Fort Fisher

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS Yankee Fired On By Confederate Batteries

MAY 7TH, 1861:  Union blockading force capture Confederate steamers Dick Keys and Lewis near Mobile.

**  USS Yankee, Lt. Thomas O. Selfridge, fired on by Confederate batteries at Gloucester Point, Virginia.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Confederates to Use Privateers

MAY 6TH, 1861:  The Confederate Congress passed an act recognizing a state of war with the United States and authorized the issuing of Letters of Marque to private vessels.

President Davis issued instructions to private armed vessels, in which he defined operational limits, directed "strictest regard to the rights of neutral powers," ordered privateers to proceed "With all ... justice and humanity" toward Union vessels and crews, outlined procedure for bringing in a prize, directed that all property on board neutral ships be exempt from seizure "unless it be contraband," and defined the word contraband.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS Cumberland Seizes More Confederate Ships

MAY 4TH, 1861:  USS Cumberland, Flag Officer Pendergast, seized schooner Mary and Virginia with cargo of coal, and reported the capture of schooner Theresa C., running the blockade off Fort Monroe, Virginia, with cotton on board.

**  Steamship Star of the West commissioned as Receiving Ship of the Confederate Navy at New Orleans.

--O;d B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Importance of Washington Navy Yard

MAY 3RD, 1861:  Commander Dahlgren, Commandant of Washington Navy Yard, noted: "Besides the Yard, I have to hold the bridge next above, so some howitzers and a guard are there.  It is from this direction that the rebels of the eastern shore may come.

"This Yard is of great importance, not only because of its furnishing the Navy so largely with various stores, but also as a position in the general defense of the city."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 2, 2016

155 Years Ago: Beefing Up the Navy and Let's Get It On-- Part 1

MAY 3RD, 1861:  President Lincoln called for "the enlistment, for not less than one nor more than three years, of 18,000 seamen, in addition to the present force, for the naval service of the United States."

**  President Lincoln's blockade proclamation published in London newspapers.

**  Captain Du Pont wrote:  "I am anxious for the blockade to get established-- that will squeeze the South more than anything.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan-- Part 2

MAY 2ND, 1861:  This was the heart of the Winfield Scott's celebrated Anaconda Plan which would strangle the Confederacy on all sides.  Control of the sea and inland waterways by the Union was key.

The great strategy for victory was to (a) strengthen the blockade, (b) split the Confederacy along the line of the Mississippi River, and (c) support land operations by amphibious assault, gunfire and transport.

The Union Navy had a key role to play in all of this.

--Old B-R'er

Friday, April 29, 2016

Confederate Memorial Day Observance at Fort Fisher Set for April 30th

The Fort Fisher Chapter 2325, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Fort Fisher State Historic Site will host a Confederate Memorial Day Service on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at the United Daughters of the Confederacy Monument at Fort Fisher's Battle Acre.

Guest speaker will be Brigadier general (Ret) James Carper whose address will be "Why Our Confederate Heritage Is So Important."

Colors will be presented by the Columbus Volunteers Camp 794, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

A memorial wreath will be placed at the base of the monument following the address.

The Friends of Fort Fisher and general public are invited to this service of fellowship and remembrance.

I'm Glad They Are Having It In These Hate All Things Confederate Days.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, April 28, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS Commerce Gets Another One

APRIL 29, 1861:  Flag Officer Pendergrast issued notice of blockade of Virginia and North Carolina.

APRIL 30, 1861:  USS Commerce, Lieutenant Peirce Crosby, seized steam tug Lioness off the mouth of Patapsco River, Maryland.

And I Sure Can't Find Out Anything About This Ship, the USS Commerce  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

155 Years Ago: Blockade Extended to Virginia and North Carolina

APRIL 27TH, 1861:  President Lincoln extended the blockade to ports of Virginia and North Carolina.

**  Secretary of Navy Welles issued order for Union ships to seize Confederate privateers upon the high seas.

**  Steamer Helmick, loaded with powder and munitions of war for the Confederacy, was seized at Cairo, Illinois.

The War Thickens.  Old B-Runner

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

155 Years Ago: Mallory Wants Commerce Cruisers

APRIL 26TH, 1861:  Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory reported:  "I propose to adopt a class of vessels hitherto unknown to naval services.  The perfection of a warship would doubtless be a combination of the greatest known ocean speed with the greatest known floating battery and power of resistance ... agents of the department have thus far purchased but two [steam vessels], which combine the requisite qualities.

