Fort Fisher

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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 27 to 30th, 1863-- The Naval Side of Gettysburg


CSS Florida, Lt. Maffitt, seized and bonded whaling schooner V.H. Hill en route to Bermuda.


Rear Admiral Dahlgren noted in his private journal that the French Admiral had told him that he thought there were torpedoes near Fort Sumter "and that fifteen monitors might take it if they fired faster.  He said we fired once in eleven or twelve minutes for each turret."

CSS Georgia captured City of Bath near Brazil.


As Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia moved into Maryland and Pennsylvania (Battle of Gettysburg), Washington, Annapolis and Baltimore were threatened.  The US Navy Department ordered Rear Admiral S.P. Leeto send ships for their defense.


Captain Semmes of the CSS Alabama wrote that it had been two years since he ran the bklockade in the CSS Sumter.  They had been an exciting two years with all the cruising and capturing.

Captain Josiah Tattnall wrote Cmdr. William W. Hunter that the inronclad steamer Savannah was ready except for its officers, but "I have the pleasure to transfer her to your command."

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 26-27th-- Lt. Read Attacks Portland, Maine


Lt. Charles Read, the intrepid Confederate raider in his new ship, the CSS Archer (his third ship in just a few weeks time, made the Portland Light and tricked two fishermen who piloted them into Portland Harbor.  He learned that the U.S. Revenue Cutter Caleb Cushing and passenger steamer Chesapeake were there as was the steamer Forest City.  Two gunboats were also being built..

Read immediately made plans to eneter the harbor and seize the revenue cutter and steamer.

At sunset, he sailed in, past the forts, anchored and discussed the plan with his crew.  His engineer said he doubted he could get the steamer's engines going without assistance from another engineer so decided to go after the Cushing.

At 1:30 AM, the morning of the 27th, Read's crew boarded and captured the Caleb Cushing "without noise or resistance."  Luck and time was running out for Read, however.  Incoming tide and light breeze left the Cushing still under the fort's guns at daybreak.

By midmorning, the Caleb Cushing had managed to get twenty miles off the harbor when Read saw "two steamers and three tugs...coming out of Portland."  He cleared for action and opened fire on the lead steamer, the Forest City, with his pivot gun, but found after five shots that he was out of projectiles.

About to be caught in a crossfire and now defenseless, Read ordered the cutter destroyed and men to the lifeboats.  "At 11:30 I surrendered myself and crew to the steamer forest City."  At noon, the Caleb Cushing blew up. 

Thus ended the gallant cruise by Charles Read and his crew.  From his first capture to the destruction of the Caleb Cushing, they had captured 22 oprizes.

The Confederacy needed More Charles Reads.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Confederate Shipyards in North Carolina

From the site.

EDWARDS FERRY SHIPYARD--  1862 near Scotland Neck on Roanoke River (where CSS Albemarle was built).
WASHINGTON SHIPYARD  either a Confederate shipyard or private used under contract 1861-1862.
WHITEHALL CSA SHIPYARD-  Seven Springs n the Neuse River (where the CSS Neuse was built).-
WILMINGTON--  Either CSN or private, 1862-1865.
FAYETTEVILLE CSA NAVAL ORDNANCE DEPOT--  1865, short-lived after being moved from Augusta, Georgia.
CHARLOTTE CSA NAVAL ORDNANCE DEPOT AND NAVAL WORKS--  1862-1865.  Confederate Marine Engineering Works at Mecklenburg Iron Works used some of the machinery formerly at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia.

Building Them Boats in the Tarheel State.  --Old B-R'er

USS Sumpter

Yesterday, I mentioned this ship sinking after a collission with the transport General Meigs by Hampton Roads on June 24, 1863.

I never heard of this ship, so it be Wiki time.

The USS Sumpter was built in 1853 and as the merchant steamer Atlanta, chartered by the U.S. Navy in 1858 for an expedition to punish Paraguay for firing on the USS Water Witch ( a ship that I have written much about in this blog and in my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog).  After which, the ship cruised off Cuba and Africa intercepting the slave trade.

The Navy bought the 163-foot, 24.4-inch beam ship in 1859 and it became the USS Sumpter.In January 1862, it joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and participated in the Charleston blockade and was stationed for awhile in Florida.

In 1863, it was transferred to the North Atlantic Blockading squadron based primarily out of Hampton Roads, Virginia until its collision with the General meigs.  It sank 8-9 miles from Smith Island Lighthouse in seven fathoms of water.  The crew was rescued by the Jamestown.

