together here to form the Big Tom. The bluffs here were enormous and there were very few places to land a steam boat. When the war started the railroad was not yet completed to this point and was quickly finished to Demopolis and what is know as city landing today. All goods coming and going by rail had to be unloaded and reloaded on to boats at McDowells Bluff. Below is a drawing of the tram at McDowells where the goods had to be hauled up and down the bluff. The CSS Nashville was here for a shirt period at the end of the war. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1122

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    St. Stephens, a ghost town now, was the capital of territorial Alabama . It was located on a very prominent horseshoe bend in the Tombigbee in Washington County, just upstream from Jackson. Prior to the founding of St. Stephens it was the site of a Spanish fort and earlier than that an Indian village, the importance being that was the head of navigation on the Tombigbee.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  9. redbob

    redbob Captain

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    While you are cruising through Jackson, there is an excellent example of a 7" Brooke Gun in front of their City Hall.
     
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  10. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    I haven’t been to Jackson, Ala., in many years but stayed there once while the company I was working for drilled a nearby oil well. It was in the Spring, the woods were full of blooming dogwood and many of the yards in town had walks lined with pink flox. Beautiful.
     
  11. redbob

    redbob Captain

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    I haven't been there in a number of years, but whenever I was there; if you had looked up Charming and gracious Southern Towns,it would have had a picture of Jackson. I was there teaching a class at the paper plant and being chased by the alligators, but I did take time to see the Brooke which had been at Oven Bluffs.
     
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  12. sailorruss

    sailorruss Private

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  13. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 Captain Trivia Game Winner

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    That is one helll of a loading loading access
     
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  14. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    Nice pics. Neat looking town. Cool maps..
    So where did the rest of the boats go and do? Was that moving imports? exports? both? Is all that was heading "out" heading now heading in so to speak?
    If so does mobile become irrelevant?
     
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  15. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    The Tombigbee was the interstate of the time. Cotton moved South to the port at Mobile and goods were brought back up. During the CW a lot of the steamers were used to move troops and war materials from Mobile to the East West railroad at Demopolis.
     
  16. USS ALASKA

    USS ALASKA Sergeant Major

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    Great pic! Heck of a ramp. I can see sliding bales of cotton down, (if that is what they did, [and the occasional high-spirited child out for a lark - bet that was one of those 'self-critiquing-actions']), but how do you get stuff back up the ramp? Power source?

    Thanks for the help,
    USS ALASKA
     
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  17. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    East to Atlanta-ish. West to a defunct ish Vicksburg? North to a strangling northern Alabama. OK. I get it. The north is stretched thin.
     
  18. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    No OSHA back then.
     
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  19. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    They used a 20 mule team to haul the cars up and the same mules to lower them down to the river. It was still in use well into the 1920's. The CS Congress gave the Selma & Merdian railroad money to build a RR bridge across the Tombigbee but it never was completed due to the river was a monster to bridge. In fact it took until 1919 to build a bridge across the Tombigbee. It is called Rooster Bridge which has a neat history and we still celebrate it today with our annual Rooster Day.
    http://www.westalabamawatchman.com/the-rooster-bridge-how-one-mans-vision-paved-the-way/
     
  20. Gladys Hodge Sherrer

    Gladys Hodge Sherrer First Sergeant

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    Interesting history! Thanks for sharing.
     
  21. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt Sergeant Major

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    Could you please give us the sources for the photo and the engraving?
     

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