Fort Fisher

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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 31, 1861: Confederate Lightship Off Wilmington Destroyed

DECEMBER 31ST, 1861:  Two boats under Acting Masters A. Allen and H.L. Sturges, from the USS Mount Vernon, destroyed lightship off Wilmington, N.C., which had been fitted out as a gunboat by the Confederates.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 30, 2016

Approaching the Fifth Year of This Blog

2017 will mark the beginning of the sixth year of this blog.

So far this year, with this one, I have posted 519 times.  Since the first year in 2012, there have been 2789 posts.

It grew out of my Saw the Elephant: Civil War blog which grew out of my Cooter's History Thing blog.

I Really Do need to Find a Purpose.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 30, 1861: Union Navy Pay on Western Waters

DECEMBER 30TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Foote wrote Assistant Secretary of Navy Fox of the pay scale he was using:  "In the case of Masters and Pilots, I have been obliged, in order to secure the services of efficient Men, to pay 1st Masters $150. per month, 2nd Masters $125.  3rd Masters $100. and 4th Masters $80. per month, while Pilots are paid $175. per month.

"These prices are much less than the incumbents received in ordinary times, while they have been provided with table furniture and stores, bedding &c, which I have not allowed them."

It Costs Money To Fight a War.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 29, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 29, 1861: CSS Sea Bird Captures a Schooner

DECEMBER 29TH, 1861:  CSS Sea Bird, Flag Officer Lynch, evaded Union gunfire and captured a large schooner near Hampton Roads carrying fresh water to Fort Monroe.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 28, 1861: Confederate Schooner captured

DECEMBER 28TH, 1861:  The USS New London, Lt. A Reed, captured Confederate schooner Gipsey with cargo of cotton in the Mississippi Sound.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 27, 1861: Du Pont Weighs In On the Trent Affair

DECEMBER 27TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Du Pont wrote regarding the "Trent Affair" as it had become known as:  "I hope now that our politicians will begin to learn, that something is necessary to be a 'great universal Yankee nation etc' than politics and party.

"We should have armies and navies and have those appurtenances which enable a nation to defend itself and not be compelled to submit to humiliation [releasing Nason and Slidell] ...Thirty ships like the Wabash would have spared us this without firing a gun, with an ironclad frigate or two."

No Doubt He Was Upset Upon the Confederate Commissioners' Release.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, December 26, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 26, 1861: Action At Savannah

DECEMBER 26TH, 1861:  Confederate fleet, including the CSS Savannah, Commodore Tattnall, Resolute, Sampson, Ida and Barton, attacked Union blockading ships at the mouth of the Savannah River.  Before returning to his anchorage under the guns of Fort Pulaski, Tattnall forced the blockaders to move seaward temporarily.

**  USS Rhode Island, Lt. Trenchard, captured Confederate schooner Venus southeast of Sabine Pass, off the Louisiana coast.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, December 25, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 25, 1861: Blockade Runner Captured Off Cape Fear

DECEMBER 25TH, 1861:   The USS Fernandina, Acting Lt. George W, Browne, captured schooner William H. Northrup off Cape Fear, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 24, 2016

First Battle of Fort Fisher Underway 152 Years Ago Today

This date, the Union Army had showed up and began landing north of Fort Fisher.  The U.S. Navy had already bombarded the fort the day before and continued today with one of the heaviest shows of fire power during the war.

The powder boat USS Louisiana had been blown up.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, December 24, 1861: Help With the Confederate Ironclads

DECEMBER 24TH, 1861:  The USS Gem of the Sea, Lt. Irvin B. Baxter, captured and destroyed the British blockade runner Prince of Wales off Georgetown, South Carolina.

**  Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory wrote Major General Leonidas Polk, commanding troops at Columbus, Kentucky, requesting furlough of troops to assist in construction of ironclad gunboats at Memphis.

Mallory commented:  "One of them at Columbus would have enabled you to complete the annihilation of the enemy."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 23, 2016

Death of 48th New York's Captain James W. Dunn at Fort Fisher

I have been writing about the 48th New York's attack on Fort Wagner in 1861 and its horrendous casualties in that assault.

But, I also came across the name of one of their officers who was killed at the Battle of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865.

He was Captain James W, Dunn, evidently, the only officer of that regiment killed at that battle.  He commanded Company E.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The New York Times Updates Blockade-Runner Movements Jan. 19, 1865

Even as the war was winding down and the Confederacy in its death throes, the business of blockade-running was busy as ever.

January 19, 1865, New York Times.  News from Nassau and Bermuda.

"The blockade-runner Princess Royal, which was on her way from Bermuda to Nassau, has been lost.  On the 2nd inst., the steamers Confederate States and Chicora are reported to have arrived from Charleston, and that the Agnes E. Fry and the Julia were entirely lost while trying to get from Charleston.

"On the 8th inst., the rebel steamer Col. Lamb arrived from Nassau, of 616 tons, and it is reported she is intended for a privateer; and in the 9th inst., arrived the steamer Lark, 267 tons, from Liverpool and Madeira, consigned to Charles J. Helen, the rebel agent in Havana; on the 12th inst., the Neva, which sailed on the 10th, returned in distress, but the general opinion was that she was chased by a United States gunboat."

A lot of action still going on despite the loss of Charleston and Wilmington by this date.  The Agnes E. Fry actually sank off the Cape Fear River, near Wilmington.

I am wondering if this ship called the Neva is the same one captured in San Francisco in 1861 which I have been writing about.  If so, she found her way back into Confederate service.  As of yet I haven't been able to find out is she was.

I Wonder.  --Old B-Runner


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 21, 1861: Medal of Honor Authorized

DECEMBER 21ST, 1861:  The U.S. Congress authorized the Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest award.

It being a new medal, three were some questionable awards of it during the Civil War, nothing like the work needing to be done to get it today.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 20th, 1861: "Stone Fleet" Sunk at Charleston

DECEMBER 20TH, 1861:  The "Stone Fleet" was sunk at Charleston by Captain C.H. Davis.

**  Steamer Gordon ran the blockade off Wilmington, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 17, 1861: Observing Sunday on Union Navy Ships in Western Waters

DECEMBER 17TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Foote, Commanding U.S. Naval Forces, Western Waters, issued a General Order regarding observance of Sunday on board ships of his flotilla:  "It is the wish ... that on Sunday the public worship of Almighty God may be observed ... and that respective commanders will either themselves, or cause other persons to pronounce prayers publically on Sunday ...."

Foote added:  Discipline to be permanent must be based on moral grounds, and officers must in themselves, show a good example in morals, order, and patriotism to secure those qualities in the men."

Since 1775, Navy regulations have required that religious services be held on board ships of the Navy in peace or war.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 16, 2016

Article On Fort Fisher This Month

I came across a long, about eight pages,  article on Fort Fisher in the new Civil War Quarterly magazine for this month.

Lots of nice pictures and interesting account, but nothing new to anyone who knows anything about the battle which effectively closed the Confederacy's last contact with the outside world in 1865.

Always Great to Have an Article on the Fort.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 15, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 15, 1861: More Runners Captured

DECEMBER 15TH, 1861:  The USS Stars and Stripes, Lieutenant Reed Werden, captured blockade running schooner Charity of Cape Hatteras.

**  USS Jamestown, Commander Green, captured Confederate sloop Havelock near Cape Fear, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 12, 1861: More Action on the Ashepoo River

DECEMBER 12TH, 1861:  The USS Alabama, Commander Edward Lanier, captured the British ship Admiral off Savannah, attempting to run the blockade.

**  The USS Isaac Smith, Lieutenant J.W.A. Nicholson, on a reconnaissance of the Ashepoo River, South Carolina, with a Marine detachment embarked and scattered Confederate troops by gunfire and landed Marines to destroy their quarters.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 11, 1861: Action in Florida and Louisiana

DECEMBER 11TH, 1861:  The USS Bienville, Commander Steedman, captured schooner Sarah and Caroline off St. John's River, Florida.

**  The USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured Confederate sloop Florida off the lighthouse at Timbalier, Louisiana.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 10, 1861: Action in South Carolina

DECEMBER 10TH, 1861:  The USS Isaac Smith, Lieutenant James W.A. Nicholson, on expedition up Ashepoo River, South Carolina, landed at Otter Island and took possession of an abandoned Confederate fort; Nicholson turned over command of the fort to the Army.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 12, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 9, 1861: More B-R's Captured and a Potomac Engagement

DECEMBER 9TH, 1861:  The USS New London, Lt.  A. Read, captured schooner Delight and sloops Express and Osceola off Cat Passage, Mississippi.

**  The USS Harriet Lane, Lieutenant Robert H. Wyman, and other vessels of the Potomac Flotilla engaged Confederate forces at Freestone Point, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 9, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 8, 1861: CSS Sumter Strikes Again

DECEMBER 8TH, 1861:  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned the American bark Eben Dodge in the mid-Atlantic, equipped for a whaling  voyage to the Pacific.

**  The USS Rhode Island, Lieutenant Trenchard, seized British blockade runner Phantom with cargo off Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Day of Infamy 75 Years Ago: John A. Prosenjak, Schofield Barracks

Every year, I remember in all seven of my blogs.  Those battleships hit at Pearl Harbor owe a lot of their  technology from the Civil War, especially the gun turrets as developed on the USS Monitor.

