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place which General Sherman, in one of his rapid marches, captured in February, 1864, and destroyed, the General reporting that his army made “the most complete destruction of railways ever beheld.” Farther westward, on Pearl River, is Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, a small city with an elaborate State House. The Alabama River flows southwest from Selma and joins the Tombigbee River coming from the north, the stream thus formed being the Mobile River. A few miles below the junction it divides into two branches, of which the eastern is called the Tensas, both then dividing into several others and making a sort of delta, but meeting again in a common embouchure at the head of Mobile Bay, the Mobile River being about fifty miles long. The Tombigbee River is four hundred and fifty miles in length, and rises in the hills of Northeastern Mississippi. The name is Indian, and means the “coffinmakers,” though why this name was given is unknown. The Tombigbee became celebrated in politics in the early nineteenth century, through a correspondence between the Treasury at Washington and a customs officer at Mobile, wherein the latter, being asked “How far does the Tombigbee River run up ^" replied that “The Tombigbee River does not run up; it runs down." He was removed from office for his levity, and the controversy following, which became an acrimonious partisan dispute, gave the river its celebrity
MOBILE AND ITS BAY.
When De Soto journeyed through Florida and to the Mississippi River, he found in this region the powerful tribe of Mauvillians, and their village of Mavilla is mentioned in early histories of Florida. From this is derived the name of Mobile, on the western bank of the river near the head of Mobile Bay, the only seaport of the State of Alabama, about thirty miles from the Gulf of Mexico. This was the original seat of French colonization in the southwest, and for a few years the capital of their colony of Louisiana. It was settled at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1710 the Sieur de Bienville transferred the earliest French colony from Biloxi to Mobile Bay, and many of the first settlers were French Canadians. In 1723, however, the seat of the colonial government was removed from Mobile to New Orleans. In 1763 this region was transferred to England; in 1780 England gave it to Spain; and in 1813 Spain made it over to the United States. The city is laid out upon a plain having a background of low hills; its broad and quiet streets are shaded with live oaks and magnolias; and everywhere are gardens, luxuriant with shrubbery and flowers. There is a population approximating thirtyfive thousand, but the city does not make much progress, owing to the difficulties of maintaining a deep-water channel, though this has been better accomplished of late. Cotton export is the chief trade. There are attractive parks, a magnificent shell road along the shore of the bay for several miles, and fine estates with beautiful villas on the hills in the suburbs. The harbor entrance from the Gulf is protected on either hand by Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, while the remains can be seen of several batteries on the shores of the bay, relics of the Civil War. Over on Tensas River is a ruin, Spanish Fort, one of the early colonial defenses, while in the city is the Guard House Tower, a quaint old structure built in Spanish style. Mobile was held by the Confederates throughout the war, not surrendering until after General Lee had done so in April, 1865, although the Union forces had previously captured the harbor entrance. This capture was one of Admiral Farragut's achievements. Having opened the Mississippi River in 1863, Farragut, in January, 1864, made a reconnoissance of the forts at the entrance to Mobile Bay, and expressed the opinion that with a single iron-clad and five thousand men he could take the city. Several months elapsed, however, before the attempt was made, but in August he got together a fleet of four iron-clads and fourteen wooden vessels, and on the 5th ran past the forts at the entrance, after a desperate engagement, in which one of his ships, the Tecumseh, was sunk by striking a torpedo, and he lost three hundred and thirty-five men. During the fight, Farragut watched it and gave his directions from a place high up in the main rigging of his flagship, the Hartford. Shoal water and channel obstructions prevented his ascending to the city, but in a few days the forts surrendered, the harbor was held, and blockade-running, which had been very profitable, ceased.
Mobile Bay is one of the finest harbors on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Its broad waters have low shores, backed by gentle slopes leading up to forest-clad plateaus behind, a large surface being wooded and displaying fine magnolias and yellow pines, while in the lowland swamps and along the water-courses are cypress, and interspersed the live oak, festooned with gray moss.
But almost everywhere Southern Alabama, like Florida, displays splendid pine forests, reminding of Longfellow's invocation to My Cathedral :
“Like two cathedral towers these stately pines
Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones ;
The arch beneath them is not built with stones,
No organ but the wind here sighs and moans,
No sepulchre conceals a martyr's bones,
Listen ! the choir is singing ; all the birds,
And learn there may be worship without worde.".
And in garden and grove, all about, there is a wealth of semi-tropical flowers and shrubbery, with their rich perfumes crowned by the delicious orange tree, whereof Hoyt thus pleasantly sings :
“Yes, sing the song of the orange tree,
With its leaves of velvet green ;
The finest that ever was seen;
To praise the fig we are free ;
The glorious orange tree."