Mobile National Cemetery was established in May 1866 on 3 acres of land in Magnolia Cemetery. The City of Mobile donated the land to the federal government. The Cemetery was divided into four sections with a central flagstaff. It contained more than 900 burials. Remains were brought here from forts Morgan and Gaines, and cemeteries in Conecuh and Pollard in Conecuh County and Claiborne in Monroe County.
In the 1870s, the U.S. Army built a brick wall around the cemetery. A brick Second Empire-style lodge the superintendent and his family was erected in 1881. A decade later, a octagonal brick-and-iron rostrum was constructed for ceremonial events. In 1936, the government expanded the cemetery by purchasing 3 acres on the opposite side of Virginia Street. The remains of four Confederate soldiers are buried in that section.
Civil War Mobile
When the city of New Orleans fell in April 1862, Mobile became the last significant Confederate port on the Gulf of Mexico. A Union blockade failed to close the port, which was guarded by extensive fortifications at the mouth of Mobile Bay —forts Gaines, Morgan, and Powell. Mines, then called "torpedoes," were strung across the bay. Three lines of earthworks protected the city's west side, and earthworks stretching from the cities of Spanish Fort to Blakely defended the east.
In August 1864, Union Adm. David Farragut's fleet charged past the forts. His eighteen ships overwhelmed Confederate vessels. Only the ironclad C.S.S. Tennessee remained in action. After the Tennessee surrendered, Farragut pounded the forts with artillery fire. Fort Morgan surrendered on August 23, 1864, yielding control of Mobile Bay to U.S. forces. The city did not surrender until the final days of the war in spring 1865.
Monuments and Markers
The 76th Illinois Infantry Monument was donated by surviving members of this regiment to honor men who died during the assault on Fort Blakely. It was dedicated on April 9, 1892, the anniversary of the fort's surrender.
In 1940, the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected an interpretive marker in the cemetery tract added in 1836. It marks a remnant of the vast network of earthworks that protected the city during the war.