From Youngstown, Ohio, Pearl Harbor Survivors Profiles.

JOHN A. PROSENJAK  Born 1913 in Youngstown.  Died 2004 at age 94.

Graduated from Ohio State University with degree in teaching and was a 2nd. lieutenant in ROTC.

Army captain in charge of Signal Corps company at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.  Discharged January 1946 and then in Army Reserve for 26 years.

Quote from his children:  "He told the story of Pearl Harbor to just about every high school, college and military class he taught.

Greatest Generation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

So, That's Why I Couln't Find Out Anything About the Revenue Cutter Mary

The U.S. Coast Guard Revenue Cutter & Lighthouse Service in the Civil War site had this entry for 14 November 1861:

"The USRC William L. Marcy under Captain William S. Pease, USRM, seized the Confederate privateer Neva at San Francisco, California."

This would explain why I was unable to find out anything about a U.S. revenue cutter by the name of the Mary.  The newspapers made a mistake.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 6, 1861: Another Runner Captured

DECEMBER 6TH, 1861:  The USS Augusta, Commander Parrott, captured British blockade runner Cheshire off South Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 5, 2016

Confederate Privateer Neva Fitting Out in China-- Part 4

From Capt. LUCKIE of the ship Lotus, we learn that this man ALLEN worked his passage over on the Surprise, which left this port about four months ago.  He expresses no doubt of the rebel proclivities of LYNCH, who was formerly a midshipman in the United States Navy.

He ran the Antelope for some time in the China Seas, and was perfectly familiar with the coast.

The Neva is a fore-and-aft schooner of about one hundred tons, and can mount not more than four effective guns.

The Naval Storekeeper, after fitting out the Neva with her armament from the property of "Uncle Sam," threw up his charge and went on board of the Neva.  Some ten days prior to the departure of the Lotus, te Saginaw left Hong Kong in pursuit of the rebel craft.  the Captain of the Lotus is of the opinion that her capture is inevitable.

The loyal feeling amongst Americans at Hong Kong is enthusiastic with the exception of Dr. LOCKHART, no prominent man is even suspected of secessionism.

Definitely Some Intrigue Going On Here.  --Old B-Runner





Confederate Privateer Neva Fitting Out In China-- Part 3

Commenting on this statement, the Alta Californian of October 9, 1861, says:  We learn from other sources that LYNCH was formerly a sportsman in San Francisco, and left here about a year ago on the Nor'wester.  For several years he was in command of a steamer on this coast.

The Neva is a small schooner of 60 or 70 tons, formerly a pleasure yacht on the coast of China, and said to be a pretty fast sailer.  Some are of the opinion that she is intended only to rob China men along the coast, as she was too small to carry any large gun..  ALLEN is in command of the Neva.

Old B-Runner

The 48th New York Infantry at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher

I am writing about this regiment in my Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog in connection with its attack on Fort Wagner and death of its Lt.-Col., James M. Green.  A fort on Folly Island, S.C. was named for him.

This regiment was primarily used in coastal operations and was at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher January 13-15, 1865.

You can check out my Civil War blog to read more about it.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, December 5, 1861: Union Takes Wassaw Sound, Georgia

DECEMBER 5TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Du Pont regarding expedition to Wassaw Sound, Georgia, and plans for the use of the "stone fleet", wrote:  "Ottawa, Pembina, and Seneca penetrated into Wassaw ... the 'stone fleet'  are all at Savannah, and I hardly know what to do with them --- for with Wassaw that city is more effectively closed than a bottle with wire over the cork ....

"I am sending to [Captain James I.] Lardner to know if he can plant them on the Charleston bar ...  One good thing they [the 'stone fleet's appearance at Savannah] did, I have not a doubt they were taken for men-of-war, and led  to giving up the Wassaw defenses...."

Scare Me Once.  --Old B-Runner


Saturday, December 3, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 4, 1861: USS Montgomery Attacked By Confederate Steamers

DECEMBER 4TH, 1861:  Confederate steamers Florida and Pamlico attacked the USS Montgomery, Commander Thompson D. Shaw, off Horn Island Pass, Mississippi Sound.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 3, 1861: The Sumter Destroys Another American Ship

DECEMBER 3RD, 1861:  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned at sea the American ship Vigilant, bound from New York to the West Indies.

**  The USS Santiago de Cuba, Commander Ridgely, captured the British blockade running schooner Victoria.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 2, 2016

Confederate Privateer Neva Fitting Out at Shanghai, China-- Part 2

WARD is a desperate character, and has a large sum of money, which he has made in the Imperial service.  He was connected with WALKER, and is a sailor by profession.  LYNCH is a Northerner.  We fancy the affair will end in grief.  The craft is too small and a suitable crew can hardly be had in time.

We hear that two of the Saginaw's officers resigned, upon learning the objective of her trip, but subsequently withdrew their resignations.

--Old B-Runner

A Confederate Privateer Fitting Out At Shanghai, China-- Part 1

From the November 3, 1861, New York Times.  Continued from November 14, 2016.

Even before the supposed Confederate privateer Neva sailed to San Francisco and was captured by the Revenue Cutter Mary on November 14, 1861, there was knowledge about it.

Taken directly from the newspaper:

The Hong Kong Press of the 10th of Aug. says:  The United States storekeeper at Shanghai was a politician named 'Judge' Cleary.  We believe he earned the title from having been a magistrate in California.  It seems from the last advices from Shaghai that this man, in connection with Col. WARD, (the celebrated fillibuster), Capt. ALLEN, (who brought the steamship Surprise from California,) and Capt. LYNCH, (for some years in command of the steamer Antelope, and lately of the Contest,) purchased the schooner Neva, equipped her from the United States naval stores, and intend to cruise off the coast as a privateer.

"The steamer Saginaw hurried up yesterday, on the intelligence being made known, and, we make small doubt, will capture her."

So, it would seem that the schooner Neva was purchased by a group of Confederate sympathizers named Ward, Allen and Lynch with the goal of turning her into a privateer to cruise the Chinese waters and prey on U.S. shipping.

Even worse, they were able to arm and equip the Neva with U.S. naval stores supplied them by another Confederate sympathizer named Cleary who was in charge of them in Shanghai.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 2, 1861: CSS Patrick Henry Engages Union Ships

DECEMBER 2ND, 1861:  The CSS Patrick Henry, Commander Tucker, attacked four Union steamers above Newport News; the Patrick Henry was damaged in the two hour action.

**  Lieutenant Robert D. Minor, CSN, reported a laboratory had been organized at New Orleans "for the supply of ordnance stores for the vessels fitting out at this station."

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 2, 1861: Welles' First Annual Report

DECEMBER 2ND, 1861:  In his first annual report, Secretary of the Navy Welles reported to President Lincoln that:  "Since the institution of the blockade one hundred and fifty-three vessels have been captured ... most of which were attempting to violate the blockade ... When the vessels now building and purchased are ... ready for service, the condition of the navy will be ... a total of 264 vessels, 2,557 guns, and 218,016 tons.

"The aggregate number of seamen in the service ... is now not less than 22,000 ...  The amount appropriated at the last regular session of Congress for the naval service for the current year was $13,168,675.86.  To this was added at the special session in July last $30,446,875.91 -- making for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1862, an aggregate of $43,615,551.77.

"This sum will not be sufficient...."

Wonder Who Got the 77 Cents?  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 1, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 1, 1861: Capturing Runners

DECEMBER 1ST, 1861:  The USS New London, Lieutenant A. Read, captured sloop Advocate in the Mississippi Sound.

**  The USS Seminole, Commander Gillis, seized sloop Lida, from Havana, off St. Simon's Sound, Georgia, with cargo of coffee, lead and sugar.

--Old B-Runner


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 30, 1861: More Runners Captured

NOVEMBER 30TH, 1861:  The USS Wanderer, Lieutenant James H. Spotts, captured blockade running British schooner Telegraph near Indian Key, Florida.

**  The USS Savannah, Commander John S. Missroon, with other ships in company, seized Confederate schooner E.J. Waterman, after the vessel grounded at Tybee Island with cargo of coffee on board.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 29, 1861: Worden Released From Prison and Arrives in Washington, D.C.

NOVEMBER 29TH, 1861:  Lieutenant John Worden, later commanding officer of the USS Monitor, arrived in Washington, D.C. after seven months as a Confederate prisoner.

He had just delivered secret orders to Fort Pickens, Florida, and was on his way back to Washington, D.C. on April 13th, the day after Fort Sumter was fired upon, when he was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, and subsequently imprisoned.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 28, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 28, 1861: Two Runners Seized

NOVEMBER 28TH, 1861:  The USS New London, Lieutenant A. Read, captured Confederate blockade runner Lewis,  with cargo of sugar and molasses, and schooner A.J. View, with cargo of turpentine and tar, off Ship Island, Mississippi.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 25, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 27, 1861:

NOVEMBER 27TH, 1861:  The USS Vincennes, Lieutenant Samuel Marcy, boarded and seized blockade running British bark Empress, aground at the mouth of the Mississippi River, with large cargo of coffee.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 25, 1861: First Armor Plate for the CSS Virginia

NOVEMBER 25TH, 1861:  The first armor plate for shipment to the  CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack) is accepted by Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory.

