Fort Fisher

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

Saturday, July 27, 2013

CSS Baltic

From Wikipedia.

Back on June 14th and 15th, I wrote about two Confederate naval officers, Peter Murphey and Andrew Bierne being paroled at Alabama's Nanna Hubba Bluff, near Mobile on May 10, 1865.  In addition, the CSS Baltic was captured there as well and on the same day.  Sure was a lot going on there that day.

I had never heard of the CSS Baltic so had to find out about it.

The CSS Baltic was an iron and cotton-clad sidewheel steamer built in Philadelphia in 1860 as a river tow boat belonging to the Southern Steamship Company.

The state of Alabama converted it into an armored ram and turned it over to the Confederate Navy.  The Baltic was 624 tons, 186 feet long, 38 foot beam, crew of 86 and mounted two Dahlgrens, two 32-pounders and two smaller guns.

It operated in Mobile Bay, Mobile and the Tombigbee River.  By February 1863, it was classified as unfit for service in sinking condition.  It was dismantled in July 1864 and its armor transferred to the CSS Nashville.  It was captured at Nanna Hubba Bluff May 10, 1865 and sold to the U.S. government Dec. 31, 1865 to be broken up.

The Story of a Ship.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 26, 2013

Almost Had the 19-foot Open Bow Four-Winns Banshee

The reason I was so interested in finding more information about the blockade-runner Banshee was the name.  I always thought that was a neat name for a boat or ship.  I was already familiar with the name from my readings on blockade-running.

When we got our second boat, we decided to name it, but couldn't come up with a good name both of us liked.  This was a 1990 Four Winns 19-footer open bow runabout that we bought new.  I suggested Banshee, but Liz didn't much care for it.  We went on thinking about names.

When Liz siggested "School's Out," that quickly ended the search.  A perfect name for two teachers.  When you see us out in it, rest assured, "School Is Out."  Now that we are retired, the name of our third boat, a  2003 Bayliner, is "School's Out...Forever."  There's even a song about it.

So, a big thanks to Alice Cooper.

Sorry Banshee.  --Old B-Runner

Banshee II

I also came across mention that there was a Banshee II, built in Glasgow, Scotland to run the blockade.  This ship made for round-trips to Confederate ports, three to Wilmington and one Galveston.  The ship was never captured and returned to English service after the war.

Old B-R'er

Some Confusion As to Capture of Blockade-Runner Banshee

In the last post, I mentioned that the Civil War Naval Chronology had it listed on July 29, 1863, that the USS Niphon captured the blockade-runner Banshee at New Inlet, North Carolina.  While looking for more information on the Banshee, I found a bit of a discrepancy in that several sources had the Banshee being captured by the USS Grand Gulf and US Army Transport Fulton on November 21, 1863 while en route to Wilmington.

I also found several more sources listing the Niphon as capturing it in July.  The CW Naval Chronology also had the two ships capturing the Banshee in November.

When was it captured?  Maybe I will find out, maybe not.

Just the Facts,   --Old B-Runner

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 28th to July 29th, 1863


Union ships attack New Smyrna, Florida, and shell town.  They destroyed several ships, including ones loaded with cotton getting ready to run the blockade.  Also destroyed some buildings.

The Navy's ability to strike quickly and effectively at any point along the Southern coast  kept the Confederacy off balance.

The USS Michigan cruising the Great Lakes to recruit men for the Navy.  In Detroit, it found people fearing a riot because of the draft, but its presence diminished the problem.  In August the ship went to Buffalo for a similar reason.

JULY 29th

Farragut recalls Commodore H.H. Bell from blockade duty off Texas coast to be commander of the West Coast Blockading Squadron during his absense.  Bell hoisted his flag aboard the USS Pensacola.

USS Niphon seized the British blockade-runner Banshee at New Inlet, NC, by Wilmington.

USS Shawsheen captured schooner Telegraph at Rose Bay, NC after a chase of 16 miles.

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 27th, 1863: The "End" of CSS Florida and Coal Problems


CSS Florida, Cmdr. Maffitt, sailed from Bermuda after being coaled and refitted.  Three weeks later, the ship entered Brest, France, for a six-month overhaul, essentially ending the career of one of the most successful commerce raiders (and little-known compared to the Alabama.  During this time, Maffitt is in poor health and asks to be relieved.

During the Florida;s career, it captured 37 prizes and its prizes/raiders Tacony and Clarence added another 20.

