Fort Fisher

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

Monday, May 30, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS Merrimack Is Raised at Norfolk Navy Yard

MAY 30TH, 1861:  The USS Merrimack, scuttled and burned at Norfolk Navy Yard, is raised by Confederates.  And, we know what they did with it.

**  USS Quaker City, Acting Master S.W. Mather, seized schooner Lynchburg, en route Richmond with cargo of coffee.

MAY 31ST, 1861:  USS Perry, Lt. Enoch G. Parrott, captured Confederate blockade-runner Hannah M. Johnson.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ramping Up to Save the USS Monitor Turret-- Part 2: Samuel Lewis' Spoon

Continued from May 19th.

The Monitor's turret interior had a series of shields in place to protect the gun crew from metal fasteners that might be blown off by enemy cannon fire.  There are still four or five of them intact and it is hoped that artifacts that might have ended up behind them during the ship's sinking might be found.

The last time they had the water drained from the turret tank, they found a silver table spoon with the initials S.A.L., which had belonged to Third Assistant Engineer Samuel Augee Lewis, who went down with the ship after being struck with a bad case of sea sickness in the storm and was so sick he couldn't even rise from his bunk.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

155 Years Ago: Potomac Flotilla Engages Confederate Batteries at Aquia Creek, Virginia.

MAY 29TH-JUNE 1ST, 1861:  The Potomac Flotilla, consisting of the USS Thomas Freeborn, Commander Ward, USS Anacostia, Lt. Napoleon Collins, USS Resolute, Acting Master William Budd, engaged Confederate batteries at Aquia Creek, Virginia.

The flotilla was joined by the USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, on the evening of May 31st.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Savannah Blockade Set

MAY 28TH, 1861:  USS Union, Commander John R. Goldsborough, initiated blockade of Savannah.

MAY 29TH, 1861:  Confederate privateer J.C. Calhoun, captured American brig Panama, which she took to New Orleans with two earlier prizes, American schooners Mermaid and John Adams.  That probably caused a bit of a stir when the ships passed the USS Brooklyn.

**  USS Powhatan, Lt. D.D. Porter, captured schooner Mary Clinton attempting to run the blockade near Southwest Pass, Mississippi River.  Evidently, when you set a blockade of a port, you can seize incoming ships right away.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

155 Years Ago: Blockades Set at New Orleans and Mobile

MAY 25TH, 1861:  Commander Dahlgren, Commandant Washington Navy Yard, reported the capture of steamer Thomas Colyer by USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, in Alexandria.

**  USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham, seized bark Winfred near Hampton Roads.

MAY 26TH, 1861:  USS Brooklyn, Commander Charles H. Poor, set blockade of New Orleans and mouth of the Mississippi River.

**  USS Powhatan, Lt. D.D. Porter, set blockade at Mobile.

Setting a blockade required notifying the port and then giving a certain amount of time for ships to leave and for word to get around of the blockade to incoming vessels.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Alexandria, Virginia, Surrenders to Union Navy

MAY 24TH, 1861:  Commander Rowan, commanding the USS Pawnee, demanded the surrender of Alexandria, Virginia; amphibious expedition departed Washington Navy Yard, after embarking secretly at night under Commander Dahlgren's supervision, and occupied Alexandria.

Admiral D.D. Porter later noted of this event: "The first landing of Northern troops upon the Virginia shores was under cover of these improvised gunboats [USS Thomas Freeborn, Anacostia, and Resolute] ... at Alexandria...  Alexandria was evacuated by the Confederates upon demand of a naval officer-- Commander S.C. rowan ... and ..the American flag was hoisted on the Custom House and other prominent places by the officer in charge of a landing party of sailors-- Lieutenant R.B. Lowry.

"This ... gave indication of the feelings of the Navy, and how ready was the service to put down secession on the first opportunity offered."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bringing Home the Fort Anderson (NC) Flag

From a 2005, North Carolina Historic Sites News Release "Help Bring Home Brunswick Town/Ft. Anderson State Historic Site Flag."

The Confederate flag that flew over Fort Anderson on the Cape Fear River south of Wilmington.has been located and the staff at the site is seeking donations to purchase it.  It is currently owned by a dealer and described as being in excellent condition and authenticated.  The dealer is asking $40,000 for it.

