Strategic Value of Mobile Bay
Explore Civil War Strategies
Mobile wasn’t just the site of one of the major Civil War battles–she was key to successful Civil War strategies; not only because she lay at the head of a large and sheltered bay fed by the Alabama and Tombigbee river systems, but also because she connected the eastern and western halves of the Confederacy via the Mobile & Ohio and Mobile & Great Northern railroads. She not only processed and shipped cotton imported over these routes from Alabama plantations but also exported munitions and other supplies to the rest of the Confederacy along them. This railroad system also allowed the Confederacy to shift troops rapidly by rail from one theater of war to another–essential to victory in major Civil War battles.
"For two days we have been very busy moving troops to Chattanooga. We have sent all the armed infantry from this place, nearly, to Chattanooga, which place General Bragg says is seriously threatened. ...A large portion of the army at Tupelo is also to be transferred... as rapidly as possible.... General Bragg's express order is that the movement shall not be noticed in the paper."
-Lieutenant Stephen Croom, July 22, 1862, Assistant Adjutant General, Mobile