At Charleston, Beauregard requests that navy commander there, Captain Tucker, place his two ironclads by Cummings Point to strengthen defense, especially for Morris Island..  Tucker replies that he has an acute shortage of coal and needs to conserve.

In August, a new supply of coal arrives and the ironclads are able to help evacuate Fort Wahner.

Critical coal shortages hurt the Confederate naval effort.  And most of what they could get was"soft" bituninous coal which produced heavy smoke and was lessefficient than the "hard" anthracite.

Coal Me.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Confederate Navy Continues Having Manpower Problems


Secretary Mallory wrote President Davis asking that men be transferred from the Army to man ships at Mobile, Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington.

"The vessels at these points have not the men to fight  their own guns and  men to spare for enterprises against the enemy."

Unlike the Army, the Navy had no conscription and thusly a hard time getting men.

Old B-Runner

Naval Happenings150 Years Ago: July 24, 1863


Rear Admiral Porter directed that all his ships in the Mississippi Squadron be provided with an apparatus to destroy torpedoes while on expeditions up narrow rivers.  Since a 100-pound torpedo exploding ten feet from a ship won't cause any damage, he wanted a rake some 20-30 feet beyond the bow, "The rake will be provided with iron teeth (spikes will do) to catch the torpedo or break the wire."

The torpedo threat was real.

The USS Iroquois captured the blockade-runner Merrimac off the NC coast with cargo of cotton, turpentine and tobacco (outbound).

The USS Arago captured steamer Emma off Wilmington with the same cargo as the Merrimac.

Bad Day for Wilmington.  --Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 24th, 1863


Rear Admiral Dahlgren's ironclads (New Ironsides, Weehawken, Patapsco, Montauk, Catskill and Nantucket) and gunboats attack Fort Wagner again in support of Army operatins ashore at Morris Island.  Dahlgren noted the attack was a success and the fort's guns silenced and garrison driven to shelter.

Because of the French occupation of Mexico City six weeks earlier and general hostile attitude of France toward the United States, General Banks at New Orleans is ordered to prepare an expedition to Texas.  Welles had been favoring this for sometime to halt all the blockade-running going on there.

Dahlgren wrote Welles about "how much I am pushed to conduct operations on Morris Island, maintain the blockade, to cover the (other) points which have been exposed by the withdrawal of troops...."

Along with Charleston and blockade in general, he also had to watch Wassaw Sound and Port Royal (which Confederates wanted to retake).

More Happening Today.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 22, 2013

Confederate Raiders Are Quite Effective


According to figures compiled by the New York Chamber of Commerce on the effectiveness of the Confederate raiders, "150 vessels, including two steamers, representing a tonnage of upward of 60,000 tons and a value of over $12,000,000 have been captured by the rebel privateers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and the vessels seized and armed by them.... 

The result is, that either American ships are sitting idle at our own or foreign ports, unable to procure freights, and thus practically excluded from the carrying trade, or as transferred to foreign flags."

In short, Confederate raiders were a success, both economically and in fear along the coast.

Old B-Runner

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


Admiral Dahlgren ordered a four-gun naval battery to be placed on Morris Island "for the work against Fort Sumter."


Confederate General Ripley suggest the deployment of a fireship against the USS New Ironsides at Charleston.  It would be loaded with explosives and moved in close to the New Ironsides or another ship.  The explosuion should destroy the enemy ship.

He said some twenty Union ships generally were on blockade duty at Charleston.  Bearegard requested the Confederate navy's opinion and Commodire Ingraham said success would probably be at 5%. so Beauregard decided not to go through with it.

Of interest, Union General Butler tried a similar plan against Fort Fisher, NC,  in late 1864.  It didn't work.

Old B-Runner

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 19th to 21st, 1863


After pursuing Morgan's raiders for ten days and 500 miles, the Union fleet chasing them  finally caught up with them as they attempted  to cross the Ohio River at Buffington Island.  Stopped by the gunboats and pressed from the rear. Morgan's men retreated as best they could, but some 3,000 were taken prisoner.

Confederate Brigadier General Thomas Jordan wants to hold Morris Island at all costs andf asked for reinforcements from Fort Sumter.  General Ripley says he had the reinforcements requested but doubted they could be moved to Morris Island because of the Union ironclads.


USS Shawsheen captures 5 schooners near Cedar Island, Neuse River, NC.