Chris Fonvielle in his book Fort Anderson: Battle for Wilmington says that Federal troops found it rolled up after falling off a wagon during the hasty retreat.  A soldier from Co. A, 140th Indiana found it and turned it over to the regiment's commander, Col. Thomas J. Brady.

Four weeks later, Brady presented it to Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton at a ceremony in front of the National Hotel in Washington, D.C..  Abraham Lincoln was also at that ceremony and reviewed the 140th Indiana.

This ceremony took place on March 17, 1865, the same day that John Wilkes Booth planned to kidnap Lincoln on his way to Campbell Hospital where the president was originally going until the presentation and review happened.

The site now has the flag.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: USS Mississippi Sabotaged, Northern Ships in New Orleans Seized

MAY 23RD, 1861:  The USS Mississippi, Flag Officer William Mervine, was compelled to put back into Boston for repairs because of sabotage damage to her condensers.

MAY 24TH, 1861:  The Confederate States Marshall at New Orleans seized all ships from Northern states which had arrived after May 6, 1861.

Sneaky Confederates.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Guarding Washington, D.C.

MAY 18TH, 1861:  Commander Dahlgren suggested a plan for the erection of batteries on commanding points along the Potomac, and "the placing of vessels of some force at two or three intervals from the kettle bottoms of the Yard [Washington Navy Yard] near suspected positions, with communications kept up by some fast and light steamers."

MAY 19TH, 1861:  USS Monticello, Captain Henry Eagle, and the USS Thomas Freeborn, engaged a Confederate battery at Sewell's Point, Virginia.

**  CSS Lady Davis, Lt. Thomas P Pelot, captured American ship A.B. Thompson off Charleston.

There was some question as to whether or not this was a privateer.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, May 20, 2016

155 Years Ago: Plans Set Forward to Confederate Navy for Ironclad Rams

MAY 21ST, 1861:  USS Pochahontas, Commander John P. Gillis, seized steamboat James Guy off Machodoc Creek, Virginia.

**  John A. Stevenson of New Orleans discussed with Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory a "plan by which the enemy's blockading navy might be driven from our coasts," and wrote President Davis, "We have no time, place, or means, to build an effective navy.  Our ports are, or soon will be, all blockaded.

"On land we do not fear Lincoln, but what shall we do to cripple him at sea?  In this emergency, and seeing that he is arming many poorly adapted vessels, I have two months past been entirely engaged in perfecting pans by which I could so alter and adapt some of our heavy and powerful tow-boats on the Mississippi as to make them comparatively safe...

"...against the heaviest guns afloat, and by preparing their bow in a peculiar manner, as my plans and model will show, render them capable of sinking by collision the heaviest vessels ever built..."

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Confederate Government Prepping for War with Patents and Privateers

MAY 20TH, 1861:  The USS Crusader, Lt. T.A. craven, captured the Neptune near Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida.  The Crusader had been under the command of J.N. Maffitt before this and he had relinquished the command to join the Confederacy.

MAY 21ST, 1861:  The USS Constellation, the oldest United States warship afloat, Captain John S. Nicholas, captured the slaver brig Triton at the mouth of the Congo River, Africa.

**  The Confederate government guaranteed the right of patent for any invention beneficial to the war effort, reserving for the government the right to use it, and provided that, in addition to bounties otherwise provided, the government "will pay to any private armed vessel commissioned under said act 20 percentum on the value of each and every vessel of war belonging to the enemy that may be sunk or destroyed."

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ramping Up to Save the USS Monitor Turret-- Part 1: Removing the Metal Shields

From the May 4, 2016, Daily Press (Hampton Roads, Va.) "USS Monitor gun turret: Ramping up to save a landmark artifact" by Mark St. John Erickson.

One thing I can say for sure is that Mr. Erickson sure gets all the good reporting stories.

There are ramped up efforts underway to raise funds to preserve the famous gun turret of the USS Monitor.  I was disappointed that the rest of the ship was unrecoverable, but at least this artifact, which set the level for naval armaments even to this day, was saved.

The huge container the turret sits in is now drained during weekdays while work is done on marine concretions both inside and out.  This time, in addition, a series of 20-inch wide metal shields in the turret's interior will be removed to remove the concretions and look for artifacts lodged behind them from the ship's sinking.

