Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grave of an Officer of the C.S.S. Tennessee - Apalachicola, Florida

While walking through Chestnut Cemetery in Apalachicola this week, I was struck by the large number of graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers there. One in particular caught my attention.

It is the resting place of Lt. David Raney, an Apalachicola native who served as an officer aboard the famed Southern ironclad, C.S.S. Tennessee.

The Tennessee, of course, is remembered today because its officers and crew waged one of the most desperate fights in naval history. On August 5, 1864, Admiral David G. Farragut storming into Mobile Bay. Under a hail of fire from Forts Morgan and Gaines, after one of his ships struck a mine or "torpedo" and went down, the admiral shouted out the immortal command, "Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!"

Waiting for him inside Mobile Bay was an admiral every bit as daring and courageous. Knowing that he was severely outnumbered and that it was a battle he likely could not win, Admiral Franklin Buchanan steamed the Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Tennessee at the Union fleet. The battle that followed was fierce and bloody. At one point, the Tennessee could be seen surrounded by seven Union warships, fighting to the finish.

The Union navy won the Battle of Mobile Bay, but the courage of the Confederate officers and sailors aboard the Tennessee has echoed through the ages. Lt. David Raney was one of those men.

You can read more about the battle at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/mobilebay.

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