**  The USS Penguin, Acting Lt. Thomas A. Budd, captured blockade running schooner Albion near North Edisto, S.C., with a cargo of arms, munitions and provisions.

**  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured American brig Montmorenci off the Leeward Islands.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 26, 1861: South Feeling Effect of Blockade Already

NOVEMBER 26TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Du Pont observed the blockade's increasing pressure on the South's economy:  "The flag is hoisted on the lighthouse and martello tower at Tybee ... Shoes are $8 a pair in Charleston.  Salt $7 a bushel, no coffee -- women going to the interior -- [Captain James L.] Lardner has closed the port effectively that they can no longer get fish even."

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 26, 1861: Engagement at Savannah

NOVEMBER 26TH, 1861:  The CSS Savannah, Commodore Tattnall, and three steamers sortied against the Union fleet at Cockspur Roads, Savannah; unsuccessful in effort to draw blockading vessels within range of Fort Pulaski's guns.

**  CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned American schooner Arcade  north of the Leeward Islands.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 24, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 24, 1861: Union Takes Possession of Tybee Island

NOVEMBER 24TH, 1861:  Landing party from the USS Flag, Commander J. Rodgers, USS Augusta, Pocahontas, Seneca and Savannah, took possession of Tybee Island, Savannah Harbor.

"This abandonment of Tybee Island," Du Pont reported, "is due to the terror inspired by the bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard and is a direct result of the victory on the 7th [capture of Port Royal Sound]."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 23, 1861: The CSS Sumter Escapes

NOVEMBER 23RD, 1861:  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, evaded the USS Iroquois at Martinique and steamed on a course for Europe.

**  Confederate gunboat Tuscarora accidentally destroyed by fire near Helena, Arkansas.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 22, 1861: Engagement at Pensacola

NOVEMBER 22ND, 1861:  Two days of combined gunfire commenced from the USS Niagara, Flag Officer McKean, USS Richmond, Captain Francis B. Ellison, and Fort Pickens against Confederate defenses at Fort McRee, the Pensacola Navy Yard and the town of Warrington, terminating the following day with damage to the Confederate positions and the USS Richmond.

**  The U.S. Marine Corps is authorized to enlist an additional 500 privates and proportionate number of non-commissioned officers.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 21, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 21, 1861: Joint Union Navy Force Captures Two Confederate Ships

NOVEMBER 21ST, 1861:  The USS New London, Lt. Abner Reed Read, with USS R.R. Cuyler and crew members from the USS Massachusetts, captured Confederate schooner with cargo of lumber in the Mississippi Sound; the same force took the steamer Anna, with naval stores, the following day.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 18, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 19, 1861: CSS Nashville Captures and Burns Union Ship

NOVEMBER 19TH, 1861:  The CSS Nashville, Lieutenant Pegram. captured and burned the American clipper ship Harvey Birch, bound from Le Havre to New York.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 18, 1851: Engagement At New Inlet, N.C.

NOVEMBER 18TH, 1861:  See the entry for November 16th.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 17, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 17, 1861: Capture of a Blockade-Runner

NOVEMBER 17TH, 1861:  The USS Connecticut, Commander Maxwell Woodhull, captured British schooner Adeline, loaded with military stores and supplies off Cape Canaveral, Florida.

--Old-B-Runner

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 18, 1861: Engagement at New Inlet, N.C.

NOVEMBER 18TH, 1861:  The USS Monticello, Lieutenant Daniel Braine, engaged a Confederate battery near New Inlet, North Carolina.  This would be an early fortification, part of which became Fort Fisher.  he later commander the USS Pequot in the attacks on Fort Fisher later in the war.

**  The USS Conestoga, Lt. S.L. Phelps, on an expedition in the Cumberland River, dispersed Confederate forces and silenced a battery at Canton, Kentucky.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 16, 1861: Mallory Wants Four Ironclads for Confederate Navy

NOVEMBER 16, 2016:  Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory advertised for plans and bids for building four seagoing ironclads capable of carrying four heavy guns each.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 15, 1861: Slidell and Mason Disembark

NOVEMBER 15TH, 1861:  Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell disembarked from the USS San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, at Fort Monroe.

**  The USS Dale, Commander Yard, captured British schooner Mabel, east of Jacksonville.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 14, 2016

Erroneous Report of Capture of Blockade-Runner Fingal

November 21, 1861, Daily Dispatch.

"Intelligence of the capture of a large British steamer, laden with arms and munitions of war and supposed to be the Fingal, from Greenock, Scotland, by a U.S. frigate, which took her prize to Key West, reaches us from Holmes's Hole yesterday, where the brig Manzoni has just arrived from Cardenas."

Actually, the Fingal had just made a successful run into Savannah on November 12th.

--Old B-Runner

Capture of the Privateer Neva Reported

From the Daily Dispatch, November 21, 1861.

"Our news from San Francisco also mentions the arrest of a supposed privateer -- the schr. Neca -- at that port, by the Captain of the revenue cutter Mary.  It appears that the Neva was fitted out at Shanghai, China, and that information of this fact preceded her arrival at San Francisco."

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, November 14, 1861: Confederate Privateer Seized in San Francisco

NOVEMBER 14TH, 1861:  The U.S. cutter Mary, Captain Pease, seized the Confederate privateer Neva, in San Francisco, California.

--Old V-Runner

Friday, November 11, 2016

155 Tears Ago, November 13, 1861: The USS Water Witch Captures Blockade Runner Off Mobile

NOVEMBER 13TH, 1861:  The USS Water Witch, Lieutenant Aaron K. Hughes, captured blockade running British brigantine Cornucopia off Mobile.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 12, 1861: The Fingal Runs the Blockade

NOVEMBER 12TH, 1861:  The Fingal (later CSS Atlanta), purchased in England, entered Savannah laden with military supplies -- the first ship to run the blockade solely on Confederate government account.

**  The USS  W.G. Anderson, Acting Lt. William C. Rogers, captured the Confederate privateer Beauregard near Abaco.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, November 11, 1861: Professor Lowe Goes Up in a Balloon

NOVEMBER 11TH, 1861:  Thaddeus Lowe made a balloon observation of Confederate forces from Balloon-Boat G.W. Parke Custis, anchored in the Potomac River.  The G.W. Parke Custis was procured for $150, and readied for the service at the Washington Navy Yard.

Lowe reported:  "I left the navy-yard early Sunday morning, the 10th instant ... towed out by the steamer Coeur de Lion, having on board competent assistant aeronauts, together with with my new gas generating apparatus, which, though used for the first time, worked admirably.

We located at the mouth of Mattawoman Creek, about three miles from the opposite or Virginia shore.  Yesterday [11 November] proceeded to make observations accompanied in my ascensions by general Sickles and others.  We had a fine view of the enemy's camp-fires during the evening, and saw the rebels constructing new batteries at Freestone Point."

The Beginning of Naval Aviation.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Happy 241st Birthday USMC

On this date in 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the United States Marine Corps.  This date is celebrated across the Corps on this day every year.

Saturday, I will be honoring it by attending the annual Marine Corps Breakfast at the Fox Lake, Illinois, American Legion Post #703, which is also the kickoff for the Toys for Tots Program.

Later that day, I will be attending the Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting in DeKalb, Illinois, honoring American veterans of all wars.  And, the Confederacy had their own Confederate States Marine Corps (CSMC).

After that I plan to return to Fox Lake for the annual Veterans Day Dance at the American Legion featuring the Lakes Area Swing band, playing all that great World War II music.

--Old B-R'er

Hogg Wild, the Adventurous Confederate Pirate Col. Thomas Edgerton Hogg-- Part 1

From the October 8, 2016, Cecil-Whig "Hogg wild: The adventurous pirate from Cecil County: by Jo Ann Gardner.

Colonel Thomas Edgerton Hogg "was a pirate for the Confederate Navy."

He was from the Baltimore Hogg family, who had quite an interesting history.  His older brother William moved to California for the Gold Rush to work as a jeweler.  Younger brother James went to Australia looking for gold and lived there for 30 years.  Thomas moved to Louisiana in the 1850s seeking fame and fortune.

At the outbreak of the Civil War he determined there was plenty of money to be made as well as helping the Confederacy by going to the Pacific and interrupting Union trade ship routes.

--Old B-Runne5

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 9, 1861: Lee Writes About the Impact of Fall of Port Royal

NOVEMBER 9TH, 1861:  Major General Robert E. Lee wrote Confederate Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin regarding the effects of the Union Navy's victory at Port Royal:  "The enemy having complete possession of water and inland navigation, commands all islands on the coast and threatens both Savannah and Charleston, and can come in his boats, within four miles of this place [Lee's headquarters were at Coosawhatchie, South Carolina].

"His sloops of war and large steamers can come up Broad River to Mackay's Point, the mouth of the Pocotaligo, and his gunboats can ascend some distance up the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny.

"We have no guns that can resist their batteries, and have no resources but to prepare to meet them in the field."

