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Once that was done she had to cross the Dog River Bar to get into the lower bay.Tennessee drew 13 ft (4.0 m), but the bar had only 9 ft (2.7 m) of water at high tide.Tennessee had been built on the Alabama River near the town of Selma.Her guns were prepared under the direction of Commander Catesby ap Roger Jones, who had commanded CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack) in her famous duel with USS Monitor on March 9, 1862, the second day of the Battle of Hampton Roads.In addition, they set up Fort Powell, a smaller work that guarded the Grant's Pass channel.Mobile and Mobile Bay were within the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana, led by Major General Dabney H. Although Mobile was the site of the department headquarters, Maury did not exercise immediate command of the forts at the entrance to the bay, and he was not present during the battle and ensuing siege.

With no Navy to support them, the three forts also surrendered within days.Tennessee did not then retire, but engaged the entire Northern fleet.Tennessees armor enabled her to inflict more injury than she received, but she could not overcome the imbalance in numbers.Men of the bureau had planted 67 "torpedoes" (naval mines) across the entrance, leaving a gap on the eastern side of the channel so blockade runners and other friendly vessels could enter or leave the harbor.The Confederate Navy likewise used the time they were given to improve the defense.

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Local command was entrusted to Brigadier General Richard L. The primary contribution of the Confederate Army to the defense of Mobile Bay was the three forts.