These shields were put in place to protect the Monitor's gun crew from metal fasteners blown off by the impact of enemy ordnance.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I had to look it up.

The definition is to extend a watercraft hull dimension at or below the waterline to increase floatation or add lift when underway.

So, the Fry had a hull extension at or below the waterline.

--Old B-R'er

Further Work at the Wreck of the Agnes E. Fry Blockade-Runner

From the May 11, 2016, BBC News "new image of Clyde-built ship used in America's Civil War" by Steven McKenzie.

There is now a sonar mosaic of the Agnes E. Fry blockade-runner.  The article contains this.

There is also a North Carolina Department of Cultural resources of a deck light and what looks like the handle of a homemade knife recovered from the wreck.

Specialist divers from the Charlotte Fire department and sonar experts from Nautilus Marine Group assisted in the mosaic.

The Agnes E. Fry was launched with the name Fox and ran aground 27 December 1864 while attempting to run into Wilmington, North Carolina.  Since this was between the two attacks on Fort Fisher, it is doubted that much in the way of salvage was done at the time.

The mosaic photo of the wreck includes two possible sponsons, boiler fragments, decklight (recovered) broken hull plating and frames and I-beam frames, smoke stack sections and outer hull plating.

--So, What Is a Sponson?  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Keep the Fort Fisher Dam Rock Solid

From the May 5, 2016, Wilmington (N.C.) Star- News  "Editorial: Keep Fort Fisher dam rock solid."

Photograph accompanying it:  "A massive engineering feat of the 1800s, also known as the New Inlet Dam, 'The Rocks' constitute a gigantic breakwater, or rock jetty, at the tip of federal Point.  The rocks extend from the mainland and beyond Zeke's Island for more than three miles."

Senator Michael lee, R-New Hanover County, proposed removing a section of the 130-year-old dam which was built to close New Inlet into the Cape Fear River which was formed by a storm in 1761.  This was the favored entrance to the Cape Fear River and Wilmington by blockade-runners during the Civil War and protected by the guns of Fort Fisher.

Lee wants the southern section, called the Swash Defense Dam removed to recreate the natural flow.

The Army Corps of Engineers, who built it, is not sure exactly why Lee wants it removed, nor is the Wilmington Star-News, concluding, "We're still puzzled by Lee's request, and we're not alone in our puzzlement."

I, myself, don't want it removed.  I have walked on it many times.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Confederate Privateer Lady Davis Commissioned

MAY 17TH, 1861:  The USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham,  captured the bark Star en route Richmond to Bremen.

MAY 18TH, 1861:  Confederate schooner Savannah, Captain Thomas H. Baker, was commissioned by President Davis as "a private armed vessel in the service of the Confederate States on the high seas against the United States of America, their vessels, goods, and effects, and those of her citizens during the pendency of the war now existing between te said Confederate States and the said United States."

In other words, the first Confederate privateer.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 16, 2016

Conservation of USS Monitor Turret Contines

From the May 5, 2016, Archaeology.

Conservators at the USS Monitor Center at The Mariners' Museum in Hampton Roads, Virginia, have begun removing marine concretion from the surface of the Monitor's turret which has been soaking in a 90,000 gallon treatment tank for five years.

They will also remove the metal shields that line the interior of the turret and look for small artifacts that may have become trapped there when the ship sank.

Most of the shields are in delicate condition "but there are still four or five of them that are mostly intact --all on the starboard side of the turret where most of  the artifacts have been found.  So we believe there's a pretty good chance that there are more of them waiting to be exposed," said senior conservator William H. Hoffman.

So far, they have recovered a bone-handled knife, a silver table spoon, a monkey wrench, a glass tube for a steam engine gauge and a cartridge for a naval carbine behind the shields.

--Old B-TurretRunner

155 Years Ago Naval Forces on Western Rivers Established--Part 2

Under John Rodgers, three river steamers were purchased at Cincinnati.  Rodgers, overcoming no little difficulty in obtaining and training crews, getting guns and other equipment, converted the steamers to gunboats USS Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga.

These three gunboats, as stated by Alfred Thayer Mahan, were of inestimable service "in keeping alive the attachment to the Union where it existed."