In Other Words, This Is Serious Business.  --Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, November 9, 1861: Beaufort, S.C., Occupied

NOVEMBER 9TH, 1861:  Gunboats of Flag Officer Du Pont's fleet took possession of Beaufort, South Carolina, and by blocking the mouth of the Broad River, cut off this communication link between Charleston and Savannah.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 8, 1861: The Trent Affair

NOVEMBER 8TH, 1861:  The USS San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, stopped the British mail steamer Trent in Old Bahama Channel and removed Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell.

The action sparked a serious international incident.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, November 8, 1861: Action in Texas and Virginia

NOVEMBER 8TH, 1861:  Boat expedition under Lieutenant James E. Jouet, from the USS Santee surprised and captured Confederate crew of schooner Royal Yacht, and burned the vessel at Galveston.

**  The USS Rescue, Lieutenant Gwin, shelled a Confederate battery at Urbana Creek, Virginia, and captured a large schooner.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 7, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 7, 1861: USS Tyler and Lexington Aide U.S. Grant at the Battle of Belmont

NOVEMBER 7TH, 1861:  The USS Tyler, Commander Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, supported 3000 Union troops under General Grant at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri, and engaged Confederate batteries along the Mississippi River.

The arrival of Confederate reinforcements compelled Grant to withdraw under pressure.  Grape, canister and shell from the gunboats scattered the Confederates, enabling Union troops to re-embark on their transports.

Grant, with characteristic restraint, reported that the gunboats' service was "most efficient" having "protected our transports throughout."

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, November 7, 1861: Union Navy Captures Port Royal Sound

NOVEMBER 7, 1861:  Naval forces under Flag Officer Du Pont captured Port Royal Sound, South Carolina.  While Du Pont's ships steamed in boldly, the naval gunners poured a withering fire into the defending Forts Walker and Beauregard with extreme accuracy.

The Confederate defenders abandoned the forts and the small Confederate naval squadron under Commodore Tattnall could offer only harassing resistance but did rescue troops by ferrying them to the mainland from Hilton Head.

Marines and sailors were landed to occupy the forts until turned over to Army troops under General T. W. Sherman.

Careful planning and skillful execution had given Du Pont a great victory and the Union Navy an important base of operations.

The Confederates were compelled to withdraw coastal defenses inland out of reach of naval gunfire.  Du Pont wrote: "It is not my temper to rejoice over fallen foes, but this must be a gloomy night in Charleston."

This Was a Huge Success for the Union.  They Now Had the Base to Conduct Operations Against Both Charleston and Savannah.  --Old B-Runner


Friday, November 4, 2016

155 Years Ago, November 6, 1861: Capturing Blockade Runners

NOVEMBER 6, 1861:  The USS Rescue, Lt. William Gwin, captured and burned the schooner Ada which was hard aground in Corrotoman Creek, Virginia.

**  Captain Purviance, commander of the USS St. Lawrence, reported the capture of British schooner Fanny Lee, running the blockade at Darien, Georgia, with a cargo of rice and tobacco.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 5, 1861: Engagement at Port Royal

NOVEMBER 5TH, 1861:  The USS Ottawa, Pembina, Seneca and Pawnee engaged and dispersed  a small Confederate squadron under Commodore Tatnall in Port Royal Sound and fired on Fort Beauregard and Fort Walker.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 4, 1861: Sounding the Sound

NOVEMBER 4, 1861:  Coast Survey ship Vixen entered Port Royal Sound to sound the channel.  She was escorted by the USS Ottawa and the USS Seneca.

Confederate naval squadron under Commodore Tattnall attacked the Union ships.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Maine Sailor Died Down South on a River: William L. Heard

From the October 24, 2016, BDN Portland (Maine) "This Civil War sailor from Portland died on a river down south" by Troy R. Bennett.

William Heard was promoted to the rank of ensign in the Union Navy on January 31, 1863 while he was serving with the Mississippi Squadron.

In the spring of 1864, his ship, the USS Covington, a 126-foot, 224 ton sidewheel gunboat converted from a passenger steamer and fitted with metal siding (making it a tinclad) and mounting 8 guns, was ordered to escort a troop transport down the Red River from Alexandria, Louisiana.  The USS Signal also accompanied it.

Twenty-five miles out of Alexandria, near Dunn's Bayou, the three Union ships came under heavy fire from Confederate artillery and troops massed along the shoreline.  The fight lasted all day.

The Union transport and the Signal were captured.  The Covington was set afire by its crew.  Most escaped upriver back to Alexandria.

But William L. Heard was not so lucky.  He was killed in this retreat.

His body was brought back home and buried next to his brother George (who had died earlier in the war).  Their bodies are at Western Cemetery.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

"Gallway's Streets Are Full of Confederates"

From the October 6, 2016, Gallway Advertiser (Ireland).

The Gallway Line from 1858 to 1864 made 55 round trips to Boston and New York City.

William Boxwell West, U.S. Vice Consul, said, "Gallway's streets were full of Confederates."  he inspected the clipper ship Hiawatha and noted that there was "no mode of ventilation" if it was to be a passenger ship as advertised.

The Hiawatha's owner, John B. Purdon intended it to be a blockade runner.

It sailed to new York City, disembarked 132 emigrants and a load of scrap iron.  It then sailed to Nassau where it was chartered as a blockade runner under the command of John Ballantyne and made a number of successful runs through the blockade, even more remarkable considering it was a sailing ship.

Vice Consul West also kept tabs on the mysterious ship that ended up being the CSS Alabama during its construction.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, November 2, 1861: U.S. Marines Rescued by USS Sabine

NOVEMBER 2, 1861:  The USS Sabine, Captain Cadwalader Ringgold, rescued Major John Reynolds and a battalion of U.S. Marines under his command from the U.S. transport Governor, unit of the Port Royal Sound Expedition.  The Governor was sinking.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

And, Speaking of the USS Monitor: Greenpoint Trail Marker Stolen

From the October 6, 2016, Brooklyn Daily Eagle "Greenpoint's USS Monitor Trail marker stolen."

This was reported by the Greenpoint Monitor Museum in Brooklyn.  The marker was unveiled May 29, 2015, in big ceremony.

It gave information on the Monitor's inventor and designer John Ericsson, its designer, Thomas Fitch Rowland and the men who worked on it.

Now, who would steal a marker?

--Old B-R'er

USS Monitor's Worthington Pumps Designated a Mechanical Engineering Landmark

From the September 20, 2016, Inside Business (Hampton Roads, Virginia)

The Worthington Direct-Acting Simplex Pumps designed by 19th century engineering pioneer Henry R. Worthington have been designated a historical mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

he was a co-founder of the group which has over 140,000 members around the world.

These pumps were recovered from the Monitor's wreck when the turret was.

--Old B-Runner

USS Monitor Receives Grant

From the September 29, 2016, Daily Press (Virginia) "Mariners Museum receives grant for USS Monitor" by Jonathan Black.

A grant of $27,000 was received from the Institute of Museum and Library Services was given to the Mariners Museum's USS Monitor.  It was one of three Virginia museums and 206 across the United States to receive grants.

The museum will buy, install and operate a new electlytic reduction computer monitoring system, which will support conservation of the revolving turret.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, November 1, 1861: Port Royal Expedition Struck By Major Storm

NOVEMBER 1ST, 1861:  Violent storm struck the Port Royal Sound Expedition off the Carolina coast, widely scattering naval vessels, transports and supply ships and jeopardizing the success of this major undertaking.

However, the damage to the fleet was less than one could have expected.  All of the ships had been furnished with secret instructions to be opened at sea only in case of separation from the fleet.

--Old B-Runer

Monday, October 31, 2016

What About the Fort Fisher Mermaid?

On this day of the strange and weird, I came across mention of a "Fort Fisher Mermaid."  I'd never heard of a Fort Fisher mermaid, nor have I been able to learn anything about it on the internet.

I do know that it is located in Wilmington, North Carolina, at the Museum of the Bizarre at 201 S. Water Street and it is adjacent to the Cape Fear Serpentarium, so if mermaids aren't your bag, maybe a creepy, crawly thing will do the trick.

I did find one source calling the Fort Fisher Mermaid a Cape Fear local legend.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 28, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 30, 1861: Privateer Sallie Captures Another American Ship

OCTOBER 30TH, 1861:  The Confederate privateer Sallie captured American brig B.K. Eaton.

**  Confederate forces sank stone-filled barges to obstruct the Cumberland River near Fort Donelson, Tennessee, against the advance of Union gunboats.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, October 29, 1861: Union Expedition Sails Against Port Royal, S.C.

OCTOBER 29TH, 1861:  A large Union expedition to attack Port Royal, South Carolina, sailed from Fort Monroe, under the command of Flag Officer Du Pont in the USS Wabash.  Comprising 77 vessels, it was the largest U.S. fleet ever assembled to that date.

Army forces numbering about 16,000 men, commanded by Brigadier general Thomas W. Sherman, accompanied them.