"  These, the Sumter and McRae, are being fitted  as cruisers... Vessels of this character and capacity cannot be found in this country, and must be constructed or purchased abroad."

Mallory discussed naval ordnance:  "Rifled cannon... having obtained a range and accuracy beyond any other form of ordnance ...  I propose to introduce them into the Navy ...  Small propeller ships, with great speed, lightly armed with these guns, must soon become as the light artillery and rifles of the deep, a most destructive element of naval warfare."

And, Mallory had great success with his commerce cruisers as we all know.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, April 25, 2016

USS Cumberland

From Wikipedia.

On April 24, 1861, the USS Cumberland captured a ship in Hampton Roads.  This ship went on to gain more fame for its part in the Battle of Hampton Roads less than a year later.

Of interest, during the Mexican War, two officers serving aboard the ship were Raphael Semmes and John Winslow, who would engage each other in the CSS Alabama and USS Kearsarge off Cherbourg, France in 1864.

The Cumberland was a 175-foot-long, 50 gun sailing frigate when launched in 1842.  It served several tours of duty in the Mediterranean.  In 1852-1854, it was completely razed into a sloop of war, mounting fewer, but heavier guns.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, April 24, 2016

155 Years Ago: The USS Commerce On Blockade Duty

APRIL 26TH, 1861:  The USS Commerce, Lt. Peirce Crosby, captured steamer Lancaster at Havre de Grace, Maryland.  He also pursued a steam tug "in obedience to the written orders that I had received from you [Commander Charles Steedman] to seize all tugs south of Havre de Grace," but could not catch her."

I have done some research, but can't find any mention of a USS Commerce Union ship.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, April 23, 2016

155 Years Ago: Union Troops Relieving Washington

APRIL 22ND, 1861:  Steamer Boston arrived at Annapolis with New York 7th Regiment on board, found the Maryland aground after towing the USS Constitution into Chesapeake Bay, and got her off, troops from both ships disembarking.  The timely arrival by water transport, recommended by Captain Du Pont at Philadelphia, was instrumental in defending Washington against possible Confederate seizure, and significant in keeping Maryland in the Union.

In the following days Butler's troops repaired the railroad and opened communications with Washington, which had been severed since the 19 April Baltimore riots.

Commander James H. Ward of USS North Carolina proposed to Welles the organization of a "flying flotilla" of ships for service in Chesapeake Bay and tributaries.  The proposal was approved, ships purchased and fitted out in New York, and on 20 May 1861, USS Freeborn, with two small craft in tow, Commander Ward in command, arrived at Washington Navy Yard.

**  Secretary of Navy Welles ordered Commander William W. Hunter to move Receiving Ship Allegheny at Baltimore to Fort McHenry because of strong secessionist activity in the city.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, April 21, 2016

155 Years Ago: Aquia Creek's Importance, Slave Ship Captured

APRIL 21ST, 1861:  Colonel Charles F. Smith, USA, reported to Secretary of Navy Welles he had seized and placed under guard steamers Baltimore, Mount Vernon, Philadelphia and Powhatan near Washington, D.C..

Steamers plied between Aquia Creek and Washington; these were ordered to be outfitted at Washington Navy Yard for defense of the Capital.  Aquia Creek was a terminal point of railroad connection with Richmond, was the first location on the Potomac where Confederate naval officers erected  batteries.

**  USS Saratoga, Commander Alfred Taylor, captured slave ship Nightingale with 961 slaves on board.

**  Secretary of Navy Welles instructed Captain Du Pont, Commandant Philadelphia Navy Yard, to "procure five staunch steamers from ten to twelve feet draught, having particular reference to strength and speed and capable of carrying a nine-inch pivot gun...for coast service."  Similar orders were sent to Commandants of Navy yards in New York and Boston.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Blockade-Runners, the Cigarette Boats of Their Day: Agnes E. Fry

From the April 13, 2016, R&D "Archaeologists Aim to 3D Map Civil War Ship Wreckage" by Greg Watry.

Billy Ray Morris, North Carolina deputy state archaeologist:  "Blockade runners were the cigarette boats of their era, moving fast with an unarmed captain and crew using their talents to avoid Union ships and get their goods to land."

--Old B-Runner