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Naval Forces on Western Rivers Established-- Part 1

MAY 16TH, 1861:  Commander John Rodgers ordered to report to the War Department to establish naval forces on the western rivers under the command of General John C. Fremont.  The importance of controlling the Mississippi and its tributaries which pierced the interior in every direction was recognized immediately by the U.S. Government.

This control was not only militarily strategic but was a vital factor in keeping the northwestern states in the Union.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, May 13, 2016

155 Years Ago: Watching Out for Privateers

MAY 15TH, 1861:  Secretary of Navy Weklles appointed Lt. Thomas M. Brasher to command the USS Bainbridge and ordered him to proceed to Aspinwall, New Granada (Panama), to protect California steamers against "vessels sailing under pretended letters of marque issued by the insurrectionary States."

California steamers transported large amounts of gold from Aspinwall to New York.  Confederate ships were constantly on the alert for these vessels as the blockade tightened and the need for specie became increasingly desperate.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Queen Victoria Claims British Neutrality

MAY 13TH, 1861:  Queen Victoria proclaimed British neutrality and forbade British subjects to endeavor to break the blockade "lawfully and effectually established."

MAY 14TH, 1861:  The USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Silas H. Stringham, captured schooners Mary Willis, Delaware Farmer and Emily Ann at Hampton Roads laden with tobacco for Baltimore.

Argo, bound for Bremen from Richmond, captured on the same date.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Carolina Beach State Park Should Go National

From the April 12, 2016, Dallas Morning News "5 state parks that should go national" by Diana Lambdin Meyer.

Our own Carolina Beach State Park was mentioned as becoming a national park instead of just a state park.

CAROLINA BEACH STATE PARK, North  Carolina.  Contains 760 acres plus another 600 acres of Fort Fisher State Historic Site.  It is suggested that the two be joined and renamed the Cape Fear National Park

The idea was broached before, but didn't get far.

Carolina Beach State Park is one of the few places in the world where you can find Venus Flytrap plants hat were once found throughout the South.  It also contains Sugar loaf, a large sandhill which was once a Confederate camp during the Civil War.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site is a well-preserved Civil War fort.

North Carolina State Parks are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS Pawnee Ordered to Alexandria, Va.

MAY 11TH, 1861:  The USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, ordered by Commander Dahlgren to proceed from Washington Navy Yard to Alexandria, Virginia. to protect vessels in the vicinity from attack by Confederate forces.

MAY 12TH, 1861:  USS Niagara, Captain McKean, captured blockade-runner General Parkhill, en route from Liverpool to Charleston.

--Old B-Runner

North Carolina's Underwater Archaeology Unit-- Part 4: Polyethyne Glycol

Continued from May 5, 2016.

The position of all artifacts must be carefully recorded, and, once recovered, the artifacts should be stored in water until they reach the preservation laboratory.  A variety of methods are employed to stabilize artifacts recovered from an underwater environment, depending on the composition of the material and whether it came from fresh or slat water.

Waterlogged organic materials, such as wood, are normally preserved by replacing the water with a bulking agent such as polyethyne glycol (PEG) or sugar.  Ferrous metals are ordinarily stabilized through electrolytic reduction.  For large objects, like cannons, the process can take several years to complete.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: May Mallory Wants Commerce Raiders

MAY 10TH, 1861:  Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory farsightedly wrote the Committee on Naval Affairs of Congress regarding proposals for new warships:  "I regard the possession of an iron-armored ship as a matter of the first necessity.  Such a vessel at this time could traverse the entire coast of the United States, prevent all blockades, and encounter, with a fair prospect of success, their entire Navy.

"If to cope with them upon the sea we follow their example and build wooden ships, we shall have to construct several at one time; for one or two ships would fall an easy prey to their comparatively numerous steam frigates.

"But inequality of numbers may be compensated by invulnerability; and thus not only does economy but naval success dictate the wisdom and expediency of fighting with iron against wood, without regard to first cost.  Naval engagements between wooden frigates, as they are now built and armed will prove to be the forlorn hopes of the sea, simply contests in which the question, not of victory, but of who shall go to the bottom first, is to be solved."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

155 Years Ago: Buying Those Raiders

MAY 10TH, 1861:  Blockade of Charleston, South Carolina, initiated by USS Niagara.