Port Royal Sound, about equi-distant from Savannah and Charleston, was of recognized importance, and one of the first locations fortified by the Confederates against the entrance of Union ships.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 27-18, 1861: Union Strike in Virginia

OCTOBER 27-28TH, 1861:  Boat expedition from the USS Louisiana, led by Lieutenant Alfred Hopkins surprised and burned three Confederate vessels at Chincoteague Inlet Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

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

155 Years Ago, October 15, 1861: Joint Effort to Destroy a Blockade Runner in South Carolina

OCTOBER 15TH, 1861:  The USS Roanoke, Flag, Monticello and Vandalia captured and burned blockade runner Thomas Watson on the Stono Reef, off Charleston, South Carolina.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 14, 1861: Chincoteague Island Secedes From the Confederacy

OCTOBER 14, 2016:  In the presence of Lt. A Murray of the USS Louisiana, citizens of Chincoteague Island, Virginia, took an oath of allegiance to the United States and presented a petition in which they stated their "abhorrence of the secession heresy."

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 13, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 13, 1861: Another Blockade Runner Capture

OCTOBER 13TH, 1861:  The USS Keystone State, Commander Gustavus H. Scott, captured Confederate steamer Salvor near the Totugas Islands with a cargo of coffee, cigars and munitions.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, October 12, 1861: Getting Coaling and Supply Stations

OCTOBER 12TH, 1861:   Secretary of the Navy Welles wrote Flag Officer Du Pont:  "In examining the various points upon the coast, it has been ascertained that Bull's Bay, St. Helena, Port Royal, and Fernandina, are each and all accessible and desirable points for the purposes indicated [Fleet coaling and supply stations], and the Government has decided top take possession of at least two of them."

Coaling and supply depots seized by the Navy on the Southern coast allowed blockaders to remain on station for longer periods without returning to Northern navy yards.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 12, 1861-- Part 2: Confederate Attack on Mississippi River

Acting Master Edward F. Devens of the USS Vincennes observed:  "From the appearance of the Richmond's side in the vicinity of the hole, I should say that the ram had claws or hooks attached to her... for the purpose of tearing out the plank from the ship's side..  It is the most destructive invention...  Manassas resembles in shape, a cigar cut lengthwise, and very low in the water.

"She must be covered with railroad iron as all shells which struck her glanced off, some directly at right angles.  You could hear the shot strike quite plainly.  They did not appear to trouble her much as she ran up the river at a very fast rate."

Go Manassas.  --Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 12, 1861-- Part 1: Confederates Attack At Head iof Passes, Mississippi River

OCTOBER 12TH, 1861:  Confederate metal-sheathed ram Manassas, Commodore Hollins, CSN, in company with the armed steamer Ivy and James L. Day, attacked the USS Richmond, Vincennes, Water Witch, Nightingale and Preble near the Head of Passes on the Mississippi River.

In this offensive and spirited action by the small Confederate force, the Manassas rammed the Richmond and forced her and the Vincennes aground under heavy fire before withdrawing.

--Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher Hosts World War II Program-- Part 2: Wilmington, America's World War II City

During World War II, Wilmington, N.C. was the scene of much activity for the war effort.  Not only was Camp Davis a huge training base a short distance north of the city, but also the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company built several hundred vessels for the war, most of them the famous Liberty Ships.

Fort Fisher served as a training area for anti-aircraft gunners.  Unfortunately, several of the forts's traverses were leveled to maker the airstrip for the planes pulling the targets.  The targets were often pulled by women serving in the WASPs unit.

Wilbur Jones has done much to make Wilmington America's World War II city.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

World War II at Fort Fisher This Weekend-- Part 1: A Two-War Fort

From the October 9, 2016, Port City Daily (Wilmington, N.C.) "Fort Fisher highlights its World War II role in upcoming program."

I've written a whole lot about Fort Fisher's role in the Civil War in this blog, but it also was involved with World War II.

The Fort Fisher State Historic Site will host the program "Fort Fisher's World War II Experience from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, October 15, 2016.  During World War II it served as an anti-aircraft training base.

Many service men and women trained there.

On Saturday, military and civilian re-enactors will set up displays on the old Fort Fisher airstrip and will portray what life was like on the U.S. home front.

Featured speakers during the day will be Wilbur Jones (Mr. Wilmington World War II), Cliff Tyndall and Krystal Lee who will talk about North Carolina's role in the war, including Fort Fisher, Wilmington and Camp Davis.

Should Be Interesting.  Wish I Could Be There.  --Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 11, 1861: Action on the Potomac River

OCTOBER 11TH, 1861:  Lt. Abram Harrell of the USS Union, with three boat crews, cut out and burned a Confederate schooner in Dumfries Creek on the Potomac River.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 10, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 12, 1861:Mason and Slidell Run the Blockade

OCTOBER 12TH, 1861:  The Confederate ship Theodora ran the blockade at Charleston with Mason and Slidell, Commissioners to England and France respectively, on board.

**  Confederate privateer Sallie captured American brig Granada in the Atlantic Ocean

**  USS Dale, Commander Edward M. Yard, captured schooner Specie east of Jacksonville, bound for Havana with a large cargo of rice.

**  Warning was given that Confederates had lined the James River with powerful submarine batteries (mines).

--Old B-R'er


Civil War Cannonballs Uncovered By Hurricane Matthew in S.C.

Yesterday, October 9, several rusted Civil War cannonballs were found on the shore at Folly Island, S.C. in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

I am covering this story in my Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog both today and tomorrow.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 10, 1861: Action in Virginia and Florida

OCTOBER 10TH, 1861:  The USS Daylight, Commander Lockwood, silenced a Confederate battery attacking the American ship John Clark anchored at Lynnhaven Bay, Virginia.

**  Confederate troops at Tampa Bay captured American sloop William Batty.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 7, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 9, 1861: Css Ivy Engages Union Fleet at Head of Passes on Mississippi River

OCTOBER 9TH, 1861:  Confederate steamer Ivy, Lt. Joseph Fry, attacked U.S. blockading vessels at Head of Passes, Mississippi River; no damage caused but long range of the Ivy's guns alarmed Union naval officers.

--Old B'R'er

155 Years Ago, October 7, 1861: Action in Kentucky and Virginia

OCTOBER 7TH, 1861:  The USS Tyler, Commander Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembl, exchanged fire with Confederate batteries at Iron Bluffs, near Columbus, Kentucky.

**  The USS Louisiana, Lt. A. Murray, captured schooner S.T. Garrison with cargo of wood, near Wallops Island, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 6, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 6, 1861: Blockade-Runner Captured

OCTOBER 6TH, 1861:  The USS Flag, Commander Louis Sartori, captured Confederate blockade running schooner Alert near Charleston.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 5, 1861: Fighting the Confederates

OCTOBER 5TH, 1861:  Two boats from the USS Louisiana, Lieutenant A. Murray, destroyed a Confederate schooner being fitted out as a privateer at Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia.  The Louisiana was later used as the powder ship blown up at Fort Fisher in 1864.

**  The USS Monticello, Lt. Daniel L. Braine, drove off Confederate troops and steamers attacking Union soldiers in the vicinity of Hatteras Inlet.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

155 Years Ago, October 4, 1861: USS South Carolina Captures Two More Runners

OCTOBER 4TH, 1861:  The USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured Confederate schooners Ezilda and Joseph H. Toone off the South West Pass of the Mississippi River with four to five thousand stand of arms.

More big prize money for the USS South Carolina.  By this point in the war this ship had certainly captured a lot of blockade runners, perhaps the most of any Union ship.  I wonder which Union ship captured the  most runners or the one that got the most prize money.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 3, 1861: Capture of the Reindeer

OCTOBER 3RD, 1861:  Captain Eagle, commanding the USS Santee, reported the return of the USS Sam Houston to Galveston with schooner Reindeer, captured off San Luis Pass, Texas.  The schooner was deemed worthless and was sunk.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, October 1, 1861: Welles Opposes Issuing Letters of Marque

OCTOBER 1ST, 1861:  Secretary Welles, in a letter to Secretary Seward, opposed issuing letters of marque because it would be "a recognition of the assumption of the insurgents that they are a distinct and independent nationality."

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, October 1, 1861: Capture of the Union Ship Fanny in Pamlico Sound, N.C.

OCTOBER 1ST, 1861:  Confederate naval forces, including the CSS Curlew, Raleigh, and Junaluska, under Flag Officer William F. Lynch, CSN, capture the steamer Fanny (later CSS Fanny) in Pamlico Sound with Union troops on board.

Colonel Clairborne Snead, CSA reported:  "The victory was important in more respects than one.  It was our first naval success in north Carolina and the first capture made by our arms of an armed war-vessel of the enemy, and dispelled the gloom of recent disasters.  The property captured [two rifled guns and a large amount of army stores] was considerable, much needed, and highly esteemed ....."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 3, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 30, 1861: Capturing Blockade-Runners

SEPTEMBER 30TH, 1861:  The USS Dart, Acting Master Wheeler, captured schooner Zavalla off Vermillion Bay, Louisiana.

**  USS Niagara, Captain John Pope, captured pilot boat Frolic at South West Pass of the Mississippi River.

**  Cecilia, prize and tender to the USS Huntsville, Commander Price, captured blockade running schooner Ranchero west of Vermillion Bay.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, September 28, 1861: The USS Susquehanna Captures a Ship

SEPTEMBER 28TH, 1861:  The USS Susquehanna, Captain Chauncey, captured Confederate schooner San Juan, bound for Elizabeth City, N.C., with cargo of salt, sugar and gin.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, October 2, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 25, 1861: Welles Decides On What to Do With the "Contrabands"

SEPTEMBER 25TH, 1861:  Secretary of Navy Welles instructed Flag Officer Du Pont, commanding the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron:  "The Department finds it necessary to adopt a regulation with respect to the large and increasing number of persons of color, commonly known as 'contrabands,' now subsisted at the navy yards on on board ships-of-war.

