Fort Fisher

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 26, 1861: CSS Sumter Destroys Another American Ship

OCTOBER 26TH, 1861:  The USS Conestoga, Lt. S.L. phelps, transported Union troops to Eddyville, Kentucky, for an attack on Confederate cavalry at Saratoga.

**  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned the American schooner Trowbridge in the Atlantic after removing a five months' supply of provisions.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 25, 1861: Work Begins on the USS Monitor

OCTOBER 25TH, 1861:  John Ericsson began construction of the single-turret, two-gun ironclad USS Monitor at Greenpoint, New York.

**  Flag Officer Du Pont wrote Assistant Secretary of Navy Fox of the continuing  importance of amphibious training:  "Landing a brigade today to exercise Ferry boats and Surf boats--  reaping  immense advantages from the experiment by seeing the defects.

**  The USS Rhode Island, Lt. Stephen D. Trenchard, captured schooner Aristides off Charlotte Harbor, Florida.

Practice Makes Perfect, Flag Officer Du Pont.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 24, 2016

7th Connecticut Infantry-- Part 2: Became "Boat Infantry"

Continued from Thursday.

October-November 1863, they were reclassified as "Boat Infantry" for the night assault on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.  They trained for it at Folly Island, which I am writing about in my Saw the Elephant blog in relation to the cannonballs found there after Hurricane Matthew.

However the project was eventually dropped as it was deemed impractical.

The regiment numbered 1000 men.  During the course of the war it lost 11 officers and 157 enlisted killed or mortally wounded.  Another 4 officers and 192 enlisted died of disease.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 21, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 23, 1861: Privateer Savannah's Crew Tried As Pirates

OCTOBER 23RD, 1861:  Officers and men of the Confederate privateer Savannah went on trial in New York charged with "Piracy."

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 22, 1861: Potomac River Commanded By Confederate Batteries Below Alexandria

OCTOBER 22ND, 1861:  Captain T.T. Craven, commanding the Potomac Flotilla, reported the Potomac River was commanded by Confederate batteries at all important points below Alexandria.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 21, 1861: It Will Chase the Enemy Out of Our Waters-- Part 3

"I have written you on this subject in order to obtain an opportunity to draft out my invention, with which the means to command in Richmond can be done in a week...."

Although Levitt's scheme was not adopted, it was an interesting indication of early thinking about submarines in the South.

Ultimately the Confederacy built the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to be used successfully in combat.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, October 21, 1861: Proposing a Confederate Submarine-- Part 2

"I propose to tow out my gun-boat to sea and when within range of the enemy;s guns it sinks below the water's surface so as to leave no trace on the surface of its approach, a self-acting apparatus keeping it at the depth required.  When within a few rods of the enemy it leaps to the surface and the two vessels come into contact before the enemy can fire a gun.

"Placed in the bow of the gun-boat is a small mortar containing a self-exploding shell.  As it strikes the engines are reversed, the gun-boat sinks below the surface and goes noiselessly on its way toward another ship.

"After a few ships are sunk the enemy can scarcely have the temerity to remain in our waters...."

It's a Submarine's Life For Me.  --Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 21, 1861: Thinking About a Confederate Submarine-- Part 1

OCTOBER 21ST, 1861:  Charles p. Leavitt, 2nd Virginia Infantry, wrote the Confederate Secretary of War:  "I have invented an instrument of war which for a better name I have called a submarine gunboat...  My plan is simple.  A vessel built of boiler iron about fifty tons burden ... but made of an oval form with propeller behind.

"This is for the purpose of having as little draft of water as possible for the purpose of passing over sand-bars without being observed by the enemy.  The engines are of the latest and best style so as to use as little steam as possible in proportion to the power received.

"The boilers are so constructed as to generate steam without a supply of air.  The air for respiration is kept in a fit condition for breathing by the gradual addition of oxygen while the carbonic acid is absorbed by a shower of lime water...."

Things Are Better Underwater.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 20, 2016

7th Connecticut Infantry-- Part 1: At the Second Battle of Fort Fisher

In my Not So Forgotten War of 1812 blog last week, I was writing about General Amos Hall of that war serving in the 7th Connecticut during the American Revolution.  While looking that unit up, I found that there was also a 7th Connecticut Infantry during the Civil War and that this unit had been at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

From Wikipedia.

The Civil war unit was organized at New Haven, Connecticut, on September 13, 1861.   They invaded Tybee Island, Georgia, captured Hilton Head, South Carolina and fought at the Battle of Olustee in Florida.

After 1864, they transferred to Virginia where they became a part of the Army of the Potomac and later the Army of the James and finished the war in North Carolina.

They were mustered out of service July 20, 1865, and discharged August 11, 1865, in New Haven, Connecticut.

A Coastal Regiment.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 19, 1861: CSS Florida Battles the USS Massachusetts

OCTOBER 19TH, 1861:  The USS Massachusetts, Commander M. Smith, engaged the CSS Florida, Lt. Charles W. Hays, in the Mississippi Sound.  Though the battle was inconclusive, Captain Levin M. Powell of the USS Potomac noted one result that could be bothersome to Union naval forces.

"The caliber and long range of the rifled cannon [of the Florida] ... established the ability of these fast steam gunboats to keep out of range of all broadside guns and enables them to disregard the armaments of magnitude of all ships thus armed, or indeed any number of them, when sheltered by shoal water."

This CSS Florida was renamed the CSS Selma when the famous cruiser CSS Florida came to be.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 18, 1861: A Blockade Runner Captured Off Wilmington

OCTOBER 18TH, 1861:  The USS Gemsbock, Acting Master Cavendy, captured brig Ariel off Wilmington, North Carolina, with a cargo of salt.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rare Confederate Naval Sword Donated to Goodwill-- Part 1

From the September 14, 2016, Roanoke Times "rare Confederate naval sword, donated to Goodwill, on the auction block" by Matt Chittum.

This sword could bring thousands of dollars for the organization.  Farmer Auctions in Salem expect it to go for between $8,000 to $12,000 at auction on Thursday.

As of Wednesday there was an online bid of $7,000.

The sword was found in a donation of goods and there are only twenty of these naval swords known to be in existence today.  Appraisers are convinced of its authenticity.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, October 17, 1861: Privateer Sallie Captures Another One

OCTOBER 17TH, 1861:  Confederate privateer Sallie, Master Henry S. Lebby, captured American brig Betsey Ames opposite the Bahama Banks with cargo including machinery.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 17, 1861: Du Pont Gets It Right

OCTOBER 17TH, 1861:  Flag officer Du Pont wrote:  "There is no question that Port Royal is the most important point to strike and the most desirable to have first and hold ...  Port Royal alone admits large ships-- and gives us such a naval position on the sea coast as our Army id holding across the Potomac."

Subsequently, the strategic importance of Port Royal to the Union Navy and the blockade substantiated this judgement.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 14, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 16, 1861: The USS South Carolina Captures Another One

OCTOBER 16TH, 1861:  The USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured schooner Edward Banard with cargo of turpentine on board at South West Pass, Mississippi River.

--Old B-Runner