Story of a Ship.  --Old B-Runerr

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 25th-26th, 1863: Death of Andrew Foote


Rear Admiral Du Pont, unaware that he had already been replaced, wrote that he didn't think Admiral Foote was healthy enough to replace him.

CSS Georgia captures ship Constitution.


Rear Admiral Foote died in New York City of the wound he suffered at Fort Donaldson.

Huge bombardment of Port Hudson from both Army and Navy.  The USS Essex was badly damaged.

Porter writes Welles that he had figured Vicksburg would have fallen by now but is still holding out.  He had the USS Cincinnati's guns removed for a shore battery.

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings June 20th to 24th, 1863: A Command Change

JUNE 23-30TH

Union Navy and Army gunboats escorted and covered Army landing at White House on Pamunkey River in Virginia.  This place was later used as a supply base for Grant in the Overland Campaign and Petersburg.


Rear Admiral Dahlgren detached from duty at Washington Navy Yard and Chief of Bureau of Ordnance and ordered to relieve Rear Admiral Du Pont in command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.  originally this post slated for Rear Admiral Foote, but he had a relapse of his wound suffered at Fort Donaldson..

CSS Tacony, Lt. Read, captured the ship Shatemuc and bonded it.  Then captured fishing schooner Archer.  Read reported he was about out of ammunition and intended to switch command over to Archer and burn the Tacony as many Union ships were looking for it.  The next morning he did so and set off for the New England coast.

USS Sumpter collided with transport steamer General meigs in heavy mist near Hampton Roads and sank.

Old B-Runner

Way to Go You Blackhawks!!

I had planned to post about the Civil War Navy yesterday, but am blaming it on the Chicago Blackhawks who took the Stanley Cup last night.

Just too busy involved in all that game and celebrating.

Their second Cup in four years!!

Go Hawks!!  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 22nd to 23rd, 1863


CSS Tacony, Lt. Charles Read, captured schooners Florence, Marengo E. Ann, Choate and Ripple off New England.  He burned all but the Florence, bonding it and placing 75 prisoners on it.  A pretty good day's work.  Read was getting to be a real big thorn in the Union's side.


CSS Tacorny, under you-know-who, captured and burned schooners Ada and Wanderer off New England coast.

Old B-Runner

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lt. Peter Murphey's Obituary-- Part 2

In Mobile, Murphey was 1st lieutenant on the CSS Morgan before taking command of the CSS Selma from Captain Chas. Hays.  In command of that ship, he was at the Battle of Mobile Bay where his 1st Lt. Comstock was killed.

He moved to Philadelphia for a few years after the war then returned to Mobile where he spent the rest of his life.  The last three years of his life were spent with Mr. A.O. Murphy and was the guest of Captain Carter for a year.

He has a son in Philadelphia, a daughter in Warrenton, Virginia, (the one who requested his sword be returned) and Mrs. Chesney in Macon.  Pat was a nickname.

Most of this information is from Lee Dunn.

Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lt. Peter Murphey's Obituary-- Part 1

Obituary that appeared in the August 14, 1876 Mobile (Ala) Register.

Peter Murphey died in the water, drowning after an attack of apoplexy.  He was buried near Paul Ravesic's place.  The funeral was done to the rites of Spiritualism, which Murphey believed in.  Apoplexy is bleeding from internal organs which often causes sudden loss of consciousness.  Mr. Murphey was evidently in the water when he had the apoplexy and ended up drowning.

Murphew was born in North Carolina in 82 and died at age 64 years and 2 months.

He was married twice, his first wife from North Carolina and the second from Philadelphia.

At the outbreak of the war, he was commanding the Receiving Ship USS Pennsylvania at Norfolk Navy Yard and was stationed there until it was evacuated.

Once in Confederate service, he was ordered to report to Commodore Lynch at Roanoke Sound, North Carolina and then ordered by Admiral Buchanan to Mobile.

More to Come.  --Old B-R'er

Lt. Murphey's Sword

Lt. Murphey's sword was surrendered to Captain James E. Jouett when the CSS Selma surrendered to the USS Metacomet.

Years later, Murphey's daughter, Katie Piercy Murphey, wrote Jouett requesting the return of her father;s sword.  She eventually donated it to the Cannonball House in Georgia.  It was since lost from there.  That story can be found in my Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog.  Use the Cannonball House label.

Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 18th to 20th,1863


Farragut's ships drove off Confederates getting ready to attack Donalsonville, Louisiana, which would have cut off supplies going from New Orleans to General Banks' Army besieging Port Hudson.

Union ships on the Mississippi return from expedition where 60-70 watercraft were destroyed which might have been used to transport Confederate troops.


Mallory writes Bulloch in Liverpool asking him to quickly purchase" a very fast steamer suitable for blockade running between Nassau, Bermuda, Charleston and Wilmington.  A capacity for stowing from 600 to 1,000 bales of cotton upon not over 10 feet of draft would be desirable."


Heavy combined Army-Navy bombardment of Vicksburg, lasted for six hours.

CSS Alabama captured bark Conrad and commissioned it as cruiser CSS Tuscaloosa.

CSS Tacony captured two ships and burned them.

USS Santiago de Cuba seized blockade-running British steamer Victory in the Bahamas after a long chase.  The runner was from Wilmington with a cargo of cotton, tobacco and turpentine.

USS Florida captured  schooner Hattie off Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina (Cape Fear River).

Old B-Runner

Monday, June 17, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 16th to 17th. 1863-- Loss of the CSS Atlanta


The USS New Era obtained a report that Confederate troops were planning on attacking either Columbus, Hickman, Island No. 10, or New Madrid.  It went to Island No. 10 and destroyed any boats that the rebels might use.

CSS Florida captured the ship B.F. Hoxie in West indiean waters.  Removed siilver bars worth $105,000 and burned it.  A big haul!!


Ironclad CSS Atlanta with gunboats Isondiga and Resolute engage the monitor USS Weehawken and Nahant in Wassaw Sound.  The Atlanta ran aground and was riddled by the Union ships and wouldn't answer its helm and forced to surrender after losing two of its gun crews and having two of the three pilots severely wounded.

Captured were 21 officers, 124 enlisted and 28 marines.

Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nanna Hubba Bluff in Alabama

Yesterday, I wrote about Lt. Peter Murphey being paroled May 10, 1865 at Nanna Hubba Bluff in Alabama.  I had never heard of it, but that is sure an interesting name so had to find out more about it.

According to Wikipedia, it is a bluff above the Tombigbee River, north of Mobile, Alabama,  near the town of Calvert in Mobile County.  It received its name from local Indians.

During the Civil War Confederate shipyards were there.  It is now owned by ThyssenKrupp Company which built a $4.65 billion facility at the site.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on 1974.

I also came across mention of the CSS Baltic being captured there on the same day that Murphey received his parole.  I never heard of this ship so you know what that means.

Then, I also found out that Lt. Andrew Bierne, who I have written about, also was paroled at Nanna Hubba Bluff on May 10, 1865.  There must have been big doings there on May 10, 1865.

Didn't Know Any of This.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lt. Peter U. Murphey-- Part 3

Peter Murphey was in the Vorginia Navy after his resignation from the U.S. Navy until he transferred to the Confederate Navy.  He commanded the steamer Arrow in the Chesapeake Bay in April 1861 and was also stationed at the Gosport Navy Yard in Virginia from 1861-1862.

On August 5, 1864, he was captured at the Battle of Mobile Bay while commanding the CSS  Selma.  He was wounded in his left arm and sent to Pensacola Hospital where he wrote his report of the battle.  Later, he was confined at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor before being exchanged at Cox's Wharf, Virginia, (where many prisoner exchanges took place).

He surrendered May 4, 1865 and was paroled May 10th at Hubba Bluff, Alabama.

Murphey died of apoplexy on Sunday, August 13, 1876 in Mobile, Alabama.

I have seen photographs of him as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and one in a Confederate one.

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 14th to 15th,1863-- Charles Read Is a Thorn in Union Side


Lincoln authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to use his revenue cutters (which were armed) to cooperate with the Navy to go after the Confederate commerce raiders operating off the U.S. coast.  Much of this was related to Lt. Charle Read's continued success along the northern coast.

Farragut writes Welles that he is still cooperating with the Army and doesn't think Vicksburg can hold out much longer than June 22nd. (A bit off on the estimate.)

CSS Florida captured ship Red Gauntlet in the West Indies.

CSS Georgia captured and bonded the bark J.W. Seaver.


CSS Atlanta got underway in the early evening and passed over the obstructions in the lower Wilmington River, preparing to attack Union ships in Wassaw Sound, Georgia.

