Sibley Street, Montrose, AL
Historic Stedman’s Landing was established in 1852. The wharf was an important factor in the life of Montrose, an unincorporated community between Fairhope and Daphne on the Eastern Shore. Montrose was of little military importance to Federal forces during the Civil War, but a significant event did occur here.
On September 4, 1863, the Confederate Commerce raider ‘Florida,’ its crew greatly diminished by yellow fever, successfully ran the Federal blockade of Mobile Bay. Quarantined, damaged by the Federal flagship ‘Oneida,” and unable to dock in Mobile, the ship crossed the bay anchoring at Stedman’s Landing at Sibley Street. Villagers allowed the burial of Seaman Dunkin and Lt. Stribling in the Montrose Cemetery. These are the only two Confederate Seamen known to be buried in Baldwin County.
In April of 1865, rumors emerged that Federal troops at Spanish Fort were preparing to advance on Montrose. Breastworks and other defensive positions were built adjacent to Sibley Street. Volunteers prepared to defend the village, but news arrived on April 9 of the Confederate surrender and the defenses were abandoned.
Located in an inward curve of Mobile Bay, the wharf was quite long because it had to reach the natural deep water traveled by the bay boats along the eastern shore. The wharf began at the foot of Sibley Street, where the bluff was about fifty feet high requiring a gradual slope downward. The slope allowed the freight car to go down the wharf by its own momentum on wooden tracks. This was a flat car for general use with portable sides used for certain commodities such as pottery ware. The return trip up the wharf with loaded car or cart was pulled by mule or ox.
Over the years, the wharf and landing were destroyed or damaged numerous times as hurricanes hit the Eastern Shore, most recently Hurricane Sally in 2020. But a wooden walkway and landing remain, providing public access to the Mobile Bay.