Fort Fisher

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

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.


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