"These can neither be expelled from the service, to which they have resorted, nor can they be maintained unemployed, and it is not proper that they should be compelled to render necessary and regular service without compensation.

"You are therefore authorized, when their services can be made useful. to enlist them for the naval service, under the same forms and regulations as apply to other enlistments.

"They will be allowed, however, no higher rating than 'boys,' at a compensation of ten dollars per month and one ration per day."

Dealing With the Black Question.  --Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, September 25, 1861: Semmes Still At It

SEPTEMBER 25TH, 1861:  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes,  captured the American ship Joseph Park off the northeast coast of South America; three days later burned her at sea.

**  The USS Jacob Bell, Lt. Edward M. McCrea, and USS Seminole, Lt. Charles S. Norton, engaged a Confederate battery at Freestone Point, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner


Friday, September 30, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 24, 1861: Action Off Louisiana

SEPTEMBER 24TH, 1861:  The USS Dart, Acting Master William M. Wheeler, captured Confederate schooner Cecilia off Louisiana, thereafter fitted out as a Union cruiser by the USS Huntsville, Commander Cicero Price.

Could be an interesting story here.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 29, 2016

155 Years Ago, September 23, 1861: Goldsborough Assumes Command of NABS

SEPTEMBER 23RD, 1861:  Flag Officer L.M. Goldsborough assumed command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, including operations in the Chesapeake.

Organizing the blockade more effectively.

--Old B-Runner

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 29, 1861: Susquehanna Captures Another Runner

SEPTEMBER 29TH, 1861:  The USS Susquehanna, Captain Chauncey, captured the schooner Baltimore off Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

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 23, 1861:

SEPTEMBER 23RD, 1861:  USS Cambridge, Commander W.A. Parker, captured British schooner Julia, bound for Beaufort, North Carolina.

**  Flag Officer I.M. Goldsborough assumed command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, including operations in the Chesapeake.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, September 23, 1861: River Operations

SEPTEMBER 23RD, 1861:  The USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, proceeded to Owensboro, Kentucky, "for the purpose of keeping the Ohio River open" and in order to protect Union interests in the area.

Such expeditions deep into territory with Confederate sympathies were fundamental in containing Southern advance into the border states.

--Old B-Runner

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 Fernandina, 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

155 Years Ago, September 13, 1861: Action Off Newport News

SEPTEMBER 13TH, 1861: USS Susquehanna, Captain John C. Chauncey, captured blockade running British schooner Argonaut, with cargo of fish, bound from Nova Scotia to Key West.

**  CSS Patrick Henry, Commander John R. Tucker, exchanged fire with the USS Savannah, Captain Hull, and USS Louisiana, Lt. Alexander Murray, off Newport News;  shots on both sides fell short.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, September 13, 1861: Action Off Newport News

SEPTEMBER 13TH, 1861: USS Susquehanna, Captain John C. Chauncey, captured blockade running British schooner Argonaut, with cargo of fish, bound from Nova Scotia to Key West.

**  CSS Patrick Henry, Commander John R. Tucker, exchanged fire with the USS Savannah, Captain Hull, and USS Louisiana, Lt. Alexander Murray, off Newport News;  shots on both sides fell short.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 12, 2016

Some More on USS Penguin Chasing the Blockade-Runner Louisa Aground Off Cape Fear River

On August 11, 1861, the USS  Penguin, Commander John L. Livingston, chased the blockade-runner Louisa to where it struck a shoal near the Cape Fear River, North Carolina, where it sank.

U.S. Naval & Heritage Command.  August 11, 1861, the USS Penguin, Cmdr. John L. Livingston chased blockade-runner Louisa near Cape Fear River, N.C..  It hit a sand shoal and sank.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CIVIL WAR SHIPWRECKS

The Louisa, a Confederate schooner of 200 tons, carrying a cargo of coffee, ran into a reef and capsized on August 10, 1861, near the lighthouse, about three miles south of Fort fisher,  The surf quickly borke over the stricken vessel and it was declared a wreck.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Terror From the Sky

From the September 11, 2016, B.C. comic strip.

1.  Night time picture of a stand-alone cave.
2.  Someone in the cave says:  "I hate insomnia."
3.  One cave man says to others:  "Have you guys seen B.C.?"
4.  Another one says: "He took off around 3 a.m.."
5.  "...Said something about needing some alone time."
6.  The caveman who wanted to know where B.C. was is walking off:  "Great.  Wonder what the big goofball is up to now...."
7.  He comes across B.C. painting words on a big rock with two tall, slender volcanoes with smoke coming out of their tops in the background.  B.C. has written the words:

"Heroism is courage despite consequence."

Those words hit home.  It took a huge amount of courage to run into those burning buildings, knowing that you might die.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS South Carolina Captures Another Runner

SEPTEMBER 11TH, 1861:  The USS South Carolina, Commander Alden,  captured Soledad Cos with a cargo of coffee off Galveston.

Since July 1, 1861, just over two months, the USS South Carolina had captured 13 blockade-runners.

Rolling in the Prize Money, That Crew.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Action in Missouri and North Carolina

SEPTEMBER 10, 1861:  USS Conestoga, Lt. S.L. Phelps, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, covering a troop advance, silenced the guns of a Confederate battery and damaged gunboat CSS Yankee at Lucas Bend, Missouri.

**  USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, captured schooner Susan Jane in Hatteras Inlet.  Other blockade runners, unaware that the Union Navy now controlled the inlet, were also taken as prizes.

**  USS Cambridge, Commander W.A. Parker, captured British blockade running schooner Revere off Beaufort, North Carolina, with cargo of salt and herring.

CSS Yankee.  Quite a Name for a Confederate Ship, Like the CSS United States.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, September 9, 2016

USS Jacob Bell-- Part 1: One of the Oldest Gunboats Acquired By the Union Navy

On August 23, 1861, the USS Jacob Bell is mentioned in one source as engaging a Confederate battery at Potomac Creek on the Potomac River.

From Wikipedia.

USS Jacob Bell (1842).  Sidewheel steamer, 141 feet long, 21 foot beam, 8 foot hold, one 32-pdr, one 8-inch Dahlgren smoothbore.  Built 1842 by  Brown & Bell of New York City.  Purchased by the Navy 22 August 1861 and commissioned the same day under Lr. Edward P. McCrea.

this was definitely a rush job.  Being built in 1842, the ship was also one of the oldest purchased by the Navy.

It was immediately sent to the Potomac River where it joined the steamship USS Ice Boat in shelling the Confedeertae Battery at the mouth of Potomac Creek the next day.

I have to wonder about a ship named the Ice Boat being in the Union Navy, so will have to find out more information about it.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Action Off Nova Scotia

SEPTEMBER 9TH, 1861:  The USS Cambridge, Commander William A. Parker, captured the schooner Louisa Agnes off Nova Scotia.

--Old B-Runner


Thursday, September 8, 2016

CSS General Rusk-- Part 3: It's Namesake, Thomas Jefferson Rusk

From Wikipedia.

Thomas Jefferson Rusk  December 5, 1802 to July 29, 1857.

Early politician and military leader of the Republic of Texas where he served as secretary of War.

He was a general at the battle of San Jacinto and then became a U.S. politician, serving as U.S. Senator form Texas from 1846 until he committed suicide.

--Old B-R'er


CSS General Rusk-- Part 2: Became a Blockade-Runner

It was transferred from the Texas Marine Department in 1861 and placed under the British flag to operate as a blockade-runner.  renamed as the SS Blanche, it ran aground near Mariano, Cuba, while attempting to escape from the USS Montgomery.

Then, it was destroyed by fire after attempts to refloat her failed.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

CSS General Rusk-- Part 1: Former SS General Rusk

On August 15, 2016, I wrote about the USS Santee sending boats into Galveston bay in an attempt to capture and burn the Confederate steamer General Rusk on 7 November 1861.  The attack failed, but I'd never heard of the CSS General Rusk, so here I go again.

From the Nav Source.

The CSS General Rusk was built as the SS General Rusk in 1857 in Wilmington, Delaware for the Southern Steamship Company.  It was seized by the State of Texas at Galveston in 1861.

It did duty as a reconnaissance and signal boat for the Texas Marine Department in Galveston Harbor after that.

It captured the SS Star of the West 17 April 1861 off Indianola, Texas.  This was the ship that had tried to reach Fort Sumter and was fired upon and withdrew.  Some people consider this the first shots of the Civil War.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Foote Relieves Rodgers in Command of Western Waters

SEPTEMBER 5, 1861:   Captain A.H. Foote reported at St. Louis, Missouri, to relieve Commander J. Rodgers in command of naval operations on the western rivers.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

155 Years Ago: Confederates Buying Steamers in England

SEPTEMBER 6TH, 1861:  The U.S. consul in London reported the purchase by the Confederates of the steamers Bermuda, Adelaide and Victoria.

