Fort Fisher

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

Saturday, April 23, 2016

155 Years Ago: Union Troops Relieving Washington

APRIL 22ND, 1861:  Steamer Boston arrived at Annapolis with New York 7th Regiment on board, found the Maryland aground after towing the USS Constitution into Chesapeake Bay, and got her off, troops from both ships disembarking.  The timely arrival by water transport, recommended by Captain Du Pont at Philadelphia, was instrumental in defending Washington against possible Confederate seizure, and significant in keeping Maryland in the Union.

In the following days Butler's troops repaired the railroad and opened communications with Washington, which had been severed since the 19 April Baltimore riots.

Commander James H. Ward of USS North Carolina proposed to Welles the organization of a "flying flotilla" of ships for service in Chesapeake Bay and tributaries.  The proposal was approved, ships purchased and fitted out in New York, and on 20 May 1861, USS Freeborn, with two small craft in tow, Commander Ward in command, arrived at Washington Navy Yard.

**  Secretary of Navy Welles ordered Commander William W. Hunter to move Receiving Ship Allegheny at Baltimore to Fort McHenry because of strong secessionist activity in the city.

--Old B-Runner

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