Dahlgren writes Welles that he had silenced Fort Wagner on the 18th, and can do it again, but it is up to the Army to carry the works.

Old B-Runner

New England Coast In Full Consternation

JULY 18th

A delegation from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, meets with Secretary Welles seeking additional defense for the city.  Welles writes in his diary: "Letters from numerous places on the New England coast are received to the same effect..  Each of them wants a monitor, or cruiser, or both."

He then pointed out that shore defense belonged to the War Department rather than the Navy, and that coastal communities should bear some responsibility for their own defense.

Lt. Read's suvvessful raid on the New England coast had really stirred up the populance along with continuing rumors of other Confederate raiders.

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 17th to 18th, 1863


Rear Admiral Dahlgren is preparing to renew his attack on Fort Wagner and wrote Welles about a critical shortage of men in his squadron.  He asked for 500 Marines "there will be occasion for them."

On the 28th, Welles informed Dahkgran that the USS Aries had left Boston for Charleston with 200 men and would return with 200 more sailors and "Abattalion of marines, about 400 in number, will leave New York on the steamer Arago on Friday next."

Ram USS Monarch  and troops reoccupied Hickman, Kentucky, which had been captured by Confederate cavalry two days earlier.


Combined Army-Navy attack on Fort Wagner, SC, renewed.  Six ironclads and five gunboats pounded away at the fort.  The fort's return fire was silenced.  At sunset, General Gillmore ordered his troops to attack, leading to the famed 54th Massachusetts' charge.

Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Confederacy's French Rams


Commander Bulloch awarded contract to Lucien Arman, a naval contractor at Bordeaux, France, for construction of "two steam rams, hulls of wood and iron, 300 horsepower, two propellers, with two armored turrets...."  The general plans for the ships had been drawn up by Commander M.F. Maury and approved by Secretary Mallory.

The ships had to have at least a speed of 12 knots in calm seas.

Only one, however, the CSS Stonewall ever reached Confederate hands.  She arrived in Havana late in the war and never assisted the Confederacy and was later handed over to the Union.

Not possessing the  materials and industrial capacity to build a Navy capable of breaking the North's blockade, the South turned increasingly to Europe.

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 16th, 1863-- Action at Charleston, Confederate Flying Batteries


USS Pawnee and Marblehead provide covering fire during Confederate attack on Union positions on James Ilsand, SC.  The Pawnee is struck 40 times.  The Union position was commanded by Union General Alfred H. Terry, later the Union commander in the second Battle of Fort Fisher.  He reported that the ships greatly helped in his defense.

Porter wrote Farragut that the Confederates planned to operate flying batteries up and down the Mississippi to attack shipping.  "We shall be kept busy chasing them up."

The merchant steamer Imperial arrived in New Orleans from St. Louis which she left on July 8th without incident.  The Mississippi River was indeed open again for the Union.

Expedition from the USS Port Royal captured cotton ready to be run through the blockade at Appalachicola, Florida.

CSS Georgia captured the ship Prince of Wales in the mid-South Atlantic.

Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July14th to 15th, 1863-- Fort Powhatan Falls


A Naval force captures Confederate Fort Powhatan on the James River below Richmond, the last Confederate defense below Chaffin's and Drewry's Bluff.

J.B. Jones, Clerk in the Confederate War Department writes that General Beauregard would like for someone skilled with torpedoes be sent to Charleston, but Mallory replied that with enemy warships in the James River so close to Richmond, he can't sent the man.


Farragut wrote Porter that the Mississippi River was his as far as New Orleans.  He then plans to take a short leave before returning in the fall for operations against Galveston and/or Mobile.

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 12th to 13th, 1863-- Beauregard Is Wooried About Ironclads at Charleston


General Beauregard, commanding the Confederate defense at Charleston, SC, wrote Captain Tucker, commander of the Naval force there regarding the danger posed by the Union ironclads off the city and wants them destroyed.  He wanted either a gunboat attack or a "torpedo ram."

Later, this would lead to the David attack on the New Ironsides and the submarine H.L. Hunley.

The USS Penobscot chased blockade-runner Kate ashore at Smith's Island, NC.  Three weeks later, the Kate was floated by Confederates and towed under the protecting guns of Fort Fisher, but was abandoned upon the approach of Union ships.


A combined expedition captured Yazoo City, Mississippi.  The USS Baron de Lakb struck a torpedo and sank within 15 minutes.

