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[139]

Fleet steaming up the Alabama river in war-time The sight of the stern-wheelers splashing up the Alabama River into the heart of the threatened Confederacy has been preserved by a curious chance. This photograph was secured by a Scotch visitor to the States on his wedding-trip in 1865. He took it home. A generation later his son came to America, bringing his father's collection of pictures. He settled in New Orleans. An editor of the Photographic history, traveling in search of photographs to round out the collection, perceived this to be unique as a war-time scene on the river where Wilson and Forrest were making history. The Alabama River was not only one of the great arteries of the South along which it conveyed its supplies, but it was also the scene of much of its naval construction which the blockade precluded on the coast. Wilson's raid resulted in the capture at Columbus of the Confederate ram Jackson with six 7-inch guns, when she was nearly ready for the sea. Just a year previous, in April, 1864, the hull of the Confederate iron-clad ram Tennessee was constructed on the Alabama River, just above Selma. Admiral Buchanan sent James M. Johnston, C. S. N., with two steamers to tow her down to Mobile. The work was all done at high pressure for fear of just such a raid as Wilson's. The incident is somewhat similar to the saving of Admiral Porter's Red River fleet in May, 1864.

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