Wonder What They Were Going To Do With Them?  --Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Grant Makes A Move on the Rivers

SEPTEMBER 6TH, 1861:  Gunboats USS Tyler, Commander J. Rodgers, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, spearheaded operations by which General Grant, in his first move after taking command at Cairo, seized strategic Pudacah and Smithland, Kentucky, at the mouth of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.

Captain Foote, newly designated commander in the west, participated in the operation.

This initial use of strength afloat by Grant, aimed at countering a Confederate move into the state, helped preserve Kentucky for the Union, and foreshadowed the general's great reliance on naval mobility and support throughout the campaigns that divided the Confederacy and eventually placed the entire Mississippi under Union control.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 5, 2016

USS Penguin-- Part 3: Also in Potomac Flotilla, SABS and WGBS

In October, 1861, the Penguin joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and in November participated in the capture of Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard at Hilton Head, South Carolina.  It also helped take Fernandina, Florida on 4 March 1862

On 22 March 1862, a boat crew from the ship was attacked while reconnoitering Mosquito Inlet.  In the ensuing engagement, Acting Lt. Budd and four others were killed.

Then the Penguin was sent to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron where it patrolled the Texas coast.  On 8 July 1864, it assisted in the destruction of the blockade-runner Matagordo near Galveston.  Then on 21 January 1865, it forced the blockade-runner Granite City ashore at Velasco, Texas.

After the war it returned to the east coast and was decommissioned at Boston 24 August 1865 and sold to Fogg and Co. 8 September.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, September 4, 2016

155 Years Ago: Naval Action This Date

SEPTEMBER 4TH, 1861:  The CSS Yankee (also known as CSS Jackson) and Confederate batteries at Hickman, Kentucky, fired on the USS Tyler, Commander Stembel, while the gunboats were reconnoitering the Mississippi River south of Cairo, Illinois.

**  The USS Jamestown, Commander Green, captured Confederate schooner Colonel Long, removed her cargo and scuttled her off the coast of Georgia.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: More on the Hatteras Inlet Victory

SEPTEMBER 4TH, 1861:  Captain Du Pont wrote: "The first fruits of the labors of ... [the Blockade Strategy Board] came out on the North Carolina coast [Hatteras Inlet] ... we will secure the whole of those inland sounds and passages and hold all that coast by a flotilla ... the great morale effect and encouragement to the country are of incalculable service just now."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 2, 2016

USS Penguin-- Part 2: NABS, Potomac Flotilla and Louisa

From Wikipedia.

The USS Penguin was 155 feet long, had a 30.8 foot beam and mounted one 12-pdr. gun and four 32-pdrs.

It was purchased 23 May 1861 in New York City and commissioned 25 June 1861, under Acting Volunteer Lt. Thomas A. Budd.  It was decommissioned 24 August 1865.

It was assigned to the North Atlantic blockading Squadron and joined the Potomac Flotilla 19 August 1861.  Evidently, before joining it, the Penguin had chased the Louisa onto the shoals off Wilmington, N.C..

--Old B-R'er

USS Penguin-- Part 1: Sank First Blockade-Runner at Wilmington, N.C.

On August 11, 2016, I wrote about the USS Penguin chasing the blockade runner Louisa onto a shoal near Cape Fear River, North Carolina, on August 11, 1861, where the runner sank.

This was the first mention I'd come across of a blockade-runner being sunk in and around the Wilmington/Cape Fear River area during the war.

On July 14, 1861, the USS Daylight, under Commander Samuel Lockwood, had initiated the blockade at Wilmington.

I had never heard of any ship named the USS Penguin so had to look it up.

--Old B-Runner

USS Santee-- Part 5: Service at USNA

The Santee was refitted at the Boston Navy yard and recommissioned.  It was then sent to Newport, Rhode island, to serve as a school ship for the midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy (USNA).  The USNA had moved there from Annapolis, Maryland for safety during the war.

Midshipmen lived, studied and attended classes on the Santee and USS Constitution.

After the war, the USNA returned to Annapolis and the Santee with its midshipmen anchored near Fort Severn on 2 August 1865.

It continued use as a school ship.  In 1866, it became a gunnery ship for mastering of naval armaments.  After that, it also became a barracks ship for punishment and barracks for incoming fourth classmen.

Before dawn 2 April 1912, the Santee sank at its moorings in Annapolis.  Efforts to refloat it were unsuccessful.

It was sold to Joseph G. Hitner of Philadelphia on 2 August 1912.  It took six months to raise the Santee and 8 May 1913, it departed the Severn River under tow for Boston, Massachusetts where it was burned for the copper and brass in its hull.

--Old B-R'er


USS Santee-- Part 4: Service in the West Gulf

Continued from August 15, 2016.

On 30 December 1861, boats from the USS Santee chased the Confederate schooner Garonne for 5-6 miles and captured it.  The Santee's commander, Captain eagle turned this ship into a lighter.

In January 1862, the Gulf Blockading Squadron was divided into two parts, East and West Gulf blockading squadrons and the Santee was assigned to Farragut's West Gulf Blockading Squadron where it continued to blockade the Texas coast, primarily off Galveston, until summer.

Scurvy hit the Santee's crew and many of their enlistments were expiring the next month so the ship was sent north, arriving in Boston 22 August 1862 where it was decommissioned 4 September.

But the Ship's Service Wasn't Yet Over.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 1, 2016

155 Years Ago: Hatteras Inlet Victory A Big Morale Boost for North

SEPTEMBER 1ST, 1861:  President Lincoln received the news of the Flag Officer Stringham's Hatteras Inlet victory late at night from Secretary of the Navy Welles.  It was the initial joint Army-Navy operation of the wart, the first of many.

Coming shortly after the defeat at Bull Run, it electrified the North and greatly raised morale.

**  USS Dana, Acting Master's Mate Ely, captured blockade running schooner T.J. Evans off Clay Island, Md., with a cargo including blankets, surgical instruments and ordnance supplies.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

155 Years Ago: Action On the Sea

AUGUST 31ST, 1861:  CSS Teaser shelled Newport News.

**  USS George Peabody, Lt. Lowry, captured brig Henry C. Brooks in Hatteras Inlet.

**  USS Jamestown, Commander Green, captured British blockade running schooner Aigburth off Florida coast.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

155 Years Ago: Confederate Tug Harmony Attacks USS Savannah

AUGUST 30TH, 1861:  Confederate tug Harmony attacked USS Savannah, Captain Joseph B. Hull, at Newport News, inflicting damage before withdrawing.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, August 29, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS R.R. Cuyler Seizes and Burns Confederate Ship

AUGUST 29TH, 1861:  The USS R.R. Cuyler, Captain Francis B. Ellison, seized and burned Confederate ship Finland, which was prepared to receive cargo of cotton and run the blockade off Apalachicola, Florida.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, August 28, 2016

155 Years Ago: Hatteras Inlet Secured By Stringham's Squadron

AUGUST 29TH, 1861:  Hatteras Inlet, N.C., secured as Forts Hatteras and Clark surrendered unconditionally to Flag Officer Stringham and General Butler.  The Union triumph sealed off commerce raiding and blockade running from Pamlico Sound.

Hatteras Inlet became a coal and supply depot for blockading ships.

Of this most successful joint operation Admiral David D. Porter later wrote: "This was our first naval victory of any kind, and should not be forgotten.  The Union cause was then in a depressed condition, owing to the recent reverses it had experienced (Battle of Bull Run).  The morale effect of this affair was very great, as it gave us a foothold on Southern soil and possession of the Sounds of North Carolina if we chose to occupy them.  It was a death-blow to blockade running in that vicinity, and ultimately proved one of the most important events of the war."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, August 26, 2016

See Civil War Photography At CSS Neuse This Saturday

From the August 25, 2016, Wilson (N.C.) Times "CSS Neuse featuring Civil War-era photography."

Photography was a fairly new art at the time of the Civil War.  Early photograph images will be featured at the "Hands on History" program at 10 a.m. Saturday at the CSS Neuse Interpretive Center in Kinston.

They say you will learn the differences between daguerreotypy, ambrotype and tintype photos.  This was the first major war in which photography played a role.

Formal portraits taken in the studio at the time often appear to be bathed in a brown or gray light-- that process will be explained.  Plus, you can have your very own tintype taken.

The CSS Neuse Center is located at 100 N. Queen Street in Kinston.  Admission to it is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors.  It is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

See the Boat, Get Your Picture Taken.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Defending Fort Ellsworth

AUGUST 28TH, 1861:  Commander Dahlgren, Commandant of Washington Navy Yard, sent 400 seamen on steamboat Philadelphia to Alexandria, Virginia, to report to Brigadier General William B. Franklin for the defense of Fort Ellsworth.

The timely naval reinforcement strengthened the fort's defenses and consequently that of the nation's capital, Washington, D.C..

**  The USS Yankee, Commander T.T. Craven, captured schooner Remittance near Piney Point, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Bombardment of Forts Hatteras and Clark Begins

AUGUST 28TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Stringham's squadron commenced bombardment of Forts Hatteras and Clark; Marines and troops were landed from surf boats above the forts under cover of naval gunfire.  the ships' heavy cannonade forced the Confederates to evacuate Fort Clark.