CSS Tacony, Lt. Read, captured and burned the brig Umpire off Virginia coast.  A large force was sent to find Read.  Welles noted in his diary "None of our vessels have succeeded in capturing the Rebel pirate Tacony which has committed great ravages along the coast.".

Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lt. Peter U. Murphey, CSN-- Part 2

From Wikipedia.

Confederate naval officer Peter Murphey was born in Caswell County, N.C., on July 10, 1810, and was the son of Archibald Debow Murphey, considered the father of North Carolina public education.

He served in North Carolina and Virginia waters in 1861-1862 and then was assigned to the Mobile Squadron and commaded the CSS Morgan in 1862 and the CSS Selma 1862-1864.  He was wounded and captured at the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864 and a prisoner of war until October.  In May 1865, he surrendered and was paroled.

Murphey died in Mobile, Alabama in 1876 and his burial site is thought to be somewhere along Big Shell Road in the city.  However, his body may have been washed away in one of the storms.

Pride of North Carolina, Son of Alabama.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lt. Peter U. Murphey, CSN-- Part 1

From the Civil War Days and Those Surnames Blog.

Peter U. Murphey was from North Carolina and became a midshipman 12 May 1834, Passed Midshipman 8 July 1839, Lieutenant 29 May 1846.

He was dismissed from the U.S. Navy in April 1861.

Old B-Runner

CSS Selma

The CSS Selma was originally named CSS Florida, but the name was changed when the cruiser entered service and took the name.  The Selma was commanded by Lt. Peter U. Murphey (Murphy).

On February 5, 1863, the Selma was steaming down Mobile Bay with 100 extra men, looking to board a blockader and capture it.  It hit a snag and sank in 8-foot deep water.  It was pumped out and repaired and back in service by February 13th.

The CSS Selma was plagued with desertion problems and at one point, its crew was reported to be down to just 15.

The following year, it was one of just four Confederate ships defending Mobile Bay during Farragut's attack: CSS Morgan, CSS Gaines and the ironclad CSS Tennessee.  The Selma was raked by the USS Hartford in the battle and then Farragut ordered the USS Metacomet cut loose (it had been lashed alongside the Hartford for the passage by Fort Morgan) and it chased the Selma into shallow water after an hour-long running fight.

The Confederate ship surrendered with the loss of seven men killed and eight wounded, including Murphey.  The CSS Selma then became the USS Selma for a year' service.

This is a follow up entry to a story from May 20, 2013, in this blog and October 12, 2011, in my Saw the Elephant Blog.  It all started with a lawsuit for Lt. Murphey's sword at Macon, Georgia's Cannonball House.

Don't Get Snagged.  --Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 12th to 13th,1863: Lt. Read Has a Big Day!


The CSS Clarence, Lt. Read, captured bark Tacony off Cape Hatteras and shortly afterwards, the schooner M.A. Shindler.  Read transferred his command to the Tacony, considering it a better ship.  In the process, he captured another schooner, the Kate Stewart which he bonded.  He then sank the Clarence and Shindler.

Right after that, he captured the brig Arabella and bonded it.

Thus ending the brief career of the CSS Clarence.  In one week, it hadcaptured six prizes, sinking three, bonding two and the sixth became the CSS Tacony and set out on its own cruise.


CSS Georgia captured bark Good Hope and burned it the next day.

JUNE 13-15TH

Confederate guerrillas attacked two Union ships near Eunice, Arkansas.  In retaliation, the town was destroyed.  On the 15th, they destroyed the town of Gaines for a similar attack.

Old B-Runner

Monday, June 10, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 10th to 11th,1863


General Banks, besieging Port Hudson asks for more ammunition.

Admiral Du Pont orders the monitor USS Weehawken to Wassaw Sound, Georgia, where it was reported that the ironclad CSS Atlanta was preparing to attack the USS Cimarron, a wooden ship.

Confederate officers being transported as prisoners to Fort Delaware on the steamer Maple Leaf overpowered the guard, took possession of the vessel, and landed below Cape Henry, Virginia.


Farragut writes to General Banks besieging Port Hudson that he is down to his last 500 shells and may have to cut the bombardment back to three or four hours each night and at intervals of every five minutes.

Steamer Havelock ran by the Union blockaders at Charleston but was so battered it ran aground on Folly Inlet and burned.

USS Florida captured blockade-runner steamer Calypso running into Wilmington with cargo including
drugs, provisions and ironclad plating.

