Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

USS Althea Sunk By Torpedo Near Mobile

MARCH 12TH, 1865:  The USS Althea Acting Ensign Frederic A.G. Bacon,  was sunk by a torpedo in the Blakely River, Alabama, near Mobile.  The small 72-ton tug had performed duties as a coaling and supply vessel since joining the West Gulf Blockading Squadron in August 1864.

She was returning from an unsuccessful attempt to drag the river's channel when she "ran afoul of a torpedo."  The Althea went down "immediately" in 10 to 12 feet of water.  Two crew men were killed and three, including Bacon, were injured.

The Althea had the dubious distinction of being the first of seven vessels to be sunk by torpedoes near Mobile in a five week period.  The Confederate weapons took an increasing toll of Union ships as they swept for mines and pressed home the attack in shallow waters.

The Althea was later raised and recommissioned in November 1865.

--Old B-R'er

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