Fort Fisher

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Knife Found in USS Monitor's Turret-- Part 1

From the September 10, 2017, Civil War Picket Blog.

Pieces of cutlery have been found as conservators continue to cut away sediments from the roof of the turret, which is turned upside down.

Last month they found a small knife wedged into one of the rails that forms the turret's ceiling.

So far, they have gathered a collection of over twenty pieces of silverware from various locations in the turret.

The turret is upside down, so sits on its roof in the lab.  Part of the conservators' work consists of removing ocean salts in the iron of the turret.  Then they clear away mud and concretion.  They also know of a fork in an area they can't get at right now.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 23, 2017

U.S. Navy Rear Admirals: Navy Grade and Pay Regulations 1862-- Part 2

Level of Navy officers and number allowed

1st  Rear Admiral  (9)
2nd  Commodore  (18)
3rd  Captain   (36)

4th  Commanders   (72)
5th  Lieutenant-Commanders  (144)
6th  Lieutenants  (144)

7th  Masters  (144)
8th  Ensigns  (144)
9th Midshipmen (144)

Vessels in the Navy to be divided into four classes with the best ships as First Rates.  This determined ranks to command these ships.

FIRST RATE--  Commodores
2ND RATE--  Captains
3RD RATE--  Commanders
4TH RATE--  Lt. Comanders

--Old B-R'er

Irma Batters Civil War Sites Along East Coast

From the September 13 and 21 Civil War Picket Blog.

**  Hurricane Irma's flooding swamps Fort Sumter, Fort Pulaski and Fort McAllister.

**  Tropical Storm Irma battered Fort Pulaski which is mopping up and aiming at reopening by next weekend, September 29.  The park closed September 6 when there was a distinct possibility of a direct hit from Irma.  The big problem at the fort was from the flooding, not high winds.

The storm surge at Cockspur Island, where the fort is located, was 12.24 feet.

This is the third natural disaster at Fort Pulaski in less than a year, starting with Hurricane Matthew last September and a tornado in May.

Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, September 22, 2017

Civil War Naval Innovations

Tomorrow, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group meets at Panera Bread in Crystal lake, Illinois, to talk about Civil War innovations.

Me being a Navy guy, I went with Naval innovations.

1.  Gun turret

2.  ironclads

3.  Monitors

4.  mines, both land and water

5.  submarines

6.  coal torpedoes

7.  Disease warfare--  yellow fever

8.  commerce raiders

9.  Whitworth cannons and rifles

10.  Armstrong guns

11.  Large and small-scale Army-Navy cooperation.

Well, and John Ericsson was an innovation all by himself.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Medical Cadets in the Civil War-- Part 2: Charles Rivers Ellet

Mounting war casualties overwhelmed Army surgeons and often found themselves taking on even greater responsibility.

On August 3, 1861, Congress approved the creation of the Medical Cadets, to consist of up to 50 medical school men ages 18-23 who had a liberal education and at least two years of medical school.

Charles Rivers Ellet was one of them and he wrote in June 1861, even before becoming a medical cadet, that he routinely followed physicians around while they were making their rounds in the Washington, D.C. Army Hospitals to see how they questioned and prescribed to their patients.

So, that Charles R. Ellet.  --Old B-R'er

Medical Cadets of the Civil War-- Part 1: To Dress Wounds

On September 19th, I wrote about an engagement between the Ram Queen of the West and Confederate batteries and infantry near Bolivar, Mississippi.  The Queen of the West was commanded by Medical Cadet Charles R. Ellet.

I have to admit that I had never heard of any medical cadets, so had to do some further research.  There was nothing in Wikipedia, where I looked first, other than a Pre-WWII group called Medical Cadet Corps which I will write about in my World War II blog.

The Civil War's Medical Cadets:  Medical Students Serving the Union from the Journal of American College of Surgeons.

This unit consisted of young medical students created to dress wounds and to act as ambulance attendants.

I would say they were more involved with the Union Army, but since Charles Rivers Ellet, was in command of the ram Queen of the West at the action at Bolicar, Mississippi, I will include them in the Naval blog.  Plus, the general Civil War blog, Saw the Elephant is so involved with this Second Civil War.

--Old B-Cadet

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

U.S. Navy Rear Admirals: Navy Grade and Pay Regulation Act of 1862-- Part 1

On September 12, I wrote about Du Pont thanking Iowa Senator James Grimes for his work in support of the Navy and the creation of of the new Navy rank of rear admiral (I'm sure in part because he would be in line to be one).

JULY 16, 1862   Congress established the rank of rear admiral with David D. Farragut named to be America's first rear admiral.

The act was called:


An Act to establish and equalize the Grade of Line Officers of the United States Navy.

Approved by President Abraham Lincoln July 16, 1862.  This act established the U.S. navy ranks of rear admiral, commodore, lieutenant-commander and ensign.

--Old B-R'er

About the USS Nebraska-- Part 3: The USS Colossus, a Throwback

The ships of the Kalamazoo-class were still being built when the Civil War ended, so their service was not needed.  Construction on all was suspended on 17 November 1865 and they remained in the stocks for the rest of their career.