Commander I.N. Brown ordered all shipping in the area destroyed which amounted to 19 ships.

Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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


Two Union ships sent out to look for the CSS Florida after the ship had captured two more merchant ships two days earlier off New York.  The Florida and earlier actions by Lt. Read in the Clarence, Tacony and Archer had created great concern in New England waters.

Asst. Secretary of Navy Fox wrote Farragut congratulating him on ":the final opening of the Mississippi.

The USS New London enroute from Donaldsonville to New Orleans came under fire and disabled by Confederate artillery at White Hall.  Farragut was right about continued danger on the Mississippi River.

Commander Bulloch wrote Mallory that he intended top sell the bark Agrippina, which had been purchased originally to take stores and armament to the CSS Alabama.  Ever since then, the ship had made three more voyages but had lost contacy with the far-ranging Alabama.  It was too costly to maintain the ship as a tender.


Grant had been receiving reports of a Confederate military build up at Yazoo City and asked Porter to "nip in the bud" such undertaking.  (Right, Barney.)  Porter agreed and escorted troops there the next day.

Charles Francis Adams, US ambassador to Great Britain, protested the building of ironclads and outfitting of blockade-runners by citizens of that country

Rear Admiral Hiram Paulding, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard, stationed gunboats around Manhattan to assist in maintaining order during the Draft Riots.

Old B-Runner

Monitors Against Charleston Again

July 10, 1863

Near commander of the South Atlantoc Blockading Squadron, Rear Admiral Dahlgren sends four monitors to bombard Confederate defenses on Morris Island by Charleston, SC.  This was to cover the landing of Army troops under Brigadier General Quincy A. Gilmore.  Small Navy boats armed with howitzers worked in close to shore.

However, the monitors could not dislodge the Confederates from Fort Wagner.  The monitor USS Catskill was hit 60 times, many of them very severe, but repairs were made and joined in the attack the next day.

Of course, all of this was leading up to the 54th Massachusetts' famous attack on Fort Wagner.  --Old B-R'er

Bulloch on the Importance of Wilmington and Use of European Ironclads

July 9. 1863

Commander Bulloch also recognized Wilmington, NC, as a key port for blockade-running and recommended that the Confederacy's European ironclads be sent there "as speedily as possible...[to] entirely destroy the blockading vessels."

Once that was accomplished , the new ironclads could turn their attention elsewhere for "a decisive blow in any direction, north or south."  They could also steam up the Atlantic coast and attack Washington, Philadelphia and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Bulloch had high hopes for these new ironclads, but they were seized by the British before completed and never reached Confederate waters.

Too Bad.  Sure Could Have Used Them At This Time.  --Old B-Runner

Problems Crewing Confederate Ironclads Being Built in Europe

JULY 9, 1863

Commander Bulloch wrote Mallory from Paris regarding ironclads being built for the Confederacy in Europe.  He noted that it had not been difficult to sign up crews for commerce raiders CSS Alabama and Florida because "not only the captivating excitement of adventure but the positive expectation of prize money."  Yep, money is always a great incentive motivator.

It was, however, a much greater problem to get crews for the ironclads, "Their grim aspect and formidable equipment clearly show that they are solely intended for the real danger and shock of battle...."

Let's see, do I go for the money or enemy shot and shell?

Decisions, Decisions.  --Old B-R'er

Farragut Turns the Mississippi River Over to Porter

JULY 9, 1863

Admiral Farragut, off  Donaldsonville, Louisiana, writes Porter, "The Department, I presume, anticipated the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson by the time their dispatch would reach me, in which they tell me that 'I will now be able to turn over the Mississippi River to you and give my more particular attention to the blockade on the different points on the coast....'"  Meaning, Mobile, Alabama.

Just because the Union controlled the major defensive points along the Mississippi River did not, however, mean that the Father of Waters was under their total control.

Farragut requested that Porter send down a couple ironclads to Donaldsonville to deal with "some 10,000 Texans, who have 15 or 20 pieces of light artillery, and have embrasures in the leveee and annoy our vessels very much."

Those Pesky 'Sech.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 9th,1863-- Fall of Port Hudson: The Mississippi River Under Union Control


Port Hudson, Louisiana surrendered after a prolonged attack by Union naval and land forces.  "General Banks raised the stars and stripes over the citadel and fired a salute of thirty-five guns" according to the journal of the USS Richmond.

