Battle of Fort Blakely
E.R.S. Canby’s forces, the XVI and XIII corps, moved along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, forcing the Confederates back into their defenses. Union forces then concentrated on Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. By April 1, Union forces had enveloped Spanish Fort, thereby releasing more troops to focus on Fort Blakely. Brig. Gen. St. John R. Liddell, with about 4,000 men, held out against the much larger Union force until Spanish Fort fell on April 8, allowing Canby to concentrate 16,000 men for the attack on April 9. Sheer numbers breached the Confederate earthworks compelling the Confederates to capitulate. The siege and capture of Fort Blakely was basically the last combined-force battle of the war. African-American forces played a major role in the successful Union assault. 
The Federal investment of Fort Blakely began with the arrival of Steele's column from Pensacola on April 1st. The week long skirmishing between Steele's troops and the Confederate defenders brought them "within 900 yards of their works." On April 9th Canby started moving his forces at Spanish Fort to Blakely to complete the encirclement of the Confederate position. The heavy artillery from Totten's seige train were also moved into firing positions. By the afternoon of the 9th ten Union batteries were firing into the fort.
MG Smith displayed none of the patience that was exhibited at Spanish Fort when he directed BG Garrard to assault the fort "at the earliest practicable moment." Garrard first wanted to neutralize the enemy artillery and ordered his gunners to target the enemy batteries. To assist in fire direction he also placed spotters in trees to adjust the fire from his guns. The accurate fire of these pieces dismounted two enemy guns. While accomplishing this task the spotters saw boats leaving the dock behind the fort and incorrectly reported that an evacuation had begun. Not wanting to allow the Confederates to make good their getaway an increased sense of urgency to assault the fort overtook the Federal commanders. A general assault was ordered for 1730.
On the left of the Union line BG William Pile prepared for the attack by attempting to seize forward assault positions, Company sized elements from the 73rd and 86th USCT were sent ot to clear the Confederate skirmish line. These troops learned, much to their chagrin that reports of departing Confederates were greatly exaggerated. The attackers were riddled with bullets causing Pile to commit five more companies to the effort. The additional weight of these reinforcements forced the Confederate skirmishers to grudgingly give ground and move back to the main line of entrenchments.
With the advanced positions now secure the remainder of BG John Hawkins' division was brought up. COL Charles Drew, 3rd Brigade commander, became convinced that an immediate assault on the main line would collapse the defense. He ordered an attack by the 68th and 76th USCT. The units boldy mounted the attack but the devestating fire from the Confederate line quickly created confusion. Seeking cover the units became badly intermingled and the attack lost any impetus. With 100 yards to go to the main trench line Drew collected his troops in a ravine and took stock. He counted 19 officers and 65 enlisted survivors. Realizing the difficult position that he had created with his rash decision to attack Drew left the men to LTC Daniel Densmore and went back to seek help. A brief attempt to defeat the foray with a counter attack was beaten back while Densmore and his men awaited the promised reinforcements. When timely help did not arrive Densmore dispatched a captain, and later a lieutenant to get help or orders. Finally an officer appeared and signalled the stranded command back with a wave of his hat. The battered group fell back in an orderly fashion and arrived just as the 1730 attack was forming.
The general assault did not materialize as planned. Units along the line jumped off at different intervals for a variety of reasons. Pile ordered his brigade forward at the appointed hour but BG Christopher Andrews' division of XIII Corps was delayed for fifteen minutes when a mine exploded amid the men of the 97th Ohio tearing off the leg of CPT James Wisner and wounding several others. Nevertheless, the Union attack gained immediate success against stubborn resistance all along the line. Once the parapets were mounted the fight became a melee of close quarters combat. The overpowering force of 16,000 Federal troops turned the tide. The futility of further struggle gradually dawned on the defenders and they began to surrender in droves. On the left the Confederates facing the USCT began abandoning their position, not wanting to surrender to colored troops. A few hold outs maintained the fight only to be killed by the unstoppable Union attack. Eventually more prudent Confederate commanders came forward and asked that the unnecessary killings stop. Without an escape route the men at Fort Blakely were trapped and surrender became the only option.
The fall of Fort Blakely netted Canby 3700 prisoners and left only Batteries Huger and Tracy to defend the eastern shore of the bay.