**   Secret Act of Confederate Congress, signed by President Davis, authorized "the Navy Department to send an agent abroad to purchase six steam propellers, in addition to those heretofore authorized, together with rifled cannon, small arms, and other ordnance stores and munitions of war," and appropriated a million dollars for the purpose.

--Old Blockade Runner

Monday, May 9, 2016

155 Years Ago: Fox Appointed Chief Clerk of Navy

MAY 8TH, 1861:  Secretary of the Navy Welles informed Gustavus Fox:  "You are appointed Chief Clerk of the Navy Department, and I shall be glad to have you enter upon the duties as soon as you conveniently can."

MAY 9TH, 1861:  The USS Constitution and USS Baltic arrive at Newport, Rhode Island, with officers and midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy.  The Naval Academy remained there for the duration of the war.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, May 8, 2016

155 Years Ago: Mallory Wants Commerce Crusiers-- Part 2

"Large ships are unnecessary for this service; our policy demands that they shall be no larger than may be sufficient to combine the requisite speed and power, a battery of one or two heavy pivot guns and two or more broadside guns, being sufficient against commerce.

"By getting small ships we can afford a greater number, an important consideration.  The character of the coasts and harbors indicate attention to the draft of water of our vessels.

"Speed in a propeller and the protection of her machinery can not be obtained upon a very light draft, but they should draw as little water as may be comparable with their efficiency otherwise."

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: USS Valley City Captures a Schooner in North Carolina

MAY 5TH, 1861:  USS Valley City captured schooner J. O'Neil near Pamlico River, North Carolina, after the schooner was run aground by her crew.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, May 6, 2016

155 Years Ago --Part 1: Bulloch Ordered to England to Purchase Ships to be Used As Commerce Raiders

MAY 9TH, 1861:  Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory ordered Commander James Bulloch, CSN, to England to purchase ships, guns and ammunition.  In his instructions he said: "...provide as one of the conditions for payment for the delivery of the vessels under the British flag at one of our Southern ports, and, secondly, that the bonds of the Confederacy be taken in whole or part payment.

"The class of vessel desired for immediate use is that which offers the greatest chance of success against the enemy's commerce... as sidewheel steamers can not be made general cruisers, and as from the enemy's force before our forts, our ships must be enabled to keep the sea, and to make extended cruises, propellers fast under both steam and canvas suggest themselves to us with special favor."

Sounds Like He Already Is Talking About the CSS Alabama.  ---Old B-runner

155 Years Ago: Scott's Anaconda Plan

MAY 2ND, 1861:  General Winfield Scott wrote to President Lincoln suggesting a cordon capable of enveloping the seceded states and noted that "the transportation of men and all supplies by water is about a fifth of land cost, besides the immense savings of time."

On the next day, Scott elaborated further to General George McClellan:  "We rely greatly on the sure operation of a complete blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf ports soon to commence.  In connection with such blockade we propose a powerful movement down the Mississippi to the ocean, with a cordon of posts at proper points ...

"..The object being to clear out and keep open this great line of communication in connection with the strict blockade of the seaboard, so as to envelop the insurgent States and bring them to terms with less bloodshed than by any other plan."

--Scott's Anaconda Plan.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, May 5, 2016

North Carolina's Underwater Archaeology Unit-- Part 3" Magnetometers and Sidescan Sonar

Underwater archaeologists use a variety of means to locate and document shipwrecks and other submerged sites.  Occasionally, sites can be visually observed in shallow water (The blockade-runner Beauregard, off Carolina Beach can be seen at low tide) and are reported by fishermen, boaters or recreational scuba divers.

To locate shipwrecks in deeper water, archaeologists rely on remote sensing equipment such as magnetometers and sidescan sonar (as used in locating the Agnes E. fry)  The remote sensing equipment is operated from a research vessel that systematically searches the survey area.

Ideally, an electronic positioning system is used to maintain and record the vessel's position during the survey.

--Old B-Runner

North Carolina's Underwater Archaeology Unit-- Part 2: Blockade-Runner Agnes E. Fry

The North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Unit maintains extensive files on over 4,000 historically documented shipwrecks, as well as a wide variety of water-related subjects such as bridge and ferry crossings, historic ports, plantation landings, riverine and coastal trade, harbor development and improvements to navigation.

