August 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm
As a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast, Paul Brueske became obsessed with studying the War Between the States —- in particular, the 1865 campaign for Mobile. He founded the Mobile Civil War Round Table and regularly gives talks on War Between the States topics. He is currently the Head Track and Field Coach at the University of South Alabama. The Last Siege is his first book, a result of many years of research on the Mobile Campaign.
It has long been acknowledged that General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia ended the war at Appomattox in April 1865. However, the often overlooked last siege of the war was the Mobile campaign, crucial to securing a complete victory and the final surrender of one of the last major Confederate forces east of the Mississippi River.
The Last Siege explores the events surrounding this siege and capture of Mobile, Alabama. The Union victory at the battle of Mobile Bay in 1864 ended blockade-running from the port of Mobile. Uncaptured, the city remained a priority for the Confederates to defend and the Federals to attack. This book gives a new perspective on the strategic importance of Mobile as a logistical center which had access to vital rail lines and two major river systems, essential in moving forces and supplies. Included are the most detailed accounts ever written on Union and Confederate camp life in the weeks prior to the invasion; cavalry operations of both sides during the expedition; the Federal feint at Cedar Point; the crippling effect of torpedoes on U.S. naval operations in Mobile Bay; the tread-way escape from Spanish Fort; and the evacuation of Mobile. The entrance of Federals into the city and the reaction of the citizenry are featured. In doing so, evidence is presented that contradicts the popular notion that Mobile wholeheartedly welcomed the Federals and was a predominately pro-Union town.
Using a variety of primary sources, this book highlights the bravery of the men who were still trying to win by using tactics evolved against the strong defensive fortifications at Mobile. Many acts of heroism occurred in this, the Confederacy’s last campaign which ended in the final surrender at Citronelle, Alabama in May 1865.