The Kalamazoo was renamed Colossus 15 June 1869 and Vice Admiral David D. Porter ordered it to be rebuilt to carry ten large broadside guns and fitted with iron masts with ship rig, but this never came to pass.  Kind of a step backward as it was.

The unseasoned wood used in the hull construction soon began to rot after 1874.  The Passaconaway was condemned by Act of Congress 5 August 1882 before finally being broken up in 1884.


USS Nebraska  BB-14  1904-1923
USS Nebraska SSBN-739  1992-today

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19, 1862: Engagement at Bolivar, Mississippi

SEPTEMBER 19, 1862:  The Ram Queen of the West, Medical Cadet Charles R. Ellet, escorting two troop transports, had a sharp engagement with Confederate infantry and artillery above Bolivar, Mississippi.

Medical Cadet is sort of a strange rank for someone commanding a ship.  I'll have to look into this.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 18, 2017

About the USS Nebraska-- Part 2: The Four Kalamazoo-Class Monitors

There were fours hips in the class.  Names, Where built, when laid down, renamed and scrapped.  All were suspended November 17, 1865.

KALAMAZOO--   Brooklyn Navy Yard--  1863--  Renamed Colossus 1869--  1884

PASSACONAWAY--  Portsmouth Navy Yard (Kittery, Me.)-- 18 Nov. 1863--  Thunderer and Massachusetts in 1869--  1884

QUINSIGAMUND--  Boston Navy Yard--  15 April 1864--  Hercules and Oregon in 1869--  1884

SHACKAMAXON--  Philadelphia Navy Yard--  Late 1863--  Hecia and Nebraska 1869--  January 1874

--Old B-R'er

About the Transport Nebraska at Eunice, Arkansas-- Part 1: USS Nebraska (Monitor)

I found this ship, the Nebraska listed as a Union gunboat in Wikipedia and a transport in the Civil War Chronology.  I tried to look it up, but couldn't find anything under army transport Nebraska.  I looked up USS Nebraska as well.  I had never heard of a USS Nebraska before.

There was a USS Nebraska, though.  It was the never-commissioned Kalamazoo-class monitor Shakamaxon given that name in 1869.  The Kalamazoo-class  were ocean-going monitors and consisted of four ships.

Construction on the ships began in 1863 through April 1964.

They were 345 feet long, 56.8 foot beam and were the largest of all monitors with two turrets mounting muzzle-loading 15-inch Dahlgren guns.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 15, 2017

Senator James W. Grimes of Iowa: Friend of the Navy

On September 12, 2017, I wrote about Iowa Senator James W, Grimes who was thanked by Naval officer Du Pont for his work furthering the Union Navy.

From Wikipedia

James Wilson Grimes  October 20, 1816 to February 7, 1872  Third governor of Iowa and U.S. senator from Iowa.  Born in New Hampshire.  Governor of Iowa 1854-1858.  Elected U.S. senator 1859 as a Republican.  Reelected in 1865.

In 1861, he was a member of the Peace Commission in Washington, D.C. in an attempt to avoid the coming war.

In December 1861 he introduced the bill o create the Medal of Honor (initially only for the Navy and Marines).

He served on the Committee on Naval Affairs and the Joint Commission on Reconstruction and drafted the 14th Amendment.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Col. William Raynor-- Part 2: Commanded the 56th Ohio at Eunice

He was later wounded at the Red River Landing below Vicksburg where he was decorated for bravery.

At red River, he gave his men the order to disembark from their boats, but the men on the lower decks did not get the message.  Raynor did not realize that he didn't have his whole regiment until he got to the top of the hill.

He ordered his aide to go back and get the rest of them, but the aide was to afraid, so Raynor went himself and was shot in the leg.

After the war he became a brigadier general in the Grand Army of the Republic and very active in it.

He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Colonel William H. Raynor, Commanded Union Troops At Eunice, Arkansas-- Part 1

From the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery site.

Colonel William H. Raynor

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the 1st Ohio Infantry Regiment and was captured at the 1st Battle of Bull Run and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond.  He escaped after 17 days and reached the safety of Union lines.

The story goes that while on his way, a Confederate spotted him and was going to shoot when he saw Raynor's Masonic pin and allowed him to pass by.

When he reached home, he organized the 56th Ohio and was elected its colonel.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 12, 1862: Senator Grimes of Iowa Pushes the Navy

SEPTEMBER 12TH, 1862:  Rear Admiral Du Pont wrote Senator Grimes of Iowa expressing his "warm appreciation of your tremendous labors in behalf of the Navy during the last session.  I believe this to be emphatically the opinion of the whole service."

Grimes had strongly backed the bill creating the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy.

In reply, the Senator stated:  "I am in no wise deserving of the kind compliments you lavish upon me .... you know that up to my time [in Congress] it was supposed that all information  in relation to your branch of the public service was confined to a select 'guild' about the Atlantic cities, no one from the interior having presumed to know anything about it.

"If i have been of any real service it has been in breaking down and eradicating that idea. , in  assisting to nationalize the Navy -- in making frontiersmen as well as the longshoreman feel that he was interested in it and partook of its glory."

--Old B-Runner