Historical research can be used to define a search area where a specific shipwreck should be located or to identify a site that has been located by other means.  This is evident in the recent location of the blockade-runner believed to be the Agnes E. Fry off Oak island, near the mouth of Wilmington's Cape Fear River.)

Over the past three decades, researchers have documented more than 700 underwater archaeological sites in North Carolina that include prehistoric dugout canoes, colonial sailing vessels, beached shipwreck remains, dozens of Civil War shipwrecks,and 19th and 20th century steamboats.

--Old B-R'er

North Carolina's Underwater Archaeology Unit-- Part 1: Blockade-Runner Modern Greece

From the "Encyclopedia of North Carolina" "Archaeology" by Joan E. Freeman and R.P. Stephen Davis Jr..

Underwater archaeology was first conducted in North Carolina in the early 1960s, when U.S. navy divers, working in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Cultural resources, recovered several thousand artifacts from sunken Civil War blockade-runners in the Wilmington area.  (That would initially be the wreck of the blockade-runner Modern Greece which sank off Fort Fisher.)

In 1963, the state established a preservation laboratory at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site to treat those artifacts, and in 1967, the General Assembly passed a law to protect submerged cultural resources in the state.  That statute claimed North Carolina's ownership of all cultural material unclaimed in state waters for more than ten years.

Further, the law authorized the Department of Cultural Resources to establish a professional staff and regulations for managing those submerged resources, and to develop a system for permitting qualified individuals, groups and institutions to conduct investigations and recovery projects of underwater archaeological sites.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS Yankee Fired On By Confederate Batteries

MAY 7TH, 1861:  Union blockading force capture Confederate steamers Dick Keys and Lewis near Mobile.

**  USS Yankee, Lt. Thomas O. Selfridge, fired on by Confederate batteries at Gloucester Point, Virginia.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Confederates to Use Privateers

MAY 6TH, 1861:  The Confederate Congress passed an act recognizing a state of war with the United States and authorized the issuing of Letters of Marque to private vessels.

President Davis issued instructions to private armed vessels, in which he defined operational limits, directed "strictest regard to the rights of neutral powers," ordered privateers to proceed "With all ... justice and humanity" toward Union vessels and crews, outlined procedure for bringing in a prize, directed that all property on board neutral ships be exempt from seizure "unless it be contraband," and defined the word contraband.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

155 Years Ago: USS Cumberland Seizes More Confederate Ships

MAY 4TH, 1861:  USS Cumberland, Flag Officer Pendergast, seized schooner Mary and Virginia with cargo of coal, and reported the capture of schooner Theresa C., running the blockade off Fort Monroe, Virginia, with cotton on board.

**  Steamship Star of the West commissioned as Receiving Ship of the Confederate Navy at New Orleans.

--O;d B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Importance of Washington Navy Yard

MAY 3RD, 1861:  Commander Dahlgren, Commandant of Washington Navy Yard, noted: "Besides the Yard, I have to hold the bridge next above, so some howitzers and a guard are there.  It is from this direction that the rebels of the eastern shore may come.

"This Yard is of great importance, not only because of its furnishing the Navy so largely with various stores, but also as a position in the general defense of the city."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 2, 2016

155 Years Ago: Beefing Up the Navy and Let's Get It On-- Part 1

MAY 3RD, 1861:  President Lincoln called for "the enlistment, for not less than one nor more than three years, of 18,000 seamen, in addition to the present force, for the naval service of the United States."

**  President Lincoln's blockade proclamation published in London newspapers.

**  Captain Du Pont wrote:  "I am anxious for the blockade to get established-- that will squeeze the South more than anything.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan-- Part 2

MAY 2ND, 1861:  This was the heart of the Winfield Scott's celebrated Anaconda Plan which would strangle the Confederacy on all sides.  Control of the sea and inland waterways by the Union was key.

The great strategy for victory was to (a) strengthen the blockade, (b) split the Confederacy along the line of the Mississippi River, and (c) support land operations by amphibious assault, gunfire and transport.

The Union Navy had a key role to play in all of this.

--Old B-R'er