A week later, Admiral Farragut wrote from New Orleans: "We have done our part of the work assigned to us, and all has worked well.  My last dash past Port Hudson was the best thing I ever did, except taking New Orleans.  It assisted materially in the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson."

The long drive to wrest control of the entire Mississippi River, beginning in the north at Fort henry and in the south at New Orleans early in 1862 is over.

It was hard writing about the one loss after another along the Mississippi this past year and a half and seeing the Confederacy cut in two.

Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 7th to 8th,1863


Confederate forces under General John Hunt Morgan captured the steamers John T. McCombs and Alice Dean ay Bradenburg, Kentucky.  This was at the beginning of his famous "Morgan's Raid" along the Ohio River.

USS Monongahela and USS New London engaged Confederate field batteries behind levees about 12 miles below Donaldsonville, Louisiana. 

CSS Florida captured ship Sunrise and released it on bond.


The USS Moose and USS Victory got underway to engage Morgan's Raiders.  They arrived at Brandenburg, Ky, the next day only to discover that Morgan and his men had crossed the Ohio River into Indiana.  July 10th his fleet went up the Ohio, keeping on Morgan's flank as  much as possible.  The chase continued until July 19th.  Other ships joined in the pursuit.

CSS Florida captured and burned brig W.B. Nash and whaling schooner Rienzi off New York.

Old B-Runner

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 4th to 6th,1863: Another Confederate Loss


The USS Tyler assisted a Union garrison at Helena, Arkansas, in repulsing a Confederate attack.  The Southerners had heavy casualties.  The Union forces reported burying 380 of their dead and found evidence of many other graves.  Another 1,100 were captured.

I had never heard of this battle before, but will look it up.


Rear Admiral S.P. Lee of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron wrote about measures for a successfull blockade.  "The blockade requires smart, active vessels to move about close inside, large vessels with heavy batteries, if ironclads cannot be got to protect the blockade and well armed swift steamers to cruise in pairs outside."


Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren relieved Rear Admiral Du Pont as Commander, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, headquartered at Port Royal, SC.  Since April, when Du Pont's ironclads had been clobbered in their attack on Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor, Du Pont had wanted to explain why the reason for the failure, the weakness in the monitors cast-iron and wrought-iron parts.  But, he had remained quiet because it would have lowered opinion of the Navy's most-publicized weapon.

Du Pont's argument with Welles over this was a big reason for his being relieved.  Dahlgren didn't do any better taking Charleston, however.

CSS Alabama captured and burned ship Express off coast of Brazil.

Well, Finally One Small Success.  --Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 4, 1863-- The Father of Waters Unvexed

Port Hudson did not hold out much longer after Vicksburg's fall, as Porter had predicted.  The War in the West was won.  "The great produce of the Midwest could flow freely down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and the South was severed."

Raphael Semmes later wrote:  "This was a terrible blow to us.  It not only lost us an army, but cut the Confederacy in two, by giving the enemy the command of the Mississippi River....  Vicksburg and Gettysburg mark an era in the war....  We need no better evidence of the shock which had been given to the public confidence in the South, by those two disasters, than the simple fact, that our currency depreciated almost immediately a thousand percent!"

President Lincoln wrote, "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea....Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten (referring to the Navy).  At all the watery margins they have been present. Not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, the rapid river, but also up the narrow, muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been and made their attacks.

Way to Go, Navy!!  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi 150 Years Ago Today

From the Civil War Naval Chronology.

Vicksburg, long under assault and siege by water and land, surrendered this day to General Grant.  General W.T. Sherman congratulated Admiral Porter for the Navy's role: "No event in life could have given me more personal pride or pleasure than to have met you to-day on the wharf at Vicksburg--a Fourth of July so eloquent in events as to need no words or stimulants to elevate its importance."

However, Port Hudson remained under Confederate control so the Mississippi River was not entirely under Union control.  But, Sherman believed it would also fall and soon.

Porter wrote Welles that 13 Navy guns had been used ashore and that: "There has been a large expenditure of ammunition during the siege; the mortars have fired 7,000 mortar shells, and the gunboats 4,500; 4,500 have been fired from the naval guns ashore, and we have supplied over 6,000 to the different army corps."

Grant wrote: "The navy, under Porter, was all it could be during the entire campaign.  Without its assistance the campaign could not have been successfully made with twice the number of men engaged."