Old B-R-er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 8th to 9th,1863-- Vicksburg Must Fall


Confederates board and capture the steam tug Boston at Pass a l'Outre, Mississippi, and put out to sea, capturning two Union barks.  It then runs into Mobile on June 11th.

CSS Georgia captures ship George Griswold off Rio de Janeiro.


Union mortar boats continue to bombard Vicksburg.  From dawn until noon, they fired 175 shells into the city.. The next day, just 75 shots were fired because of heavy rain.  Porter write Welles, "Not a soul is to be seen moving in the city, the soldiers lying in their trenches or pits, and the inhabitants being stowed in caves or holes dug out in the cliffs....Vicksburg must fall without anything more being done to it.  I only wonder it has held out so long...."

CSS Clarence, Lt. Charles Read,  captured and burned the Mary Alvina.    Read determines that his plan to attack Union shipping at Hampton Roads would be too dangerous after interrogating the prisoners.  He decides to raise havoc with shipping along the Union's coast.The Clarence makes four Confederate cruisers out on the high seas: Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 8, 2013

North Carolina's "Mosquito Fleet"-- Part 2

These small gunboats, as stated before, were of no match for regular Union warships, but posed a problem for Lincoln's decision to invade North Carolina's mainland.  To do so they would have to control the state's sounds and that required the destruction of the state's fleet.

With the capture of Roanoke Island by the Union in February 1862, Confederate commander of the fleet William F. Lynch, in an effort to destroy his vessels (which now numbered six ships), moved them to Elizabeth City on the Pasquotank River, but to no avail.

At Cobb's Point, a Union fleet under Cmdr. S.C. Rowan destroyed all of the fleet except the Beaufort which escaped to Norfolk, Virginia.

All Bite, Little Sting.  --Old B-R-er

North Carolina's "Mosquito Fleet"-- Part 1

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

The other day I mentioned North Carolina's fleet of gunboats that had the whimsical name of "Mosquito Fleet that made up the North Carolina Navy in the early years of the war.  It got its name from the relative small sizes and lack of ordnance on the ships.  They weren't really considered a serious threat to regular Union warships.

They were under orders to protect the state's sounds and rivers but also seize Union ships.

The sidewheel steamer Winslow was the first ship commissioned followed by the Beaufort, Raleigh and Ellis.  All were propeller-driven small river boats originally intended for canal use and the last three mounted just one gun each.

Things weren't much better when it came to crews which consisted of soldiers and farmers; very little sailor experience there.

Even so, according to he article, these little ships had enough success, especially the Winslow, that Northern ships were attracted to the North Carolina coast in 1862 and 1862.

Bite Like a Mosquito.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, June 7, 2013

North Carolina's Wooden Gunboats

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

Earlier this week, I used this article to write about North Carolina wooden gunboats in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 in my history and 1812 blogs.  A third era of these ships was in the Civil War when they were used to protect the state when it was part of the Confederacy.

According to the article, Civil War gunboats took two types.  Some were prewar vessels adopted to military use, many serving in North Carolina's Navy, the so-called "Mosquito Fleet," which was destroyed during and after the fighting around Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City in 1862.

The other type were custom-built under contract to the Confederate government in various coastal towns, primarily Washington, North Carolina.  But with the fall of that place and Elizabeth City to Union forces in the spring of 1862, led to the termination of several plans to build wooden gunboats in the state.

One Washington gunboat was apparently taken up the Tar River and hidden in a creek in Pitt County.  When it couldn't be completed, it was burned.  This wreck has been studied by underwater archaeologists since 1973.

There You Have the Wooden Gunboats.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 6, 2013

CSS Neuse-- Part 3

Shortly after the war, the Neuse's machinery and armor were salvaged.  After settling to the river botton, it lay undisturbed except for shifting sands and exposure during periods of low water until 1961.

Driven by curiosity and the rumor of a barrel of gold in the ship's hull (all that remained), three Kinston men began a salvage project that lasted until June 1963.  Also, the Civil War Centennial played a part.  The remains were cut into three sections and moved five miles to Governor Caswell Park in Kinston, where it sat out in an open-air shed until this past year when it was moved to a new indoor site and museum in downtown Knston'

The ship became the last Confederate warship to move during this final trip.  Fans of the ship have also built a full-scale replica of the ship which is nearby.  It is hard to imagine the ship just looking at the hull.

Well Worth a Trip If You're in the Area.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CSS Neuse-- Part 2

The Neuse was built in a corn field alongside a bridge across the river and was actually attacked by Union troops during Union General Foster's December 1862 raid toward Goldsboro.

