Battle of Mobile Bay
USS MOBILE BAY takes its name from the famous Civil War naval battle
between Union forces under the command of Admiral David Farragut, and
Confederate forces, under Admiral Franklin Buchanan. As "Freedom's
Flagship," MOBILE BAY proudly carries on the tradition of patriotism
and courage displayed by the ships and sailors in the historic battle.
By 1864, Mobile, Alabama, was the last Gulf Coast port of any
consequence still remaining in Confederate hands. The only entrance to
Mobile Bay was a channel running between Forts Morgan and Gaines,
reduced to a width of 150 yards by Confederate mines and obstructions.
Such Southern strategy forced Admiral Farragut to place his
eighteen-ship force within easy range of Fort Morgan's heavy guns.
Embarked in the flagship USS HARTFORD just outside Mobile Bay, Farragut
scrutinized the forts and other bay defenses, sending in small boats by
night to chart obstructions and mines.
Admiral Buchanan, the ranking officer of the Confederate Navy, was
ordered to Mobile from Hampton Roads, Virginia, following his battle
with USS MONITOR. He began to frantically work to organize a fleet in
hopes of countering the imminent Union attack. The monitor CSS
TENNESSEE had been floated down river to receive armor. Along with the
monitor came three small, old wooden gunboats: MORGAN, GAINES, and
SELMA. The group of four Confederate ships was all that stood between
the Union Fleet and the port of Mobile.
On the morning of 5 August 1864, the Federal Fleet, led by the monitor
TECUMSEH, entered the channel. Abreast of Fort Morgan, TECUMSEH veered
from its course and dashed at TENNESSEE. When just 100 yards from
TENNESSEE, TECUMSEH ran into a mine that exploded and ripped out its
bottom. The ship sank almost instantly, its stern rising out of the
water so that the propeller was seen turning in the air as it slipped
beneath the waves. The battle line broke and ships backed up on one
another. With fire from Fort Morgan raining upon them, they tangled in
the channel. Then Farragut, lashed in the rigging of the HARTFORD,
"damned the torpedoes" and moved into the bay at full speed.
TENNESSEE and its three tiny gunboats moved down to meet them, 20 guns
against 200, and four ships against seventeen. MORGAN, GAINES, and
SELMA were quickly out-of-action, leaving TENNESSEE to stand alone
against the entire Union Fleet.
Farragut's ships converged upon the great ironclad, firing broadsides
and ramming it at full speed with their prows. After two hours,
TENNESSEE was dead in the water, its steering gone and stack shot away,
filling the gun-deck with suffocating heat and flames. Only then did
the wounded Admiral Buchanan give the order to surrender. TENNESSEE's
colors came down, concluding one of the most important battles in the
USS MOBILE BAY was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by Ingalls
Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries. The cruiser was
commissioned on 21 February 1987 at the Alabama State Docks in Mobile,
After commissioning, MOBILE BAY joined the U. S. Atlantic Fleet,
arriving at its Mayport, Florida, homeport in March 1987. Following a
year of crew qualifications, tests and systems trials, MOBILE BAY
embarked on its maiden deployment on 11 May 1989. During this cruise,
MOBILE BAY earned its first two awards: the Sea Service Deployment
Ribbon and the Armed Services Expeditionary Medal, for operations
conducted in the Gulf of Oman.
In June of 1990, MOBILE BAY shifted homeports from Mayport, Florida to
Yokosuka, Japan. Shortly thereafter, MOBILE BAY deployed in August 1990
in support of Operation Desert Shield and Storm, becoming the first
Aegis cruiser to circumnavigate the globe. In the Arabian Gulf, the
ship distinguished itself by becoming the first Battle Force Anti-Air
Warfare Commander to control a four-carrier Task Force. MOBILE BAY
launched 22 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile strikes, and
controlling carrier-launched attack aircraft that contributed to the
complete destruction of the Iraqi Navy.
In May of 1991, MOBILE BAY was ordered to Subic Bay, Republic of the
Philippines, to participate in Operation Fiery Vigil, the evacuation of
thousands of people displaced by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
In December 1991, MOBILE BAY began work-ups for a spring 1992 Arabian
On 15 April 1992, MOBILE BAY once again set sail for the Arabian Gulf.
En route, the ship and crew visited Sydney, Australia, to represent the
U. S. Navy at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Battle of Coral
Sea. Sailing through the Straits of Hormuz in late May 1992, the ship
began duties as the Arabian Gulf Anti-Air Warfare Commander. MOBILE BAY
also played a vital role in Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement
of the U. N.-mandated "No Fly Zone" over Southern Iraq. Returning to
Japan in October, MOBILE BAY participated in ANNUALEX-92, a major naval
exercise involving units of the U. S. Navy and the Japanese Maritime
Self Defense Force. MOBILE BAY served as the Anti-Air Warfare Commander
for a joint U. S. - Japanese flotilla.
In May 1993, MOBILE BAY steamed to Western Australia for SPRING
TRAINING-93, a multi-national exercise involving units of the U. S.,
Royal Australian, and Singaporean Navies. In September of 1993, MOBILE
BAY made an historic visit to the Russian seaport of Vladivostok.
Departing Russia, MOBILE BAY participated in ANNUALEX-93 before
returning to Yokosuka to finish preparations for an upcoming Indian
Ocean and Arabian Gulf deployment.
On 17 November 1993, MOBILE BAY departed Yokosuka for a third
deployment in three years. Arriving in the Arabian Gulf a month later,
MOBILE BAY immediately assumed duties as Anti-Air Warfare Commander for
naval forces in the Gulf. Remaining on station until February 1994,
MOBILE BAY helped to maintain stability in the region. MOBILE BAY
completed this deployment on 17 March 1994, returning to Yokosuka.
In May of 1994, MOBILE BAY left home waters to participate in
RIMPAC-94, a month-long exercise in the mid-Pacific involving over 50
warships from five Pacific Rim nations.
continuous anchor chain signifies a unity of purpose and teamwork; the
elongated octagonal band suggests the unique, primary radar associated
with the AEGIS system.
The Shield: The shield, located in
the center of
the crest, contains a ship's wheel and crossed cutlass and sword. The
wheel represents naval leadership on the oceans of the world. The
modern ship, crossed swords, and cutlass signify professional expertise
and the spirit of the Surface Warfare community from which the ship's
officers and crew are drawn. A naval cannon, typical of armaments used
in the Battle of Mobile Bay, supports the shield and symbolizes ancient
and modern weaponry.
The Crest: The Battle of Mobile
Bay is recalled
by the silhouettes of the steam sloop USS HARTFORD and CSS TENNESSEE.
The former was the flagship of Admiral David Farrugut's Federal Fleet
and the later a ram of the Confederate Navy. The four stars reflect
Admiral Farragut's commission as the Navy's first four-star admiral.
Motto: The ship's motto, "FULL SPEED
based on Admiral Farrugut's famous command issued during the battle and
typifies the Admiral's key to success in war -- straight thinking and