ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Mobile Bay Ferry, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Mobile Bay Ferry, Alabama
Mobile Bay Ferry
The ferry churns its way through the historic waters
of Mobile Bay, Alabama. It links Fort Morgan with
Fort Gaines and crosses the Mobile Bay battlefield.
Fort Gaines from the Ferry
The Mobile Bay Ferry links
the two historic forts that
stand guard at the entrance
to Mobile Bay, Alabama.
Classic Coastal Scene
The Mobile Bay Ferry is a
must for birders. The boat
offers great views of waterfowl
as it makes its way back and
forth across the bay.
Mobile Bay Ferry - Mobile Point & Dauphin Island, Alabama
Scene of the Battle of Mobile Bay
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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Gulf Coast Seafood
The ferry often passes fishing
and work boats as they make
their way to and from Mobile
Bay. The Alabama Gulf Coast
is famed for its seafood.
Mobile Point
The ferry offers a beautiful
view of historic Mobile Point,
site of Fort Bowyer and Fort
Morgan and a battlefield of the
War of 1812 and Civil War.
The Mobile Bay Ferry crosses the entrance to
Alabama's historic Mobile Bay and calls itself
the "Gulf Coast's Most Scenic Drive."

The claim is well-earned because the cruise
Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island to Fort
Morgan at Mobile Point (or vice versa) is one
of the most picturesque in the world. Not only
does the ferry provide stunning views of the
two historic forts that have long guarded the
entrance to Mobile Bay, it also is a great way
for passengers to view birds, sea life and
other boats and ships.

The ferry is operated by HMS Global and
employs two vessels, the
Fort Morgan and
Marissa Mae Nicole. Both carry both cars
and  pedestrians and cruise directly across
the scene of the famed Battle of Mobile Bay.
Please click here for a pocket schedule.

As the ferry leaves either Dauphin Island or
Fort Morgan, it provides a spectacular view of
the historic scene of not just one, but two
major battles.

The first, the Battle of Fort Bowyer, took place
on September 15, 1814, during the War of
1812. The fort was a log and earth structure
that stood at the present site of Fort Morgan
on Mobile Point. The British tried to take it in a
joint land and sea operation, with a squadron
of four warships sailing up the channel that
leads into Mobile Bay.

Hoping to use massive cannon fire to force
Fort Bowyer to surrender, the British formed
off Mobile Point with the broadsides of their
ships aimed at the fort. Inside the little fort
were Major William Lawrence and around
120 men of the 2nd U.S. Infantry. They took
aim and opened their own cannon on the
British vessels and smoke, fire and the
thunder of battle shook Mobile Bay for hours.

The battle was a disaster for the British and
ended with the HMS
Hermes on fire and
exploding, a second ship badly damaged
and two others getting out of range as quickly
as possible. Lawrence and his men were
hailed as heroes and compared to the
defenders of Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

Please click here to learn more about the
Battle of Fort Bowyer.

The second fight, known as the Battle of
Mobile Bay, took place on August 5, 1864,
and was a major battle of the Civil War.

At 6 a.m. that morning, the Union fleet of
Admiral David G. Farragut began an attempt
to force its way past Fort Morgan and Fort
Gaines and into Mobile Bay. His ships were
lashed together in pairs and the channel they
followed took them into almost point blank
range of the massive guns of Fort Morgan.

As the Federal vessels came into range, Fort
Morgan opened a furious fire that shook the
ground for miles. Eyewitnesses said that the
fort looked like an inferno covered with fire
and smoke.

The Confederates also had laid "torpedoes"
or mines in the channel and as the ironclad
Tecumseh moved in to fire on Fort
Morgan, it crossed over one of these mines.
Southern soldiers detonated the device and it
exploded directly under the
Tecumseh, lifting
it out of the water and rolling it over.
Historic Sites of Mobile Bay
Panicked Union sailors watched as the once
Tecumseh went down in minutes,
taking dozens of men to the bottom with her.

The line of Union ships faltered and when
Admiral Farragut asked the cause, he was
told that there were "torpedoes" in the water.
It was then that he yelled his immortal battle
cry, "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!"

The ships again picked up speed and with
their decks awash in blood finally made it
past the forts and into Mobile Bay. There it
battled the ironclad C.S.S.

The Tennessee waged a valiant fight, but
ultimately surrendered off Fort Gaines after
she had literally been battered into
submission by multiple Federal warships.

Please click here to learn more about the
Battle of Mobile Bay.

The Mobile Bay ferry makes its way back and
forth through the historic waters where these
battles were fought. The ships of the French,
Spanish, English and even of pirate crews
have sailed these waters. The view from the
rails of the ferry is virtually the same seen for
well over a century.

If you plan on just exploring the two forts, a
great way to do so is to take the ferry on the
pedestrian rate of only $5. Fares for cars
begin at $16 one way and $30 roundtrip.
Please click here for fare information.

The addresses for boarding the ferry are
1606-B Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, or at
Fort Morgan on State Road 180 (West Fort
Morgan Road) near Gulf Shores.

Please click here to visit the official website.