Commodore Samuel Barron, CSN, with two small vessels joined the defenders of Fort Hatteras that evening.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Stringham's Squadron Reaches Hatteras Inlet

AUGUST 27TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Stringham's squadron anchored off Hatteras Inlet and prepared to land the troops and take Forts Hatteras and Clark under attack.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Foote Replaces Rodgers on Western Waters

AUGUST 26TH, 1861:  Captain A.H. Foote ordered to relieve Commander J. Rodgers in command of Army's gunboat flotilla on the western rivers.

**  US tug Fanny, Lt. Crosby, reported the capture of blockade running sloop Mary Emma at the headwaters of Manokin River, Maryland.

**  USS Daylight, Commander Lockwood, re-captured brig Monticello in the Rappahannock River, Virginia.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Squadron Departs Hampton Roads to Attack Confederate Forts at Hatteras Inlet, N.C.

AUGUST 26TH, 1861:  Union squadron under Flag officer Stringham: USS Minnesota, Wabash, Monticello, Pawnee, revenue Cutter Harriet Lane, U.S. tug Fanny and two transports carrying about 900 troops under Major General Butler, departed Hampton Roads (later joined by the USS Susquehanna and Cumberland) for Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, for the first combined action of the war.

Hatteras Inlet was the main channel into Pamlico Sound and the most convenient entrance for blockade runners bringing supplies to the Confederate Army in Virginia.

The Navy early recognized the strategic importance of the inlet and invited the Army to cooperate in its capture.  The operation was designed to check Confederate privateering and to begin the relentless assault from the sea that would divert a large portion of Confederate manpower from the main armies

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

155 Years Ago: Davis Appoints Slidell and Mason As Commissioners to Europe

AUGUST 24TH, 1861:  President Jefferson Davis appointed James M. Mason as Special Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and John Slidell, Special Commissioner to France.

And, we all know what happened on their way to Europe.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

155 Years Ago: Engagement at Potomac Creek, Virginia

AUGUST 23, 1861:  The USS Release and USS Yankee engaged Confederate batteries at the mouth of Potomac Creek, Virginia.

Potomac Creek is a 16.7 mile long tidal tributary of the Potomac River and empties into it at Marlboro Point.

The U.S. Dept. of the Interior mentions that on August 22, 1861, the USS Jacob Bell and Release (ice boat) engaged batteries at Marlboro Point and Potomac Creek, Virginia, in its National Register of Historic Places.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, August 22, 2016

USS Pawtuxet-- Part 3: At Fort Fisher in First Battle

Continued from August 9th and 10th.

The original commander of the USS Pawtuxet, Commander J.H. Spotts was inspector of lighthouses for the 12th and 13th Districts in 1874.

During the First Battle of Fort Fisher, the USS Pawtuxet had a collision with the USS Ticonderoga.

Damage to the Pawtuxet was gun No. 2 starboard side unserviceable.

Two elevating screws for the 100-pdr. rifle broke and the gun was then unfit for further use.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Operations in Western Waters

AUGUST 22, 1861:  Commander J. Rodgers reported that six hundred Confederate troops occupying Commerce, Missouri, withdrew at the approach of the Union gunboats.  This action prevented them from constructing batteries at a location there that would have effectively impeded river navigation.

**  The USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, seized the steamer W.B. Terry at Paducah, Kentucky, for trading with the Confederates.

**  The steamer Samuel Orr was seized by Confederates at Paducah, Kentucky, and taken up the Tennessee River.

Must Have Been a Lot of Action Around Paducah.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, August 19, 2016

155 Years Ago: Blockade Runner Captured Off Charleston, S.C.

AUGUST 21ST, 1861:  The USS Vandalia, Commander Samuel Phillips Lee, captured Confederate blockade runner Henry Middleton off Charleston with a cargo of spirits, turpentine and rosin.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Marines to Scout Maryland Countryside for Confederate Depots

AUGUST 19-21, 1861:  Assistant Secretary of tye Navy Fox ordered 200 Marines to report to Commander Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard for duty on ships of the Potomac Flotilla for the purpose of scouting the Maryland countryside, especially around Port Tobacco, for locations suspected of being Confederate depots for provisions and arms to be used for invading Maryland.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 18, 2016

155 Years Ago: Loss of Confederate Privateer Jefferson Davis

AUGUST 18TH, 1861:  The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, Captain Coxetter, wrecked on the bar trying to enter St. Augustine, Florida, ending a most successful cruise.

The Charleston (S.C.) Mercury on 26 August 1861) said:  "The name of the privateer Jefferson Davis has become a real word of terror to the Yankees.  The number of her prizes and the amount of merchandise which she captured have no parallel since the days of the Saucy Jack [War of 1812 privateer]."

I have written a lot about the Saucy Jack in my Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

155 Years Ago: Work Continues on the "Stone Fleet"

AUGUST 17TH, 1861:  Lt. Reigart B. Lowry wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox regarding the progress for sinking a stone fleet to block the inlets to the North Carolina sounds:  "We have nineteen schooners properly loaded with stone, and all our preparations are complete to divide them into two divisions and place them in tow of this steamer [Adelaide] and of the Governor Peabody.

"I think all arrangements are complete, as far as being prepared to 'sink and obstruct' .../ the obstructing party could place their vessels in position, secure them as we propose, by binding chains, spars on end in teh sand to settle by action of the tide, anchors down, and finally sink them in such a way as to block the channel so effectually that there could be no navigation through them for several months to come, at least till by the aid of our new gunboats the outside blockade could be effectual."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

155 Years Ago: Lincoln Proclaims a State of Insurrection Exists

AUGUST 16TH, 1861:  President Lincoln declares the inhabitants of the Confederate States to be in a state of insurrection and forbade all commercial intercourse with them.

As usual, Being Careful of His Wording.  --Old B-R'er

The Final "Beat the Heat" Lecture at Fort Fisher: Chris Fonvielle on Action at at Sugarloaf Lines

Well, missed it, but of note.

On Saturday, August 13, Dr. Chris Fonvielle gave a talk on "After Fisher: Action At Sugarloaf Lines."

With the fall of Fort Fisher, Union attention was drawn to the capture of the port of Wilmington, N.C.

Defending the approach from Fort Fisher was a series of earthworks in and around Sugarloaf Hill on the Cape Fear River.  It bisected the peninsula and ran eastward until reaching Myrtle Grove Sound.

The talk was held at the Fort Fisher Museum.

I'd Have Like to Have Been There.  --Old B-R'er

Monday, August 15, 2016

USS Santee-- Part 3: Action at Galveston

Continued from August 9, 2016.

On 7 November 1861, boats from the Santee entered Galveston Bay with the idea of capturing and burning the Confederate steamer General Rusk, but in attempting to avoid detection, the boats ran aground and were detected.

The boats commander, Lt. James Edward Jouett, then decided to capture the Confederate lookout vessel Royal Yacht and captured it after a desperate hand-to-hand fight.  They set it afire and returned to the Santee with twelve prisoners.

Union losses were 1 killed and 8 wounded, one of these mortally.  One 15-year-old sailor named James Henry Carpenter was wounded in the thigh and received commendations for his role and was appointed the United States Naval Academy and served again on the USS Santee when it became an Academy schools school ship.

Another sailor, George H. Bell, received a Medal of Honor.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Recon Missions on the Mississippi and in Virginia

AUGUST 15TH, 1861:  USS Tyler and Conestoga, Lt. S.L. Phelps, scouted the Mississippi for Confederate fortifications and movements as far south as New Madrid, Missouri, while the USS Lexington, Lt. Roger N. Stembel, operating with the Army, made a similar reconnaissance of the river north to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

** USS resolute, Acting Master W. Budd, while on a reconnaissance mission, engaged Confederate troops at Mathias Point, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, August 12, 2016

155 Years Ago: Bulloch Looking for Warships in England

AUGUST 13TH, 1861:  Commander Bulloch, CSN, writing from London to Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory, said, "After careful examination of the shipping lists of England, and inspecting many vessels, I failed to find a single wooden steamer fit for war purposes, except one paddle steamer, too large and costly and drawing too much water for our coast.

"Wood as a material for ships has almost entirely gone out of use in the British merchant service, and their iron ships, though fast, well built, and staunch enough for voyages of traffic, are too thin in the plates and light in the deck frames and stanchions to carry guns of much weight.

"I therefore made arrangements to contract with two eminent builders for a gun vessel each..."

These, of course, would be Confederate commerce raiders.

**  USS Powhatan, Lt. David D. Porter, recaptured schooner Abby Bradford off the mouth of the Mississippi River.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: U.S. Gunboats Arrive at Cairo, Illinois

AUGUST 12TH, 1861:  Gunboats USS Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga procured and fitted out by Commander J. Rodgers, arrived at Cairo, Illinois, to protect the strategic position at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and to scout the rivers for Confederate batteries and troop movements.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 11, 2016

155 Years Ago: Blockade-Runner Louisa Sunk At Cape Fear, N.C.

AUGUST 11, 2016:  The blockade-runner Louisa, pursued by the USS Penguin, Commander John L. Livingston, struck shoal near Cape Fear, North Carolina, and sank.

This is the first mention I've come across of any blockade-runner being destroyed or captured attempting to run into or out of the Cape Fear River.  If so, it was the first of many, not to mention the ones that were successful.

--Old B-R'er