I know it’s been a while between blogs lately…Between bad weather and little ambition, I have been a bit lax. We have had much cold and windy weather since getting to the Gulf coast..Lesson to self..next year, stay longer in South Florida! When I planned this trip, I really did want to do the Gulf areas. I wanted to see Eglin AFB, Ft. Walton Beach, Historic Blakely MS, Biloxi MS, and …our original plan was to stay at Grand Isle LA for our last 2 weeks. We did change that up a bit..Instead of Grand Isle, we are going to St. Bernard SP and Tickfaw SP in Louisiana for the last 2 weeks before turning the Hiker North into Mississippi.
We have been at Historic Blakely Lake State Park in Spanish Fort MS, across the bay from Mobile. This park is on one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields ever. The Battle of Fort Blakely took place from April 2-April 9, 1865 in Baldwin County, Alabama, as part of the Mobile Campaign of the American Civil War. The siege and capture of Fort Blakely was basically the last combined-force battle of the war. As a result of this battle, Union forces would finally be able to occupy the city of Mobile, Alabama on April 12, 1865.
Above left you see the Confederate “breastworks”, (the front lines)..on right you can see the front of the Union breastworks.
Left is an original portion of the Union Massachusetts Battery, constructed April 6th of gabions (cages containing wire, earth, assorted things),by work parties. This position held three 12 pounder Napoleons (cannons) that pounded the Confederates at 500 yards. Right, you can see how they are shoring them up with logs to reconstruct them. There was a town of Blakely there first. Get ready, here comes a US History lesson!
“In 1813, Blakeley was founded by Josiah Blakeley, "an entrepreneur and adventurer from Connecticut who moved to Mobile in 1806. Blakely had a deep natural port, which was reachable by ships that could not cross the Dog River bar, a sandbar that sometimes impeded shipping access to Mobile. For some years, Blakeley competed with Mobile to be the top port in what was then the Alabama Territory.
In 1820, state legislation recognized the port and harbor of Blakeley and officially incorporated the town under state law. Also in 1820, Blakeley was named as the seat of Baldwin County. It boasted a post office, a bank, three hotels, and a weekly newspaper called The Blakeley Sun , the fourth newspaper to be established in Alabama. Weekly ferry service connected the town with Mobile. Boat-building was an important industry, and two prominent steamers, the 400-ton Mississippi and the 60-ton Tensas , were built there. The Tensas was one of the first steamships to ascend the Alabama River as far as Montgomery.
Blakely began its decline after yellow fever epidemics struck the region in 1822, 1826, and 1828, decimating the city's population. Casualties were so high that mass graves were needed to bury the dead. High land prices and widespread speculation during the 1820s also may have discouraged people from settling in Blakeley.”
While we were near Mobile, of course we had to visit the USS Alabama, WWII battleship at Mobile Bay.
The Alabama was commissioned August 16, 1942. She earned 9 Battle Stars, and shot down 22 enemy airplanes in WWII. Her assigned crew was 127 officers and 2, 205 enlisted, but she normally had a crew of about 2500 men onboard. Here is what impressed me..her big guns…Her armament was nine 16”/45 caliber guns (3 main turrets) accurate to 21 miles…twenty 5”/38 caliber guns (10 side mounts), forty-eight 40mm guns (12 mounts) and fifty-two 20mm guns.
The USS Alabama saw 37 months of active duty in WWII, she never suffered any casualties or significant damage in enemy attacks. In 1962, the Navy announced that the Alabama would be scrapped. That stirred the hearts of Alabamians so the Navy donated her to the state and school children helped raise the $1,000,000 to have her towed 5,600 miles through the Panama Canal to Mobile Bay.
Left is a captured Japanese flag…right, is an old Air Force dude I found wandering the ship. tehee.
There were also many military aircraft outside and inside…but my favorite was the B-52D Stratofortress Bomber, Calamity Jane..was equipped exclusively for long-range bombing missions. "Calamity Jane" completed over 100 missions over North Vietnam..She has been demilitarized, but remains in the high camouflage used during Vietnam operations. "
AND….. there was also a submarine on the museum property…..! The USS Drum.
Top, left are some of the torpedo tubes.. “The USS Drum carried up to 8 officers and 75 enlisted men. She carried 10 21” torpedoes, 6 forward and 4 aft. She carried a total of 24 torpedoes onboard… Also forward was a 5”/25 caliber deck gun and AA gun (40mm Bofors). Aft she carried AA gun, a Twin 20mm Oerlikon.”
Left is one of the torpedoes they carried..Right …well…..MacGyver is hallucinating he is the Captain of a submarine…..
I know, this is becoming a “marathon” blog..But I had to tell you about our overnight “guests” last Thursday night at Blakeley Lake campground…
Yep….our youngest daughter, Chris, hubby John and Wolff Cubs Aiden and Maddox came for a short visit…
We had a short but great time with them..They left Friday afternoon…and had a harrowing drive through ice and sleet in Kentucky and Indiana ..What was suppose to take 11 hours, took 16 hours!!! But, they did make it back safe and sound, thank God!
OK, those who are bored mindless by military stuff can now wipe the drool off your chins and wake up…Push your self away from the computer, stretch out and get a cold beverage..which is exactly what I am going to do!!!!!