Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Monongahela or New London?

As I mentioned in the last two posts, there is some question as to which of these two ships Abner Read was on when he was mortally wounded, plus, the Wikipedia article on him has him dying the following day after the wound, July 8, 1863.

The Find-A-Grave site has his dying on July 12, 1863.  Also, he was commanding the USS New London at the time of his death.A page listing Union naval officer deaths accompanying the Find-A-Grave site has Abner Read dying on July 12, 1863 and having been on the USS Monongahela.

The Together We Served site on Melancton Smith has him commanding the USS Monongahela 1862-1863.  (He also commanded the frigate USS Wabash at both Battles of Fort Fisher.)

The USS Monongahela Wikipedia article has that ship, accompanied by the USS New London involved in the July 7, 1863 battle 12 miles below Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in which the Monongahela's new commander, Abner Read, was killed in action.

So, Go Figure.  --Old B-R'er

Abner Read, USN-- Part 7: Held in High Regard By Farragut "A Source Of Terror To the Rebels"

Regardless of what ship Abner Read may have been on: the USS New London or USS Monongahela,
he was wounded in both the abdomen and his right knee by a Confederate shell that crashed through his ship's bulwarks on the port quarter.

He was taken to a hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he died on the evening of the following day.

Farragut and the other officers of the fleet were lavish on the praise they heaped on their fallen comrade  Farragut said that Read  had "...perhaps done as much as any man in this war ....  The very mention of his name was a source of terror to the rebels."

On another occasion, Farragut said, "I know nothing of him prejudicial as a man, but I do know  that no Navy can boast a better officer and I deem him a great loss to both the Navy and to his country."

Legacy:  The destroyers USS Abner Read (DD-526) sunk by a kamikaze in World War II and USS Abner Read (DD-769), a planned ship that wasn't built because of the end of World War II, were named after him.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 12, 2018

Abner Read, USN-- Part 6: Wounded in Battle

While repairs were being made to the New London, Read was detached from her on 22 June and ordered to relieve Captain Melancton Smith, commander of the USS Monongahela.  Six days later, in command of his new ship, he headed up the Mississippi River to defend Donaldsonville, Louisiana, which was being threatened by Confederate troops.

The Confederates were desperately try to hold on to Vicksburg and Port Hudson on the river at the time.

At this point, it is not clear whether Abner Read was in command of the USS New London or the USS Monongahela and whether the USS New London was accompanying the Monongahela.

Anyway, Read was patrolling  the Mississippi River between Donaldsonville and New Orleans, when, on the morning of 7 July 1863, Confederates opened fire on the ship with field artillery and musketry.  A shell crashed through the port quarter of the ship and Read was wounded in the abdomen and his right knee.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, November 11, 2018

I Put My Flags Out for Veterans Day / Armistice Day

Well, actually I put them out yesterday in honor of the 243rd birthday of the USMC.  But, they remain up today for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with Armistice Day, which in the United States is now also a day to honor those who have served, our veterans.

Armistice day famously dealt with those elevens.

An American artillery gun in the 11th Field Artillery Regiment names "Calamity Jane" fired a single shot at 11 a.m..  This is known as the closing shot of the war.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"There Are Only Two Kinds of People Who Understand Marines"

243 Years Ago, the United States Marines were established.  Today, current and former Marines all over the world will honor the Corps.

"There are only two kinds of people who understand Marines:  Marines and the enemy.  Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.

General William Thomsen, U.S. Army.

--Old B-RunCorps

Friday, November 9, 2018

Abner Read, USN-- Part 5: The Lighthouse Battle

Again, the reason I am writing about him is that I have been writing about the ship  named after him that had its stern blown off by a Japanese mine and later was sunk by a kamikaze in World War II.

Read was promoted to lieutenant commander on 16 July 1862.

On April 18, 1963, he led a  boat expedition which landed  near the lighthouse at Sabine Pass, Texas.  They were attacked by a large group of Confederates who had been hiding in the lighthouse keeper's home.  All but one of Read's group were wounded as they raced back to their boat and rowed out to the New London.

Read suffered a serious wound  to his eye.  Yet, despite this painful wound, he remained on duty until his ship returned to New Orleans for repairs in late May.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Abner Read, USN-- Part 4: Takes Over 30 Prizes, Farragut's Impressed

In the next months, the USS New London took over 30 prizes.  Her success was so remarkable that Flag Officer David Farragut felt he had to have the ship in his new command when he took command of the eastern section of the Gulf Squadron, now called the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.

He wrote:  "...Lieutenant Read's  having made her such a terror to the Confederates in this quarter that justice to the service required me to keep her ...,"    He continued, she was "...absolutely necessary  to command the inland passage...."

For his part, Read was ready for any undertaking.    When he found "...two rebel Pass Christian..." on  25 March 1862, the New London headed straight for the CSS Pamlico and CSS Oregon and drove them off to the protection of Confederate shore batteries. after a two-hour engagement.

--Old B-Runner

Abner Read, USN-- Part 3: Helped Save Fort Pickens and Took Command of the USS New London

Read was aboard the USS Supply in Pensacola, Florida,  when the secession crisis came after Abraham Lincoln was elected president.  The USS Wyandotte arrived and needed its hull scraped.  The steamer was short of officers since so many had resigned to cast their lots with the fledgling Confederacy so Read was sent to it.

