Fort Fisher

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

155 Years Ago: Davis Appoints Slidell and Mason As Commissioners to Europe

AUGUST 24TH, 1861:  President Jefferson Davis appointed James M. Mason as Special Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and John Slidell, Special Commissioner to France.

And, we all know what happened on their way to Europe.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

155 Years Ago: Engagement at Potomac Creek, Virginia

AUGUST 23, 1861:  The USS Release and USS Yankee engaged Confederate batteries at the mouth of Potomac Creek, Virginia.

Potomac Creek is a 16.7 mile long tidal tributary of the Potomac River and empties into it at Marlboro Point.

The U.S. Dept. of the Interior mentions that on August 22, 1861, the USS Jacob Bell and Release (ice boat) engaged batteries at Marlboro Point and Potomac Creek, Virginia, in its National Register of Historic Places.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, August 22, 2016

USS Pawtuxet-- Part 3: At Fort Fisher in First Battle

Continued from August 9th and 10th.

The original commander of the USS Pawtuxet, Commander J.H. Spotts was inspector of lighthouses for the 12th and 13th Districts in 1874.

During the First Battle of Fort Fisher, the USS Pawtuxet had a collision with the USS Ticonderoga.

Damage to the Pawtuxet was gun No. 2 starboard side unserviceable.

Two elevating screws for the 100-pdr. rifle broke and the gun was then unfit for further use.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Operations in Western Waters

AUGUST 22, 1861:  Commander J. Rodgers reported that six hundred Confederate troops occupying Commerce, Missouri, withdrew at the approach of the Union gunboats.  This action prevented them from constructing batteries at a location there that would have effectively impeded river navigation.

**  The USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, seized the steamer W.B. Terry at Paducah, Kentucky, for trading with the Confederates.

**  The steamer Samuel Orr was seized by Confederates at Paducah, Kentucky, and taken up the Tennessee River.

Must Have Been a Lot of Action Around Paducah.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, August 19, 2016

155 Years Ago: Blockade Runner Captured Off Charleston, S.C.

AUGUST 21ST, 1861:  The USS Vandalia, Commander Samuel Phillips Lee, captured Confederate blockade runner Henry Middleton off Charleston with a cargo of spirits, turpentine and rosin.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Marines to Scout Maryland Countryside for Confederate Depots

AUGUST 19-21, 1861:  Assistant Secretary of tye Navy Fox ordered 200 Marines to report to Commander Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard for duty on ships of the Potomac Flotilla for the purpose of scouting the Maryland countryside, especially around Port Tobacco, for locations suspected of being Confederate depots for provisions and arms to be used for invading Maryland.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 18, 2016

155 Years Ago: Loss of Confederate Privateer Jefferson Davis

AUGUST 18TH, 1861:  The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, Captain Coxetter, wrecked on the bar trying to enter St. Augustine, Florida, ending a most successful cruise.

The Charleston (S.C.) Mercury on 26 August 1861) said:  "The name of the privateer Jefferson Davis has become a real word of terror to the Yankees.  The number of her prizes and the amount of merchandise which she captured have no parallel since the days of the Saucy Jack [War of 1812 privateer]."

I have written a lot about the Saucy Jack in my Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

155 Years Ago: Work Continues on the "Stone Fleet"

AUGUST 17TH, 1861:  Lt. Reigart B. Lowry wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox regarding the progress for sinking a stone fleet to block the inlets to the North Carolina sounds:  "We have nineteen schooners properly loaded with stone, and all our preparations are complete to divide them into two divisions and place them in tow of this steamer [Adelaide] and of the Governor Peabody.

"I think all arrangements are complete, as far as being prepared to 'sink and obstruct' .../ the obstructing party could place their vessels in position, secure them as we propose, by binding chains, spars on end in teh sand to settle by action of the tide, anchors down, and finally sink them in such a way as to block the channel so effectually that there could be no navigation through them for several months to come, at least till by the aid of our new gunboats the outside blockade could be effectual."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

155 Years Ago: Lincoln Proclaims a State of Insurrection Exists

AUGUST 16TH, 1861:  President Lincoln declares the inhabitants of the Confederate States to be in a state of insurrection and forbade all commercial intercourse with them.

