Location: Near Spanish Fort, Alabama
Webpage: Alabama State Historic Park
General Description: Located on the Tensaw-Mobile River Delta, the town of Blakeley is one of the oldest towns in Alabama. Originally chartered in 1814 when Alabama was just a territory, it reached its peek in the 1820s with more than 4000 residents. Larger than Mobile, Alabama Blakeley was a major seaport of the time. It also boasted the first courthouse of Baldwin Co. A combination of yellow fever and wild land speculation in the 1830s, its prominence faded and the city slowly died over a period of 30 years. Today it is nothing more than excavated foundations of some of the more prominent buildings. There was a brief increase in the size of Blakeley during the Civil War when it became the location of Fort Blakely housing an army camp of about 4000 soldiers. At the end of the war it was the location of the last major battle of the Civil War. The Battle of Blakeley was fought on April 8, 1865 just hours after the signing of the surrender by General Robert E. Lee. The battle was part of the Mobile Campaign led by General Steele for the Union and Brigadier General Liddel for the Confederate. The Confederate troops of 4000 men were greatly outnumbered by the 16,000 Union troops and had basically an indefensible position. The Confederates constructed nearly 3 miles of breastworks and 9 redoubts along the line. Once breached the Union troops had an easy run downhill through the town of Blakeley to capture the Confederate forces. The state park includes a self guided tour of the battlefield from which can still be seen the original breastworks, redoubt #4, rifle pits and the Union trenches.
1) For anyone interested in Civil War history this is truly a rare gem!! Kal and I have visited numerous civil war battlefields and it is generally a struggle to picture the fortifications after all this time. However, this battlefield has never seen a plow and has been abandoned since the Civil War. The breastwork, redoubts, rifle pits, and trenches for both the Union and Confederate forces are still there. We greatly enjoyed exploring the battlefield, counting the rifle pits, and following the trenches. The self guided tour gave an excellent overview of the different parts and timeline for the battle itself. I doubt very many people knew that there was a major battle for the Civil War fought in Alabama with a combined total of 20,000 troops or that this battle was the last major battle of the war which had technically ended only a couple of hours before!
2) I was surprised to learn about the town of Blakeley, which back in it’s prime was a major seaport that was larger and more important than Mobile at the time. There is literally nothing left of the town except some of the foundations. Pretty amazing.
3) The campground of the park has full hookups for RV and nearly every site is a pull through site with good shade and room between the sites. If you like to camp in the woods without a stream or lake nearby, then this would be an excellent location. While the Tensaw River is not far, it is not right next to the campground.
4) The park has an easy walk along the Tensaw River. Most of the trail along the river is on a boardwalk which not only makes the walk easier, but also allows you to easily view the wetlands.