A Big Win for teh Union.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Paul Ravesics of Mobile

Back on June 20-21st, i wrote about the death of Confederate Naval Officer Lt. Peter U. Murphrey at the home of Paul Revesics on Mobile Bay.  I found out some more information on him.

Paul Ravesics had been captain of a company of the 3rd Alabama Cavalry from Mobile..  His wife, Virginia Humphries Ravesics died August 11, 1902 and is buried at Mobile's Magnolia Cemetery.

Then I found something about Co. E, Humpheys Dragoons.

On e-Bay, I found a history of Mobile, Alabama, written by Sub Rosa in 1885, titled "Scenes and Settlers of Alabama."  Sub Rosa was the pseudonym of Paul Ravesics.  E-Bay said it consisted of 2/3 historical text and 1/3 ads from Mobile, Alabama.  AND... you can buy it now for just $429.95.  Such a deal!!

Rasevics was transferred from the 3rd Alabama Cavalry and promoted to the Inspector general's Department.

There is also record of his suing the government of the United States July 24, 1888 in Ravesics vs. U.S., No. 875.  The suit was to recover fees for services rendered as shipping commissioner for the Port of Mobile.

Now, You Know.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Confederate Cruiser Chickamauga-- Part 2

The Chickamauga went on to capture and sink the Goodspeed and Otter Rock and bonded the Speedwell.

Then, it was on to Bermuda to recoal (lack of space for fuel limited how far the Chickamauga could cruise).  Sixty-five men deserted there.  Seems like that is quite a large number of the crew.  Wonder what was happening to cause it?

Then, it was back to Fort Fisher.

At Wilmington, the USS Clematis, Wilderness, Cherokee and Kansas gave chase, but Wilkinson got over the bar.

In three weeks, the Chickamauga had captured seven ships and the Tallahassee added four to that number.

The Tallahassee (Olustee) was reconverted to a blockade-runner named the Chameleon.  Wilkinson took it through the blockade, but on his return, Wilmington had fallen so they went to Liverpool where the British government seized the ship and turned it over to the United States who sold it to Japan.

Chameleon Was a Good Name for the Ship.  --Old B-Runner

Confederate Cruiser CSS Chickamauga-- Part 1

From J. Gregory MacKenzie's Ahoy- Mac's Web Log.

The CSS Chicamauga was originally the blockade-runner Edith, a sister ship to the CSS Tallahassee which had also been a former blockade-runner.  The ship upon entering Confederate service was placed under the command of Lt. John Wilkinson.

On Pctpber 26, 1864, the Chicakamauga ran out to open sea from Wilmington, NC, but grounded on the bar, backed itself free and was successful thes second try.

The USS Dunbarton and two other blockaders gave chase but were soon outdistanced.

In a brief cruise, the Chickamauga captured six prizes off New York.  Four of them were the Mark L. Potter, Emily L. Hall, Albion Lincoln and Shooting Star.

Alarm was quick to spread up and down the coast.  Admiral Porter was informed by Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, of the new raider:  "It is reported that four privateers are out of Wilmington. Three have actually committed depredations, namely Tallahassee, Chickamauga, and Olustee."  The Olustee was actually the Tallahassee  Porter dispatched nine ships to locate them.

More to Come.  --Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 2nd to 3rd, 1863


Grant, in front of Vicksburg, wrote Porter that the firing from the mortar boats had been very effective.  Three warships had shelled the Confederate battery that they had named Whistling Dickbecause of its effectiveness.

CSS Alabama captured the ship Anna F. Schmidt and burned it.

Four blockade runners captured at different points along Confeedrate coast.


Grant and Confederate General Pemberton arranged an armistice to negotiate surrender terms.

And, of course, Lee's defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

Old B-Runner

Monday, July 1, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: July 1st, 1863


  Major General Rosecrans asked for gunboats for operations on the Tennessee River to halt Confederate attempts to set up bases along it.

Commander Caldwell reported to Farragut that "From the 23 of May to the 26 of June, theer followed a succession of bombardments" at Port Hudson. From his ship, the USS Essex, he had fired 738 shells and the mortar ships another 2,800 XII-shells.

James M. Tindall wrote Cpnfederate Secretary of State Judah P. benamin concerning the capture of the  Union's Pacific Mail Steamers operating on the Pacific coast.

J.B. Jones noted in his diary that President Davis had announced that the obstructions below Richmond in the James River would not be opened for the ironclad CSS Richmond until anotehr ironclad to accompany it was ready.

Old B-Runner