As usual, Being Careful of His Wording.  --Old B-R'er

The Final "Beat the Heat" Lecture at Fort Fisher: Chris Fonvielle on Action at at Sugarloaf Lines

Well, missed it, but of note.

On Saturday, August 13, Dr. Chris Fonvielle gave a talk on "After Fisher: Action At Sugarloaf Lines."

With the fall of Fort Fisher, Union attention was drawn to the capture of the port of Wilmington, N.C.

Defending the approach from Fort Fisher was a series of earthworks in and around Sugarloaf Hill on the Cape Fear River.  It bisected the peninsula and ran eastward until reaching Myrtle Grove Sound.

The talk was held at the Fort Fisher Museum.

I'd Have Like to Have Been There.  --Old B-R'er

Monday, August 15, 2016

USS Santee-- Part 3: Action at Galveston

Continued from August 9, 2016.

On 7 November, boats from the Santee entered Galveston Bay with the idea of capturing and burning the Confederate steamer General Rusk, but in attempting to avoid detection, the boats ran aground and were detected.

The boats commander, Lt. James Edward Jouett, then decided to capture the Confederate lookout vessel Royal Yacht and captured it after a desperate hand-to-hand fight.  They set it afire and returned to the Santee with twelve prisoners.

Union losses were 1 killed and 8 wounded, one of these mortally.  One 15-year-old sailor named James Henry Carpenter was wounded in the thigh and received commendations for his role and was appointed the United States Naval Academy and served again on the USS Santee when it became an Academy schools school ship.

Another sailor, George H. Bell, received a Medal of Honor.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Recon Missions on the Mississippi and in Virginia

AUGUST 15TH, 1861:  USS Tyler and Conestoga, Lt. S.L. Phelps, scouted the Mississippi for Confederate fortifications and movements as far south as New Madrid, Missouri, while the USS Lexington, Lt. Roger N. Stembel, operating with the Army, made a similar reconnaissance of the river north to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

** USS resolute, Acting Master W. Budd, while on a reconnaissance mission, engaged Confederate troops at Mathias Point, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, August 12, 2016

155 Years Ago: Bulloch Looking for Warships in England

AUGUST 13TH, 1861:  Commander Bulloch, CSN, writing from London to Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory, said, "After careful examination of the shipping lists of England, and inspecting many vessels, I failed to find a single wooden steamer fit for war purposes, except one paddle steamer, too large and costly and drawing too much water for our coast.

"Wood as a material for ships has almost entirely gone out of use in the British merchant service, and their iron ships, though fast, well built, and staunch enough for voyages of traffic, are too thin in the plates and light in the deck frames and stanchions to carry guns of much weight.

"I therefore made arrangements to contract with two eminent builders for a gun vessel each..."

These, of course, would be Confederate commerce raiders.

**  USS Powhatan, Lt. David D. Porter, recaptured schooner Abby Bradford off the mouth of the Mississippi River.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: U.S. Gunboats Arrive at Cairo, Illinois

AUGUST 12TH, 1861:  Gunboats USS Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga procured and fitted out by Commander J. Rodgers, arrived at Cairo, Illinois, to protect the strategic position at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and to scout the rivers for Confederate batteries and troop movements.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 11, 2016

155 Years Ago: Blockade-Runner Louisa Sunk At Cape Fear, N.C.

AUGUST 11, 2016:  The blockade-runner Louisa, pursued by the USS Penguin, Commander John L. Livingston, struck shoal near Cape Fear, North Carolina, and sank.

This is the first mention I've come across of any blockade-runner being destroyed or captured attempting to run into or out of the Cape Fear River.  If so, it was the first of many, not to mention the ones that were successful.

--Old B-R'er