HIGHLY IMPORTANT NEWS. The defenses of Mobile Attacked by Admiral Farragut Fleet. The Contending Forces and Their Strength. The following is a description of the contending forces now at Mobile, and by it our readers will be able, in a measure, to see that since this rebellion commenced, no two such formidable fleets have met in combat. We shall await with much anxiety the result of this struggle for the supremacy of the great bay of the Gulf City. The map which we give will enable all to see how well fortified the rebels are, and at the same time be able to comprehend the difficulties the dashing Old Salamander will have to overcome before he can claim a full victory: - OPERATIONS PREVIOUS TO THE ATTACK. Mobile has been threatened on two occasions previous to the present movement, one shortly after the capture of New Orleans and again in February of this year, the first movement being made by Portermortar flotilla, and the second by Admiral Farragut. The latter was made at GrantPass, and was intended only to distract attention from other points. OBJECT OF THE MOVEMENT. The present movement is probably designed not so much for the capture of the city of Mobile as it is to obtain possession of Dauphin Island and Mobile Point, so that the harbor can be effectually blockaded, and at the same time relieve the large Union fleet now off that place, who have been hourly threatened with an attack from the rebel iron-clads lying under the guns of Fort Morgan. THE DEFENCES OF THE CHANNELS. Mobile is perhaps the best defenced place in the Gulf, and it will require all the dash of Farragut to gain a foothold inside of the defences. It is not only protected by heavyforts, well armed, but by a formidable flotilla of iron-clad rams, gunboats and cotton-clads; and this fleet must be destroyed or driven well up the bay before it will be safe for the wooden vessels to pass in. Nature, in laying out the bay, ran out a long, sandy peninsula, called Mobile Point, upon which the United States government placed a strong work mounting one hundred and thirty-six guns, two tiers in casemate and one en barbette. This is situated on the starboard or right side of the entrance to the bay, through the swash channel. On the port or left hand side is situated Dauphin Island, on whose eastern extremity is located Fort Gaines; also a casemated work mounting some fifty guns or more, commanding the middle channel and the passage up the bay. Outlying from these two points of land is a small island known as Sand Island. From Fort Gaines, on Dauphin Island, in a northerly direction, and on the shore line, is a water battery mounting nine guns of long range, and from this battery to the northward and westward ad up to GrantPass are a series of earthworks, and a work known as Fort Powell, mounting twelve guns. THE HARBOR OBSTRUCTIONS. Extending from Fort Morgan across the swash and middle channels is a line of spile obstructions, being under the cover and protection of the guns of both forts. These were placed there some time since, and are represented to be quite formidable and not readily passed through or removed. A small passage way has been left to allow the blockade runners to pass in and out t sea. This opening, lying close to the fort, is carefully watched over at night by small picket boats, which can, at the approach of our vessels, give a signal, and the guns of Fort Morgan - a number of which are always trained upon that spot - will open upon the invaders; and in addition to this safeguard the rebel iron-clads are moored so that they can move readily to the further assistance of the fort in preventing any vessel passing through. So much for the outer land defences. THE REBEL FLOTILLA. The energies of Admiral Buchanan, who has commanded that naval station since the war, have been directed to the preparation of a flotilla to aid the land forces in repulsing any attack upon that stronghold, and, as Mobile was thought at the beginning of the rebellion to be too near the sea for a naval depot, it was located at Selma, where it would be secure from attack. Here no less than one ram and four or five gunboats have been constructed for the navy of the confederacy. To give an idea of the importance of this naval station we have only to append a list of the officers on duty there: - Commander - E. Farrand. First Lieutenant - Van R. Morgan. Assistant Paymaster - G. H. O'Neil. Master - John Pearson. First Assistant Engineer - W. Frick, Jr. Carpenter - John T. Rustio. In addition to these officers there have been attached to the station at various times ordnance officers of the best talent in the rebel service, and several hundred men have been constantly employed in the construction of new gunboats and in refitting old vessels; and at the present time the rebel navy in Mobile bay consists of the following vessels: - Names of Vessels Class No. Of Guns. Tennessee.............Iron-clad ram, flagship.....7 Nashville.................Iron-clad...............6 Morgan....................Iron-clad...............5 Baltic....................Iron-clad...............5 Selma...................Cotton-clad...............4 Gaines..................Cotton-clad...............4 Crescent................Cotton-clad...............4 Alert.....................Steamer.................5 Coast guard - four small steamers................10 ___ Total, vessels......12 Total guns..........50
Admiral FRANKLIN BUCHANAN commanding. STAFF OFFICERS AND OFFICERS OF THE FLAGSHIP TENNESSEE. Lieutenant - J.R. Eggleston. Surgeons - L.W. Miner, O.S. Englehart. Commander - E. Farrand. Lieutenant - Alphonso Barbolt. Paymasters - T.W. Ware, G.H. O'Neil. Master - John Pearson. Midshipman - W.S. Hogue. Engineer - W. Frick, Jr. Gunner - B.F. Hughes.
The New York Herald August 6, 1864