Fort Fisher

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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 22, 1861: Action Off Federal Point, N.C.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1861:  USS Gemsbock, Acting Master Cavendy, captured schooner Mary E. Pindar off Federal Point, North Carolina, attempting to run the blockade with cargo of lime.

Federal Point was renamed Confederate Point by the Southerners and was where Fort Fisher would be built guarding New Inlet of the Cape Fear River and Wilmington.

**  Flag Officer William McKean assumed command of the Gulf Blockading Squadron.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, September 21, 1861: Another Capture on the Potomac River

SEPTEMBER 21, 1861:  Boat under Midshipman Edward A. Walker from USS Seminole, Commander Gillis, captured sloop Maryland on the Potomac River.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Formation of New Blockading Squadrons

Evidently, with Du Pont's appointment as well as Goldsborough's and McKean's, the Navy Department was dividing up the former Gulf Coast and Atlantic blockading squadrons because of war operations.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 18-19, 1861: More Confederate Ships Captured

SEPTEMBER 18TH, 1861:  The USS Rescue, Master Edward L. Haines, captured Confederate schooner Harford with cargo of wheat and tobacco on the Potomac River.

SEPTEMBER 19TH, 1861:  The USS Gemsbock, Acting Master Cavendy, captured blockade running schooner Harmony en route Nova Scotia to Ocracoke, N.C..

--Old B-Runer

155 Years Ago, September 17, 1861: Goldsborough to Command NABS

SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1861:  Secretary of Navy Welles wrote Flag officer Goldsborough, appointed to command the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron:  "It is essentially necessary that the Navy should at this point put forth all of its strength and demonstrate to the country and to foreign powers its usefulness and capability in protecting and supporting the Government and the Union.

"There must be no commercial intercourse with the ports that are in insurrection, and our Navy must, by its power, energy, and activity, enforce the views of the President and the Government on this subject.

"Privateers to depredate on our commerce and rob our countrymen pursuing their peaceful avocations must not be permitted...."

In other words, close those ports and get those privateers.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, September 18, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 18, 1861: Du Pont Appointed Commander of South Atlantic Blockading Squadron

SEPTEMBER 18TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Du Pont was appointed Commander of the South Atlantic Blockading squadron.  Du Pont wrote:  "My appointment as a flag officer will be dated today....  Things have taken an active turn and this day is an epoch in naval history-- seniority and rotation have seen their last day.

"Selection with as much regard to seniority as the good of the service will admit, is now the order of the day."

Evidently promotion before the war was based strictly on seniority, not ability.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, September 17, 1861: Confederates Evacuate Ship Island, Mississippi

SEPTEMBER 17TH, 1861:  Confederates evacuate Ship Island, Mississippi; landing party from the USS Massachusetts took possession.  Ship Island eventually became the staging area for General Butler's troops in the amphibious operations below New Orleans.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 17, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 16-17, 1861: Ocracoke Inlet Closed

SEPTEMBER 16-17TH, 1861:  Landing party from the USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, destroyed guns and fortifications on Beacon Island, closing Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina.

Admiral D.D. Porter later wrote: "The closing of these inlets [Hatteras and Ocracoke] to the Sounds of North Carolina sent the blockade runners elsewhere to find entrance to Southern markets, but as channel after channel was closed the smugglers' chance diminished...."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 16, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 16, 1861: Ironclad Board Recommends Construction of Three Ironclads

SEPTEMBER 16TH, 1861:  The Ironclad Board reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles:  "For river and harbor service we consider iron-clad vessels of light draught, of floating batteries thus shielded, as very important... Armored ships or batteries may be employed advantageously to pass fortifications on land for ulterior objects of attack, to run a blockade, or to reduce temporary batteries on the shores of the rivers and the approaches to our harbors."

The Board recommended construction of three ironclads (Monitor, Galena and New Ironsides).  These ships (especially the Monitor), and those that followed, revolutionized naval warfare.

So Came the Monitor--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, September 16, 1861: The Conestoga Captures Steamers on Cumberland River

SEPTEMBER 16TH, 1861:  The USS Conestoga, Lt. S.L. Phelps, captured Confederate steamers V.R. Stephenson and Gazelle on the Cumberland River, Kentucky.

Old B-R'er

Thursday, September 15, 2016

John S. Chauncey Was Isaac Chauncey's Son-- Part 2: Naval Career

Geni lists him as being the son of Isaac Chauncey.

CIVIL WAR HIGH COMMANDS has this to say about John S. Chauncey:

Born New York 8 March 1805.  Midshipman USN 1 January 1812.  (If these dates are correct this would mean that John S. Chauncey became a midshipman at age 7.  He might have served with his father.)

Lieutenant 13 January 1825.  Commander 8 September 1841.  Dropped 13 September 1855.  Captain USN 14 September 1855.  (It would be interesting to know what happened here at this point in his life.)

Commander of USS Susquehanna June 1861.  Promoted to commodore USN 12 March 1867.  became Commodore USN (Ret) 4 April 1869.

Died Lewisburg, Pennsylvania 10 April 1871.

--Old B-R'er

USS Penguin-- Part 5: To the West Gulf Blockading Squadron 1863-1865

The USS Penguin was involved with the occupation of Port Royal, South Carolina on 7 November 1861 and the capture of Fernandino, Florida, and Brunswick, St. Simon and Jeckyl Islands, Georgia 2-22 March 1862.

It was then in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron 1863-1865.

Ships the Penguin captured:  Louisa 11 August 1861, Albion 25 November 1861, steamer Matagorda 8 July 1864, steamer Granite City 21 January 1865.

After decommissioning, the Penguin became the merchant ship Florida before being converted into a schooner.  It was abandoned in 1803.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

USS Penguin-- Part 4: Some More Information

The USS Penguin definitely did not have a very warlike name.  The word penguin just doesn't strike fear into anybody.

From Civil War Navies 1855-1883.

The USS Penguin was built at Mystic, Connecticut, and launched 26 November 1859.  It weighed 389 tons and had one screw for propulsion and an Ericsson (designer of the USS Monitor) capable of ten knots.  The crew numbered 69.

It served in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in August 1861, when it sank the aforementioned blockade runner Louisa.  In October 1861, it was transferred to the Potomac Flotilla.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, September 14, 1861: Daring Attack at Pensacola

SEPTEMBER 14TH, 1861:  In the early morning darkness, sailors and Marines from the USS Colorado, towing into Pensacola Harbor, boarded and burned Confederate privateering schooner Judah and spiked guns at Pensacola Navy Yard.

**  The USS Albatross, Commander Prentis, captured schooner Alabama near mouth of the Potomac River.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Was the Captain John S. Chauncey Related to the War of 1812's Isaac Chauncey? Yes

In the previous post, I wrote that the USS Susquehanna, under Captain John C. Chauncey captured a blockade runner.

I also have a War of 1812 blog called Not So Forgotten, and have written a lot about American Naval commander Isaac Chauncey who led operations at Sackets Harbor New York in the struggle for Lake Ontario.

I got to wondering if the two were related, perhaps John was Isaac's son?

Genealogy says that Isaac Chauncey had a son named John St. Clair Chauncey born 1805, died April 10, 1871.

Most likely, John S. is Isaac's son.

--Old B-R'er