In her, he helped prevent the Confederates from taking over Fort Pickens.  During this time, though, he fell sick and was sent home to recuperate.

Once recovered, he took over the newly acquired USS New  London on her commissioning 29 October 1861.  Assigned to the Gulf Squadron, he was stationed in Mississippi Sound where she was joined by the USS R.R. Cuyler.  They rook the schooner Olive  on 21 November 1861 with a load of lumber.

--Old B-R'er

Abner Read, USN-- Part 2: Service Aboard Many Ships

Continued from November 5.

Abner Read was born in Urbana, Ohio, and studied at Ohio University, but left before graduation to take a warrant as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy, effective 2 March 1839.  He was assigned to the schooner USS Enterprise in South American waters.  Next, he was on the ship of the line USS Delaware (this ship was burned at Norfolk Navy Yard on April 20, 1861, to prevent capture by Confederates).

After Navy School in Philadelphia, he spent time on the USS Dolphin searching for slavers off the coast of Africa through the summer of 1847.

Then he was on the store ship USS Fredonia at the end of the Mexican War and then to California during the gold rush.  Other duties were on the USS Union, USS Saranac, USS Falmouth and USS Supply.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November 7, 1963: Confederate Guerrillas Attack Unprotected Steamer

NOVEMBER 7, 1863:  Merchant  steamer Allen Collier, with cargo of cotton, was burned by Confederate guerrillas at Whitworth's Landing, Mississippi, after she left the protection of the USS Eastport, Acting Ensign Sylvester Pool.

The uneasy quiet on the river required constant gunboat protection.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 5, 2018

Abner Read, USN-- Part 1: Had a WW II Destroyer Named After Him

I have been writing a lot about a World War II destroyer named after him in my Tattooed On Your Soul: World War II blog last month and this month.  The ship had a 70-foot section of its stern blown off in 1943 which was just found this past summer.  It was later sunk by a kamikaze.

If you want to read more about it, click on My Blog List to the right of this.  I have decided to learn more about him.

From Wikipedia.

(5 April 1821 to 7 July 1863)

Was an officer in the Union Navy who distinguished himself during the Civil War.  He died of injuries received while patrolling the Mississippi River in the USS New London.  At the time of his death he was a lieutenant commander.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 3, 2018

USS Emma-- Part 3: At Both Battles of Fort Fisher

She remained with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron until the end of the war.  It participated in the destruction of the blockade runner Ella off Wilmington, N.C. on 6 December 1864.

It was also at the two battles of Fort Fisher, December 24 and 25, 1864, and January 13-15, 1865.

On 26  April 1865, the Emma sailed from Fort Caswell, N.C., with an urgent message for  from General William T. Sherman to Rear Admiral Dahlgren of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, which warned the admiral that Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet had not been located and might be heading for Cuba.

The Emma then put into Key West before returning to the Carolina coast until 24 August when she went to Boston where she was decommissioned August 30 and sol;d in November.

She operated as the merchant steamer Gaspe from 1866 until her sinking near Miquelon Island (near Newfoundland) 14 June 1872.

--Old B-Runer

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Confederate States Naval Academy-- Part 2: Set Up Like USNA

In general, the curriculum, studies and discipline at the new school was patterned after that of the United States Naval Academy.  The training was truly realistic as the midshipmen were regularly called upon to take part in actual combat.

When they left  the academy they were seasoned veterans.

Commander John M. Brooke, CSN, wrote Navy Secretary Mallory about the midshipmen as follows:  "Though but from 14 to 18 years of age, they eagerly seek every opportunity presented for engaging in hazardous enterprises; and those who are sent upon them uniformly exhibit good discipline, conduct, and courage."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October 31, 1863: Establishment of the Confederate States Naval Academy-- Part 1

OCTOBER 31ST, 1863:  During October instruction began for 52 midshipmen at the Confederate States Naval Academy.  Lieutenant W.H. Parker, CSN, was Superintendent of the "floating academy" housed on board the CSS Patrick Henry at Drewry's Bluff on the James River.

The initial move to establish a naval academy was taken in December 1861 when the Confederate Congress passed a bill calling for "some form of education" for midshipmen.  Further legislation in the spring of 1862 provided for the appointment of 106 acting midshipmen to the Naval Academy.

In May 1862, the Patrick Henry was designated as the academy ship, and alterations were undertaken to ready her for this new role.

00Old B-Runner

Monday, October 29, 2018

USS Emma-- Part 2: Sold To U.S. Navy At N.Y. Prize Court

The Emma was a single screw steamer built in Glasgow, Scotland, for Thomas S. Begbie.  The Emma and her sister ship, the Gertrude were named for his two daughters.

The ship was captured on 24 July 1864 by the Army transport SS Arago off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina, on its third voyage.  It was purchased by the U.S. Navy at prize court in New York City on 30 September 1863 and fitted out at the New York Navy Yard and put to sea 4 November 1863 with Acting Master G.B. Livingston in command.

The Emma arrived at Newport News, Virginia 7 November 1863 and joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron as a picket and patrol vessel.

--Old B-Runner