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[719] interiour of Alabama. When Hood's ill-fated army was beaten and driven across the Tennessee River, the troops which Gen. Canby had sent to aid Thomas were returned, and, being heavily reinforced, prepared to undertake, with assured success, the capture of the city of Mobile — an enterprise which had not yet been ventured upon, unless very remotely, by any Federal army.

The works of Mobile were very strong, and the supplies of food were abundant for a siege. The heavy ordnance was excellent and well disposed. But the garrison was few in number, and the supply of ammunition was small. Other important interests of the Confederacy would admit of no more troops, nor of more ammunition being placed in Mobile.

A large Federal army was soon collected on the waters near Mobile, with a very great naval force and a fleet of transports adequate to all the requirements of so great an expedition. Early in March, the preparations for attack seemed complete. But the weather was bad and unfavourable to operations. On the 25th March, Gen. Canby commenced to move his forces to the attack. Two corps of infantry, respectively commanded by Gens. Granger and A. J. Smith, (the whole commanded by Canby in person) marched from their camp on and near Fish River, against the positions occupied by Gen Maury at Spanish Fort and Blakely.

The same day, a corps of infantry, with a strong force of cavalry, moved, under command of Gen. Steele, from Pensacola towards Salem, via Pollard. The whole of Canby's forces now in motion may be estimated at near sixty thousand effectives, being three corps of infantry, and about six thousand cavalry.

The whole artillery and infantry effective force holding Mobile, under Gen. Maury's command, numbered less than eight thousand. His cavalry numbered less than fifteen hundred, and were not available in the siege operations.

On the 26th March, Canby appeared in heavy force before Spanish Fort, and commenced its siege. The same day, he threw a division as if against Fort Blakely, but did not yet take position for its siege. The position of Spanish Fort was about twelve miles from Mobile, on the eastern shore of Appalachie River, about two and a half miles above its mouth. The position was important as commanding the batteries, Huger and Tracey, which held the Appalachie River. The fortifications when the siege commenced, consisted of a battery on the water of six heavy guns and of three detached redoubts (open in the gorge) connected by a line of riflepits, with a line of abattis in front; the whole sweeping in a sort of semicircle, and resting both flanks on the river. The whole length of coast was about a mile and a half. Gen. Randall Gibson, of Louisiana, commanded the forces and conducted the defence of Spanish Fort. The garrison of Spanish Fort was made up of the veteran Louisiana brigade of Gibson,

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