On April 22, 1864, the newly completed Neuse ran aground on a sandbar  one-half mile below Kinston, NC, as it was to participate in an attempt to retake New Bern.  It remained stuck there for almost a month which caused the attempt to come to a halt.  During that month, the Confederate troops who were to launch the attack were transferred to Virginia, causing the attempt on New Bern to be cancelled.

Finally free of the sandbar, the Neuse remained docked in Kinston until March 12, 1865, when its commander, Joseph Price, CSN, ordered his crew to shell advancing Union cavalry, then set the shipon fire to prevent its capture.  Before the fire had consumed the Neuse, a loaded gun discharged and blew a hole in the hull, causing the ship to sink rapidly.

More to Come.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

CSS Neuse-- Part 1

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

In October 1862, the Confederate Navy commissioned the building of the ironclad CSS Neuse to oppose Union presence in North Carolina's sounds and rivers.  It was one of 22 ironclads the South commissioned  during the war.

Designed by naval contractor John L. Porter and built by Howard and Ellis shipbuilders of New Bern, the Neuse was constructed near the town of Whitehall (now Seven Springs) on the Neuse River, for which it was named. 

Its sister ship, the CSS Albemarle was built at the same time on the Roanoke River in the town of Scotland Neck.

Ironclad ships had proven themselves earlier in 1862, when the ironclad ram CSS Virginia had attacked the Union Fleet at Hampton Roads in Virginia.  It was hoped that the ironclads would be able to offset the huge superiority in numbers enjoyed by the Union fleet.

Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 5th to 7th, 1863


CSS Alabama capturesTalisman.


Admiral Lee requests additional vessels for the Wilmington blockade and explains the situation saying there are two entrances and the ships off each are unable to help those on the other side.  ""Two vessels like the New Ironsides are required  to protect this blockade against the enemy's ironclads."

The CSS Clarence (prize of the CSS Florida), under Lt. Read, began a brief but highly successful cruise against Union commerce.  On this date, it captured and burned the bark Whirling Wind.

CSS Florida captured and burned the Southern Cross.


Union ships defended troops at Milliken's Bend, Mississippi.

CSS Clarence seized Alfred H. Partridge.

Old B-Runner

Naval Happenings 150 years Ago: June 2nd to 4th, 1863


CSS Alabama, after an 8-hour chase in the South Atlantic captures and burns Amazonian.


Porter writes that he has sent six 8-inch guns up the Yazoo River to be placed where needed.


Ram USS Switzerland reconnoitered the Atchafalaya River to Simmesport, Louisiana.  It came under heavy rifle and cannon fire and was hit seven times.


USS Commodore Perry and other ships transported Union troops to Bluffton, SC.  The troops met strong resistance and the gunboats destroyed the town.

Old B-Runner

Naval Happening 150 Years Ago: June 1st, 1863-- Part 2

"Assume that she makes the average four voyages and is lost on the fifth with her cargo, the account would stand thus: Four voyages, profit at $119,000 each, is $476,000, deduct the cost of the steamer, $100,000, and cargo, $100,000, equal $200,000, leaves as profit on four voyages, $276,000.

This estimate of profits is far less, it is not half as great as the figures made by those engaged in the business."

A good look at the business of blockade-running.

The Confederate Navy department assumes complete control of the Selma, Alabama, Iron works and place it under Commander Catesby ap Jones.  It became a foundry where Naval guns were cast.  Between June 1863 and April 1864, nearly 200 guns were cast there, most of them 6.4-inch and 7-inch Brooke Rifles.

Old B-Runner

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: June 1st,1863-- Running the Blockade-- Part 1


US Consul Seth C. Hawley at Nassau writes commenting on continued blockade-running attempts. He named 28 ships that either made or attempted to run the blockade since March 10th and observed that 13 had not been successful.  "This proportion of loss seems too large to allow business to be profitable, but this view is deceptive."  He used the blockade-runner Ella and Annie as an example, sayimg it had started business in April and had made two successful voyages and was now absent on a third attempt.

"One voyage outward, cargo, say $100,000.
One voyage expense, etc.  $15,000

Total, $115,000.

She returns with 1,300 bales of cotton, weighing an average of 400 pounds per bale, equal to 45 cents a pound, or $234,000.

From which, deduct cost of $115,000.

This leaves profit of $119,000."

More to Come.  --Old B-Runner